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Decorated blues musician Ana Popovic performing at Mauch Chunk Opera House

International artist and female empowerment activist Ana Popovic will jam out on the Mauch Chunk Opera House stage on Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.

Seamlessly incorporating multiple genres including funk, blues, jazz and rock, Popovic’s unique sound transcends a classic bluesy vibe to so much more. She found her groove in an interesting and much different way than most American Blues musicians.

Originally from Belgrade, Serbia (ex-Yugoslavia), Popovic has been moving west her whole life in pursuit of that American sound she loved so much from a young age.

Her father’s record collection included many of the old blues greats, which later in life inspired her to move to the Netherlands to study at the conservatory of jazz and world music.

She lived in Amsterdam for over 10 years and then relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, to record and work with famous southern artists. She now lives in L.A. with her family.

“You don’t necessarily have to be born in the U.S. if you want to (play American Blues),” Popovic said. “There’s no limit.”

Her upcoming show is said to explore her entire discography, but will hold a particular focus on her two most recent albums, 2016’s “Trilogy” and 2018’s “Like It On Top.”

“Like It on Top” opened at #2 in iTunes Most Downloaded U.S. Blues Albums and it also peaked at #2 in BillBoard’s Top Selling Blues Albums chart.

“Like It on Top” holds a particularly special message, for Popovic, of female empowerment and breaking gender molds to pursue your dreams.

2 decades of music

Reminiscing on nearly two decades ago when she started her band, she said “I’ve been doing what used to be considered a male job, which is playing guitar and fronting a band.

“Back then, there were only a few ladies doing that in blues and … other genres as well.”

What inspired her to create this album was all the positive changes for women she saw happening in the world.

“Things are changing … we have more female leaders out there in politics, music, anything that you think of in the male dominated world, we have a lot of ladies opening new horizons for girls,” said Popovic. “I see a lot of girls picking up the guitar, there are a lot of music schools where a majority of the guitar players are girls … I (am) really happy to see that change.”

She also wanted to support the working women, like herself, who have to balance their careers and their quality of life at home.

“It’s harder for a woman that’s out there fronting a huge corporation … the pressure of maintaining that quality and having a successful life at home. That’s something that I wanted to write about,” Popovic said.

The multitude of stories encompassing the lives of different women embedded in “Like It on Top” is also something that Popovic has never tried to do, making this album even more unique.

Inspiring women

For instance, her song “Matter of Time” covers an extremely difficult to discuss but harsh reality for millions of women around the world: domestic abuse. It discusses how hard it is for a woman to leave an abusive relationship but also inspires victims to find the strength to change their future for the better.

“It’s a very strong message and I am hoping some of the women will be inspired by it,” Popovic said.

The album also features love stories and other stories of empowerment encouraging women to make achieving their goals top priority.

Although the female empowerment focus of this album primarily reaches young women, Popovic explains this album is “everything but just a female record.”

Inspired by all the support she’s received from male figures in her life, including her husband and her father, she wanted to create an album that showed men it’s OK to challenge gender roles and to support their female family members, friends, companions and co-workers.

“(My) husband takes on a huge role: keeping our family leading a normal life when I’m on the road … traveling and playing,” said Popovic. “Here’s a shout out to all the male colleagues, husbands, partners or whoever: it’s OK to change the roles in a family and its OK to support your female co-worker or partner or sister or your daughter, because there is no job that is only reserved for men.”

Tickets for this show are on sale online at mcohjt.com; by phone at 570-325-4009 or 570-325-0249; at SoundCheck Records during business hours or at the opera house box office on the day of the show.

Doors for the show open at 7 p.m.

“It’s going to be a high-energy show, so if you’re into guitars … and funky blues, that’s what we have,” Popovic said. “It’s a really jam-oriented and high-energy blues show, you won’t regret it if you come to see us.”

Ana Popovic will perform at the Mauch Chunk Opera House on Feb. 28. RUBEN TOMAS/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO