Photo: courtesy of Davina and The Vagabonds

AMP by Strathmore Welcomes Davina and The Vagabonds

In 2006, singer Davina Lozier teamed with musicians Zack Lozier, Steve Rogness and George Marich in Minnesota to create a sound reminiscent of New Orleans jazz and blues from yesteryear, but with a modern twist.

Davina and The Vagabonds’ retro sound, powered by a strong horn section, quickly took off and in 2011, the band released its debut album to critical success.

In July, the group will release its newest album Sugar Drops for Red House Records, its first on a studio label. Their first single “Little Miss Moonshine” is already finding airplay and exciting fans for the whole album.

“We went to Nashville and held up at a studio, the first time we’ve done that,” Davina Lozier says. “We took a big risk and hired these amazing musicians and it was great. There were 15 songs and it took a lot to prepare for it, but getting in there was such an amazing time.”

She admits that she does feel stressed when in the studio because of the “permanence” of it all, and while she’s a huge fan of performing live, she is often scared of the result. But upon listening to the final product, Lozier and her band were happy.

“This is our seventh album and it feels like every album is crazy,” she says. “I think people are going to really enjoy the new music.”

Life wasn’t always easy for this frontwoman. A drug habit in high school sent her down a path that eventually led to her to homelessness, and included several stints in jail. She cleaned up her act, started the band and has been working hard to become a success ever since. Much of her emotional journey can be heard in the lyrics to her songs.

“I’m still me, I can’t get away from that, though I’ve tried a few times,” she says. “Honesty is a huge thing for me with my music. Even if you’re doing music from eras past and paying homage to music that you, yourself have been influenced by, it needs to come from the heart and from your own truth.”

Davina and The Vagabonds is coming through town in June for a concert at the AMP by Strathmore. Lozier hopes the audience will enjoy the band’s high-energy performance and feel a sense of individuality.

“It will be a great high-energy show with a level of musicianship that is just exceptional,” Lozier says. “I love making people laugh and smile, so I interact with the audience. There’s a freedom to it. I want people to feel they can be themselves while listening, even though there are tons of people around them. I want them to enjoy the show the way they want to.”

She knows that performing is what she was meant to do with her life, and she is thankful that she’s getting the chance to do what she loves.

“I think people who see me know that there’s nothing else in the world I should be doing. I love being able to relate to people and have them relate to me,” Lozier says. “I love telling stories and moving people and making them think. Seeing them do that live is extremely important to me.”

See Davina and the Vagabonds at AMP by Strathmore in Bethesda on Friday, June 7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are
$17.50-$37.50. Visit www.ampbystrathmore.com for show details.

1810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD;
www.ampbystrathmore.com