MY TOP 30: Year 1 Posts of ALL-TIME! Links – INTRO & 30-16


30. Michael Jackson
“Liberian Girl”
25. TLC

20. Public Enemy
“Fight the Power”
29. Brian Kent pop quiz

24. Scissors For Lefty
[Bryan Garza] pop quiz
19. Wayna pop quiz &
BMSR [Tobacco] 5Q

28. Stevie Wonder &
Michael Jackson “Get It”
23. Paula Abdul
“Straight Up”

18. popolio is…


27. Los Bad Apples
[Anita Benner] pop quiz
22. George Michael
“Freedom! 90”

17. Scissors For Lefty
[Steve Garza] pop quiz
26. Birds Barbershop
[Michael Portman] 20Q Part 1
21. TLC
“No Scrubs”

16. Levi Kreis pop quiz

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! 1. Sophie B. Hawkins 20Q Part 2

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME!

1. Sophie B. Hawkins 20Q Part 2
So, here we are.  Part 2 of this interview actually got more hits than Part 1.  Normally, with multi-part interviews the first part gets read the most and then the numbers dwindle down from there for the other parts.  Hmm?  What does that tell me?  Maybe I shouldn’t have done so many multi-part interviews.

So, here we have SBH, again!  She takes the Year 3 Number 1 and Number 2 spots.  I think what made this Part 2 special was that I got to preview a song from the upcoming release (that had a different name at the time of the interview).  It is now called The CrossingHeart and Soul of a Woman = The Crossing.  SBH was very generous to give me 5  unreleased songs from that upcoming project to listen to and choose one to stream with the interview.  I chose “Georgia.”  

I included that tidbit both on Facebook and Twitter.  The Twitter SBH fans caught wind of it and it spread like wild fire.  I think this interview would have been 1 and 2, regardless.  It was just of matter of the order and “Georgia” pushed Part 2 to Number 1.  It’s a piece of the puzzle of the whole project that fans can listen to, get an idea of what the project might sound like, and come back again and again as they anticipate the full release.

I’d like to point out that SBH did post this interview (both parts) at her official site and it was also retweeted by some of her peeps when originally posted.  That’s part of the reason she has secured the Number 1 and 2 spots and because she’s frickin’ Sophie B. Hawkins.  Let’s be real.  But, artists keep that in mind.  I’m just sayin’.  Make a note (mental or otherwise) to self.  And, with that, Rodriguez out!

Read the original post here – 2oQ for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 2.   Here’s Part 1.

See all 17 Year 3 Questions for interviews here.

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME! 2. Sophie B. Hawkins 20Q Part 1

MY TOP 30: Year 3 Posts of ALL-TIME!

2.Sophie B. Hawkins 20Q Part 1
The Year 3 Number 2 spot goes to none other than Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Ms. Sophie B. Hawkins, whom from here on out I will refer to as SBH. Only the most esteemed bloggers can refer to her as that.  Okay, that’s not true, but it sounds cool, right? 

Anyway, she’s one of a handful of artists (maybe two handfuls) that I consider myself a true fan of.  By that I mean artists that I’ve followed or enjoyed a project of theirs from way back.  In most cases, I like an artist’s body of work.  In some, it’s only one or two full works.  Usually, if I really like one, then it makes me curious about their other work and I will at some point pursue their other stuff. 

In the case of SBH, it’s her debut release, Tongues and Tails, that I wore out on tape.  Years later, I bought Wilderness, her fourth proper release, on CD.  Most recently, after the interview posted, I ordered her sophomore release, Whaler, on CD, of course.  It was one I had always wanted, but never got around to picking up.  I enjoy all three.

Once I started popolio, I would try to reach for one of these artist to feature every few months  or so. Because of being a true fan, this interview was one those “wish” interviews that I really worked hard to get.  Usually, with this type of established artist it’s a matter of continuing to reach out every few weeks to months.  You have to play it by ear.  With SBH, she had no project to promote when I initially started reaching out, so I believe that is why I was getting no response.   Now she has a forthcoming release and a musical she’s working on, so when I reached out the last time, I did get a response.  We touch on both the new release and the musical in the 2-part interview.

I do love showcasing up-and-coming local and regional indie talent and providing an additional platform that an artist may not otherwise have.  I know what it’s like to feel like you have to fight for every opportunity and if someone only gave you a chance you could show what you can do or at the very least show a kernel of potential that could maybe be fostered and grow into something greater.  So, don’t get me wrong.

