June 18, 2024


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Interview with Anna Danes: Love others, love yourself, love what you do – love being alive every day! Video

Jazz Interview with jazz singer Anna Danes. An interview by email in writing.

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

Anna Danes: – I grew up in Poland, during the communist era. Immigrated to Sweden at 10, then to Canada at 11, then to the US at 29. I got interested in music when I was 43 years old and going through a divorce. My seven year old daughter did not want to continue taking her singing lessons – flat our refused – and I didn’t want to waste the lesson she was in so I stood up…and sang! And it all came out of me and I discovered a voice I didn’t know I had – and found my life’s passion. I was singing songs from the Great American Songbook – I still do – and it was those beautiful sentiments that missing in my life exactly. Music healed me and started me on an unexpected new career path! I’ve not looked back!

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the jazz vocal?

AD: – I started listening to jazz in my 20’s, working in retail while going to college. I had an immediate connection to it because it was so much more unscripted than any other genre of music and there was a real warm human factor: the music is made in the moment and everything is OK!

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the jazz vocal?

AD: – I’ve had a number of teachers now with the most important one being my mentor of four years, Larry White. Larry’s career started in TV, writing music for variety shows in the 1970’s and working an a wide array of talent, from Sinatra to Ella and on. He was Dusty Springfield’s music director for 20 years. Larry has taught me the importance of simply being true to yourself and doing YOUR best. There are no rules in music and you can color outside the lines – just color consistently – for the world doesn’t know yet what it’s missing – unless you show them, so keep going, keep showing up!

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

AD: – Practice, practice, practice. Then, life around you has this way of shaping your voice as it shapes you with new experiences – some of which may not be so pleasant. I’ve become more more confident over the last four years and my voice has taken on a richer quality and much more depth of expression.  I gave my sounding “apologetic” and “pretty” as I battled through many trials and tribulations in those years, including a very difficult divorce, a broken heart and breast cancer.

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

AD: – Daily practice of vocal exercises and at least one lesson or rehearsal a week to keep yourself on track and improving.  Rhythm is in simply in my heart – just feel the music!

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

AD: – Each song is unique and appealing in its own way! But one example:  I- VI – II – V with a “Satin Doll” bridge!

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

AD: – Have a clear and honest picture in your mind of what you want to accomplish and where do you see yourself in your career. Let nothing be off the table. Think as big as you can handle. Then, every day, work hard and work your way backwards from the goal! You’ll be amazed how much quicker things will happen for you if you just know what you want! And don’t let anything – or anyone – stop you from your dreams. Believe in your dream with your entire core. Be patient, show up, and practice, practice, practice!

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

AD: – Of course, but you have to be realistic about your expectations. And if they sound unrealistic right now then you may need to do more work, more prep – and you may need more time, that’s all.

I started off in music with the simple idea that I wanted to sing and make a very good living doing it. Well, that won’t happen overnight – but it is, after four intense years of work, starting to happen for me! I’m starting to SEE it and to smell it!

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

AD: –  True, but they cool, beautiful tunes and they are timeless, not any different than great music in any genre, from classical to rock n roll. You have to master the classics first if you want to re-invent them for the modern era. I studied history in my undergrad: knowing the history of anything is a paramount jumping off point to the future.

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

AD: – Wow, profound question in the middle of a sea of music!  Spirit is simply your essence, who you truly are. Some of us turn away from this – or never have the opportunity to see themselves for who they are. Spirit lives on forever – like love. I suppose Coltrane lived and breathed music – I could see that. My spirit is driven by music but is also effervescent and thrives on language and expression (I love all kinds of writing, including songwriting), wit and humor,  sensuality and sexuality, beauty and glamour, kindness and love…intellectual curiosity and artistic expression – and I could go on.

Meaning of life? Still revealing itself, lol! No, it’s simple actually: LOVE! Love above everything!!!  Love others, love yourself, love what you do – love being alive every day!   Love transcends everything, and yes, lives on forever! So it’s really the meaning of life – and beyond!

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

AD: – I have many and high expectations of the future – THAT’s what brings me anxiety, seriously!!! I keep thinking about how I’m going to pull off all these massive goals I have while maintaining current lifestyle for me and my daughter. But it’s all happening. I need to stay the course and stay patient – I need to do what I told others to do in the answer to your question above in #7!

My expectations are not expectations really, they are “guide posts”. If you turn them into expectations you may get disappointed and disheartened if they turn out slightly differently.  I keep my “goals” slightly fluid, like life. But they are BIG! Sometimes I even look at myself in the mirror and say “really – you want THAT?”  Yeah, I DO, really! There’s nothing like OWING what you believe in!

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

AD: – Ha, it ties in to #11 above of course! Next frontier is wide national exposure, followed by the start of international exposure, both of which will ideally create an abundance of opportunities for me to share my talent for a living a singer, author and speaker – and inspire others to follow the dream in their hearts!

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

AD: – Of course! The spirit of it, similar chord progressions, story-telling, how it was born out of people simply getting together to do music together, in the moment – and some of it actually ended up getting written down!

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

AD: – I continue to listen to a lot of Sinatra, Ella and other related artists that I normally catch on Seriusly Sinatra. And whatever I catch my 13 year old daughter listening to – and she listens to a lot of varied music!  I have this “thing” where if I am highly focused on something, such as right now, the development of my career and really getting the finesse down in my style, then I shut out all peripheral influences, including indulging in music outside of this world I am, so I can absorb it better, live it and not be distracted by anything that does not fit.  The time will come again to emerge from “Seriusly Sinatra”, when I’m ready for fresh inspiration. Not yet. When I’m ready to make my next album.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

AD: – Varies from venue and circumstance. A trio if my usual go-to: piano, upright bass and drums. But oftentimes it’s more, including big band pop orchestra, or sometimes just a couple of horns and rhythm section in addition to the go-to!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Anna Danes

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