Music, Like Water

I'm making an album. Man. I never thought I would organize a project this big. I'm surprised and happy my life has taken this direction. I've met truly wonderful souls full of patience, love and inspiration. I move in an environment full of creative people. Creative people with responsibility. People that strive to make this world a better place, to create enjoyment for others, to further explore the music from different regions, to bring awareness to current issues, to take a stance in the name of those who are underrepresented. Responsible musicians who create responsible art.

This environment has fueled my passion towards music and has given me endless perspectives of what it can mean for me and for the people that will listen to it. Music, like water, takes the shape of it's container. And we, the musicians and the listeners, are the containers, which explains why music evolves, migrates, dies, and is born again. It is incredible that music will take as many directions as there are persons in this world.

Nowadays we can happily say that music belongs to the world, to the people. Whoever comes across it is welcome to enjoy it. Who cares if you are a Russian that loves Colombian music, or a Brazilian that plays jazz? Music serves a bigger purpose than identifying nations. That's how I see it anyway. Music will never cease to amaze me, it has so much potential to change lives, unite people, and create community.

When I first was envisioning my upcoming album I felt there was a disconnect. I couldn't figure out wether the titles should be in Spanish or English. I couldn't figure out what the underlying connection was between all of my work. I found myself analyzing what it was that I wanted to express, and wether or not it was showing in my music. I felt confused because who I am and what I wanted to say couldn't be perfectly compartmentalized, but I didn't want to accept that.

I couldn't pick out a genre that would identify my music. I couldn't pick out the language that everything should be written in. I was exploring how an album with such big disconnects could come together as a whole. I had to pick one genre. I had to pick one language. I had to plan to perfection how everything was connected so that it would make sense.

Soon, I found out this was not the answer. And my work had a more significant connection than the one I was trying to articulate but that in fact wasn't there. I don't have to pick a genre, or a country even, to identify with. Don't get me wrong. I feel very lucky to have been born in Colombia, I feel very lucky to be able to evolve as a student and as an artist in the United States. But that doesn't mean I have to pick one over the other. I am who I am now because of the places I've lived in and, most of all, the people who I've crossed paths with.

I was a girl that learned music playing classical piano, listening to rock, punk and pop songs, dancing cumbia, mapalé, salsa, merengue and reggaeton. Now I am a woman who decided to study jazz in the states, to play Count Basie in a big band, the Yellowjackets in small ensembles, Debussy on her own.

I can't escape my process even if I come up with a plan. This is why my music today sounds like everything that has been in my heart and mind these past years. My music sounds fragile and strong, happy and frustrated. It sounds like the sea and the mountains, like Spanish and English, like jazz, and like Latin America. It's all connected because it's honest, because it is me right now and it shows what I've been up to these years I've spent away from home.

Anyway, I've kinda figured out what it sounds like to me. And hopefully you will figure out what it sounds like to you when I put it out there in a few months!

Paola

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