Blues singer-songwriter-performer Shari Puorto grew up in Connecticut listening to some of the great names in rock and blues, and was especially drawn to the intensity of Etta James.
"I got hooked on the blues mostly listening to Etta early on. As far back as I can remember, my father would listen to rock & roll, classic rock, southern rock, Elton John, B.B. King ... and somehow I got hooked on Etta James. And that opened a whole new world for me. And I was fascinated with how she would sing to you ... pull you in and spit you right back out within 30 seconds."
Now living in Southern California, Puorto says the "performer" part of her description of herself is an important distinction.
"Connecting with the audience is everything. But I'm not constantly thinking about it, it just kind of happens naturally," said Puorto. "I've been told many times that's one of the many things people take home with them after they see our show. They really like how we pull them in, pull them on stage with us in essence. I think those things are really important. You want to take people on a journey with you. If I can't connect with them, it just doesn't have much of a meaning for me."
Puorto says she co-produced her new album My Obsession with Tony Braunagel, who among other things, plays with the Phantom Blues Band in Los Angeles,
"We started recording this record about a year ago. We had in the studio with us Mike Finnigan on keys, Johnny Lee Schell on guitars, Bob Glaub on bass, Jim Pugh on some songs. Barry Goldberg is also on here. He is a keyboard player/producer/songwriter. He is just my biggest favorite person. He and I have been writing songs together for about six years. He's a big part of this record, and the last two records I've released. He and I have so much fun and connect on an amazing level to write really fun and deep songs."
Puorto's "My Obsession," can be purchased at her website.