Adding some extra Mojo to Bluesfest
GROWING up in Dubbo in the 1980s and 1990s as a queer woman of colour, may just have given performer Mojo Juju the thick skin and wanderlust she needed to succeed in the music industry.
"I always want it to be about the music. Early on I was like, 'it just can't be about anything but the music'," she told the Northern Star ahead of her return to Bluesfest.
"I don't want to have the conversation about all these other things that make up my identity - it's about music - but at the same time I guess, the older I get the more I see that this is important too...if my music enables somebody to ... open their mind to different ways of thinking then yeah, cool, I'm happy to talk about it.
A talented misft
When asked if she felt like she didn't fit in, growing up, Mojo said:
"Not only because of the fact that I looked a bit different…I just was different I was just interested in different things.
"So I spent a lot of time sort of being a bit of a misfit, but I think that's a good thing. I had some kind of odd friends too and we formed a band and played in a lot of garage bands."
Mojo started piano lessons from a very early age and was learning the clarinet by the time she was in year two or three, followed by guitar.
"I went to the Western Plains Conservatorium and did vocal training for six years."
"But my mum was a trombone player and my brother plays drums…he used to play trumpet in my former band the Snake Oil Merchants.
"My grandmother's a singer, my granddad is a cornet player, my uncle is a clarinet player, it's in there, it's in the family."
Blues or R'n'B?
When it comes to her current style of music she says some people call it soul, some say it's blues and some say it's RnB.
Mojo tries to avoid describing it.
"I just try and encourage them to listen to it," she said.
"I'm not interested in genre and I'm not interested in sounding like anyone else.
"I am not willing to compromise on any effort. At the end of the day that's who I am and what I do."
With a Filipino father, who also has Spanish heritage, and a Chinese Aboriginal grandmother Mojo said the various pieces of the puzzle gave her an interesting perspective on life.
"The way that I interact with the world is definitely tied to my identity and my heritage."
Her childhood travels and diverse family connections also gave her itchy feet.
"I did get on a bus the day that my exams finished and came to Melbourne; the furthest place you can think of that I could get to…on a bus...but you know, I go back every now and then, it's kinda cool going back and playing in your home town."
She has hit Bluesfest with her brother Steve on drums and Andrew Garton on Saxophone.
"We'll play some old favourites and some stuff off the new record, might even slip one or two brand new ones in that we haven't recorded yet."
See her again
- At the Juke Joint stage on Sunday from 7.30pm.