But, there is something about being able to connect with and feature an artist that I have history with as a fan, audience member, and music lover.  It’s not like we become best friends or anything like that, but it’s like…how do I even explain it?  I get to mark them off my list of those artists that I love and I got to engage with them in a real and human way.

I try to ask things fans would want to know and, of course, what I want to know.  I also try not to rehash questions that are already out there.  I’ve never wanted to just regurgitate what’s already out there.  I’ve always been more interested in creating original content.  Of course, you have to ask about the music and the projects.  That’s what it’s about.  But, in addition to those questions and fun questions, I hope my questions delve a little deeper than the superficiality of a lot of media that’s out there.  The artists have to be willing to go there with you as well.  SBH was more than willing to do that.

Read the original post here — 20Q for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 1.   Here’s Part 2

See all 17 Year 3 Questions for interviews here.

MY TOP 30: Year 1 Posts of ALL-TIME! 19. Wayna pop quiz & Black Moth Super Rainbow [Tobacco] 5Q

MY TOP 30: Year 1 Posts of ALL-TIME!

At 2009 Grammys. Courtesy of Google

19. Wayna pop quiz & Black Moth Super Rainbow [Tobacco] 5Q
This is the first Year 1 tie and also the first of the special SXSW 2009 popolio pop quiz interviews to show up on this countdown.  There have already been two ties on the Year 3 countdown as well as four of 10 SXSW 2011 pop quizzes.

In Year 1, I only did 5 SXSW pop quizzes and posted them for one week, Monday through Friday, during a SXSW Week, if you will, prior to the actual SXSW Week.  I also went to most of their showcases, took pictures, and posted them as popolio show pic-olios.

Wayna was a 2009 Grammy Nominee for her song “Lovin You (Music)” featuring Koyaki and ran into some publicized airport trouble in Houston that year as well, so I’m not surprised her interview has found a place on this countdown.  See the accompanying show pic-olio here.  I also did a popolio podcast interview with  her.  Listen to that chat here.

The 5Q with Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR), was in anticipation of an ATX show at the Mohawk.  Coincidentally, I had just done the 2-Part 20Q Birds Barbershop interview (of which Part 1 got the Year1 Number 26 spot) and they were kicking off their Birds East (Summer) Concert Series and giving away tickets to a few shows including this BMSR show.  There is also a pic-olio of this show here.

With the Questions for feature, I research the artist beforehand and really try to tailor the questions to them, their music, and  their experiences.  I try to touch on something poignant or personal or special if something like that is included in their press materials.  In some cases, questions can be open to interpretation and I don’t always know what direction an artist is going to go in.  In this case, Tobacco used a lot of humor in the way he responded.

See the original Thursday, March 19, 2009 Wayna post here — Wayna pop quiz — SXSW Artist.  It includes her song, “Daydream,” and a Beatles performance video of “Yesterday.”

See all 5 2009 SXSW pop quiz interviews here.

Courtesy of Google

See the original Thursday, May 22, 2009 BMSR post here — 5 Questions for Black Moth Super Rainbow [Tobacco].  It includes a free download of their song, “Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise.”

See all 8 Year 1 Questions for interviews here.

10Q for Los Amigos Invisibles – Neon Desert Artist

Latin Grammy Winners Los Amigos Invisibles are Julio Briceño, José Luis Pardo, Armando Figueredo, Mauricio Arcas, José Rafael Torres, and Juan Manuel Roura.  Armando Figueredo is repping LAI for the purposes of this interview.  They are one of the 29+ bands playing one of four stages at the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

LAI’s reputation precedes them and they need no introduction.  They’re a huge “get” for Neon Desert.  They’ve definitely “made it,” but still seem to operate like that new, hungry band trying to make it.  Maybe that’s why they’ve been around so long and have been so successful.

Watch LAI’s official video for “Dulce” from their Latin Grammy winning 2009 release, Commercial, available at

Click the first pic to go to Los Amigos Invisibles’ official site and second, at the end of the interview, to get to their Facebook Page.


Interesting Fact:  See the answer to Question 10.

