Interview with Susana Santos Silva: I try to do it intuitively and open hearted: Video

Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter and vocalist Susana Santos Silva. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Susana Santos Silva: – I grew up in Porto. My grandfather played trumpet in a marching band, as a hobby, and that’s how I started. He was my first teacher and I started playing on the marching band when I was 8.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

SSS: – I continued studying trumpet and music in general at the music school when I was ten and then I did my classical studies in Porto and Germany. My first years in the University were very much about building up a good trumpet sound, and I’m glad I went through that process. At some point after that I started to focus on finding my own personal voice through the instrument.

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

SSS: – I have a daily basic routine to work on sound, flexibility, attacks, etc., just to make the all machine work well, so I can forget about it when I perform.

JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

SSS: – That’s impossible. We are all influenced by everything around us, conscious or unconsciously. What I always did, unconsciously at some extent, was to not imitate anyone in particular. That never really interested me. What I find fascinating is that from the thousands of things, and not only musical influences, that you are exposed to you can create something very personal, by filtrating the information and transforming it in something unique, something new.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

SSS: – I try to keep a daily relationship with the trumpet but always trying to go along what the circumstances are, meaning some days I feel less fit to play the trumpet and instead of fighting to make it work as on a good day, I just work with what I have… and sometimes the handicaps find their own strength and beautiful things might happen.

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album? 

SSS: – I don’t know what Ism is….

JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

SSS: – Each musician has to find that balance for her/himself. I try to do it intuitively and open hearted.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

SSS: – Only if that’s also what I want.

JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

SSS: – Too many to mention.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

SSS: – Well, showing them the path that will give them meaning to what they do. They need to know and accept who they are first and then, according to it, pursue what they want to do.

JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

SSS: – Very deep question, specially in a time like this… the most important, I think, is to be honest with yourself. Without that, nothing will come out with truth and meaning. Being spiritual is to find your own true self, and get rid of all the other selfs that we carry through our lives. And then we have to live according to that… being open-hearted and trying to become one with what we do and with everything around us.

JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

SSS: – Egocentrism.

JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

SSS: – A lot of stuff … I try to listen to music I never heard before, sometimes I just randomly listen to music that I will never know what it is. To keep me open minded and inspired.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

SSS: – I’m not carrying a special message. I’m just doing my thing, trying to be honest about who I am and what I do. And hopefully that will reach other people.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

SSS: – To the present moment, but maybe in a parallel world, where all the overwhelming problems that exist in our world would not exist. There’s so much insanity of different kinds all over the world that I can’t grasp and refuse to understand.

JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

SSS: – Why? 🙂

JBN: – Because without ism and message …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Susana santos silva” by Joze Pozrl - Jazz Photo

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