John Papa Gros

Singing Or Talking

My vocal coach said, "There should be no change in your voice whether you're speaking or singing." I don't know if I'm there yet. But when "River's On Fire" came out, the biggest compliment I received was , "You sound like yourself." That was really good to...

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Bands To Fans interview

We discussed: Being a sideman versus being a frontmanNew Orleans musicians and versatilityWork and education with Papa Grows Funk, George Porter, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and Art NevilleAnd more...

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The Music Reflects How We’re Feeling

Our approach comes from the New Orleans jazz tradition, where it is important to make sure the music is alive and reflects how we're feeling that day. If I'm excited one day and the songs are a little fast, well the songs are a little fast. If I'm struggling, have had...

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A Challenge

"Her Love Can't Be Denied" is another song I enjoy playing live. It's a simple song with a thick, lush arrangement, which makes it a challenge to perform live. The risk / reward is high, so it's a great barometer as to how we are playing as a...

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More Ideas Than You Need

When I'm coming out of the shower or driving in the car, if a musical idea came into my head, I would immediately sing and record it into my phone. If I'm sitting at the piano and happened across something, good or bad, I recorded it. I learned from Allen Toussaint...

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Different Instruments

When songwriting, I write using various instruments: piano, organ, guitar, bass or voice. Each instrument brings something different out of me.

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Exploring Songs Live

It's fun exploring songs live. They have to live and breathe every time. We can't just play them by rote. The search to find new ways to make them fresh each and every night is a reward in itself.

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Taking New Orleans On The Road

I try to take the social and cultural legacy of our local New Orleans tradition on the road with me, every place I go. To demonstrate through songcraft: this is who we are, this is what we do, this is why we do it.

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