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Miss Erma Whiteside: "On My Way!"

Blues Interview
Real BLues Real People
by "Miss Vickie"
special ops./STLBLUES.NET

Erma Whiteside is back! And even though she may be starting out slowly, you know she is a strong force in music and is ready to sing!

I hooked up with "The Chron Man" at BB's for Erma's gig, Saturday, March 10, 20007. This is a shy guy from the '80's style of music, who taps his toes to the beat and wishes he could dance on top of the bar! (laughter) He came down to BB's to meet his friends from work. Since they did not show up for over an hour, he was forced to talk to me! (laughter)

MV: "This is your first time down at BB's..How do you like it?"

CM: "I like it! I like the people, good atmosphere, and I can hear the music all the way back here by the door! It's like a New Orleans atmosphere. I highly recommend this place to everyone!"

These are the sentiments I hear from everyone down at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups and why not, it's a great blues bar! How great? Well they helped Erma with a fund raiser when she was stricken with a severe illness. Their support has helped her make her way back! This has been seen for many of the blues artists that have been in need over time. You have to love an establishment that promotes and supports the music the way BB's does. It's a natural!

Erma began her professional singing career in 1974. Her many influences were Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight ( maybe some pips! laughter) , Etta James, and BB King. She started singing as a child. Her mother sang and her father played the spoons down in the old south...so music is in her blood! Erma started out singing solo, while singing in church choirs, then moved on to the band circuit. The more experience she got, the more she wanted to travel and in 1989 she went to Germany for 4 months and played with a band called Black Silk.
She loved traveling and had a great time and aquired a lot of good experience while in Germany. Her illness set her back for some time, keeping her from traveling, but she's back and ready to perform! She has her passport folks, call her up! "I'm on my way! It's my calling. This is what I want to do!" and she's a powerhouse on stage at BB's tonight! The crowd really enjoyed her performance. "I have fun! It's a fun atmosphere! I love to work with the crowd and feel their energy!, says Erma. Tonight, Erma's band consists of some of the really greats in the blues community... Craig Thornton on bass, Steve Waldman on guitar, Mike Roseman on keyboards, and "Drums Master" Keith Robinson. He really keeps the beat! "They are my friends! I call them The Driving Force..They are the Best!"

Erma's closest influences are some of the people she meets in passing (like me) (laughter), friends and family. After her children had grown, she needed something to do, so she went back to school. She took some business and accounting courses at Forest Park Community College and realized this wasn't what she wanted...so she studied piano. The College provided her a stage to perform during class breaks. I was there too, studying, and would go to hear Erma sing. What a treat! She graduated in 1997.

Erma has a good thing going on stage. She has a strong affiliation with the Blues Society..they are like family..and provide her with the opportunity to present her talent. Once again, John May is in the picture and is helping Erma and so many others to show off their talents. Erma is presently writing for a new CD she looks to produce sometime this year. Look for this one..you know it will be hot!

You can check out her sound at 1860's Saloon in Soulard with Eric Foreman's band called Marsville, and at Cookie's Jazz and More located in Webster Groves.

Many thanks to BB's for their support of the blues and to The Chron Man! My special thanks to Erma Whiteside for this interview. She is my friend and I love her dearly!

check out these websites - BB's | Erma Whiteside | Cookies Jazz and more | Baby Blues Showcase

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