If you’re searching for cross-cultural inspiration in your local musician, look no further than resolute performer Britta Pejic. Whether it’s a triple identity as a mom/teacher/post-punk songstress or an affinity for love songs picked up on Parisian radio, the stage veteran has performed across the world, and added little pieces to her puzzle along the way. Her story reminds of that old Charlie Parker quote, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Gearing up for her CD-release show at Empire Dine & Dance at 9 tonight (ages 21 and older), Pejic shared tales from the road and the ways she weaves her life soundly together.

Check out more from her at brittap.com.

Your “Backyards That Weren’t There Before” was released this past September. How has it been received so far?

I’m very pleased with many of the reviews I have seen so far. It has been reviewed online in the UK and in Belgium (I needed Google Translate, because that one was in Dutch!).

Songs have been played on various podcasts, and people have seemed really enthusiastic about what they have heard. Plus, my mom likes it.

You’ve had several lives as a performing musician. Can you give us your favorite colorful details from each?

Let’s see I never played SXSW in Austin, but I DID play South-by-So-What, with The Bigamy Sisters — a counter-event organized by a team of people who had had it with people everywhere wearing laminated badges, eating BBQ, acting like they owned the place. The Bigamys also played on the same stage Elvis did at Austin’s Continental Club. I did try to play with a couple of guys in Paris, but eventually they invited me out for a drink to break it to me that I wasn’t working out, because I didn’t have the right level of commitment. I was relieved, because I didn’t like lugging a guitar around in the Metro to go to some out-of-the-way practice space. They were relieved that I was relieved, and then we had a great time that evening!

Do you prefer the solo gig or the band gig, and why?

Collaborating with someone else was fun and safe. In this permutation, though, I felt that if I was going to get other people on board, I’d have to have my book report ready to hand in. I took a year or two of writing, polishing songs and putting together prototypes of them and playing out alone before I was ready.

Austin is another smaller town touting a formidable music scene. How does it compare to Portland?

I am thrilled to see organizations like the Maine Songwriter’s Association and the Portland Music Foundation hard at work to foster Portland’s thriving music community. But Austin is the live music (and bat) capital of the world, and it is growing almost exponentially by the day! Music drives the economy down there (as, of course, do Dell and Motorola). The town itself is very supportive, and demonstrates great care for its musicians. Even the mayor is on board as an advocate for a mental health support program specifically for musicians (simsfoundation.org). There is also the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

A Britta Pejic songlist is full of French tunes. Do you feel particularly close to these? Where do they come from?

I listened to a lot of oldies stations whenever I’d rent a car in France. Many of the songs grew on me after a while. It was weird to be in a place where there was a shared culture of music that I was never a part of growing up. I’d think to myself, “This went on without ME?? How could that have happened?” It was frustrating yet fascinating to not have been a part of it. But French culture is still part of who I am. I met my husband over there (who, incidentally, shares a birthday with (French singer/songwriter/director Serge Gainsbourg). Here in Portland, we are very involved in a community of people from France. I sing twice a month on “French Night” at the Merry Table.

You cite Big Meat Hammer as a “Portland legend.” Who else is on your list?

Hmmm Darien (Brahms), Aly (Spaltro, although she left us), Dan Knudsen!

As a mom and a teacher, how do you still have time for the stage?

The stage for me is maybe three or four times a month. Sometimes that can be a lot. I have enjoyed playing family-friendly places like the Local Buzz. As for being a mum, Tom (bass) and David (drums) have kids too, so rehearsal time is also play-date time. We do have to stop playing to parent from time to time to settle a dispute, or if someone wants some juice.

I have learned a lot about performing from teaching — especially as an English as a Second Language teacher. You really have to be deliberate, you have to articulate and you really have to put yourself out there sometimes if you’re in a classroom full of low-level English speakers.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.