Ana Popovic fills Kent Stage with blues


Anthony Scilla

Ana Popovic sings into her mic at The Kent Stage on Feb. 13, 2023.

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

Returning once again to the Kent Stage, Serbia native Ana Popovic and her band have performed blues music in Kent for over 10 years.


Popovic has always exceeded expectations when performing in Kent and Tom Simpson, owner of Kent Stage, is always impressed.


“She comes, and she kicks ass. It’s a tremendous blues show,” Simpson said. “She’s getting better and better. She’s performed here once a year for many years now.”


Popovic found the love of music through her father at an early age.


Ana Popovic welcomes the crowd at the start of her performance on Feb. 13, 2023.

“It was my father’s extensive record collection and nightly guitar-jams with his friends at our modest apartment in Belgrade that attracted me to music at an early age. All I wanted was to sit in with him and his buddies,” Popovic said.


“None of his friends played slide-guitar, that was my “in” and that’s how I got started playing. The rest is history.”


Through this experience, she discovered her singing ability and instrumental talent as she began taking music seriously in high school forming a band called Hush.


After getting a steady Tuesday gig at the local music bar, many people would line up and watch from the outside; she knew she had something real. It eventually led to Popovic’s agent and Simpson getting in contact with each other.


“I chose her because her agent contacted me and sent me some info about her and I saw that she was a blues artist on the rise,” Simpson said. “Either I go out to the agency and solicit them or the agent solicits me, and I’ve been doing this stuff 40 some years now.”


Simpson looks for talent as he wants to keep the Kent Stage packed and continue a good reputation in the city of Kent. The majority of the audience is about 90% of people who come from outside of Kent.


So, how do musicians get to play at the Kent Stage?


“They have to be good and second of all, they have to be great like people like Ana Popovic,” Simpson said.


Popovic has now been performing at Kent Stage for the past 10 years. Since its opening in 2002, it has always been known to host classic rock bands, and Simpson likes to have 70’s and 80’s rock be the focus.


Guys like Kenny Loggins, and John Waite have all played at the Kent Stage. Tribute bands are in the mix as well, like Bruce in the USA.


Trumpet player Jordan Carr and Saxophonist Evan Knight support Ana Popovic at The Kent Stage on Feb. 13, 2023. (Anthony Scilla)

Popovic has made Kent feel like home to her by doing a total of 2,500 shows in Kent in 10 years and says there’s easily another 2,500 in the making.


“I never get tired of it, places like Kent make it worthwhile,” Popovic said.


She hopes to be able to connect to people through her music.


“I’ve successfully merged musical styles and inspired a new generation of guitar players male and female, to start pursuing their dreams, regardless of where they were born. Sometimes, the clichés about the music business are right,” Popovic said.


“If you work hard enough and want it bad enough, you can make anything happen.”

Kyle Kuchta is a reporter. You can contact him at [email protected].