Paul Booth chats to Olga, Blues from the Soul…

What Blues month would be complete without a musician who resides in New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz (which many debate what’s the difference between Jazz and Blues? Both art-forms needed the other to come to fruition), and has played shows where the Blues was born (The Delta in Mississippi). She has taken her music all over this country and abroad. That’s The BLUES! Bringing people from all walks of life together for one feeling. It’s the buzz, the groove, it’s funky and full of soul. It’s the X-factor that Blues musicians and Blues lovers live for. Olga had some interesting answers (that also apply to you film buffs).

Paul Booth: Where were you born and raised?

Olga: Primarily in San Francisco, but back and forth to Innsbruck Austria once a year, and also Lake Tahoe for the summers, skiing in the winters.

PB: What got you into the Blues?

Olga: The Grateful Dead! No, really, their music was the first to expose me to folk, country and blues.

PB: Who are your top influences?

Olga: Peggy Lee, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Los Lobos, Annie Lennox

PB: You sing, what other instruments can you play? Which are your favorite?

Olga: It all depends on what kind of mood I am in. I mainly write on guitar, but I grew up playing piano and violin and am writing a lot on piano again these days. I play anything and everything stringed or percussive. Recently took up ukulele which is a convenient way of travel with music at hand!

PB: What’s the coolest city you’ve played?

Olga: Rome, Italy. One of my favorite places in the world. On my list is to live there for a while at some point…I have a passion for Roman history and I love their Italian accent.

PB: How many albums do you have? Can people find them online?

Olga: I have five albums (iTunes) and yes, Google “Olga blues,” or “Olga Wilhelmine,” and it pops up everywhere, or visit my website for old fashioned CD’s (newer albums are digital only).

PB: What is your goal with your music?

Olga: To create music that touches and moves people on a soul level. These days my medium is in film and television and I am in talks right now to become music supervisor for several feature films. I enjoy working in the studio so this satisfies me on every level creatively, combining music and motion picture.

PB: Have you had your music used in a film?

Olga: Yes, one feature is filming now in the UK called Balkins. It has two of my blues songs in there, in fact, I have to give a guitar lesson over Skype this weekend to the actress who is performing them on camera, so we’ll see how that’s going to work out! Also music I perform in STATUE, a short film of ours that has screened in over 24 film festivals, and won 9 awards. We have distribution for it through SnagFilms and you can see it there.

PB: What are you currently working on in film/music?

Olga: The new film project, Anam Cara, is the brainchild of myself and director, cinematographer, Declan Ryan. It’s what we call a “music film,” in that it is NOT a music video (no lip syncing in various outfits). The film is comprised of three songs of mine, that actually serve as a character in the overall story, a “Jiminy Cricket” type character. There is no real dialogue, so it is music driven and the story is called Anam Cara, which is celtic for “soul friend.” You find your true Anam Cara after you have endured the journey of finding your true self. Only then will you find your soul friend, someone with whom can share the deep treasure and secrets of the soul.

The story in the film will be similar, in that it is the trials and tribulations of finding your true-self. Much is drawn upon on my own experiences, and there will be many layers of symbolism within the images. There hasn’t really been anything like this done before, but we anticipate there will be many who will do their own music-film after we do! So since we are pioneering this, there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way, but I welcome those — because every challenge offers an opportunity for a creative solution and for growth, not only as an individual, but as a crew. We have many wonderful talented film people involved and I enjoy the process so much. I am always learning from everyone and I love that! So many angles and departments, and aspects to know more about…

PB: A message from Olga for the fans?

Olga: Anything a man can conceive and believe, he will achieve – Napoleon Hill. You can let life lead you, or you can lead your life. It’s a choice.

Interview by Paul Booth

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Photograph by Kaylin Idora