Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clarisse Albrecht:The World's Musical Ambassador

Photo Credit: Imagenes Dominicanas
          If we say we are a product of our environment, then there would be a direct correlation of our perception and how we interpret things like music. For one such individual, the situational circumstance couldn’t be any truer. That one person is Clarisse Albrecht, a newcomer to the world of lounge music. She is one of those rare birds who make you feel like she needs you as much as you need her. Her songs make you feel needed and important. And her fans/friends have been doing the same for her.

       An ambitious world citizen, Clarisse Albrecht has lived in Bafatá (Guinea-Bissau), Maputo (Mozambique) and Paris (France). Infact, she has lately been shuttling between her home base of Paris and the Dominican Republic. Those experiences in her sojourns distinctively shaped her sound and expressed in songs. There is hardly any doubt therefore that music is in her blood. Shaped from the rhythms that dance through her veins, Ms. Clarisse has mastered the traditional rhythms that have traveled from Africa to Santo Domingo. Her Afro/Brasilia sound is a conversation of melodies which evokes fierce passion. Endowed with such a broad musical vision is broad, she combines her talents with those of some of the most accomplished musicians performing today in genres that range from jazz to pop. Soaring from the heart without losing her head, Ms. Clarisse brings an understated sensuality to what she performs, and with an unequalled grace at that.

       In 2010, Clarisse released her debut single, Voce Me Da which she considers to be a distillation of her life's experiences. I was fortunate to be granted an exclusive e-mail interview with Ms. Albrecht. This interview covered a wide range of issues and interests, which was indeed revealing. Here are details of my interview with this nouveau artiste.

First of all, I want to express my gratitude for  granting me the opportunity to interview you.
You're welcome!

Tell us a little about your background.
About my musical background, I officially started singing in a Gospel choir when I was around 16-17, then I sang as a background vocalist in a soul-funk band, then I decided to find my musical identity and I started to work on my own songs...

Who are your musical influences? Which musicians have helped you define your style of what you perform?

I listen to a lot of different kind of music, there's artist I've listened to all my life. I've been influenced a lot by Sade but also Amel Larrieux, Alcione, Jõao Gilberto...My style is still not clearly define, so it's kind of hard for me to name who really inspired me, it's a mix of everything.

You have lived in four countries and speak several languages. Now you are living in Paris. How did this diverse environment affect your personality and your music?

Yes, I've lived in different countries between France and Africa when I was a kid. Grown up, I've been hanging around and traveling in different countries... Right now, I don't feel like I'm settled anywhere. I'm living between France and Dominican Republic. This kind of living, I bet, affected my personality in the way that I'm not afraid by changes, I'm always trying to be open-minded and understand different cultures. For me life is full of options and you can change your way of life anytime. In my music, I think it gave me the will to make it travel as much as possible and share it with people from different horizons. I always knew I wanted my music to go beyond France's borders.

What is it about Brazilian music that appeals to you? What have you done since to build your knowledge and appreciation of Brazilian music? Has Brazilian music influenced your style in any way?

I think it's very linked to my childhood in Mozambique. I got close there with the Brazilian culture and music, and of course with Portuguese. I was watching Brazilian TV series and I was fascinated. I grew up dreaming of going to Brazil. When I went there the first time, I was working on Brazilian classics songbook. But while I was there, I felt so good and confident that I decided to write my own songs in Portuguese. I realize it had a meaning for me. I'm very nostalgic and Portuguese is the language of Saudade which fits with my sensitivity as an artist and also with this important part of my childhood.

What was going through your mind when you began writing Voce Me Da?

I was in a very positive mood. I wanted to express the simple joy you feel when  you're falling in love. Express that the important thing for me is not where you come from, your color, the real thing is emotions you bring, you provoke, the way you see life.

You are currently working on releasing a full-length album through an independent label. Are you independent by option or do you intend to shop around larger labels or distribution companies?

I've produced my debut single myself. I was later contacted by a digital distributor and we released it. For the album, I'm planning to keep on producing myself, you know. I just want to make my music and spread it. I'll go with the flow. I'm doing my thing and if an offer comes, I will think about it.

Are you pleased with the way your music has been received?

Oh yes! So far, feedbacks are positive. When I discovered that people I don't know at all, that are not family or friends, loved the song I was thrilled and felt really blessed. I can't wait to spread some more.

You have received a good amount of critical success so far are you hoping that translates into commercial success?

I hope so. I'm very underground right now, a commercial success will mean that I've shared my music more and hopefully bring good vibes to more people.

How much does your upbringing in living in Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and France affect the themes you choose to write about?

I have no idea. I wrote a song about Maputo (Mozambique), but except that I don't know how it affects directly the theme I write about. I bet it does surely because it's part of me, my History.

Who are your musical kindred spirits?

I would say LS as he's the co-producer and composer of my songs.

Do you believe music has the power to bring about permanent change?

For sure. Music can save lives or at least, bring daily changes. Music is there for so many moments, in your ups and downs. When you're sad, happy, weak. When you're jogging, when you're driving. When you wanna party... Without even mentioning songs with strong lyrics. You can learn so many things, build or heal yourself through songs you've heard. Music is the answer for so many things.

Much of your music draws on your own very personal experiences. How does sharing so much of your own life with strangers affect you emotionally?

It helps a lot singing in other languages than my maternal one. I can get very emotional when I record a song, sometimes I have very strong flashbacks about what inspired me to write a song but I'm fine with that. It helps me be in the right mood for the song. Even if I'm uncomfortable when people listen to my music in front of me, it's about sharing and release feelings. Plus, most of the people don't even care about the lyrics, lol!

What is the most important thing you would like that people should know about you?

That I believe in the power of positivity. That I wanna bring good vibes!

Overall, what do you think the uniqueness of this album has brought to your music and to your fans?

It's too early to tell.

For 2011, what are your plans?

Release my album, spread my music worldwide, and go on tour. Spend time with people I love, make my family happy.

      Thanks once again for granting me this interview, Ms. Clarisse Albrecht! I look forward to the eventual release of the full-length album.

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1 comment:

  1. Brilliant I love all of it, keep it going.
    Proud of you
    Lots of Love