February 27, 2024

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Interview with Anne Chris: The soul and heart of music is the most important: Video

Jazz interview with jazz singer Anne Chris. An interview by email in writing.

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

Anne Chris: – I grew up in a small city (Alkmaar) in the Netherlands. My mother and father both played instruments (piano & guitar) and my father started writing songs at an early age. He also had his own band that used to rehearse at our home. So I grew up in a very musical environment!

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

ACH: – My range has developed during the years; I’m able to sing both higher and lower with less effort. I believe I’ve learned a lot in the years that I studied Jazz Vocals (at the Conservatory of Amsterdam), but as soon as I finished my studies and got to sing in ‘the real world’ I’ve learned the most. Just from the experience of performing with all kinds of musicians under different circumstances all over the world.

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

ACH: – If I’m honest I don’t have a special practice routine nowadays, I’m already glad if I can find the time to practice new songs ( I have a two year old son J ). But to practice jazz-timing and phrasing I’ve been ‘rapping’ the words while clapping on the two and four. That’s a very good, basic way to get conscious about your rhythmical choices, because you’re not singing.

JBN: – 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?

ACH: – In my music I try to let people feel a sense of consolation and joy instead of challenging them intellectually, I guess. Anyway, when I’m writing my songs I’m just expressing my feelings or imagining situations and/or experiences. I don’t choose to write a smooth song, it just comes out like that!

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

ACH: – I think all influences can be interesting; embrace everything you like and make it your own!

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

ACH: – For me the soul and heart of music is the most important. Of course in the process of making a song you use both your intellect and your feelings. Ideally you would start with your soul and let your intellect guide you to finish a song. While performing I aim to be ‘in the moment’ and not think about what I’m doing.

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

ACH: – Of course! It’s only a big compliment and achievement if an audience loves listening to your music.

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

ACH: – I have a very funny memory of a tour I did in China with the famous Malando Tango Orchestra. During one song people were invited to come and dance on the stage. It was not the idea to dance with me, but with the professional dancers who were part of the show. But while I was still singing, a very enthusiastic man walked up to me and started dancing with me! This was one of the craziest moments while performing, because I’m not used to ballroom dancing L, let alone when a crowd of a 1000 are watching.

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

ACH: – I think it’s not a problem; jazz will always keep attracting young people who love rhythm, improvisation and beautiful harmonies. For me, personally, it started when I was 13 and heard Sarah Vaughan sing the song ‘Perdido’. It really blew my mind, the way she sang; so free and full of energy.

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

ACH: – When the conditions are right you can definitely bring your spirit alive and reach other people’s spirits while performing. The meaning of life for me is to ‘just be’: to be conscious of everything that surrounds you and what moves you. For me that’s the goal; I don’t succeed in this every day of course.

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

ACH: – It would be great if people in general could be more aware and appreciative of live-music in bars and cafes. People usually don’t realize that to be a musician is a serious profession, not a hobby.

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

ACH: – I really love to listen to the music of John Mayer, I’m a big fan. Especially of his album ‘Continuum’. I also love Jill Scott, Beady Belle, Esperanza Spalding and Steve Reich.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

ACH: – I don’t think I have a specific message. But quite recently I realised the titles of my four albums are somewhat related: ‘Tomorrow is today’, ‘Play for now’, ‘Just Kissed  the Sun’ and ‘Flowing Freely’. These titles seem to refer to a certain state of being; I guess to be in the moment and be free. If that could be a message, I’d like it!

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

ACH: – If I could bring all the people I love J I would like to hang out in the Sixties and see a Jimi Hendrix concert.

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

ACH: – What are your plans for the future?

I would love to keep on writing new songs and perform internationally, especially in Japan and South-Korea.

JBN: – Thanks for answers, but my question was about you asking your question to us, not about you asking you a question and answering it 🙂

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

ACH: – It’s important to keep dreaming and make plans for the future. Dare to speak your dreams out loud and consciously work to make them come true.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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