Q and A with Angela Perley: Singer, Songwriter and Columbus Music Scene “It” Girl


We caught up with Angela Perley–the “it girl” of the Columbus Ohio music scene–for a quick interview before she and her band (Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons) take the Community Stage at Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival at 7 pm THIS Friday, June 20. Their music has been causing quite a buzz throughout the Midwest lately. Demure and quiet off stage, the performer usually shocks people when she tells them she is the lead singer in a band.

Q: How would you describe your music?
Rock and Roll music rooted in country and blues. A lot of the songs revolve around love, heartbreak, the moon and rambling, and at times get pretty dreamy and psychedelic. 

Angela Perley
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
 I always grew up singing and writing but didn’t really know that I wanted to be a musician until high school when I first starting writing songs and performing at talent shows. I loved the feelings of fear, excitement and all the emotions that happen while playing in front of an audience. It becomes addicting. It just snowballed from there and I started playing more often. That’s when I began realizing how important it was for me and how it was really the only thing I felt truly comfortable and happy doing.

Q: Where/when was your first big break?
I would consider my first big break just landing the deal I have with Vital Music USA in 2009. They had heard some of my homemade demos, believed in me and reached out to professionally record my songs. They ended up introducing me to the guys that later became my band (Chris Connor, Billy Zehnal and Jeff Martin) and I wouldn’t be here without my amazing band that has dedicated countless hours of their lives to this project and my songs. Since 2009 they have recorded four of our EPS and our debut full-length record Hey Kid (just came out this January).

The band also has been really lucky to have a couple of our CDs do really well in the UK. We have gained a lot of radio play over there and some pretty good grass-roots radio play and press here in the U.S., which has helped to get our music out there lately. We still have a long way to go, but we keep hitting dreams and goals of mine along the way. Each year keeps getting better.

Q: What’s your favorite song to perform (right now)?
Right now my favorite song to perform is “Athens.” It seems whenever we play that song, there are many people in the audience that either went to school at Ohio University or have spent a lot of time in Athens OH. I just feel like there is an immediate connection and feeling we have in common that makes that song so emotional to perform. It also has a huge ending that is really fun to perform live. We usually close our sets with it.

Angela Perley and the Howlin Moons
Q: Name one thing that most people don’t know about you.

That I have a fear of talking on the phone. It’s not a crazy fear, and it sounds weird coming from someone who is on stage all the time singing and performing, but it just makes me uncomfortable to talk to people on the phone. I have no idea why… haha. 

Q: Who inspires you?
Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Wanda Jackson, Loretta Lynn. Wow … there are so many artists and bands that inspire me to do what I do. Life and people that I meet, books I read, movies I watch … you name it. I am inspired every day by something or another. Currently this warm weather has been inpsiring me to write a whole new batch of songs- it is amazing what the change of seasons can do to my songwriting and psyche. 

Q: What can we look forward to during your performance at Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest?
I think one of the things that most adults and children get a kick out of is when I play the musical saw. They just can’t believe a sound comes out of it. We will actually be debuting a new saw song at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest so that will be fun and something new to look forward to. Might throw a couple other new ones in there as well- we are hoping to get back into the studio this fall to record our next full length record so will be testing out some songs live in the next couple of months. 

Q: What’s the BEST part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to connect and share an experience with people at our shows. Free beer is also a plus. 

Q: When people talk about you & your music, what’s the one thing you hope they say?
I hope they say they dug it and that they want to come see us again (and bring all their friends .. muah hah hah)! We are always evolving and writing new songs as a band so really pumped when we start seeing familar faces at our shows singing along to the lyrics. 


To learn more about Angela, visit http://www.angelaperley.com. For more information about the Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (and to see the musical line-up), go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com

Photo credit: Eric Petersen