Talking Music: Beth Hart Discusses Live Shows – Part 2

Blues-rock star Beth Hart brings her UK Tour to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall on Saturday 21 April.

In the second part of an interview with Beth, she discusses working with Joe Bonamassa and gives an indication as to what fans can expect from her live shows.

What would you your advice to young aspiring blues rock and R&B artists be?

Oh God, I think I’m the worst person to ask advice of. I worked so hard at screwing everything up (laughs).

I don’t know, maybe, something like, really work hard at finding yourself that if people are really enjoying what you do that it doesn’t make you that good, it doesn’t make you that special, it just happens to be what people are responding to at the times. Like, what’s that old saying, ‘Don’t believe the hype’ and if people aren’t responding to what you are doing or are being very critical or just rejecting you, also don’t think you area that bad either. It’s really hard to do but I think it’s an important thing for no matter what type of artist you are to trust that the reason why you are given the love of being artistic is just to make you happy – it’s not to make you rich and famous. So don’t judge what you do based on that because that doesn’t matter. How often do things become so popular and, you know, then five years later, ten years later everybody goes that is such a piece of crap, we don’t want to hear it or see it ever again and then other things never really become hits or things like that but then they last forever.

I always think of Sam Cooke’s Change Is Going To Come and that was not a hit song. Then he passed away and then many years went by and then people kind of started playing it a little bit here and there and then it became like this classic, you know. So I always kind of say to people don’t believe the hype, you are never as good as what they say, you are never as bad and remember that you do it just to make you happy and to enjoy it. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

You have played with Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa, what do you like to about playing with guitarists like Jeff and Joe?

Well, both of them are very sensitive and nice to me and they are both so talented. It is inspirational to see how humble they both are in what they both do and how hard they work as well. They both put a lot of effort into playing all the time and practicing and working on their craft and I love that. I feel like they don’t take it for granted at all, they really cherish it and that’s a pretty inspirational thing. 

Any plans on touring or performing with Joe Bonamassa again?

No, we don’t have any plans to do any touring or anything like that right now. We talked about it a little bit the other day. We did an interview together and we talked about it but there are no real solid plans.

Last time you were in the UK, you performed solo-shows. What was that like and are you looking forward to playing the UK again with your entire band?

I enjoy very much playing with my band. Those solo shows right now, are something I started doing the last couple of years very little here and there and then when I did the UK ones that was the most extensive stuff that I played by myself and to be honest with you, at the beginning it was just terrifying but then I ended up liking it more than any other way I played live. I can’t really say why, maybe I just feel like the most like I am being myself when I don’t have any showbiz going on at all, you know, when it’s just me sitting at the instrument, like I did as a little girl, and there is no live show or dancing around or any that kind of stuff.  It’s just me sitting there, I guess, being myself as much as I could ever be when it comes to singing and playing. Maybe, but I know it was funny because it was something that made me feel so uncomfortable.

I hated my manager for putting me in the position to do it and he really was on to me about it and I was just like ‘Oh my god, I can’t do this, I am going to embarrass myself so bad’ and then after doing a couple of shows, I just fell in love with doing it, I felt, like I said, I felt really honest, I guess.

You are going to play a sold-out show at the Royal Albert Hall during this tour. How much are you looking forward to it?

Well, I am trying not to think about it too much because I don’t want to get nervous but then again that’s an impossibility because I’m nervous for everything. I’m nervous right now talking to you because I have my first show since I have been off for two months. I’m in Portland, I’m in a little place but I am really nervous about it and so I think that’s just kind of how I get quite nervous but Royal Albert [Hall], one of the things I keep telling myself is ‘Beth you are singer, you are not an astronaut or someone that has to perform heart surgery on another human being, so if you do a crap job, no one’s going to die, thank god.’ I just keep telling myself that over again, so I am not so psyched out and so I won’t take myself so serious because how ridiculous to take myself so seriously, it’s just stupid, I drive myself crazy. 

What songs can we look forward to you playing on tour? Will you be playing songs from the new album “Black Coffee” with Joe Bonamassa? And what about songs from your recent studio album “Fire On The Floor”?

I usually like to play different stuff from different records and try to cover all the records if I can. I don’t know how much stuff from the latest Joe record I will be playing because there is a lot of horns and there’s a lot of background singers and there is a lot of stuff that we didn’t have on our first two records and I can’t really pull that off with my band.

There might be a few things we do but I don’t think it will be more than one, two, three songs, who knows that could change, off that record, off of the Black Coffee record but the stuff from all the other stuff I have done with Joe and stuff I have done on my own. So, yeah, hopefully that will be ok.

What are you most looking forward to when retuning to the UK?

Oh my God, there’s one hotel we stay at, and forgive me I don’t know the name because I can never remember anything, but it’s just a cool little spot and I don’t know it has a homeliness about it. It’s warm and people are nice there.

The audiences are great there [the UK] and I really enjoyed that, you know. So, I really love it over there, I love Europe period. Europe has been so wonderful to me and it’s so, oh my god, all the architecture and all the history and just to the way people think and live is so different. I love being an American, I love being from here [the U.S.] and it’s a beautiful country but god are we a bunch of whack jobs. We got so much to learn and now we got a Mr. Whacko as president who’s making all the whack jobs here think that they are pretty freaking normal. It’s just getting worse. We should be getting better but whatever, what do I know.


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