WWL>Topics>>3-3-14 2:10pm Angela: with Lena Prima

3-3-14 2:10pm Angela: with Lena Prima

Mar 3, 2014|

Angela talks with singer Lena Prima, daughter of New Orleans music legend Louis Prima.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Critics say that chase family is everything that's right about New Orleans is in that finally and so appreciative of them coming on and I. Hope to -- go buy it again nets tonight lending Graf. At John -- chase restaurant. It's to raise funds for their Family Foundation which goes right back into the community delightful people. Well. He was one of the biggest stars of this day and for decades after. Louie prima born and raised in the French Quarter -- new York and later Las Vegas by storm. With his incredible voice regional music and wonderful sense of style. His daughter Alina followed in his footsteps creating a singing act that played tribute to her dad in the clubs of Las Vegas. But a couple of years ago the call of New Orleans got loud and -- has come home not only to be closer to her own roots. But to create her own style on and so thrilled to have you here thank you so much is my pleasure -- this is wonderful and are you feeling welcome home oh my. Goodness absolutely every day every day wake up I'm so happy to be here and I I I'm so grateful to be part of this community. You actually. Working born in Los -- -- lived here for one -- -- yet here I did my my dad had two homes one in Las Vegas and one in Covington. And so we moved back and forth and Alice the little girls like -- and we actually lived in New Orleans for a time. When I was in elementary school and I went to holy rosary relived over and esplanade. Apartments. And I got my first communion and holy rosary at the beautiful churches and abusive cal who and it was the bishop and so I. Really feel like this is a strong connection for me this is my home feels like it in me. When. When how how old were you when your father will when he actually passed that was right before my fifteenth birthday that he was in a coma. From failed brain tumor operation for three years so relieved. I lost them he -- from twelfth birthday. And and tell me about growing up with him he was amazing and you know think reflecting back on that time it it feels like a dream because it was such. He lists so bigger than life and so much charisma such a gentle and warm and loving person and really in a good mood all the time you know and luckily at that point in his career he wasn't traveling as much so. I have really great memories of my dad you know unlike other kids what's up stars for parents that didn't ever see them in they were on the road. That isn't the case here. And I get to go on the road with him to in the summer when I was off schools though. Spent a lot of time with my dad as a kid and I really looked up to him he just seemed like this magical being in. And he was he really knows he was remarkable yes remarkable remarkable talent and in reading summit in my did not know how young he was when he started out. Yes absolutely and he went to New York when he was very young. And his mother did it wasn't happy with that and -- in the come home and he did and then he finally went back. On in the thirties and he stayed. Through the early forties and became a big success in New York that's where east's first start to make a big name for himself. I mean his music. I Brandon went on the word. If this man created it's amazing it is amazing the body of work yes he was just. Prolific musical being he constantly recorded in wrote in -- music it was. What he was it was who he wants. And I you know I listen to an interview that he did that I have I'm so glad I have it in it it was with the BBC. And he talked about. Where he got all of his experience that helped him become a front man in it and a leader band leader and an entertainer. And it was that the singer theater he yeah he was playing and jazz clubs that he was trying to be jazzman. And the person that was in charge of the reporting a variety shows that the -- theater. Picked him out and asked him to come in. But the musical act and the and the personality their and he said he was there for a long time it really. Turns him into the entertainer that he was he gives Paula credits use performances at this thing isn't that great -- now upgrade. Are singers alive and well yes and just beautiful here. So beautifully stuck in traffic for hours last night talk about that. Part of it was I was looking at the singer yes it's so gorgeous it's amazing and hopefully it was a beautiful. I'm sure was that you really is the one who. -- -- Yeah. It is unbelievable it's true. And and in New York when he really was making it big there. There was 52 street and -- and made in the jazz you know textbooks in the universities that they'd say that. They renamed -- swing street because of him. It's even though when it was Tommy Dorsey who was right on -- it was really your -- yes he started that trend. What a wonderful thing so via why do you think. That his music sort of test transcendent. Not just that era but beyond that just keeps going I really think. In my heart I know that it's because he was a low filled joyful person. And that comes across in his music and we all want to feel joy and be happy ultimately in our lives and putting