Interview with Canadian energic vocalist Angel Forrest - her music is an incredible canvas of influences

"The music I am exposed to today...I find lacks depth and heart. Like most of what's going in in the world...I fear the loss of human connection. Hopefully the Blues will take over for the empty music we are feed on commercial radio. People are hungry to feel and be moved."

Angel Forrest: Music Canvas With Grace

In 1988, Angel Forrest began a musical career which would span over three decades – and counting. Her first album, Secondhand Blues, featured several classics. The energic vocalist’s work immediately gained attention from critics and new fans. Her tribute show to the legendary Janis Joplin brought Angel into the public eye. The live performance was immortalized on her Angel Sings Janis Live album. The Montreal artist was named Female Vocalist of the Year six straight times by the Toronto Blues Society between 2013 and 2018. Never limited to blues, the 2018 Memphis International Blues Challenge Finalist sings in the whole country, blues and rock spectrum.

Up to here, Angel Forrest has had a glorious three-decade career that’s led her everywhere around the globe. Now in her 50’s, the vocalist still has to go out there and rock. Throughout Hell-bent With Grace (2019), her new album, Angel will give the perspective of an aging woman in the public eye and her lessons learned, as she feels like a little girl living so many changes in what can be perceived as the peaceful autumn of her life (She’s Gone). The opus will also explore tough subjects – The Blame Game is about mental illness – as Angel takes a retrospective look at her own life, as wells as her relationships with the rest of the world and herself. Musically, the album reflects the rock influences of Angel, but she stays true to her country and blues roots, meaning that the songs still have this heartfelt, raw groove, which has always made the singer’s success.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I have always been a 60's child ...born to late. I have much older siblings and have been raised listening to blues and late 60's and 70's music.  The influences from that time run deep. I time when expressing yourself fully was a good thing. I have always made music that is real to me at that moment in my life...whether it be blues, rock, country...or folk or in another language even. I am not one to kneel to pressure of any kind. So, my decision making is not always informed with what is expected of me. And that goes not only in music but life period.

How do you describe your songbook and sound? Where does your creative drive come from?

I have a varied songbook... Blues is the way I express myself...because it's freeing and spiritual almost to me. No matter the style of record I make there is always that thread of blues through it all. Life is an incredible canvas of influences...

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

After 32 years on the road and 11 albums ...you can be sure there are stories...but the same one repeats its self...and that is making music with friends and it taking us to a level of bliss fulness not found anywhere else....

"I have a varied songbook... Blues is the way I express myself...because it's freeing and spiritual almost to me. No matter the style of record I make there is always that thread of blues through it all. Life is an incredible canvas of influences..."

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The music I am exposed to today...I find lacks depth and heart. Like most of what's going in in the world...I fear the loss of human connection. Hopefully the Blues will take over for the empty music we are feed on commercial radio. People are hungry to feel and be moved.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Digital... computer music! Return to making music with old school instruments... reel to reel... experience live music!!

What touched (emotionally) you from the local Canadian blues scene? What characterize the sound of?

Canadian Blues has a very international sound...I love this blues society for it's diverse sound and the true camaraderie of the players...very supportive and respectful of each other.

What does to be a female artist in a “Man’s World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

I don't see nor feel a difference...we all kick ass!

What is the impact of Blues music to the socio-cultural implications? What is the legacy of Janis Joplin's music?

I have always believed that the ones who make the decisions of who hears what and where...are frightened of music that stirs people up emotionally. Meanwhile those that don't buy into the pop culture are working very hard to keep blues music alive...and slowly but surely a younger generation of listeners is getting a taste of this freedom music...we just have to help nurture the next generation.

Janis sang from her guts…her heart...she felt every note and sent it off to the listener to absorb. People are never forgotten when you have been touched emotionally by them.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Woodstock 1969... The last day when all the electric acts played...I am so influenced by the artists and their music...I would love to experience all the magic that day possessed!

Angel Forrest - Home

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