1. I’m asking most of the Neon Desert Artists I’m interviewing what their band names mean.  So, where did Los Amigos Invisibles come from? It came from the opening of Valores Humanos, an old Venezuelan TV show hosted by the late historian Arturo Uslar Pietri.

2. Congrats on your multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations and on your Latin Grammy win.  I noticed they are all in different categories. How do it feel, first, to get recognized by the Grammys, but, secondly, to get nominated for a different genre of Latin music each time, which is kind of what your band and music are about, right? We are grateful for every recognition the Academy has given us and particularly happy about our Grammy victory, which also meant a lot to everyone in our home country.  We are also aware that our band has been a difficult band to place in any genre from the beginning; we offer an eclectic mix of styles in our music and play to a diverse crowd worldwide.  I remember how record stores would place us in different bins according to their tastes and I guess nowadays we don’t fret much about it and just welcome the compliment.

3. Your 2005 release, Super Pop Venezuela, was a collection of covers of Venezuelan pop classics from the 1960s to the 1990s.  Later in your careers you got to put on a concert where you performed those songs with some of the original artists.  How did that come together?   Was it a dream come true or was it part of the plan when you released the project? Yes, it was a dream come true and one of the concerts we will never forget.   Also, originally Super Pop… was to be a concert which proved difficult to produce because of our busy schedules and having to organize it in between our daily work, so then we decided to make an album out of it and then when we had the album out it became obvious that we had to make the concert happen.

4. 20 years is a long time for a band and still all the original members remain.  How do you make it work and why do you think you all have stuck around?
I guess we love what we do, we have a lot of commitment for the band and we respect each other very much; we’ve become a family.

5. Any solo aspirations for anyone? Actually, Julio, Mauricio, and Cheo have all released solo albums and I have done some solo stuff.  It’s just that we know and respect that our main act (the one that pays the bills) is Los Amigos Invisibles.

6. I know you recently played the new Austin, TX venue ACL-Live in February.  What did you think of it?  What about the Austin crowd? It was amazing.   We loved the venue.  People in Austin have always been great and we’ve loved the crew from ACL-Live ever since the first time we played ACL.

7. You’ve probably discussed your latest two releases, Commercial (2009) and Not So Commercial (2011) in many interviews.  Do you have to get one to appreciate the other?  What is something new and different about both collections that you can tell me? When we began creative work for Commercial we had a wide and very eclectic group of songs that would’ve been hard to fit in just one album, so we decided to make Commercial a more marketable record, shorter in time with radio friendly such-and-such, and left the extended instrumental trippy songs out.

We still think those songs are very much worth being on an album and represent our taste in music as much as the other songs, so we decided not to let them die in a forgotten hard drive and came out with Not So Commercial.  When I like a band I like to get the whole discography to understand the band better, but a lot of people are happy with just getting that song they like.

8. You are pretty established at this point in your careers.  I assume you can pick and choose the festivals that are offered to you.  Why did you decide to play the inaugural Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso, TX? We love playing festival crowds.  It’s the best way to bring new fans into our music.  Festivals are places where music-loving people gather and go listen to whatever is out there without necessarily having heard of it before.  If they like what they see, they become a fan of it.  We are always looking forward to doing as many festivals as we can.

9. You have a 20-year deep repertoire.  For this Neon Desert showcase are you focusing on material mainly from the latest release, Not So Commercial, or will there be some from Commercial, Los Invisibles classics, and new songs, too? We always go through most of our repertoire.  Well, at least as much as we can, given the time.  Our live concerts are a non-stop DJ-like live show, mixed with bits of our songs back-to-back, and so, it’s a very energetic fun show to watch and dance to.

10. Give me one exclusive scoop of something coming up that your fans will be reading here for the first time.  We will be playing songs from Not So Commercial.  We have never played those live before.

EXCLUSIVE: 20 Questions for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of my EXCLUSIVE 20Q interview with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins.  In addition to discussing her forthcoming release, Heart and Soul of a Woman, we also talk about the musical she’s been working on with some noteworthy folks.  Read more to find out who they are.

I got to preview five tracks from  the new project to pick one to stream with this interview.  I chose “Georgia.”  Listen now. 

Click on the pic to go to her official site.

Part 1


First single, “Betchya Got a Cure,” Cover

11. Tell us about Heart and Soul of a WomanHeart and Soul of a Woman is so emotional and un-self-conscious.  The vocals are like the word Speakeasy.   I like the diversity of style and musicality, and yet, it’s not striving to be interesting or different.   The only real difference in the progression of my song cycles is the fear of being seen has lessened and is, perhaps, gone altogether. 