his music on. Really does that and that's because it's coming through him. His music is joy and happiness. Did you ever see him sit down and and composed I never did I I have memories. Sometimes getting to watch -- rehearsed but not very often only couple times. And going in the recording studio sometimes when he was working on some stuff but really he was very serious about that so. You know it was just the band and when they were doing those sorts of things. When you would travel with them though you would -- of course the whole performance yes and most places he would make sure that there was a place for. -- to be either onstage. Or up in the late where the light boost it is there. You know depending on the situation but what a great experience to be on the road and he he didn't fly you traveled in a motor home so to be. And I love traveling to the state because of that going to different towns and seeing the sights and meeting new people and it's just what an exciting life. Absolutely. And then you out butcher your primary home after the various stops here was Las Vegas where he Wright had his own. Yes and a golf course he loved golf he built his own golf course he had won there he had when he Covington you know when I I moved here in 1975. And in 1980. 21 moved to the North Shore. I had never seen. That golf course nice. Although that's really -- golf course. To what do you mean actually you know he built the golf. I could not get my arms around yeah but good for him. Absolutely it was there for I mean many years before I was born. -- pretty acres country yes you know and isn't it still it is not it is it's now a Wal-Mart. And there's a -- -- And that Copeland -- and it's it's where the pro shop used to be. And Wal-Mart it's called Louie prima drive so our driveway it was actually that street and they're the trees the big beautiful trees are still there. -- -- it done it for me I had I can picture when I go I moved back to the South Shore awhile back and but hadn't checked on the offer and I'm now via. Did you ever play out there. -- golf in all absolutely. Oh we played since I was a little girl so if -- for -- golf. His daughter was and apply oh absolutely and I love -- love to play a peek at once here and yes yes. And why not and and is his drummer Jimmy incident with for many many years this is best friend and he told me a lot of stories about my dad and he told me now. He just he walked that. Course out one foot for an the other and it looks just like crazy everybody would. Make fun of because it was so crazy -- holes were so close together in yet across the street to go from 19 to the other -- in. That's an idea he loved it and the -- yes he did it and ask convenience and many stars came out played golf and he that's how -- -- morning's. He would get up and goes to the to the course and he would play with whoever came that day and he would turn immensely in the it was really fun. And pellets and Tammy who was our producer. Is such a Disney thing oh -- an understatement cigar. Jungle book jungle yes let's talk to handle it well I was four win that. Came out and I can actually remembers sitting in the movie theater watching on the big screen. To me as a four year old girl you know the cartoons are real TU when you're that age so it was like how great is my dad. That he is that men and then these cartoon where -- feels like it was this made him more magical. But it just continues to yes. Yes he was so cool -- king Louis the coolest. But let me tell you -- his daughter I want and I think it does not mean I appreciated agreed to a great heart and it and so my stick with us everyone we're gonna continue talking to. Lena prima about her life now in new morals. We are lucky today because we have -- Prima. Daughter of Louis -- the great Louie prima pride of New Orleans and Las Vegas. But now very much into her own career I'm not that she hasn't been singing for a long time she has but has just come out with their. Own album of her own music which is a wonderful thing. -- we're gonna go to a color packed. I can't let me tell I'll -- and when you on TV loved it and and -- drama. And I just need. A question. Can you hold one set. To come -- Well. Yes you gonna ask her question. Yes. I knew that he -- had an older daughter and I don't know he'd have to wait elect. First shot -- he -- even here for a shot -- Iran and. That's true to her name -- guy that's true and he is still living -- Wonderful yes. -- -- -- I -- he went to thank you at the academy camp but -- shot time. When it was their regular adamant. He went to thank my car and I want to thank my -- and only did -- he did. And I am hoping he would sector pretty here and not yet brought them acting out here and tanner. In different -- you know back and that Harry you're seeing. Well. I have Millie and vehemently in how he would then he well I mean -- -- -- everything. I know I agree with you. Typically -- that he did and almost three years yeah making wanna -- I think he ripped out of -- if you're anything like him. And you know you've got to be wonderful for everything and I can't wait for -- -- make it out yet it -- And went to college. It's starting something in something. That they undertook and yet so I can't. I know I probably am -- that goes back many many years and a