1.What Do You Look For In A Band?

Well, my new album is indie soul. Outside of playing music I like to walk around wherever it is I’m touring, and observe and take pics; learn about places, try to learn new words in the local language (including ‘arvo’ and ‘doco’ and ‘sunnies’). What I look for in a fan is someone who’s a music lover – what I am.

2.Keeping Busy

I finished my new album in November, and before that toured Europe. Over Christmas I fought bronchitis and semi-learned to ski at New Year’s (meaning, I’m alive). In January I went to New Orleans and right now I’m on my way back from the mountains where I recorded for a Canadian radio show. My tour of Australia will be in support of a single from the new album.

3.Best Gig Ever

This one I just did was a huge honour with a really well-known writer and storyteller in Canada named Stuart McLean – I grew up listening to him on the radio, and then I just got to be the musical guest on his show and was treated like a queen. Worst gig? There was one in Adelaide where my keyboard stand wasn’t set up properly so in the first chorus of the first song of the show the stand collapsed, and the keyboard not only fell down, but fell off the stage, missing by mere inches the people in the front row. To date it’s the shortest version of that song I’ve ever played.

4.Current Playlist

Right now I’m in the van on the way back from the mountains, and we’ve got Dr. John on. I went to New Orleans for ten days last month and saw so many incredible gigs – heard Rebirth Brass Band, John Boutte, Joe Krown, Walter Washington, Travis Trumpet Black Hill, Tom McDermott, Jon Cleary, 21st Century Brass Band… so many. It was pretty cool to walk past Mahalia Jackson’s statue, Louis Armstrong Park, Preservation Hall, et cetera – connect to a place that has given birth to jazz, blues, gospel, and from there, rock’n’roll, soul, R&B, funk, hip hop. Name any kind of pop that doesn’t have those influences and it’s a short list.

5.Your Ultimate Rider

[Laughs] I’ve done so many indie gigs where there was no rider at all – as in you’re not even comped food or drinks in the restaurant you’re playing at – that when I do get one I am just glad that someone actually thought to be nice like that. Then other ones are complete opposites – this gig I just did had a private, gourmet catered meal with a guy standing at your arm at all times to pass dishes to you and fill up your glass. But hey, if money was no object, I wouldn’t turn away a personal masseuse on a rider. Or my own environmentally friendly Learjet.

Ann Vriend plays atDjango Bar, Camelot Lounge on Wednesday February 12.

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