Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Dana Fuchs: Making a Fuchs

Dana Fuchs
Dana Fuchs Dana Fuchs Dana Fuchs Dana Fuchs

They say sing about what you know. Write about your own experiences. For rising US blues and soul star Dana Fuchs, her life has been one heck of a challenge so far she has plenty of inspiration.

Dana channels all of that and more into her powerful and blisteringly raw vocals on the new DVD and live CD collection, “Songs From The Road.”

Capturing the gut-wrenching honesty of the emotional connection she has with her audience, on one night last March at a sold out Highline Ballroom in her home city of New York, in front of almost 700 of her fans.

The package, dedicated to her late father, is a career-defining testament to Dana’s talents and her self-belief to keep going in the wake of personal tragedies.

Born in New Jersey 38-years-ago and raised in Wildwood, Florida, at nine-years-old she joined the First Baptist Gospel Choir in a tiny church on the outskirts of the small rural town.

She fell in love with the power of “Mama Music.” But before that, her parents turned her on to Ray Charles and her teacher played soul, funk and R&B records to her. At sixteen, she fronted a popular local band singing covers at a roadside Holiday Inn.

Dana had a difficult relationship with her alcoholic father and left home at 19, to brave the Big Apple, arriving in New York with little money but big hopes of making it as a singer.

She got a low paid job in a sandwich shop, living in a bare room above a florist's. No bed, she slept on the floor until finding a sofa in a skip, falling through the broken frame onto the hard wood floor, so it was back to sleeping on the floor.

Her desire to make it in music did not start well. No one wanted a white girl singer churning out covers. She got a job as a waitress in strip clubs, but seeing the topless dancers earning hundreds of dollars, she began stripping for $600-$800 a night. Getting herself a decent apartment and sending money home to her family, Dana still yearned for success in music.

After a friend introduced her to cocaine, she found out the hard way how that drug could make her job as a stripper more bearable (excuse the pun!). She progressed to a $1,000 a week habit, could not pay her rent, got evicted from her apartment and ended up homeless before getting a tiny one room bed sit, even trying heroin.

Her sister Donna took her own life in 1999 at just 30-years-old, after battling alcoholism and drug addiction. Then in 2011, her older brother Don died in Dana’s arms at 49-years-old, after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Dana met top session guitarist and songwriter Jon Diamond in New York, who helped focus her talents to write songs, clean herself up, leave the strip joints and get an office job. Almost two decades later, Jon is still Donna’s musical wing man.


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