boat. -- 80. -- not only in his. Bank but. I I did it. I'm just so happy that everything she's here and that's -- I'd be cut if they might be and then began in the am going to be 82. After. -- great years. There. -- -- packet that you can't. Let the grandchildren and great grandparents died so that it is that Gary is out yeah. I hope -- -- When -- maybe and shifting again I am hoping he thinks I'm not -- -- -- -- -- -- with immunity out here. You know I wanna -- that. Speculative side object in the article. That much and coming -- radio since we can't see -- on TV. -- -- market. Thank you I appreciate you listening any time you can thank you a lot packed. Great great feeling filthy. Excellently yeah yes and cheering you on. Oh it's wonderful I appreciated yes so at some point you're living in Las Vegas and you make the decision. -- -- -- it's like a tribute to your father. Yes they started doing -- -- to my father actually I was just. Lounge singer I was working as a girl singer Irsay in different groups. So that I could do it as a fulltime job I was always when hosting -- regional music had to work a couple of days jobs in order to survive. And Dudek and music but that got really old for me and wanted to do it full time so I was doing that. And I started to do at some point I was with a spiral staircase who had hit I love you Mort they -- yesterday and they. Suggests that I do attribute it bothered during -- outside put together a twenty minute tribute at twelve costume that I liked and and I came out talked about my dad did a few hits that I that I liked. And it really sparked the interest of the audience. Suddenly people wanted to know were lining up afterwards and telling stories. And wanted me to do you should do it the whole -- so I did I put it together and my first show was up on Thursday in 2000. And I've just been really blessed that I am still actually able to do with the people still want to see the future be to my dad and they also want to hear my own music as well but I never get tired and it's either in in that original show excellent. What's songs were you selected uh oh gosh. Well hits like that -- like magic have gotten my skin will be behave Robert Reid bought from the big candy you know -- -- -- -- story from when he first started in through his -- so we would touch on. The Italian hits in the forties and into leniency and and one that's. -- -- man it into the Capitol Records years where he was with Keith Smith so that you know just to jiggle mode and drive away. And it can happen when you yeah. And so and then. From there really evolved I would just fine other ones that I liked listening and people enjoyed hearing in people's requests their line. You know it's like the show finally. But you know and that is great yes first you you have to have a god given. But did you also studying. I studied in high school and really start working professionally. And eighteen income clubs. So I didn't go I went to college for a short time it really want to work and B singer full time but I had a wonderful teach music teacher in high school who was. So amazing it really give further credit she. Taught me how to use a microphone she taught me how to be on stage in how to use the microphone and how to use my voice and be myself. She saw all the talents and all the different areas and she let me express that. -- talent as an artist and I design the costumes choreographed numbers in high school group then. So name's Marcia -- and she ended up being honored by disease as well great music teachers. In the country. And she was she was amazing. In. Vegas you're doing your show -- rock and rolling and you're thinking in the -- and yes well actually Las Vegas is a difficult place to. Perform your own music number -- and a lot of corporations there they don't really remember my father so I really worked their very scarcely do in my attributes you know I really traveled mostly. Around the country -- theaters and Italian festivals and lots of other places where -- like. Rain audience right exactly so. Vegas was tough and I really was at a point -- I'd done the -- we show Bonnie Hunt came to see my show. We had the the looked to be chosen to work at the Sahara -- my dad worked for a time there was a great run it was there in any -- in tradition. And she says its enemies. I can see the little girl who loved her dad very much and that's wonderful who you who is the woman what do you have to say it's about. And I never forgot that and I just can't I had to evolved to a point where I was ready team do you. And I couldn't do it in Las Vegas there was no place to play the music there is not a creative atmosphere. It just didn't feel right and I had been coming here periodically. And each -- go back to me is in need them it was in New -- to -- -- -- it. If a solid yet. Close kicking and screaming you go back to Vegas absolutely. It felt like a completely different vibe the minute ago off the plane honestly the meaning of the plane and -- -- used a very interesting -- -- against corporate yes and and I don't think most people understand right. Yeah but it is very much that it is very much that so. What ever and it's about the gambling relief and the the tourism in the people's money vaccine. So they don't really care about music. They really go