BOSTON GLOBE: Angie Swan shreds nightly under the big top


By Kelly Gifford

Hometown: Swan was born and raised in Milwaukee before making the trek to Boston to study professional music at Berklee College of Music. Her home base is now Los Angeles.

Think of: Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist and femme shredder extraordinaire Jennifer Batten — minus the giant, teased, platinum locks.

What caught our eye: Swan wails on her guitar in the all-female band for Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna,” currently being performed under the big top at the Marine Industrial Park. The acrobats in the show twist, bend, and swing to Swan’s lead electric riffs, and it’s a sight to behold.

Light bulb moment: “I grew up in a very musical family. My mom and dad exposed me to different genres and artists such as B. B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and so many more. My father played guitar around the house, and I picked it up around 11 or 12. How couldn’t I fall in love with it?”

Biggest thrill: “The audience [for “Amaluna”] is completely different every show. That’s the amazing thing about live music, you can feel the audience and you perform differently depending on that.”

Biggest surprise: “When doors close, other opportunities open. A career in entertainment can be fickle and you always need to be ready for the next opportunity and seize it. That's what I try to do with my life and music career.”

Inspired by: “The endless possibilities. Each night here at Cirque we have a different audience and we play a different show because it’s live. There is no limit to what can inspire you when you’re in an environment like this.”

Aspires to: “I aspire to continue to create and test the waters of different outlets, whether it’s at Cirque or what I did before. It’s inspiring to express yourself in a creative way. It’s a real gift.”

For good luck: “Two push-ups before every show — three on a good day. And some meditation does the trick.”

What people should know: Swan has performed with the likes of Prince, Will.I.Am, and Macy Gray and played behind Mickey Rooney at a Michael Jackson memorial. She has also appeared on “Glee” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Ellen,” and “The American Music Awards.”

Hilary Adorno