May 18, 2024

Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Kayla Waters: The soul – feeling the musical heartbeat of the artist: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Kayla Waters. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Kayla Waters: – I’ve always had a love for music – it’s in my blood. I grew up in a small town called Aberdeen (in Maryland) all of my family is from there. I watched my Dad’s career blossom since I was a baby, from soundchecks, rehearsals, live performances, all of those experiences shaped who I am as an artist and musician today.

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

KW: – Jazz has always been in my head space, always around. I actually started playing classical piano and obtained my Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Howard University. I played in church and played by ear growing up so I truly had the best of both worlds with classical and jazz. I clung to the piano at an early age of 6 and can still remember what I sounded before I began taking lessons. I love the dynamic range of the piano, I can tell my story.

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

KW: – After graduating from Howard University, I began to spend a lot of time at the piano writing. I loved writing music, and wanted to create my own sound that combined all of my musical experiences in one. Hours at the piano and my life experiences shaped my sound – it’s true to who am I what I am.

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

KW: – All of my classical training honed my focus at the piano. From disciplined practice, listening to myself, watching how I use my hands, wrist movements, using my finger pads, it’s all important! My technical ability makes room for the dexterity and agility rhythmically at the piano.

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?

KW: – I create what feels natural, I love dissonance but use it in a way where listeners can still relate to the music. I use it strategically especially over soloing. I love colors and sometimes that means more melodic patterns or it can mean dissonant harmonies as well!

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

KW: – I stay true to my music and my sound. Nothing can distract me from achieving my purpose.

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

KW: – I think god music has a healthy balance of both – intellectual in a sense of one understanding what the artist is saying musically and soul – feeling the musical heartbeat of the artist.

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

KW: – People want authenticity – that’s the best way to give the audience what they want. They can tell when it’s real and when it’s not, be organic!

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

KW: – Playing on the BET Black Girls Rock Awards Show two years ago with Gladys Knight, Marsha Ambrosius and Corinne Bailey Rae – I got the call two days before the show, always be ready! It was a quick turnaround, lots of rehearsal in one day, but a memorable experience I will never forget!

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

KW: – Re-introduce the music in a creative way so that the younger generations can understand it. Re-invent the jazz standards and also educate them on the history of where this music came from – know the history is important.

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

KW: – Music is vibration, vibration is movement, movement is evolution, evolution is life, so therefore music is life – this is a philosophy I created about 10 years ago in college, I was the only person in my philosophy class who created a philosophy that couldn’t be negated. Music is everywhere and it’s the air we breathe.

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

KW: – I would encourage people (musicians, artists and creatives) to support one another as opposed to being in competition with one another. It isn’t a race but it’s more potent when we support each other and edify the music community.

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

KW: – I listen to all genres, rock, jazz, classical, worship and some! Recently, I have been listening to a lot of George Duke, Eldar Djangirov, Patrice Rushen, Cyrus Chestnut, Psalmist Raine, Jonathan McReynolds and a host of others.

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

KW: – I have an old soul, I’d love to travel back a century and sit in the old jazz clubs of Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and hear the interpretations and language of some of the jazz greats – I also loved fashion of the early 20th century!

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

KW: – How did you learn about me and my music and what do you find unique about my sound?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. From the internet and can not say anything yet …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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