"I fear those days are gone and a new sound has changed the flavor of blues."
Lady Bianca: The Queen of Bay Area
Lady Bianca is one of the most creative and talented women in the Blues field today. She was born Bianca Thornton was in Kansas City, Missouri, her charismatic style and humor place her amongst the top female Blues performers of her generation. Her talent is magnified as a Blues Soul singer and Gospel blues Boogie pianist. Lady Bianca skills as a song writer and arranger are superb Lady Bianca's style makes her one of the rare handful of original female Blues artist of the day. Her style is a mixture of Blues, Boogie, Soul, Latin, Gospel and Comedy.
She has studied the vocal masters of Blues, Jazz, and Soul. Lady Bianca listened and studied the piano styles of Ray Charles, Meade Lux Lewis, Charles Brown, Mable Scott, and Amos Milburn. Lady Bianca started her career as a background singer in the Rock field with Artist as Frank Zappa, Sly Stone, and Van Morrison. In all Lady Bianca has recorded and performed with many who's who of Hall of fame legends such as: Bobby Bland, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Curtis Mayfield, Irma Thomas, Koko Taylor, Lee Oskar, Merle Haggard, Lee Franklin, Joe Louis Walker and dozens more. Her first major performance was in 1972 at the San Francisco production of singer Jon Hendricks' revue Evolution of the Blues. In that acclaimed show, she sang "Good Morning Heartache" and "God Bless the Child" and eloquently captured the spirit and essence of Billie Holiday. Midway her career Lady Bianca left the Rock world to pursue her love of Blues, Soul, and Gospel and stepped out as a solo Artist. She has formed a thriving enterprise which consist of her own record label Magic-O Records, Production company, and publishing company with her Partner Stanley Lippitt. Lady Bianca has released seven CD's. Four of them have been nominated for Grammies in the contemporary Blues Field.
How do you describe Lady Bianca sound and progress, what characterize your music philosophy?
Lady Bianca's sound can be characterized as pure southern United States soul, gospel, blues, tinged a little country western. This sound has found its home in the mighty Oakland sound of the Bay Area. It tells real life stories.
What experiences in your life have triggered your ideas for songs most frequently?
Bad relationships, new dances, and happy time, good and bad people.
Which is the most interesting period in your life? Which was the best and worst moment of your career?
When I was traveling with Frank Zappa, playing music with Sly Stone, meeting and writing song with my husband Stanley Lippitt. The bad were the in between time my phone didn't ring for the big gigs.
Why did you think that the Soul and Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?
Because it the real peoples music.
What’s the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?
The best jam I played in was with my Father sitting around the fireplace with my brother and sisters, when we were coming up.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?
The most memorable was from Miss KokoTaylor. Her advice was don't ever give up or stop singing and performing.
Are there any memories from John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal and Willie Dixon which you’d like to share with us?
"Artist trying to imitate real blues, I feel a great loss for that down home sound."
(Photo by Mel Peters)
What do you miss most nowadays from the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future?
I miss going to all the clubs and hearing the real blues music of Bobby Bland, Sonny Rhodes, Buddy Ace, and local celebrity blues artist. I fear those days are gone and a new sound has changed the flavor of blues.
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the music circuits?
Artist trying to imitate real blues, I feel a great loss for that down home sound.
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Soul and continue to Jazz and Gospel?
The feeling, emotion, the connection with the people and its culture.
What do you learn about yourself from the blues culture and what does the blues mean to you?
That I belong there. It's the music I love and it means the world to me.
Which memories from Frank Zappa, Sly & the Family Stone, and Van Morrison makes you smile?
What is your most vivid memory from Bobby "Blue" Bland, Etta James, and Koko Taylor?
When I was on the road at a blues festival Mr. Bland and his staff told me if I ever got stuck on the road to call him. He said he would pick me and my band up in his bus and get us to our next destination. I was in awe of Miss Etta James I was to shy to meet her. Whenever I could I would stand behind the stage and watch her work the crowd awesome lady! The first time I met Koko Taylor. She was out here in Mill Valley California going into a club. I spoke to her. She took the time to talk with me before she went on. Powerful vibes it was like meeting my favorite Aunt. I loved me some Koko Taylor!
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
Back to the days and nights of the great blues festivals when Bobby Blue Bland, Bobby Rush, Etta James, Clarence Carter, and Koko Taylor headlined.
What's been your experience as Billie Holiday? What does to be a blueswoman in a “Man World” as James Brown says?
So far being a blues woman in a man world can be a lot of fun. If you give the music right you will get their respect.
Doing Billy Holiday taught me how to get the most out of the melody and the phrasing.
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