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Dana Immanuel

British Americana

Though she takes notes from "Tom Waits, Gillian Welch, hot sauce, and the local dope peddler," Dana Immanuel says she is Janis Joplin in her mind. Hard as this may be to break to Immanuel, she is a true original, combining funky grooves, folksy vocals, and country sensibilities culled from growing up in a house populated by mandolins, autoharps, and banjos. These influences have coalesced neatly for Immanuel, who has been playing guitar since she was 15. Her lyrics are a chimera all their own as well -- Immanuel started writing songs listening to Ani diFranco while she was meant to be doing a Classics degree at Oxford.

Immanuel's debut release, Character Assassination showcases these influences while also unleashing some of the singer's deeper emotions and inspirations. "Actually almost every song on there is in its own way a grossly unfair, one-sided representation of somebody who at some point did something that I didn't like. If I had more balls I might say this stuff to people's faces. As it is I make songs out of it," Immanuel says of her process for dealing with emotion. Some songs on Character Assassination--namely "Motherf**king Whore"--stand as testament to this.

But it's not all doom and slander. There are also deeper cuts like "Nashville," which sponsored an amusing video: ". Nashville, I was thinking of that scene in the Robert Altman movie "Nashville" where there's a guy playing in a bar and there are four or five women in the audience who all think he's singing to them. We made a video for it where we cut up the movie and stuck me in every scene," Immanuel explains. "Actually maybe don't mention that because if it does well then we'll totally get sued," she adds wryly.

Whether solo, with a backing band, or just busking on the Tube, Immanuel is a fixture in London's live music scene, and with good reason. Her colorful personality and expressive delivery make for quite a show indeed. Her offstage presence is earning high marks as well; Wears the Trousers wrote, "Let’s not beat around the shrubbery people, Dana Immanuel is a star." And on Character Assassination, available everywhere on March 12, 2013, it's easy to see why they would make such a claim. Somebody better tell Janis her spirit's got competition.

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