2. What do you want fans to take away from it?  In a sense, I’m saying to the listener, “Just come in already.”  The masking is over and it’s important in the first album to have fear and masks because people see through them and love you for it.  Then it becomes a game, with yourself.  So, this cycle of songs is without artifice of any kind.   For better or worse.  There is always a new level to get to.

13. Your press materials state, and I quote, “Heart and Soul of a Woman is in many ways the culmination of Sophie B. Hawkins’ life-long apprenticeship in creative transcendence.”  Define and talk about this “life-long apprenticeship” and “creative transcendence.”   Well, I spoke to the writer of that bio or review right after the album was mastered, so the word culmination seemed fitting.   I’m on to the next now and the transcendence is going beyond my identity and finding the truth, which is only relevant to the creative process, not the outcome. 

14. If that was “the culmination,” where do you go from there?  I am being forced to drop any and every old crutch and having to put myself out there as a new artist, basically, which seems to happen every time I’m wanting to get my work out there.  The challenge is about existing at all now, as an artist and, perhaps, for many of us, as humans.  The positive aspect of my career having always been such an uphill battle is that I’m fit!  I’m ready for anything.

15. I’d like to offer my condolences regarding your father’s recent death.  You state that your father’s death and working through that through this project allowed you to finally deal with your parents’ alcoholism.   What, if anything, do you want your fans to know regarding your father’s death and growing up with and finally coming to terms with your parents’ addictions?  Thank you for acknowledging my father’s death.  I have a feeling my fans get a lot from my songs in terms of the self-healing and self-transformation of surviving and creating a self out of an alcoholic-sexually-abusive-family-system.   Many people get more than I know I give, and in that sense, they give me more than I think I deserve.  So, I hope in getting this music out that there is another level of shared strength-building, of laughing and crying, and the sense that no one is really alone, when seeking the truth.

16. So, at the same time that you’ve been working on your latest release, you’ve been working on a musical, a first for you (Congrats!), with your longtime manager and acclaimed filmmaker, Gigi Gaston, Tony and Emmy Award Winner and, more recently, of Glee fame, Kristin Chenoweth, and Tony Award Winner and Broadway Legend, Thomas Meehan.  Tell me about this amazing project.  I am passionately in love with this Broadway musical.  The 29-hour reading was like Olympic training and it was also the intensity I long for, the challenge I live for.  The story is early American, takes place in Pennsylvania, it’s a cross between Pygmalion and Annie Get Your Gun, and yet, it’s an original.

17. Tell us more.  This musical deserves two questions.  It’s both classic and modern.  It’s not trying to be edgy and psychodrama-ish, there is simplicity and a heartfelt quality that may be out of fashion right this minute, although I believe it can be a classic.  It has funny moments, too.  I guess it’s a romantic comedy with balls.  We are climbing Mount Everest, as Thomas Meehan said this December in New York, together.

18. Okay, so the Chenoweth Connection begs the Glee question.  If asked, would you let creator, Ryan Murphy, use your music?  Maybe “DIWIWYL” or “AILMD.”  Would you do a cameo on the show?  Do you even like the show?  I love Glee and want them to use my songs, dammit!  I’d love to be on the show and maybe you can say something to someone so they’ll think of it.

Editor’s Note 1:  Not sure if Sophie is directing this to me.  I don’t have that kind of power and if I did, I’d get myself on the show.  Seriously though, maybe it’s a call out to her fans.  Betty White, anyone?  And Sophie – you’re the one working with the Chenoweth.  You have a direct connection to Glee and Ryan Murphy, himself!  Just sayin’.

19. Back to Heart and Soul of a Woman.  How’s it different than what’s come before and how is it a fine-tuning of it?  Will you listen to the new album and tell me what you think?  Isn’t that more important than what I think?

Editor’s Note 2:   I’d love to listen to the new album and tell you what I think.  Again, I think this is more globally addressed to what you SBH fans out there will think than to me.  I agree that it is more important what fans think.  That said, feel free to comment on Sophie’s new song, “Georgia.”