out and so. The music in the smaller cents in in Vegas died out there's only a few places now where you know. A band like a band can go play. It's mostly big shows -- she knows there's nightclubs. Where it's just you know dvds and music and appearances by celebrities. And young people at the club nightclubs. And there's no line maintenance. So called New Orleans is pulling you absolutely. I felt like I belong here and when we came. To play for Jazz Fest in 2010. Suggests this was honoring my. And I got played Jazz Fest also plated the reason music factory that we movement the roads -- Irvin mayfield. Playhouse. And I was here for two weeks and that was it for me I just. I knew we had to my husband and I had to figure out a way to sell everything and move fear and we needed -- awhile we did. Thank heaven they do -- until I was with the as we're gonna continue this woman's journey. The daughter -- but now the singer Lena prima -- activist let's go to the newsroom and on -- And that you know bustling as cool the jungle Giambi. I've -- on the top Manhattan just comment that's what's bothering me. I want to be a match man come. -- -- Can be just like no other men. I'm I'm among them around -- oh. Bringing back a lot of memories for a lot of power and that's why we dream of -- -- she could get and how lucky we are him. It's her daughter Lena prima. Now I'm on a musician -- me do you plan -- senator just played drums drums are -- this -- So what a great singer taking after her dead. But very much her -- woman Allen has just come out with her own album for her you -- every song. Co wrote co -- to cover songs on there. That well this is terrific. And you sell all of senior in Las Vegas you're doing all the traveling doing the show to your father contribute to your father but. Very much developing on your own it was Umar rate as a woman -- and decide it's time to come to new moral and yes that is a. Legally it's a big leap. We knew was the right thing and it was just a matter of how to do it. Housing in economy there was. That and floors of the two worst place again country Rezko just every house was in foreclosure mean the idea of trying to sell a house at that point was. We couldn't we just thought okay you know we're just gonna have to do you know we can't keep it because. We're gonna move we don't want the headache of trying to rent out a place properly focus on making music and living life it just didn't seem. Feasible we needed the money to be able to move. So weep with the house. On investors' site canceled in two days. It was a miracle none out but I think today yeah that's probably isn't being. Yes didn't have a job -- we plan moving here and AM early on was going to be reopening there. Care so lounge and wanted us to open lounge. That was a miracle as well so we got here two weeks later we were working. And it's just been wonderful. Ever since. Not bring up assessment and I understand. He became ill I did I it was actually happening before. I just didn't realize how bad it was because then -- such and you know do everything anyway -- cheaper. And yes it was really bad and it was hard and we had no insurance and somebody told us about the musicians' clinic now on we couldn't believe their receiving such thing. And so after searching and searching and trying to find a doctor and ending up at the musicians' clinic that's where I got mine hell. And him doing great I can't believe it I'm gonna I actually signed up to John in the Crescent City. -- So it says that you don't like it pulled out -- that'll be amazing. You know but that is that you mention about the musicians' -- couldn't believe it was there I think it's a real tribute to. The respect we have for musicians here yes and and wanting them to stay here yes and so many of them don't have insurance yes they don't have full time jobs yes but. To have that clinic. Bethany Altman really has woman who it is amazing. And I gods and and I hate it. I try to donate as much money is like and whenever I can to them because. What a miracle to have that. Well I hope of what their other musicians knew to town that don't know about and you happen to be listening. That it exists oh -- and somebody will tell them about it I think it's just like me now tell me what do you think of music scene here. I love it it's. They're so many amazing. Musicians and singers and everyone that I've met. They're amazing. They're amazing they are not. Doing its. I don't wanna say half fast but half fast. That everybody that's a player here is an accomplished. Musician and not only accomplished musician but. A soloist they have the passion and the knowledge of music and the willingness to so little and -- themselves so it's just. Playing with them is like nothing I've ever experienced in it from the first night that it I had my band the first song we played I was in have been. I was in heaven and the singers that I have men and Ingrid Lucio for example who co produce my album I felt a really strong connection with her what a talented. All these female singers that I -- so talented so Smart. So original so creative. And that's inspiring to me so that's really the environment and wanted to be in to help me become better and find out who I am as an artist and just. Grow and become that are this is a great city for that. You know Ben Gibson I was -- all of what a delight to much talent and yes nice to mundane yes. But. When you I just keep thinking if you thought the -- to come back to New Orleans your roots are here and in many ways her. But still in a different different -- difficult time in Las Vegas -- you lose your home now right so it also. But did you know people here that could get you going. Or did you -- arrive and saying well yeah Hanson. We really the only person that we really knew. There's trauma players Steve Meyer who used to live here. He recommended Mike Fulton -- trumpet player still plays with -- to this day and he's the one that helped us get going when we first. We're trying to put a band together on the phone from. Mike -- is the one who helped us and so really we got here injustice. You know started meeting people and we didn't have a real big plan before you. We just knew it was right and that. We believe that everything would happen -- -- exposed. And to say your husband is the bass player gets as our leader and -- yeah that is very important. She just also told me that we can listen to this woman. Because the modeling on just today has signed you up for yes April may and June yes two Fridays a month. And wonderful bar and -- is a wonderful place and this is where we can and you identity to French Quarter fast yes French Quarter fast April 12. I want to talk more about. Real a -- talk more about you Obama talk. What did you get from your father mean obviously a love of music and the love of entertaining. But if if you could really passionate down. Your voice your ability to write songs. I do here. Music yeah I guess the ability to understand and hear music and it and all the instruments I that most come from him. Because I have that ability I can write. Horn arrangements and things not actually right but I hear them I can sing them here -- in my head. And I don't know where that comes from -- has to come from him so yeah let's say all of my eight. Abilities come from him in genetic. Weigh -- I'm so blessed that I have that legacy and that it actually is in my blind you know in coming through me as well. I also. Understand. People and love people and I love this CD. It feels like a person to me this city and he loved New Orleans as well. And I watched him and paid attention to him when I was a little girl and how he treated other people and just how he was as a human being. And I feel the way he felt. I think about people and about traditions and about it like his Italian here heritage my time heritage. All those things I feel and I know they come from him. And you have since found cousins here has set up at. Well I have -- of the Marianne who is my dad's brother Leon. Daughter. And so I always knew Mariane and but since I've been here I've found out that my dad's father had a brother who had six children so there's all of these cousins that. I have met and many more to meet. One Matt prima. It has done a genealogy and we are going to get together and he's gonna show me what he has discovered and that's just so amazing and I can't wait to see all about the family. Are there other. Musicians and entertainers. Among those cousins. No not that I have met. Now tonight yet it did you ever know the house your father grew up in in the corner. It I found -- where they'll where it was located it was on saint Peters -- 1812. Saint -- treatment that really doesn't exist it's different it's not really named a street -- that. Part that Ingrid and I went searching one afternoon. And we found where we believe it is there's a sign from that says magic walk 1813 magic walk. And so right directly across from that we feel that's where 1812 saint Peter this is some grass and a lot of clover. Well that's wonderful -- he must've been really extraordinary as a young man. Two of them that motivated. -- -- can -- -- -- -- -- and to take I jumped in New York City. Yeah I mean why not I guess that's what. You know -- had to do if you had that kind of ambitions you know New York was against the pleased to -- By listening to talk about his child growing up in the streets and music thing. And there'll types of ethnicities -- one street there overdue and -- woods he. Later in the extra shields -- But he grew up. Watching bands on trucks go listening outside clubs music clubs and that's what they -- -- Hear that and how wonderful. Listening to him. I believe you are gonna take another break we'll be back with Lena prima product. I have Chad. You're now. -- -- this time and I wasn't sure. It up. -- Use my voice I'm Alina bring. Daughter of Louie prima. And I got home from Las Vegas now living in New Orleans. And this beautiful some. Is really your trip to the world it is my little energy anymore Clinton. And all of the songs on your new album -- original code written. Twelve of them are and there's two covers on -- okay yes this is beautiful here. I believe you know. Mean. You know. -- Feet he was. This -- for. It is it is absolutely. Yes. It's. Start senators and it does it the first on the cover song and now I when I first it was a rock girl singers so it's kind of you know attributed that part of me. And it's called make you believe -- written -- -- Jordan. It was a rock singer back in the eighties and now. It's really about it's sort of a rock gospel. Feeling to it and it is about sitting there going OK this isn't working. Have faith in yourself and go for you know so it's like listen to my story. I'll make you a believer. So on telling my story music. My journey and here I am in and making it happen and making it work in them being myself and it's wonderful. It's wonderful tell me about some of the others. Well. There's a song called out of the shadows. Refused me out of the shadows which is really about. Leaving behind the past and starting new and the road trip you know it's. We were in the car weird driving here and I as a person I never had any keys on my key ring it was empty in a and that whole feeling of she shedding the past and just starting over fresh and one for agreeing. Feeling that is so it goes it's not the the the songs -- -- order sort of moving away trying to believe in myself. There's a song called by the issues which comes after that and that's about really just. You know by the issues go for your dream believe in your dream don't forget about that. Because it's hard you know life -- down. And you forget and you feel like it's not -- to have your dreams anymore you get to this certain part -- OK I -- they can do that you know and -- thought about going for. Then there's long as I can see -- light in my Jon -- I did that entry beat. To my friends -- behind that I am going. On my journey is -- -- For myself but I will always be. There for you ever need me welcome back in the second you know. So that's without -- about then there's kicking it old school. Which is achieving to where I come from. In music I also -- -- and parliament and funkadelic my favorite groups back then and then. It really means to that playing with musicians like here in New Orleans playing with you musicians in standing up for that. No matter what it costs. Because it will do that. I have to have my full hand. And I don't wanna do without the full and you know my father certainly never would and I'm gonna do it either an. Early but that's on about. And it's complicated comes next and that's about. All of us that have -- Problems like he thinking -- person. But you really don't know what that what road that person has locked in what's happened to them in their life and it's sort of don't. Judge me -- -- by what you may have burger what you think you know you know. Judge me by right now meeting mean listen to my music. That's all areas and that's all that matters. -- -- on around you I read the article that. Newspaper -- and an offense or use and that. You think your father would be very proud of it I didn't now out of the shadow into -- yes yes I think he would I think that he. Of course would be proud that I would be paying tribute to him as a father and certain he would think that that was wonderful black. He made his own music and he made his own way -- own style and that's I think ultimately what he would want me to do as an artist. And then exactly what you argue. In a city that you are now comfortable at home -- absolutely it's great. You know you make a very good point about the it's good to start -- I mean it's gutsy to do that your but it is leaving behind some people that are close to right what a wonderful thing. You you know I'm only this far that's right and how quickly yes in that's why god made airplane it's profit. At her right to take another break and come back and we're gonna hear about. This lucky woman is going to be the grand Marshal of the Italian. Parade we're gonna get those details stay with this. I'm Angela under the anyway. We are talking live. Lena prima listening to her beautiful voice. And that when news out of the shadows. This is wonderful just thinking so much. She was saying in the commercial took -- about a year to put the whole thing together I'm telling you. Every song with listened to a -- oh I'm so glad to hear that thinking I know. And we're gonna come see it among Leon in England during the -- wonderful up before then you have that tremendous honor of being the grand Marshal this is big time in the set. It is the Italian parade is -- -- So this is going to be on the nine. The ninth is when it and I'm sorry that the parades on the fifteenth fifty yes but the big celebration starts starts on Sunday in ninth and then. Begins again on the fourteenth. And they're doing the giant possible. And that's really amazing. As big as this room popped it it's a made up and everyone eats it too. So you have to eat the possible -- and that's free to an open to the public all the events in -- at the Hilton. And the possible. Is going to be it's on. Fourteenth I believe it is a sport and it's on the second floor of the Hilton. And he is going in the doors front doors -- the elevators -- -- and you'll hear. Music and battalions making noise and they've taken over the second floor so that's -- you'll know where -- -- Follow the noise and the possible and that's an 11:30 in the morning and in the parade the next day yes beautiful beautiful. Welcome home congratulations. On the new album. I'm so glad to have connections and on supply to living in our community. I don't think he's all right nice to meet you too thanks for having me everyone stay with -- we're not done we have another hour ahead of organ of talk to the great him. It now let's go the newsroom and -- --