May 22, 2024

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Interview with Vivian Buczek: So happy if we stopped seeing music as competition

Interview with singer Vivian Buczek. An interview by email in writing.

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

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?

Vivian Buczek: – I grew in Malmö Sweden in a Polish home, raised by jazz polish jazz musician parents .Mother vibraphone player and father trombone player . My home was always full of music so it has always been very natural for me to be surrounded by music and then becoming a jazz musician myself. I guess that’s how my passion for music grew.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

I got my first piano lessons from with my mother at age of 5 , but realising I could make a living out of my singing didn’t come until much later, maybe in music academy. I have always been singing practically since I was born, I remember singing my self to sleep and the first thing I did when I woke up. As the only child in family music was always like a comfort to me and became sort of my roots. My father was my also very much my mentor and he eventually told that If want to make a living out of this I have to be totally dedicated with patience and practising , but above all to maintain the happiness and fun playing with others for the rest of my life, to never loose that essential feeling and approach to music. He is not alive anymore so I remind myself of his words every time I on stage and before.

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

VB: – To be honestI have never put much thoughts of my sound and its development, I have always just tried sing as natural as possible, to sound like myself and not copying others, and let this grow naturally. I have listened to many kinds of music Ella Fitzgerald and other great American singers but I also listened a lot to soul and funk, Chaka khan Stevie and other genres than jazz so I guess my sound has become a mixture of those influences and that’s how I guess my sound has developed. The voice changes a lot during a life time and the best is to just go with the flow and adjust but practicing and maintaining your technics are important since we get older. I teach in a academy sometimes and I notice that students are very occupied with sounding like other singers they look up to so I try to make them find their own voice quite early. Very important thing for every instrumentals no matter what instrument.

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

VB: – I have to admit my everyday practice is lousy nowadays being a mother to a 9 year old. Usually I practice when I have to prepare myself for concerts and tours, which are regular so that works fine. I work with a fantastic Swedish musician and arranger who challenges me with new music including difficult harmony and rhythm which is great fun. This has always been very essential to me a s a jazzsinger to develop though life and getting better and better and writing music and challenging yourself with new music is what makes you develop through life. Jazz is a genre where I feel I never stop learning.

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

VB: – Oh yes I have changed a lot, I think that’s what’s driving me in music to develop and challenge myself all the time .My voice has of course changed physically as natural, but my approach to music and playing with others, new musicians , who challenges me with their interaction, listening to new music getting new influences is the part where I’ve grown the most the past 10 years I think.

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

VB: – Maybe my English isn’t the best here but I’ll try to explain how I feel. Intellect and soul is very much combined all the time in music I think, especially in Jazz that can be a quite complicated genre. I though tend to put my soul first. The most important thing is to love your music, feel it and become moved, both yourself and your listeners, I think there is alway a great intellect behind every deep soul. You can always impress people by playing music in a very intellectual way but if it hasn’t got any soul then its just waste f time in my opinion. Sometimes I say that when you get on stage reaching out to people you have to leave your intellect n the practice room and put on your soul. Maybe depends on how connected you are to your emotions and what kind of musician you are.

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

VB: – I’m glad you ask this because this something I always strive for when performing , and I think is one of my strongest features as a performer. As I mentioned before Im very much connected with my feelings and very emotional person. My aim is always to get the audience to feel something on my concerts. Angry happy, sad , anything as long as I reach out to them and moved them in any way. I dont know if its easier to reach out to common people non musicians as a singer when you have your lyrics and stories around the music, maybe? I like to sing about things my listeners can relate to and often I tend to take stories from life and experiences.

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

VB: – This is a hard question that we musicians discuss a lot here also in Sweden, basically older audience come to the concerts, the younger people tend to be mostly students. I have no answers, maybe to get jazz music more in to the media, To make jazz more approachable and not something people are afraid of listening to. My music has reached out to many younger but as mentioned mostly students, for example by arranging the old songs in a more modern way, writing songs that tend to approach more to younger with lyrics they can relate to.Maybe?m But I think media could help us a lot. To include jazzmusik more in to the mainstream music that goes on on TV and other media channels. In Sweden we have a lot of pre bands before the main act that consists of younger musicians which maybe could be helpful but dont know if in the long way run tone honest.

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

VB: – Music is indeed also my total spirit since I grew up in musical family with music around me all the time since I was born. Music is the only thing I’ve been doing my whole life, it has been my comfort and happiness and very strong connected to my personality and spirit. It has taught me to go my own way, staying true to my self and being my self with compromising with others. Without the music in life I would be totally lost I think. Music is something that drives me forward in life. But the hard side of it is to be able to take a break sometimes from my on going musical brain that is on fire all the time hehe. Being a mother to a 7 year old helps little bit with perspective though.

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

VB: – I would be so happy if we stopped seeing music as competition, nowadays with social media everywhere, we focus so much on how many views on YouTube and listeners on streams, evryone is coparing the selfs with each other that can come very destructive and shallow I think. Many people get lost in this and tend to get depressed and loose their direction.So I would love if could go more going inwards putting those blindfolds on sometimes.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

VB: – I think I’m very much up to date with following new artists, the more I listen to new ones the more I tend to go back and listen old ones who are unbeatable, like Ella, Shirley Horn, Sara Vaugh and many others. Ella Fitzgerald was my first encounter with jazz vocals and my first inspiration so when I’m totally lost I tend to put on her music and immediately I find myself in the feeling why I first started doing this. But to mention one of the more contemporary artists I like to listen to has to be Gregory Porter, he has so much soul and spirit coming through his music which is the main thing that captures me. Also Shirley Horn I tend to listen to a lot, she has a great since of space and calmness in her music which maybe I tend to enjoy more and more while maturing in my musicality.

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

VB: – I think I would like to go back to the 50’ and 60. I think that’s a period of time where jazz was more mainstream and wasn’t an introvert genre as today. Or maybe even earlier.

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Interview by Simon Sarg

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