INTERVIEW: Emilia Martensson (Beyond Vocal Workshops in Blackheath and Izola + forthcoming album)

Emilia Martensson in Bremen 2018
Photo credit: Knipserey, Bremen

Swedish/Slovenian vocalist/ songwriter EMILIA MARTENSSON led her group at the European showcase in Bremen last week. She has a range of interesting projects in the next few months. Interview by Sebastian:  

LondonJazz News:
How have the last few months been for you? You’ve normally been to some fairly exotic places!

Emilia Martensson: The last few months have been good thanks. I do spend a lot of my time in Slovenia at the moment, which is where my mother is from, but I have been mainly in London these last few months working on my new project which I am about to record in the summer and also getting ready for my showcase at Jazzahead which has just been.

I was also recently in Kosovo performing with Joe Sanders project ‘Infinity’.

Congratulations on your Jazzahead showcase. What was your experience like of the conference this year?

EM: Thank you! I had a great time at Jazzahead this year! It is quite a daunting task to go there as an artist trying to ‘sell yourself’, but actually it is a very friendly environment! I mean it’s full of great music and music loving people so of course the atmosphere is going to be wonderful! I had lots of great new meetings with lovely people and feeling excited about the future. It was great to get the opportunity to showcase my new project this year. We played on Friday afternoon at Shlachtof for a full room and a very warm audience and we had a great response afterwards so I couldn’t be more happy.

And you have a new album coming out. Who is featured in this new project of yours?

EM: Yes my new album Loredana is out on Babel Label in March next year. The project features Adriano Adewale on percussion, Luca Boscagin on Guitar, Fulvio Sigurta on Trumpet and Electronics and Sam Lasserson on bass.

LJN: What are the inspirations for the songs?

EM: The album is titled after my mother Loredana and within this project I have explored the adversity of the mother-child relationship. I have asked my audiences four specific questions about their relationship to their mothers and used their answers as inspiration to write this new material. It has been an interesting and inspiring process so far with lots of open and honest answers of a wide variety. There is still time to be involved and if you would like to answer my questions and have your answers turned in to a song then you can find the questions here !

LJN: Is there a linking thread in the songs?

EM: Yes the ‘Mother’ theme is for sure the red thread through this project. I chose this theme because it is one we all can relate to but also because there’s infinite observations to the mother-child relationship and how it shapes us throughout our lives. One of the questions I ask is ‘explain your mother with one word’! The variation of words has been wild! One of the words that stood out to me though was the word ‘There’ which is now one of the titles for one of the songs. We also have a song called ‘Born’ and one about ‘Mother Nature’. I am also including my own childhood memories in my songs and we have one song called ‘I wake up and hear your voice downstairs’ which is inspired by one of my favourite childhood memories.

LJN: What stage is the album at right now? When will it be released and when’s the launch ?

EM: We are recording this July and releasing our first single in November during The London Jazz Festival. The full album will be out mid March 2019. The venue for the launch is yet to be confirmed.

LJN: And then the next thing is your courses in Slovenia?

EM: Yes! This will be the 5th year that I run my ‘BEYOND VOCALS’ Jazz Course in Izola, Slovenia. I have singers of a very high standard coming form all over Europe attending the course and it is always an amazing week and one of the highlights of my summer. This year I will be joined by Jamie Safir as guest tutor and piano accompanist. We run daily workshops and masterclasses in the days including work on band leading skills, interpretation of a wide range of repertoire, improvisation and performing skills amongst many other workshop titles. We also run jam sessions most nights and finish the week with a big concert by the sea together with a great rhythm section in front of a local audience.

This year I am also starting a brand new course which I call ‘CREATIVITY’, which will involve more focus on song writing, exploring the voice through improvisation and yoga and meditation sessions in order to boost creativity. The guest tutors will include Jamie Doe (Composer, singer and guitarist who goes under the name the Magic Lantern ) and Luca Boscagin (Guitar and Composer) and Anja Brenko, (Yoga and Meditation Instructor). I am also arranging a small festival around this course which will include Mishka Adams and Beto Caletto, The Flying Ibex, The Magic Lantern and Myself and Luca.

You can apply to the course and read about them here: www.beyondvocals.info

LJN: What else have you got coming up?

EM: I am collaborating with Cooknst on a new event at The Baldwin Gallery in Blackheath on 19 May. The event is called ‘Who’s your Mama?’ and will be an evening of food, music, fine art and stories. I will also run a vocal workshop in the day as part of this event and the evening will go on to include a set from me and my quartet as well as a four course meal by the amazing Egyptian chef Mostafa Hussien inside the Baldwin Art Gallery which also has an amazing exhibition on.

LINKS: Apply for the vocal course on 19 May HERE
Who’s Your Mama in Blackheath/ tickets HERE

Categories: miscellaneous

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