20.  Will there be videos for Heart and Soul of a WomanI’m releasing a video for “Sinnerman” very soon.

love, Sophie B


EXCLUSIVE: 20 Questions for Sophie B. Hawkins Part 1

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins, may be most known for her pop hits, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down,” and, more recently, for courting some political controversy, but I’ve been a fan for quite some time.  Though I only own her debut release, Tongues and Tails, on tape and fourth and first independent release, Wilderness, on CD, I’ve wanted Whaler for years and just haven’t gotten off my duff to pick it up.  I love both those projects and have always been curious about her as an artist.  Here at THE REAL popolio, we’re going to keep it about the music and push the politics to the side.  (Though I do ask her about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because it’s no secret that Hawkins was a staunch supporter of her 2008 presidential campaign.)

Later this year, SBH will be releasing her first project of new music in seven years. Heart and Soul of a Woman is the proper follow-up to 2004’s Wilderness. 2006’s Live:  Bad Kitty Board Mix was a live release.  The first single of the set, “Betchya Got a Cure,” was released last Wednesday on iTunes.  I was allowed to preview five new tracks to choose one to stream with this EXCLUSIVE interview.  That song will accompany Part 2. 

Aside from the new music, she is also working on a musical. So, 2011 is shaping up to be quite a productive year for Ms. Hawkins.  More on that in Part 2.  Look for it on Monday!  For now, read Part 1 below.  

Click the first pic to go to her official site and second, at the end of Part 1 of the interview, to get to her Facebook Page.

Part 2


1. I read in an interview many years ago that you identified as “omnisexual.” What does it mean? I like the “label” omnisexual because it’s creative, I thought of the term to define my feeling that my sexuality is an expression of my soul, not my gender, not my body parts.

2. Do you still identify as “omnisexual?”  Yes, omnisexual still works for me, in essence it’s saying that my lover doesn’t define my sexual universe, my creative soul does, and I follow that orbit.

3. I’ve had the privilege of getting to interview Meshell Ndegeocello.  I’ve always thought a collaboration between the two of you would be interesting.  Thoughts? 
I have been the hugest fan of hers since she began and I would love to write with her.

4. You worked on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and even reworked your first hit, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” into a political commercial, “Damn We Wish You Were President” in her support.  Are you happy with her assigned post?  I adore Hillary Clinton and Bill, too.  I wish Hillary would run again, and if she does, she will be so utterly prepared after this job.  I do feel she’s underutilized, but what do I know?  Maybe Hillary will save the Middle East!

5. How do you think she is doing so far?  I think she’s doing exceptionally well and I think her low visibility approach shows she’s all about her work, not fame. Everyone I know in government, Democrats and Republicans, respect her immensely.

6.  Let’s play a little game!  Please go through your discography and assign one word to each project in relation to your musical evolution at the time.

Tongues and TailsPrivate.




Live:  Bad Kitty Board MixAcceptance.

Heart and Soul of a WomanLove.

7. It’s been 19 years since, arguably, your biggest hit, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover.”  How do you feel about that song today?  I owe “Damn” my existence, to this day.  I love the music, the lyrics, the struggle, the passion, the warmth, the depth.  If I ever forget how blessed I am, I only have to remember God gave me “Damn,” “As I,” and Dashiell [her 2-year-old son].

8. And 16 years since “As I Lay Me Down,” arguably, your second most known hit, which has always been my personal favorite.  I love its lullaby quality, but then you mix in those African sounds that make for quite a beautiful song.  What about this hit?  I agree that “As I” is more classic or eternal.  And you picked out the key to me, or my soul… [combined with and continued in answer to Number 9]

9. Talk about the African influences in your music-making. …When I was 14 years old and a druggie bad student I turned to my aunt Nino and said, “I want to play African Drums.”  She didn’t bat an eye (of course we were both stoned), she said she knew Babatunde Olatunji’s godson and would hook me up for lessons.  That first session changed my life course, it began my real life.  That was my soul saying, “go here,” and I listened, and voila, my life is still propelled by Africa, creatively.

10. Any new artist that has come out in, say the last three years, who you would want to work with?  I just wrote a song with a young woman from South Africa named Paige Bach, I love the song, and again, Africa is the soul of the song…and it’s a lullaby!  We are writing again on Tuesday [of that week that has since passed], and I hope the songs get out there.  Glen Ballard is producing the album.

To be continued on MONDAY…