What I play is for anyone with an interest in blues-influenced music. If people come to my show looking for straight blues—they’re not going to get that. I would say what I do is True R&B, ” Venson says firmly and without apology, dropping a blues beat to clearly demonstrate what she does not do. “It’s not like Jill Scott; it’s not Just Blues. I do not do Just Blues. I do blues and a little jazz, a little Reggae, a little rock, a little country rock that doesn’t sound like blues at all. So, I guess I could say I’m blues alternative.Venson herself is the product of a multiplicity of perspective. She’s the youngest of nine children in a blended family. If you’ve been around Austin for a while, you may know of her parents. Her dad is 30-year veteran of the local music scene Andrew Benson, who played bass with the band Blue Mist, as well fronting his own project, Seeds of Fulfillment. “There was a good decade between the 80s and 90s when Austin was really into jazz. It was all over town,” Venson reflects on the time when Blue Mist was playing R&B, jazz, soul around Austin, including at Aquafest and SXSW. Her mom may have even been present at your birth or the birth of someone you know. She’s Diane Brinkman, MD, obstetrician, co-founder of Austin Regional Clinic, and chief of its obstetrics department. (The clinic is one of the few affordable resources for healthcare in Austin, providing services for those of us who might otherwise have to go without.) The background music at Venson’s mom’s house drifts through the air from the band practicing at nearby Westwood High School, which Venson attended before earning a degree in music composition and studio production at Berklee College in Boston and then returning to Austin. “I just love Austin and I will always live in Austin,” Venson says from a hotel in Los Angeles, where she’s currently on a sort of music vacation to tour open mics and make connections. “Austin has so many opportunities for music. The only cities that compare that I’ve seen are Nashville and New York. And all of my family is in Austin. It just makes sense to stay here. In New York, an up-coming artist can’t afford to live. Here, I have a house.” At home, Venson naturally likes to peruse music shows. She likes SoCo: One-2-One Bar and Baker Street Pub & Grill, for both the food and the stage. Downtown, she likes the low-key porch concerts in the summer at House Wine on Josephine Street. “I went to Strange Brew for the first time, and it was sweet. And I really like Spider House; I‘m thinking about booking a show there. And I love Maggie Mae’s!” Venson gushes. “I love playing there, being there. I love Maggie Mae’s.” Los Angeles, on the other hand, may need to pick up its game. “I am having a really hard time finding any open mics here for anything that’s not comedy,” she says, looking on the bright side that at least her quest for contacts takes place mostly after the evening begins, so she’s not in traffic. When she returns from California, Venson will re-focus on her youtube series, TRUTH IN MUSIC. It’s a vehicle to ensure her audience can count on content without having to await albums. After experimenting with the first season, Venson decided to push big into the series, with more money, more thought, more production planning. Rich Baur directed and John Stinson produced the video for “Show My Light.” Chris Eckert directed directed and Eddy Hobizal produced the video for “Beauty of Your Love,” and Merritt Fields directed the video for “Jupiter,” with Brad Bordine producing. She’ll also spend some time planning for the jazz festival at The Backyard. She thinks about The Backyard a bit and quips, “I really like the actual space. They have a lot of cool rocks, so it’s a nice combination of nature and modern entertainment. It really is like being in someone’s backyard. The weather’s going to be nice, and the staff is professional, so I know it’s going to sound good.” Venson’s choosing her set list carefully. “What we play at the festival will appeal to people who want to see something different. I’ll start with my songs that are jazzier and ease the audience into something more.” “Show My Light” is one of those with a classic jazz feel, while “Rollin On” sounds like blues standard. As the set expands, the audience might get to jam to diverse tracks like “Lost in Time,” which clearly has a Reggae beat that might carry well in the early summer. The vocals and song as a whole call to mind Maxi Priest’s 1990 album BONAFIDE. “I’m really excited about being at the festival with the other performers. My music is a little different from theirs because most of them play straight jazz. But this is why I love festivals and open mics: Hanging out with like-minded musicians,” Venson muses. “Sometimes you want to just hangout with people who understand where you’re coming from.” For someone who’s not straight jazz musician, she’s still quick to get to the real. Venson will release her new album, THE LIGHT IN ME, in June.