May 18, 2024

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Interview with Mariah Hortans: For many people, including myself, music is a big part: Video

Jazz interview with jazz singer Mariah Hortans. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Mariah Hortans: – I grew up mainly in Sundom, a small village outside of  Vasa on the west coast of Finland. My dad would play guitar and sing bedtime songs that he made himself instead of reading me bedtime stories so music has always been in my life and I decided at the age of 5 to become a singer without knowing what that really means or if I even could sing well.

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

MH: – I started singing in my dads hobby band when I was about 13-14 years old and they had some standards in the repertoar, then I started going to the library and borrowed all the jazz CDs they had and started listening to jazz. I never actively chose jazz vocals, it chose me. And I do sing lots of other style as well, I love many different styles of music but for some reason jazz has become the strongest genre in my life. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I love the freedom of improvisation. I have learned the most about jazz not in school but by working with great musicians and listening to a lot of music.

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

MH: – I can’t say that I have “found” my sound,  my sound is me and I am my sound so I always had a sound of my own just as everybody has an own unique sound, I never worked on it. And just as I have developed as a person my voice has developed as well. All I did and still do is to sing a lot.

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

MH: – I think a lot about music and rhythm when I’m not singing and then I test things out when I am singing but I have no specific routines. I am a “learn by doing” person.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

MH: – I don’t think about any of that when I make music. I think about expressing feelings, the music and the lyrics are intertwined.

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

MH: – I make music that I like and do not think about where the influences come from.

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

MH: – Perhaps 50/50.

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

MH: – A performance should always be a conversation with the audience and I consider the audience my friends even if just for an hour or two.

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

MH: – It’s hard to pick one specific occation, I have so many nice memories. The best memories are perhaps from times when I have had a bad day and thought to myself how can I possibly perform well today feeling like this but then I see the smiling faces of the audience and I get all my energy back, it’s like magic! The power of a smile is truly underrated!

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

MH: – Age of a song is of no importance in my opinion, it’s how you present it that matters. Perform it with pure joy and no one will be able to resist, lol

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

MH: – The meaning of life on earth is to evolve as spiritual beings. For many people, including myself, music is a big part of that, for others it may be something else. I agree with Coltrane, music is my religion and music is my spirit.

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

MH: – I would get rid of money. I would get rid of money not only in music but everywhere. I wish I didn’t have to have anything to do with money ever.

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

MH: – It varies A LOT but I discovered two Swedish jazz singers I like last week while on tour in Sweden. Carin Lundin and Amanda Ginsburg.

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

MH: – I wanna perform all over the world and meet new and interesting people and cultures. But I’ll never be away for too long, I’ll always come back to my family here in Vasa, Finland, and I also hope I’ll be able to bring my daughters with me on tour abroad to show them the world.

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

MH: – Have you given anyone a smile today? 🙂

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. 🙂 yes, my mistress!

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

MH: – It was interesting questions, it’s good to think about these things from time to time.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

На данном изображении может находиться: 1 человек, улыбается, сидит и в помещении

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