Jazz interview with singer Lauren Henderson. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Lauren Henderson: – I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I started studying piano around the age of 7 and sang in my church choir. I always remember feeling passionate about music in general, and my parents have a great appreciation for the arts.
JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the jazz vocal? What teacher or teachers helpedyou progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the jazz vocal?
LH: – I grew up listening to lots of vocal jazz. After hearing greats like Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra at home, it was inevitable that I would be inspired.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
LH: – The more I am true to myself, the more my sound evolves. Practicing and listening to different genres, vocalists, and instrumentalists always plays a major influence.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
LH: – I just listen as much as I can. I also try to work on songs that are challenging for me and do my best to sing them.
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?
LH: – I would say I am a sensitive musician. I try to make decisions that evoke whatever emotions I hope to portray.
JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
LH: – Be true to yourself at all time. Believe in your ability.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
LH: – I think it’s a marriage and both should be incorporated when possible.
JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving thepeople what they want?
LH: – I really appreciate my audiences. I give myself and maintain sincerity. All I can hope for is an organic connection with the audience. We feed off each other’s energy.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like toshare with us?
LH: – I am touring Europe now, for a fourth time. I absolutely love singing abroad, meeting new people, and sharing new music!
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes arehalf a century old?
LH: – I believe it’s important to continue to be innovative, inclusive, accessible, and passionate about art. We still face many of the same issues written in the lyrics of standards.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and themeaning of life?
LH: – As musicians, we live, breathe, and eat music. It’s everywhere and I will never escape it … I never would want to.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, whatwould that be?
LH: – The financial struggles many musicians face.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
LH: – I have been listening to the Afro-Cuban All Stars recently. I also love listening to Michael Thurber and Tessa Lark, two of my dear and talented friends and colleagues.
JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
LH: – Strength, honesty, vulnerability and passion.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
LH: – I would love to sit in the front row of a Sarah Vaughan concert, ideally at a small and intimate jazz club. That would be a priceless opportunity to learn and enjoy music at its finest.
JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
LH: – What is your favorite thing about listening to music?
JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. Only Jazz and Blues music, because Jazz is my life!!!
JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
LH: – It was lovely speaking with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. All in all, I can only encourage myself and others to immerse themselves in music. Cherish and support the arts. It feeds the soul and you can learn more than you realize.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan