Heilewelt - a blog for music lovers

Geschichten von der Heilewelt - a blog for music lovers

"It is wonderful to be able experience art without understanding how it was meant or what makes it good." (Kim Boekbinder said that during an interview I did with her) I might not have the biggest knowledge about music but I have a great passion for it. Passion is what counts.

I live in Berlin, Germany (born, raised and still resident) and this is my personal blog about music and other things that cross my way. Things I love to be exact. And even though I am German and my English is still not perfect, this blog is in English.

Posts tagged "laura jansen"

Where to start? Well, I’ve already introduced some of my favourite things in 2013 through the previous “Best of 2013” lists of Quiet Lions, Tristan Brusch, Olympians, Tellavision, Phil, Laura Jansen and Corwood Manual. But what else was there? I published 15 interviews in total. That’s quite a bit and there are still some coming. Did I had a favourite? All of them to be honest. I think the one I was most scared of and most excited about and turned out to be an all time favourite interview. It was with Andy Bothwell aka Astronautalis where we chatted about science and stuff. And then there was of course the interview Laura Jansen who would be so encouraging.

I haven’t been to many festivals this years - three or four in total. My most favourite was Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Why? Great music all day long without camping and in one of my most favourite cities of the world. Bands like Naked Lunch, The Sheepdogs, Talking To Turtles, Death Hawks, Tunng…

As always my best of’s aren’t in any particular order and are mainly the things I can still remember and made me happy. Of course I’ll keep the two farewell shows very close to my heart. I just loved The Candle Thieves concert in May and the last Stagecoach show during Alcopopalooza was just so much fun. And another plus: I saw Elephants live. They split a couple of years ago and I never ever thought I’ll see them. They reunited for one last show. They were amazing. The super catchy pop song “Strong Arms” never leaves my mp3-player.

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And then there were Chinese band Nova Heart – magnifcient electro pop with an amazing singer who just knows how to put on a show. She was supported by another favourite of mine: Tomi Simatupang who not only played but combined it with a weird theater play and a great choir.

Arcade Fire were awesome. And of course: William Fitzsimmons, Denison Witmer, Mars Red Sky (at any time really, in my hometown and in theirs), Samsara Blues Experiment, Thomas Dybdahl, Efterklang, Salvation Bill and Rob Lynch.

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Albums/music (in no particular order):

- Arcade Fire “Reflektor”

- Suns of Thyme "Fortune, Shelter, Love and Cure"

- Queens of the Stone Age “Like Clockwork…”

- Stagecoach “Say Hi To The Band”

- Kevin Devine “Bubblegum”/”Bulldozer”

- David Bowie “The Next Day”

- The Candle Thieves “All’s Well That Ends Well”

- Sharks And Bears “OK, Who Cares, Oh Well, Whatever”

- Elyas Khan “Brawl In Paradise”

The whole package which let to love:

There were some artists where the triplet – interview, music and concert - just made me fall in love with them. Those are wonderful moments. I didn’t know any of the bands/artist beforehand, the interviews were partly really messy but very interesting. It’s not that I went unprepared or something, sometimes I was just tired (as in too nervous to sleep), sometimes it was organized very last minute. In the end those turned out to be just fabulous conversation.

The first one was with Oliver Welter of Naked Lunch. He is a very smart man and it was a very enjoyable conversation. Their album “All Is Fever” has been on repeat for days and weeks after I talked to Welter. It’s full-on Pop.

The next ones were Tunng. We had a very messy interview but they are a lovely bunch of people and I like their album “Turbines”. After I have seen them twice live in merely 48 hours I was fully in love. After their singer Mike told me to check out their older stuff as well I was surprised how much their music changed over the years.

Unlike Tunng and Naked Lunch, Jan Roth is new to the game… at least when it comes releasing his own music. He has worked with several bands beforehand – too many to mention – and now he released “L.O.W.”: Lieder ohne Worte/Songs without words. He is witty and wise in his very own way.

Things to look forward to in 2014:

There are a couple of albums, tours and other things to look forward to in the next almost 362 days. The three most notable are the new album by William Fitzsimmons „Lions“ - I know that something I mention already in the outlook for 2013 a year ago. Well, now all label stuff etc is done, he, they and we are ready for the new album. It’s great, I can tell you already – he went back to his roots and so the album feels much more honest than his last one.

The second one I look forward to is Miss Kenichi's album “The Trail” – it’ll be out in spring on Sinnbus. Haunting beauty.

The last one is an album I got from Melodie & Rhythmus to review and I fell instantly in love with it. Not sure I would have discovered it any other way. It’s Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings “Give The People What They Want” – I got it on repeat for days (I was quite thrilled to find out they also made her album of the month). She is a real soul diva and I haven’t heard anyone like her since probably Aretha Franklin. A huge comparison, I know, but she stand it.

And of course: Archive's new project called “AXIOM” - a movie and soundtrack from the great band. Still time to support them on Pledge. Already looking forward to 29th of May when they will show the movie and play the soundtrack live in the Roundhouse, London.

Tours to go to: Kevin Devine, William Fitzsimmons, Arcade Fire, Unmap and Russell Brand. And I really want to catch To Kill A King when they are touring Germany by the end of the month.

I’ve probably forgotten a lot of things* but those were the first things to come to my mind.

Thank you for reading and have a good 2014,

Dörte

*like when I saw Pentagram live. Bobby Liebling knows how a rockstar behaves on stage and the music wasn’t too bad either.

Previous best of 2013 lists:

#1 Quiet Lions

#2 Tristan Brusch

#3 Olympians

#4 Tellavision

#5 PhilthD

#6 Laura Jansen

#7 Corwood Manual

I love Laura Jansen ever since the first time we chatted after a concert in 2009 and I am not getting tired of saying that. She is simply the most lovely, encouraging person I ever had the pleasure of talking to. It’s been my most favourite interview when we talked about her new record “Elba” earlier this year -  a beautiful, honest piece of music. 

She just played a show with Armin van Buuren in Kiev and was (is) touring the world with him and I am so very happy she took the time to give me her best of 2013 despite her super busy schedule. <3

Best of 2013 by Laura Jansen

 #1 James Blake - Overgrown

It took me a minute to get into this follow up album. His previous was such a huge part of my listening experience and this album seemed a bit more nebulous. Now it’s a part of my landscape as I travel. Key tracks for me are ‘Retrograde’ and ‘Our Love Comes Back’.

#2 Drake - Nothing Was the Same

I’ve really enjoyed what’s been coming out of hip hop this year and guilty pleasure or not, this album is a big part of that sound. It’s sexy and edgy and still very danceable. Favorite track is ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’. I play that at least once a day :)

#3 Rhye - Open

I first heard this band through the track ‘Open’ which I think is one of the strongest tracks I’ve heard in years. Lyrically as well melodically it really hits the mark. Such a beautiful love song. I enjoy the sound of the singer’s voice and the combination of intimate songs with bigger productions. This is still my favorite track on the album but also really love ‘The Fall’.

#4 Dawes - Stories Don’t End

Boy this record really took me on a journey. It’s so well made and so classically written. A truly timeless creation. My favorite type of lyric writing. Key track for me is ‘Just My Luck’.

#5 The National - Trouble Will Find Me

My favorite album of 2013. In its totality it is perfect to me. I’ve listened to this at every possible moment and adore it. Favorite tracks (and this is hard for me) ‘Fireproof’, ‘I Need My Girl’, ‘This is the last Time’.

#6 Stromae - Racine Carrée

There’s just not many times that an artist like this appears and captures the imagination of so many different kinds of music lovers. I think he is an incredible live performer, visual artist and producer/writer. I’m so excited that talent like his exists and what we can expect from him in the future. Key tracks for me are ‘Formidable’ and ‘Tous les Memes’.

#7 The Milk Carton Kids - The Ash & Clay

I’ve watched these two from the very beginning when on a ski trip they played their first songs as a duo for us in front of the fire. Having watched them grow into this animal they’ve become with two heads and two voices but one heart is incredible. This is such a gorgeous album in its entirety and in its simplicity. Key tracks are ‘The Jewel of June’ and ‘Snake Eyes’.

#8 The Veils - Time Stays, We Go

I saw the band first live at Lowlands and only then got into their studio work. This album suits my dark moods just fine. Key track are ‘The Pearl’ and ‘Out of the Valley’.

Previous best of 2013 lists:

#1 Quiet Lions

#2 Tristan Brusch

#3 Olympians

#4 Tellavision

#5 PhilthD

P.S. Have a fabulous 2014! As the Irish say: may the best of your past be the worst of your future. All the best and thank you for your support and everything.

With much love,

Dörte

It’s Sunday! Here is the second part of my interview with the charming Laura Jansen. We did this interview a couple of month ago - before she toured her new album “Elba” in Holland and before it was released anywhere. Since it’s for FastForward Magazine I had to wait to publish it until “Elba” was released in my home country - especially since a tour got shifted as well. Anyway. 

In the first part we talked about her collaborations with Ed Harcourt and Tom Chaplin (Keane), the album and paper boat:

http://heilewelt.tumblr.com/post/55715106954/interview-laura-jansen-elba

One of the things I love about Laura and her lyrics is that she makes me feel being OK about the way I am - something that is rather rare in my world. And sometimes I learn a lesson from her. I did in this part of the interview for sure. Maybe you’ll learn it, too, if you haven’t noticed it before.

(Photo by Lalo Gonzales)

Dörte Heilewelt: Have you managed to stay independent of your record label (note: she is signed to the major label Universal)? I remember you said the last time we did an interview (2010) that you want to stay as independent as possible.

Laura Jansen: Yeah, I mean, I really have. Especially with this record it was the first opportunity I think for me to have too many people involved. It was the first time I was making a record under a major label and I was a little bit afraid that the process would change but they really trust me. I didn’t have anybody in the studio but me and my producer for months and months and months. And really what the record label did is help me get together with writers that I wanted to work with and kind of left me alone for months. And when we played them the record they just said ‘Great, when are we gonna release it?’ So, there were no notes or comments and I was able to do my own artwork again and my own videos. I’ve really been trusted with my own thing and I’m so grateful. I’m having a creatively very fulfilling experience within a major label which is good.

Yeah, usually you don’t hear it’s that way.

No, I know. So, I think I’m very lucky with the team of people that work on the record and they’re not very focused on making me into a pop star or a big hit over night. They’re very much aware that my music might take a little longer and it’s a slow crawl instead of a big finish. And everyone is OK with that.

You said earlier that the writing process changed: in what way did it change?

Well, this is the first record I’ve co-written with people and that’s a huge change for me because I had to learn within the process what is mine, what is shared and what can I learn. I think those were the three questions I always asked myself during the process. Being challenged by people who are musical and who you admire and putting away your ego and putting away your nervousness and just taking risks together and then having it reflected back to you by that person as something positive is really… I grew up, I grew as an artist for myself. I did the best work I could do now. I don’t think I could have done better for myself. This is my best work right now and feels really good to have been pushed to that limit, to not be just OK with a song but to really question everything, stylewise push myself and vocally push myself. That writing process was super fast, every song took 2 days. It was this super creative period of time. The songs just came out in a really painless way although there was a lot of pain around the process. The actual process of making the songs felt very easy. That’s when you know, you have found the right people.

That’s good to hear. Is it still as personal as the first one?

Oh my god, yes. I just had a rehearsal for the whole set, like a production rehearsal last week with all the lights and the sound because we have a dutch tour first coming out. It was the first time I have really played the set back to back without stopping and talking piano parts and sound things. It’s so painful and it’s so personal and there are moments in the set where I still can’t remove myself from what the songs are about. It’s a very deeply personal record for me because I was writing it in a very difficult time. My relationship ended during the process of writing this record and it made me have to look at what I was writing and really decide to write what was happening that day and then going into the studio and writing about it. It was almost hysterical like sometime hysterical crying, sometimes hysterical laughing. It’s a really hyper emotional time for me and the songs are all about that. There is one song on the album, ‘Around The Sun’ that is for me the most difficult song emotionally and playing that live is really challenging because it is technically very difficult and for the first time last week I played it emotionally and I had to stop. I had to make a grocery list to stop getting emotional. I had to change my thought a little bit. Yes, it’s a very personal record, Dörte, but it’s not very obvious, it’s not as in your face, I’m experimenting with lyrics that are a little bit more veiled and covered. I think, I have been listening to a lot of Kate Bush again and her lyrics…

You can hear that a little bit…well, I did.

Oh, you can? That’s a good thing. Her lyrics writing is magic but there is such deep emotion in her magic and I don’t want to… I think being in the limelight for the past two years and experiencing what it’s like to have more than just your family looking at your life has made me very private about my life. It’s not the same as talking about a relationship that ended about ten years ago and talking about one that ended this year and last year. So, I needed to find a way to talk about it without breaking myself. Yes, it’s a very personal record.

It must be very challenging to put yourself out like this to a crowd who will listen to the songs and press who will judge about the songs and you’re talking about your most personal stuff.

It’s very scary. I think it’s scary for any artist. The first time the record comes out you’re like ‘Oh, my god,’ The work that you’ve been doing in this sort of cave for a year is now out in the public. But I have to say that I had a moment before we finished the record where I knew that I could be proud and it’s a record I would put on and listen to. I am really, really proud of this record.

And you should be, you’ve got all reason to be proud of it.

But it’s OK if people don’t like it tho. I am not anymore going up and down with reviews. I used to. And I do have the coolest audience in the world and they know me now well enough to know it’s personal. So, it feels save. It’s also OK to not feel save. It’s also really exciting to be super vulnerable. It’s really good for me.

Is it? Usually people are trying not to show that they are vulnerable or anything. I do it all the time.

I think that’s the problem. I think it’s really brave to let people know that you’re not perfect and you’re not OK and you’re also totally fine. I mean I am totally fine and I am totally not OK at the same time. That’s a big part of being a human being and that’s a big part of this record - it’s letting people hear sad sides and angry sides and weird sides and it’s OK, I don’t really have to apologize for it. But it’s always scary. I just want to keep doing my job. If people don’t like the record then I can’t do my job and that’s scary.

I remember from the last interview as well that your goal in life to just keep working, keep doing what you love.

Yes, it still is. These are the last two weeks before I start touring again and I can’t wait. I’m so anxious to go out and see what this record does live. The songs have to live their own life now and I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve gone out and played all new songs. So, this is really new for me and very exciting for the band as well, very challenging for the band. I get to go out and do what I love the most now which is play. I can’t wait.

Did you miss it a lot when you where in the studio?

I did but I was ready to stop for a little bit. I had my last show in December 2011 and then I still went to China in 2012 and the stuff with the charity record came up again and I did some performances with that. I only stopped performing for about six months but I didn’t take time off. I went right back into the creative world but it was nice not to wear make up and wear pyjamas every day and cry every day. That felt good. But now it’s time to sort of wash my face and brush my hair and do my best again.

You could still wear the pyjama [we laugh] - you’re an artist you are free to do what you like actually.

The Queen of Elba does not wear pyjamas on stage.

She doesn’t? What does she wear?

She wears armor.

Well, the pyjamas are the best armor there is. You never feel as comfortable as in your pyjamas.

Yes, that is true, but it’s not about feeling comfortable, it’s about pushing yourself into this uncomfortable new place. This is my favourite place.

You should actually wear the most uncomfortable outfit on stage.

Yes, I will wear armour and and swords and… [laughs]

…the 10 cm high heels. That’s going to be interesting.

It’s going to be difficult to play piano but I am going to make it happen. […] If Lady Gaga can do it in those outfits, I can do it.

I’m looking forward to your shows in Germany.

I’ve a new band member with me, a keyboard player, so that’s exciting. But the rest of the guys are still the same guys and I am so happy that we’re still together and we’re all so excited to come to Germany.

I used to call them the handsome bunch.

They are so handsome and even more handsome now. They are like growing up into very handsome men now. It’s really fun to watch.

It’s good that you’re still having the same live band. Often they are exchanged.

Yes, they are my family.

Thank you, Laura!

I love Laura Jansen. These days she has released her fabulous new album in Germany, a couple of month ago in her home country the Netherlands and everywhere else somewhere in between. She is writing some of the most honest and touching songs I have ever heard.

You will learn all the reasons why I love her and her second album so much in this interview. It’s part 1. If word are not enough, just click the play button below. 

Dörte Heilewelt: The first thing I saw was a video of you performing a new song on the Dutch radio and you were not standing behind your piano anymore.

Laura Jansen: Well, I’m only doing that for a few songs and that was a personal challenge to myself. I mean this whole record is about pushing a boundary for myself and so for me getting up from the piano and standing is very scary. I’m doing this for a few songs. Most of the show I’ll be behind the piano but now I get to stand up a little bit and try to move my body and talk to people and look people in the eye and not be so scared.

Well, you have talked to people beforehand as well.

Yeah, that’s true but it’s a different experience to stand up, to be closer and to have that freedom. I like both.

When we did the last interview you have been on your own on the piano, then you had your band and now you’re leaving the piano, it’s…

It’s growing. An artist is supposed to challenge themselves. I think, we’re all supposed to do that. This whole record was a challenge for me and obviously a big jump in style and writing. So, standing up for a few songs feels good. I mean, I wrote all the songs on piano and the piano is in every song but sometimes I don’t play it.

I remember you said the last time you want to explore the electronic side of music a little more. Seems you have done that.

Yes, I put my little toe in the swimming pool of electronic music. That was really fun.

It’s good to hear. I like it.

I am so glad. For me it was important to make an album that sounds like what I listen to. When I started working with my producer, we were talking about albums that I love. I was listening to the Jonsi album, solo record and I was listening to a lot of Mike Snow but also a lot of Robin and Gotye and just artists that have really strong songs by themselves. I mean you could play any of their songs on the piano but the production is this wonderful combination of electronic or taking organic instruments and changing the sound or sampling them and using them differently. I really wanted to do that. I didn’t wanted to make a solo piano record. I wanted to show people and myself that I could write in the style of the things that I love. So, that was where we started the album.

And you have also changed into writing a whole album instead of two EP’s.

Exactly. You know, it was the first time to start and finish for one project. I have never before tried to write an album. The EP’s were sort of made into an album, as you know. The story worked and they worked together but there was still a lot of history and time in between songs for me, some songs were very old, some songs were new. So, my challenge was to write something for now and make it into an entire album, so that the album makes sense together. That was really scary at the beginning. Once the first song happened it sort of made it easier for me actually because I had in my head this place, this island and this idea and this concept. For me working with that made it actually easier.

Is that the reason why you called it Elba?

Yes, the first song that I really knew was going to be on the record that was really new was “Queen of Elba”. It became a real place for me, even though it is a real place I have never been to, in my head it became an island that I was very familiar with. And I became the island and became intrigued by the idea of exploring the island and giving every song a place and a city of the island. It made it quite easy.

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It’s also visible on the cover. Now it makes sense that you have an island on your head.

I basically have an island growing out of my head. I feel like an island and I think everybody is an island. It’s very interesting to start to explore what’s on the the island and inside the deep country instead of just borders. If you take away all the water all the islands are connected but we don’t feel that way a lot of the times. I like the idea of exile like Napoleon. Sometimes you chose exile and sometimes you are forced into exile. Those were themes I was working with in my own life. It just made sense to me.

You can connect the islands with paper boats [side note: a song on the album is called ‘Paper Boats’]

Paper Boats…I mean there is nothing more fragile than a paper boat and that song is almost about prayer without being christian about it. It’s more like hope and hope is such a fragile thing and it’s so difficult to be positive and it is so difficult to do daily good things and have hope daily. So for me when I have those moments in the phase of anything I am going through it feels like this little paper boat. It’s so fragile. The harbor on my island is full of paper boats.

I just had thought the same about the song. I quite like how you took this fragile things and then there is always strength coming out of your songs which I find really fascinating. To me it’s always like you make one feel better after I have listened to your songs, also a song like ‘Pretty Me’. When I first heard it on a concert in 2010 or something you feel so much stronger after listening to this song.

Oh, that is so nice to hear. Thank you so much. I guess, I write songs for myself, Dörte, to explain how I’d like things to be once the situation is over or where I would like the situation to go. And sometimes I don’t really understand what I am writing until a year after it has happened and I am playing the song and suddenly I am in the situation that I was hoping that song would take me to or the lesson I hoping to learn has been learned. It’s not because I am super wise because I am not at all. I mean I am just writing what I hope will happen within that situation.

Even to have this hope..sometimes people don’t have it or they don’t see it.

Sometimes you can be staring at a rock for like months and months and say ‘that’s my problem’ but if somebody comes along, picks up the rock and turns it over and you can look at it from a different side, it can change your whole perspective of the situation you were looking at and that’s what I try to do for myself.

You also had guests this time. How did you met Ed Harcourt and Tom Chaplin (Keane)?

Well, I have been a fan of Ed Harcourt forever. I mean he just one of the most precious songwriters. Among musicians he is very well known and among the radio listeners not so much. I had heard his music a few years ago, I guess in L.A.. Someone played a record of his and I just loved his heaviness and I put that in the back of my brain and sort of put it in a file of people I love.

When it became time to start writing this record I was in a very strange place I just come of tour and I wasn’t writing and my label said ‘You should start writing. We like you to start writing on your next record.’ And I said ‘I like to start by co-writing. I think it would be good for me and would like to go to London because it’s a new city, it not L.A. and there is no sunshine.’ It was in the winter last year.

And they said if you could have… imagine a list of people to write with who would it be? And Ed was on that list. It turned out that the first person I ever co-wrote with was Ed Harcourt. That’s of course not a good place to start if you have never done it because it is quite intimidating. He is a very busy man and he writes with a lot of people and so I just thought I was another appointment on his book. When I showed up in his house, in his studio, he was wearing feathers and he was drinking coffee from a mug in the shape of a wolf. He opens the door and I thought ‘Oh, I see, we’re gonna be friends’.

We really spend two days together, the first time we wrote together we spend two days together and we talked and talked and we didn’t really write a good song. And then a few weeks later I was coming back to London and we did it again and ‘A Call to Arms’ came out. That was just such an easy process with him and such an honest process. We have become really good friends and I really adore him and I love his family. I am so honoured that there is beautiful song that we can remember that friendship by.

It was really because of the record and then Tom Chaplin happened because at the end of the summer last year I was asked to write a charity single for the Red Cross in Holland and I wanted to write a duet and not a solo song, I wasn’t ready for that. Again I had a really short list…I had two voices in my brain for a duet and Tom was the first voice that I had on the list. I send it to him. I send it to him through his manager, I had his managers contact information. And he said yes but it was really quite strange because I have never met him, we didn’t know each other and we weren’t friends. He could very easily said no. He said yes and actually only met after we finished recording the song. He recorded it on the bus and we spoke on the phone quite a bit and then we didn’t meet after the song was recorded.

It’s quite a weird way to record a song when you’re not in the same room.

It’s the weirdest thing because it’s so intimate. When I heard the track with his voice on it I felt like I knew him already and then when we spoke on the phone it was very strange because we didn’t know each other. When I met his the first time I didn’t know whether to shake his hand or hug him. I just hugged him and he turned out to be ok with that. The song really fit on the record after it was written. I wasn’t expecting it to be on the record, I had 10 songs. And then the song just works for the story of the record and the sound of the record. So, we kept it on the record.

I like every song. Since I got it yesterday I have been listening to the album. I also like the cover of Bronski Beat’s ‘Small Town Boy’.

Thank you. It’s actually one song with two covers. The middle of the song is ‘Johnny Come Home’ by the Fine Young Cannibals. And we decided to mash them up together. I love that song. I have always loved that song. Again it’s part of the story and it’s a song I have always wanted to do. And I am really happy with the way it turned out.

It’s one of my favorite songs from my childhood.

Me, too. Remember the video? The weird swimming pool?

Yes.

I just love that song. And I think it’s one of those that stands up in the test of time.

It sure does and it’s nice to have a cover of it now again.

Laura: Most of the covers of this song are sung by man and like super trance, you know, in the trance world this song was covered a lot. I wanted to bring it back to my style.

You have a thing going on with covers of male artists.

Yes, I think it’s easier to imagine making it your own when it’s a mans voice because otherwise I have the tendency to want to copy the sound subconsciously or it’s just harder for me to be myself, I think.

End of part 1. Part 2:

http://heilewelt.tumblr.com/post/56047524236/interview-laura-jansen-elba

(The German Version will be up soon. One of my first interviews was with her - you can find it here.)

Finally there are some news from the über-wonderful Laura Jansen! Her second album “Elba” will be released on the 25th of May which is very shortly after my birthday. A few days before my birthday she will be playing live in Berlin as part of her little tour through Germany (in other words: It’ll be a good week):

14.05. München, Ampere

17.05. Köln, Studio 672 @ Stadtgarten

18.05. Berlin, Grüner Salon

Of course she will be playing in the Netherlands as well (it’s her home, so it is just a natural thing) and in Vienna and Zurich - look at her website for more information on those dates: http://www.laurajansen.com/tour.

So, after telling all the important official things, I want to point out this amazing video for her newest single called “Queen of Elba”. I could be remarkably wrong here but it kind of reminds me of Laura’s own story. She used to have this normal* life and then she gave it all up to go to L.A. and become a musician and make a living out of it - I admire her for this brave step with every cell in my body. It is such an amazing thing to do. What I always loved about Laura is her honest, heartfelt songwriting which I can connect with so easily. I also love the video a lot - for me it displays hope. It’s a bit like a painting from the Romantic (thinking Caspar David Friedrich and such) when you have this little bit of hope displayed with lighter shades and and the sun  in this big dark world and so on. Whatever you do, if you runaway and are scared, there will be a sunrise and another day full of opportunities. 

Thank you for reading,

Dörte

*We all know “normal” is relative but it’s this getting married, build a house, a white fence kind of normal…

Honestly, I have a bit of a tough time although live is treating me very well at the moment. I would need 24 hours just to get my normal day done and then I would just need another extra 8 hours every day for my sleep. Writing your Diploma thesis ain’t that easy. Having a time intensive hobby doesn’t help either. However, this evening I found this gem of a fun summer song through friends. If I wasn’t so tired, I would dance around in my room and shake my long blonde hair around. However, it made me smile and I was dancing inside with my feet tapping in the rhythm. Also, it sound a bit like being in love feels like. 

The band is called Sunday Sun with their single “Highly Respected Rebel” - if you have seen Laura Jansen live once you might recognize one or the other handsome face. Sunday Sun are a 4 piece band from the Netherlands and will release three EP’s and the first one before the summer. If the rest is anything like this song, I can stop searching for my summer tune before I have even started. Lovely. I hope you enjoy this summer pop anthem as much as I do, started to dance by now and fall in love with the world all over again.

Have a great rest of the week and sorry for being so quiet,

Dörte

There are music styles where I have not a big affinity to or the biggest interest or however you want to put it. On of this music genres is Reggae but a little longer while ago I saw William White as the support of Laura Jansen (and strangely enough Laura and I talked about Reggae and how I can’t connect to it in the interview I did with her only a few hours before he played).

He played an acoustic set without his band facing a noisy dutch school class. I loved his music and still do. It comes with a very relaxed vibe almost a folk reggae and not this odd music called Reggae you’ll get through the charts most of the time. “Soul Rider” is a perfect example for the sound of his music. You just got to dance forgetting what you are currently worrying about. He also just released an album called “Freedom”.  Enjoy and check him out. He is awesome. 

I am on a high. Still. I just love to watch Laura Jansen play, performing her songs and being incredible charming and funny. I wouldn’t have thought for a second that I would be singing a long every single song when I first hear her music on good ol’ Myspace some time 2009. She was support/part of the band of William Fitzsimmons and I checked her out beforehand. When she played her songs live, she showed me how wrong I was and convinced me to love her music. Just like that. 

Last Friday she played with her band which I (and everybody else I assume) like(s) to call the handsome bunch. Her sound live differs quite a bit from the sound on the record - the music a bit more rockier, sometimes little touches of reggae or some other new twist which makes the concert always a surprise even though I know the songs for so long. 

