Jazz interview with jazz singer and composer Josefine Cronholm. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Josefine Cronholm: – I grew up in Sweden, on the countryside, accuually in the middle of the forest, with nature and animals very close. My father was playing violin and guitar in both jazz and swedish folkmusic with different projects. He also involved me and my sister and brother and our friends in some of the projects. As a young child I wanted to be a dancer or a singer I remember, and that was early my call in life. I listened to my fathers jazzrecords and danced to my mothers classical records. We lived a very simple kind of life on the swedish countryside so the music and dance I heard and rarely saw on TV made an huge impact on me, telling about the world outside. I loved living in the nature and often spent time with myself daydreaming under a tree or sitting on my favorite stone down the road, but also dreamt being an artist travelling the world.
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?
JC: – I saw a film on TV in my early teens. The scene was set in a room with a young woman sitting in a windowscreen listening to The man I love by Billie Holiday. I was blown away by the intense feeling in the scene. I wanted to do that. I got a chance to do that at a musical soaré at my school where I studied theater and I chose to do 2 songs by Billie as a kind of tribute to her. God bless the child and don´t explain. I was 16 years old. I´m greatfull that my musicteacher let me do that. My theater teacher is probably the first person who inspired me an teached me the importance of text. How to interpret texts and give them a meaning. I think of her sometimes and give thanks.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
JC: – I basiclly listened to a lot of music from all over the world. I started to listen to jazz and moved on to other styles and found that I really like to mix and blend styles. Folk music from all over the world inspires me a lot.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
JC: – I think my intrest of folkmusic really helped me to open my ear melodic but also regarding to rhytm. I always try to put myself in challenging situations. I find that very developing.
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?
JC: – I´m not at all afraid of dissonance, but having said that, I think I have a will or a need to find the patterns in the music. To find some kind of harmony so to say. The melodic sense pretty important. I think maybe its my search for meaning that makes me say that.
JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
JC: – Well, to be influed by art and other human beeings is a part of beeing a human I guess, so that is something I cant evoid. But, everyday beliving in the core of the expression is important, and the big challange.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
JC: – Music to me is very intuitive and has always been. I´m trying to meditate the intellect with the soul as in myself and with the audience.
JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
JC: – What do the people want if not the true expression and to feel that they are seen and given the chance to reflect on them self and the world?
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
JC: – Memories that shows me how the music can fill and open peoples hearts.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
JC: – Thats true. I always encouraging my students to start writing music. Its a good way to find ones own voice. And of course, good music can always be interpreted again and again. Like good stories by good writers. Music is timeless.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
JC: – I belive in what we can create in this world, alone or together with other people, has a meaning in itself. The human is born with creativity and with the great creator of existences love. All is made of love, and when I meet the love in creativity and in living creatures I see and understand the meaning of life itself. It´s like it gives me an injection of live.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
JC: – Let´s have more opportunities to hear music live. More places that mix ages and styles of musicians and audience. Lets find a better way to pay the artists for their music. Politicians have to start seeing and treating artists as a part of this sociaty.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
JC: – Right now I bye all kinds of vinyl records second hand. Whatever I find interesting. I like covers.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
JC: – I´d like to sit hidden i the tourbus with Billie Holidays band in the 50´ties and hear her sing live. Feel her spirit. OR, I would like to see the premiere of Stravinskijs Le sacre the printemps by the Russia Ballet 1913 at Theatre des Champs Elysee in Paris. What a fantastic moment.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan