Dana Fuchs

Dana Fuchs is a phenomenon, a singer whose mesmerizing voice and presence has led critics to compare her to Rock Legends from Janis to Jagger.  Dana’s portrayal of “Sadie” in the highly acclaimed film Across the Universe has exposed her considerable talents to a wider, international audience.

Dana and her band spent time in 2010 successfully harnessing the energy & power of her live show in the studio for their new album, Love To Beg (Ruf Records), just released this April.  ”I’m really excited about the new material and the energy we captured in the studio,” says Dana.  ”Jon and I wrote most of the tunes while touring for pretty much the past year and we feel this new album really captures all of our influences in a sincere and powerful way.”

Since then, Dana has been touring the globe non-stop bringing her high energy “Rock & Roll Church of Love” to audiences far and wide. Love To Beg is a combination of Rock, Soul, Gospel and Blues that captures the visceral energy she brings to the stage every night. “Honestly, we recorded this collection of songs for ourselves and our fans,” says Dana. “We weren’t thinking about having a 3-minute song with ‘hooks’ or worrying about the often dark nature of the lyrics. We just trusted our own musical instincts and let it rip. I can’t wait for the world to hear the new CD and I can’t wait to bring it to life onstage.”

But Dana has been honing her craft and creating vibrant music from an early age. The youngest of six musical children, Dana was raised in a small town in rural Florida surrounded by music – her older siblings’ band playing classic rock in the garage, Ray Charles and Hank Williams on her parents’ turntable and a big dose of 70′s and 80′s funk at school. At age 12, she joined the First Baptist Gospel Choir and was singing, shouting and praising the lord every week in a small black church on the outskirts of town.  ”The best advice I ever got was from a matronly African American woman who told me to just let ‘Mama Music’ take over.  I felt inspired, liberated and scared!”

At 16, she was fronting a popular local band at a roadside Holiday Inn.  It was the beginning of a hunger for singing and the stage that Wildwood, Florida couldn’t possibly satiate. Soon she was headed north, telling friends and family she was “going to New York to sing the blues”.

Arriving in NYC alone and broke at the age of 19, Dana soon found herself down-and-out on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  After the wake-up call of her older sister’s suicide (Donna was Dana’s first musical mentor), Dana pulled herself together and was determined to reconnect with her passion for music.  She began hitting the local blues jams with a vengeance and it was at one of these sessions that she met Jon Diamond, an established NYC guitarist who toured with Joan Osborne and Debbie Davies.

Immediately recognizing a musical chemistry, they formed the Dana Fuchs Band.  Within a year, the band was a feature act in New York City’s best clubs, often sharing the stage and performing with the likes of John Popper, James Cotton, and Taj Mahal.  For another year Dana immersed herself in the blues, playing three long sets a night, four nights a week – until sunrise – honing her formidable vocal power and performance style, all the while building a large, loyal following.

After a couple of years working the blues circuit, Dana knew it was time for a change and decided to tell her own story and create her own music.  She and Jon began writing intensively and putting together a solid body of original rock songs.  ”I didn’t grow up on Tobacco Road, so my personal ‘blues’ had a different story and I needed to tell it.  I also needed to explore and express my rock and roll side more.”

Soon Dana was back on the Lower East Side again, only this time on stage with the band, debuting her songs to a packed house at Arlene’s Grocery.  The fan response was overwhelming.  The band was soon selling out shows at The Mercury Lounge, The Stephen Talkhouse and BB King’s, sharing the bill with luminaries including Little Feat, Marianne Faithfull, and Etta James to name just a few.

Shortly thereafter, the producers of the off-Broadway hit “Love, Janis,” hearing raves about Dana from various cast and crew-members, asked her to come in for an audition.  Dana went in, sang a few bars of “Piece of My Heart,” and was offered the role of Janis Joplin on the spot.  ”I had 8 days to learn 20 Joplin tunes and 52 pages of dialogue.  One of the most exciting challenges of my life!”  Playing Janis four nights a week garnered Dana a whole new audience who were soon regulars at her band’s shows listening to Dana performing her own music.

The Dana Fuchs Band has released several acclaimed albums, from their studio debut Lonely for a Lifetime to their 2008 internationally distributed Live in NYC CD and DVD.  According to Dana, “Live performance is the way I get to truly spill my soul and connect with an audience. I love being in the studio but in live performance every second is a new creation.”

Perhaps Stereophile Magazine said it best: “Imagine a sultry, more emotive Janis Joplin, backed by a higher energy version of the late 60s Rolling Stones… Rock n’ Roll doesn’t get any better.”