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A Conversation With Debra Power



Debra Power is a pianist, singer and songwriter who is based in Calgary. She’s well known for her dynamic vocals and lively piano playing. She loves doing boogie-woogie keyboards and blending them with a powerful voice that captures audiences wherever she performs. She’s got two previous studio albums to her credit and has now released her third.


Ken Wallis interviewed Debra Power for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are edited excerpts from that interview.




Ken Wallis

Debra Power has a new album out. It's entitled I’m Not From Chicago and it is terrific; she may not be from Chicago but she sure sings like it. Debra Power is joining us, Debra thanks for coming on the show.


Debra Power

You're welcome, Ken, it's nice to see you.


Ken Wallis

For folks that haven't heard it yet, how would you describe the album?


Debra Power

I would say that it's more of a blues album than my prior two albums that I did. It all falls under the blues umbrella for me. I think every song on it does and it's more bluesy than the other two which is why I brought on Harpdog Brown because I knew that if I was gonna do any Chicago style blue songs, he's the man.

Ken Wallis

Harpdog Brown as we all know, has left us, and we're all saddened by it, but we've still got his music and you were fortunate enough to be able to record with him.


Debra Power

I've known Harpdog for a very long time. I knew him back in the 90s. I first heard him play with Willie MacCalder and they were just a duo back then and they were amazing. Then I got a couple of phone calls from Willie MacCalder from the Powder Blues Band to fill in for him playing with Harpdog so I actually played in Harpdog's band way back in the day although Harpdog couldn't remember it. He said at the at The Blues Summit “did you tell some djs you played in my band?” I said yeah and he said you did? And he said he didn’t remember it but that was back in the 90s and there was a lot of brain cells lost us since then. So, I knew Harpdog way back in the day and then I moved away and then we reconnected at the 2017 Maple Blues Awards and we just casually started talking. Then we hooked up on social media and he used to drop hints to me that when you're gonna make another album you're gonna need a harp player. Just hint, hint and so he was at that for a while and then I met up with him again in January 2020 at the I.B.C down in Memphis and we were kind of discussing going back and forth then about possible recording in the future. Then he moved up to in between Edmonton and Calgary and then he messaged me and said I’m close to you now and so we can do this. The ideas were already forming in my head to make an album and exactly which direction I wanted to go, so I definitely wanted Harpdog. I was just only too happy to bring him in on especially the more Chicago sounding songs that I did.


Ken Wallis

And you have another very special guest on the album.


Debra Power

Yes Keisha Pratt.


Ken Wallis

And how did that come about?


Debra Power

I met Keisha at the Calgary International Blues Festival and then I met up with her again at the I.B.C. down in Memphis where you meet everybody and make all those connections. We hit it off tremendously and we took some great pictures and she invited me up on the stage to play with her band at the festival. I was pretty honoured by that and then before the album even got rolling, I had written this song called What Colour Is Love and I knew that I wanted to bring in another female singer to sing with me. This song has a wonderful message, and I gave it as the poem first to Keisha to read to see what she thought about it. She loved it and it was probably a few days after that I asked her would she sing it with me, and she said absolutely yes! She recorded her part down in Houston remotely and sent it up here to us so that song was the very first one that got recorded. I was very happy that Keisha did that with me and that song meant so much to me and I know the song needs to fall into ears of people who need to hear the message. And that's what Keisha and I were all about, recording this song.


Ken Wallis

And the title of the album again is I’m Not From Chicago. How did that come about? Why did you select that as the theme for the whole album?


Debra Power

Well, I think I want to blame that on Gil Anthony from Blues Power. He's a big wheel in the blues music foundation down there. He has his own show, Facebook live show every Sunday and Monday. He started playing my album in 2019 which is exactly around the same time I met Keisha and Sean Allen and Gil and we hit it off. I met up with them again at the I.B.C. and we became really good friends, and we had some pretty long chats. His radio show goes from seven o'clock till midnight. So, he's got a five-hour radio show; he's live for two hours and then he goes on the dark side as we call it for three more hours. He's been a great blues mentor to me and we were going back and forth and I was telling him I didn't really know what to call this album. At the time he was playing some Chicago blues and I said I’d really like to do some of that music. He said well, you're not from Chicago, why don't you just call it I’m Not From Chicago? There were three titles of three tracks of songs that are on the album that I was going to use. It was either going to be New Shade Of Blue or The Last Time I Saw Memphis or I’m Not From Chicago and getting back to Harpdog, I was talking to Harpdog about it and he said go with I’m Not From Chicago. I said really? And he said well it's true you're not, and it's sassy and I think it's catchy and it'll work fine. Well bless him he was right.


Ken Wallis

Where can blues fans get a hold of your album?


Debra Power

Well I didn't go with Spotify this time for reasons that everybody knows; I'm not a very big fish in the ocean so I don't really need Spotify but I’m on Bandcamp under DebraPower.com and I’m in iTunes and people can get me there.


Ken Wallis

And I assume with live shows opening up a little bit that you've got some plans for performing in the near future, What's going to happen this summer?


Debra Power

Actually, in a couple weeks happening here now, I have a cd release party at the Ironwood and I just did a gig a couple of weeks ago as a solo gig, which was my first time playing at a pub in over two years. Wow that was something else and I’m going back home to Newfoundland. In my hometown they have a festival every year called The Salmon Fest and they've asked me to play. I've got a trip to Memphis coming up at the beginning of May so I’m heading to Memphis as well to hang out with all my comrades and do lots of jamming and get my cd out there and hand them out to everybody.


Ken Wallis

Debra it's a fantastic album. I really am enjoying it and I really want to thank you for your time. Again, the album is I’m Not From Chicago, it is Debra Power. Debra thanks for coming on the show.


Debra Power

Thanks for having me Ken, been a real pleasure




Website: www.debrapower.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php

Instagram: www.instagram.com/deb_blues_power