June 17, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Katharina Debus: My heart definitely leads as soon as I sing: Videos, new CD cover, Photos

Jazz interview with jazz vocalist Katharina Debus. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Katharina Debus: – I grew up near Frankfurt/Main in Germany (quite near to where Hanns Höhn was born and raised). My parents both loved music and so I just listened a lot of stuff, mostly from the 60s and 70s, sat in my room and tried to copy the singers I loved. When I was 17, I moved to Hamburg and studied Musical Theatre… After 2 theatre engagements I made the jump… Since then I am a freelance singer. So it took me kind of a detour but I always knew I wanted to be a singer and live from it.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

KD: – In Musical Theatre the most important thing is to do every night the exact same thing, 8 times the week.. there was not much time reflecting your own sound .Most of the vocal technique I learned from an American Opera singer in Berlin. With this technique, which I myself teach today, I was able to overcome the limitations of my voice, which led to greater joy in expression. Later on I found my vocal band SLIXS, which I am still a member of.  That was (and is) a cosmos I was able to play around for years in Jazz and Funk and find my own sound.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony? 

KD: – I have a small routine every day which includes piano playing and vocal exercises according to Frederick Husler.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

KD: – 

In the beginning of FRAU CONTRA BASS the fact that we are a duo was always so important. In terms of what it should be like and how it should sound like.. and how we should arrange things … Today it doesn’t matter, we are us and we become more relaxed with years.

JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

KD: – We both learn our stuff so we can be free on stage. Quite the same for recordings..

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: Frau Contra Bass – Kiss & Cry, how it was formed and what you are working on today. 

KD: – I like the fact that we worked more with overdubs this time. And the fact that we recorded it in my living room changed a lot of things. No one telling you that you have to go now. If we felt like recording at 01:00 am, we did it.
Also I just love to play the new stuff live. It’s such a great pleasure to work with such an incredible musician like Hanns for such a long time and it never ever gets boring.

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

KD: – We have worked with both of the guest musicians many times, and we have known both of them for a very long time. Cornelius Borgolte, who plays the wonderful bass clarinet solo on “Weisses Papier” has even recorded 2 of our former records. So in short: love and skill.

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

KD: – Both have to be on. My head mainly works as a brake, so I do not get overwhelmed while transporting my emotion. But my heart definitely leads as soon as I sing.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

KD: – Of course. But not calculated. Best scenario: I’m completely with myself and present at the same time. If the audience gets something out of that, it makes me very happy. I’m pretty sure Hanns feels the same way!

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

KD: – There were so many concerts we played as a duo, we can’t believe it ourselves….And each one feels unique and special for us.. I was once on tour with Bobby Mc Ferrin , that was also really special for me and I learned a lot.

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

KD: – 
A good song stays good, no matter how old. But it seems to me that these standards are often just used to show off your own skills. Higher, faster, further …
 For me personally there is nothing more boring than that.

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

KD: – As soon as I sing, I’m no longer afraid, I feel deeply peaceful and try to share it with the others. I guess this could be called spirit of life..

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

KD: – More women in the jazz world. But it’s coming..

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

KD: – For our new SLIXS album I listened a lot to J.S. Bach the last months .
Just yesterday Neil Diamond, the new album of Alicia keys and Meshell Ndegeocellos Comfort woman. So good.


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

KD: – Breaking bounderies, reaching out, spreading love.

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

KD: – Although we live in really scary times just now, I would prefer to stay here with my family..

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

KD: – 
What time do you have in Boston now? Here it’s quite late… so I can’t think of one. sorry.

JBN: – 

00:06․ I publish the interview every day at this time.

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

KD: – Exchange I guess. I personally like to read interviews myself.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Musik-Rezension: FrauContraBass | Comes Love - CD-Besprechung fairaudio

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