There's a special family reunion happening in Memphis this week. Multi-Grammy-winning Zydeco Experience performer Terrance Simien is bringing his accordion to Bar DKDC to sit in with his daughter and her band, Marcella and Her Lovers. It's not nearly as awkward as it sounds.
"He'll just be playing with us, and we'll do a few more songs than usual," Marcella says, tamping down any notion that her dad might be appearing with his full Zydeco band. The younger Simien moved to Memphis and established herself as a gutsy and idiosyncratic solo performer before putting together the band Marcella and Her Lovers a year ago. A recently released EP, The Bronze Age, shows off the legacy performer's uncommonly expressive voice and songwriting, though the best cut is arguably a reworking of Little Bop & the Lollipops' 1961 single "My Heart's on Fire."
"I only got comfortable with my singing voice when I was 16 or 17, and that's when I started writing my own songs," Simien says, describing what it was like growing up in a musical family. "And friends would say I should be on The Voice or American Idol, and I'd think maybe I could, to see how far I could get. But that wasn't my plan. I didn't see my dad do it like that. I didn't see other musicians I admired doing it that way.
"I saw my parents [have a career in music], and it was more of a real thing than a dream," Simien says. "I mean, it was always a dream, but they made me realize, if you take these steps you can do it. You need to know what you deserve as an artist. You need to place value on your work and your artistry."