Instead of putting herself and her piano into the middle she works with her band in every way. You can see this in the way the stage is set up - Laura being left (my point of view) facing half the crowd and half the band and skulls, drummer Wouter Rentema on the right looking to Laura and JanPeter Hoekstra and Jan Teertstra in the middle - a big half circle. The rest of the half circle would be the audience. You can tell, she loved her fans or friends how she calls us - many known from sites like Facebook and Twitter or reality. You can also hear that she works with her band - it is in the way the band plays together and that there is room for everyone.

For people who don’t know her: she is basically a singer-songwriter with a piano and mostly sad heartfelt, touching songs. She played them all: “Come To Me”, “the End”, “Single Girls”, “Perfect”, “Wicked World” and many more. One of my favourite moments (and I hope this is something that won’t stop too fast) is when she came down and played “If moon were cookie” (by Cookie Monster) on her ukulele. Such a deep meaning behind this song and it is always nice to be a bit less grown up, too.

  

Laura kind of makes the covers their own like “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. Even though I have liked the original nowadays I think of Laura singing it when I hear about it. Another for me new cover was “Animal” by Miike Snow - an upbeat pop song the band really enjoyed to play and I enjoyed it. (I am pretty much in love with it now.) And the last was “I shall be released” by Bob Dylan played/sung by the band as the first encore song again in the middle of the crowd. That was so lovely. 

She ended the concert with the most wonderful, sad, happy, encouraging song “Pretty Me” - it is about her story and nowadays every time I see her she seems so happy and fully content with what she is doing. 

The support was Eli Wolfe from Australia. I really liked him - he seems a bit crazy but in a good way. He has a wonderful (deep) voice and I really liked his melodies. It’s like 2 songs in one. This is the moment I wish I would knew more about the technical side of things - sometimes it is quite difficult to describe a certain sound. See this guitar and him:

 And another thing which was nice: John who saw Eli on the day before, came to this show as well and he joined Eli for one song.  

I really hope Laura comes back soon. Eli will be playing two dates in Germany before he heads to a different place in the world (13. & 14. June in Leipzig and 17. June in Berlin at the “Die Bar”like in “The Bar” and not like the English “die”).

Thank you for reading,

Dörte

And a few more photos of the gorgeous looking Laura Jansen: 

Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin

Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin

Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin

Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin

Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin Laura Jansen @Frannz Club, Berlin  

It happens rarely that I tell you to go to a concert beforehand - I should do that more often actually! Laura Jansen is coming to Germany and I’ve seen her a few times now - from being the support of William Fitzsimmons, a bit later all by herself and then with her handsome band (like really, really handsome) at a Popkomm showcase last year. She is so charming but in a completely natural way. She is who she is all the time. Or you get what you hear. From the rather cheeky “Wicked World” to the uplifting “Perfect” and to the rather sad “The End”. And one of the most wonderful covers I have ever heard “Use Somebody” (by Kings of Leon).

Her album was released in the end of May in Germany. Finally!!!! I know that there are many places where it is almost old and I have the songs from her two EP’s “Single Girls” and “Trauma” since some time 2009 and love them ever since. I think I’m waiting for it to be released here since beginning last year. Her music is so honest and straight from her heart and it also always seems she is talking right to you - may it be on her CD or on her concerts. Taking what bothers you and then makes it all better because you’re not alone with the trouble you go through. There is someone who has been through it, too, and survived it. 

I also interviewed her a while ago - a bit over a year ago (seems like yesterday). I still enjoy thinking about it and it was so much fun. It was when this blog was just for private pleasure and my music writing was mainly for a magazine. Anyway. 

Here are the live dates:

07.06.2011 München, Ampere

08.06.2011 Köln, Stadtgarten

09.06.2011 Hamburg, Beatlemania

10.06.2011 Berlin, Frannz Club

And just as a random note: The first time I saw William Fitzsimmons at the Frannz Club in Berlin (for those who are new: I dearly love William’s music from the deepest bottom of my heart). I can imagine a tear rolling down my cheek again. Probably when she plays “Perfect”. If she does. I hope she does! 

Thank you for reading,

Dörte

P.S. Laura, I am still waiting for you to move to Berlin! And bring Cary! ;)