Source of strength: the Joplin legacy
Almost 50 years after her death, Janis Joplin is still considered one of the most successful female rock stars of her era.
Mary Bridget Davies was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of the legendary singer-songwriter in the musical, A Night with Janis Joplin. She will take the stage as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts this weekend with a tribute to the soulful singer whose greatest legacy is perhaps the influence she had on the likes of Melissa Etheridge, Pink, Alicia Keys, Leann Rimes and Natalie Cole.
Q: Throughout your career, did you ever feel you were being challenged in ways that you would not have been as a male?
A: From the first day I started as a musician, I was my own manager, publicist and booking agent. It was incredibly hard to be taken seriously by older, male, club owners. Attempts at paying me less than other male bands and sexually inappropriate speech or advances were commonplace.
Q: How is the #MeToo movement addressing that?
A: It gives women a platform to have their stories heard and not be silenced in shame. It roots out the bad men and keeps the good ones accountable.
Q: A female rock singer from the 1960s meets one from 2019. What’s changed in the industry?
A: Finally, a woman can be taken seriously as a brand, a business owner and not just a pretty face.
Q: Years after her death in 1970, why do you think Janis Joplin is viewed as a powerful figure?
A: Janis has always been a source of strength for men and woman for more than 50 years. She was a sincere performer and force of nature. “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got” — that was her mantra and it is still relevant today.
Q: Best part about the role for you is ...?
A: Getting to honour her legacy by performing as honestly as I can is the most thrilling experience! People know when you are phoning it in and with Janis Joplin, you just can’t!
• Mary Bridget Davies: A Tribute to Janis Joplin begins at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday at the Earl Cameron Theatre. Tickets, $85, are available at ptix.bermudafestival.org
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