There used to be a disc jockey on radio back in the day, station KDGE in Dallas named Jessie. I loved her. She had this great voice but more importantly she would advocate strongly for the bands or artists that she loved. To me that was the real attraction to being a disc jockey. Now understand I know the record industry pushes certain artists on radio stations, they pay for airtime. They pay the bills so radio stations have always bowed to them a bit, but I never got a sense that Jessie did that. Sure she played songs she was told to play but the songs she raved about, the artists that she spent her time passionately talking about; those were here artists. Almost without exception her choices led me to new music and inevitably it was always music I loved. Jessie’s show was where I first heard Poe.
I don’t know if there is a cooler chick on the planet for me. She has that something, tall slender and angular and fiercely independent. She has a style that I love, a presence undeniable for me a voice that is magic to me and writes songs that I love deeply. I would probably have her baby and wonder if she needs or wants a blind faithful servant willing to do anything. Ooops I digress a bit. Yea I got a thing for her.
Poe arrived on the alternative music scene in the mid 90’s along with the mad rush for angry female artists. I would not describe her music as being angry, instead I see it as a declaration of female independence, fierce independence. Poe goes her own way. It’s easy to see these days the powerful influence of social media with the multiple platforms for expressing your individuality and influencing people. In the mid 90’s there wasn’t those platforms, yet Poe built much of her base through her interactive website that included her personal communication with fans and sharing things about herself and her music. It built a fanbase before she ever released an album. There was always a buzz about her. She was and still is a creative force.
She is the daughter of Polish film director Tad Danielewski and she lived all over the world until she was 8 when her father moved the family to Provo, Utah. Her parents divorced when she was 16 and she moved to New York independently while trying to re-connect with her mother. She finished school in Utah by mailing in assignments and then attended Princeton. Her brother is Mark Z. Danielewski who she later allowed to butcher in my opinion her best song. He is a novelist. She was born Anne Danielewski.
She began collaborating as a teenager with noted DJ’s JDilla and RJ Rice and in 1994 she was signed to Modern Records on the strength of a demo. In 1995 Poe released her first album Hello on the strength of the single Trigger Happy Jack. It was a terrific debut album and the song I have always loved is Angry Johnny. Now Angry Johnny has one of the truly great lines ever. She sings “I wanna blow you” insert pause “away.” I have been told that there is a lot of innuendo with that line but I don’t know what they are talking about.
Hello is a wonderful album and because of Poe’s great online presence she built a big following. It was also the time of the alternative female singers and she fit that mold nicely. Her second album came five years later in 2000. She discovered a boxful of audio tapes of her late father and began listening to them . This impacted her and is especially apparent in some of her lyrics for the follow-up album Haunted which was released in October of 2000. If you listen to the song Haunted it will give you chills or to use a JLo term goosies.
When haunted was released I still did not know Poe’s music except for the song Angry Johnny. My favorite DJ Jessie introduced me to the song Hey Pretty and I absolutely fell in love with Poe. Hey I would be willing to have her baby. It is absolutely a great song. If you have never heard it then do a search and listen to it but be careful. In 2001 because the song was so popular Poe re-mixed it only dubbed her brother’s voice over the song reading from his stupid novel thus ruining a wonderful song. Yea yea some people like it but I hear his voice and I want to scream. I won’t listen to it. The original is 100% better.
Poe had a lot of record label problems and maybe that turned her off the entire industry but for awhile she disappeared. Somewhere around 2014 she began to do some shows but there is no indication she will ever do another album and really she is media savvy enough that she could just stick to digital releases.
She is one of my favorite artists. I encourage you to give her a listen. She writes great music has a unique wicked cool voice. I had a friend tell me once that they didn’t like her music until one day we were sitting around chatting and he asked me what I was playing because he loved it. He was shocked. It was Poe.