Q&A with Seattle-based diva Lady A, known as the “Hardest Workin’ Woman in Blues, Soul, Funk & Gospel"

"Knowing your worth is important in this industry that is largely run by men; then adding tax. That's one of my motto's. The Status of women I believe is that the Future is Female. I see women coming together, networking and encouraging one another as we continue to level up in Blues, Soul and Jazz. I belong to a network of women who gather together since Covid and have been a tremendous support system and networking community. Women are "Comin for it".

Lady A: Satisfaction to Eclectic Listeners

Seattle diva, songwriter, entertainer, storyteller, artist, activist, and radio DJ Lady A (aka Anita White), known as the “Hardest Workin’ Woman in Blues, Soul, Funk & Gospel,” released her 9th album, Satisfyin’ (2021). Lady A has recorded many styles of blues, funk, soul, and gospel, but for this album, she wanted to capture the authentic Seattle Blues-Soul sound that she delivers when she hits the stage. With the help of long-time musical partners, she presents here a journey of commonality, strength and music that is Satisfyin’ to the listener, as well as to the soul. On the heals of a difficult year, Lady A created this album as a message to remind us all to hope, to stand with and for those who cannot stand for themselves, and to remember the good times while focusing on a brighter future for everyone. Choose life, choose family and friends, and choose to make a difference. Lady A is best served HOT, so get ready to nod your head and get your groove on, and no matter what you may go through, remember to “Enjoy Your Life.”                                                            (Lady A / Photo by Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson)

Lady A also works and performs with her accompanist and pianist/producer John Oliver III, doing special projects such as, United by Music Europe and North America which she has been a mentor from 2011 - 2016. Because of her assistance with the UBM organization was asked to come to Denmark by Music Unites Europe in order to work with and teach a Gospel Music Workshop with bands and singers from Germany, Holland, Sweden and Denmark. Both organization help intellectually disabled persons sing and perform on stage and are dear to Lady A's heart. My belief is to always "Give Back, that which you have been Blessed with". She produced her first mini tour, Buzin The Northwest, in 2015 featuring Deep Rush Record Recording artist, Dexter Allen and herself from Seattle to Portland ~ This tour was met with acclaimed success by sold out audiences and festival producers have praised her accomplishment of producing and performing during this tour. In May of 2017 she produced The Big Blues Blowout with mentor and friend, 2017 Grammy Winner Bobby Rush, Chicago's Nellie Tiger Travis, and Producer, Dexter Allen. 

Interview by Michael Limnios                    Lady A @ Blues.gr, 2013 Interview

How has the Afro-American music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

My personal view as a Black woman, Songwriter, Producer and Entertainer in America is we still have a long way to go and that's unfortunate; however, keeps me rooted in my passion to spread a message of hope and encouragement through my music because although slow the change may be, I constantly see a shift as I live my truth in my many communities. Whether it be neighborhood, church, work, music or activism communities; the journey leads to a better destination. So, I keep moving towards that mark.

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

My sound is eclectic - when I write it comes from my roots in gospel, blues, soul and jazz influences. The music is ever evolving as I work with some of the best musicians and bandmates in Seattle and we all kick in; my music philosophy is to keep sharing, as I am blessed to bless others with hope, music to dance, laugh and remind us of love; whether self-love and/or the love for others. I create out of the circumstance I'm living or going through at the time. I'm not an artist who writes everyday... (I know that's awful I'm told... LOL) However, it works for me... I write what I see and feel coming from where I am and how it affects me and/or the people around me.

"I miss the different influences of blues being played on radio stations from the past. I love Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, Keb Mo's, Taj Mahal, however, I still want to hear the Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Nina Simone's thrown in - My hope is to be able to touch 1 persons life at a time through music. If I reach more, I'm happy. My fears.? Fears come and go... I try to be cautious and not afraid." (Lady A / Photo by Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My being able to meet my idol, and now friend and mentor, Bobby Rush is the most cherished meeting of my life. Meeting Denise LaSalle whose songs I began singing when I started singing blues. Best advise came from my friend Bobby Rush - always take care of myself as a woman in this industry and know my worth.

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

WOW... where do I start. I cherish memories with my band members, they are a cast of characters, and we are family and laugh a lot together during rehearsals, and before a gig. I remember when I opened for Denise LaSalle back in the early 90's in Seattle - I sang her song "Real Sad Story" and the manager of the Esquire Club came to take me back to meet her (this was the first meeting) and I couldn't say a word.  She told me I did a great job, I nodded and went away. The next time I met her was at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, when my Mississippi producer, Dexter Allen re-introduced me to her and I reminded her of that story..  she laughed, hugged me and sat and talked with me for a good while. I cried (of course after I walked away) I was so happy. I will never forget that.. may she Rest in Peace. Her music was a big influence on me.

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

I miss the different influences of blues being played on radio stations from the past. I love Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, Keb Mo's, Taj Mahal, however, I still want to hear the Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Nina Simone's thrown in - My hope is to be able to touch 1 persons life at a time through music. If I reach more, I'm happy. My fears.?  Fears come and go... I try to be cautious and not afraid.

"I would love to travel with my band Anywhere there are people; there is no more fear of Covid and spend an entire day with audiences and musicians I love and admire just playing music and talking. Because it's about the people you meet along this journey, the place is where you are." 

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

Knowing your worth is important in this industry that is largely run by men; then adding tax. That's one of my motto's. The Status of women I believe is that the Future is Female. I see women coming together, networking and encouraging one another as we continue to level up in Blues, Soul and Jazz. I belong to a network of women who gather together since Covid and have been a tremendous support system and networking community. Women are "Comin for it"

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

To keep God first in my journey because even if the destination changes the outcome is for my good. To continue to be kind to people along the way because everyone is not where I am and I was once where they are. To be honest living in my truth about what's happening in this world and not let it deter me from my goals and my obligation to help others.

What is the impact of Blues on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

Blues came out of a time of Muddy Waters, Rev. CL Franklin who came from the south, so the whoopin style of preaching and Blues came out of pain. Historically those folks were living the blues, which came out of slavery... like Bobby Rush with his Rawer than Raw CD, with him and a guitar telling stories in truth. The Blues is our way to express ourselves, and out of the call and response and field hollers of gospel transitioned into the pain of most blues songs.

How do I want to affect people:  As I've said... I want people to walk away from my show different than when they arrived. I want a story I've told thru song or something I've said resonate with them so they can stay encouraged when they listen to me sing "Satisfyin" or "Brighter Day", that they understand the importance of loving yourself when I sing "Big Momma" or remember the soul of the blues when I sing about "Miss Buela Mae's"

"To keep God first in my journey because even if the destination changes the outcome is for my good. To continue to be kind to people along the way because everyone is not where I am and I was once where they are. To be honest living in my truth about what's happening in this world and not let it deter me from my goals and my obligation to help others."

(Lady A / Photo by Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson)

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

I would love to travel with my band Anywhere there are people; there is no more fear of Covid and spend an entire day with audiences and musicians I love and admire just playing music and talking. Because it's about the people you meet along this journey, the place is where you are.

Lady A - Home

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