仲田(以下N) : What did you want to be when you were a child.
You had already made up your mind to become a jazz musician earlier,
or you had a different dream?
HALIE LOREN(以下H) : I wanted to be a singer from a very young age,
though I wasn't too concerned about the music genre when I was really young.
I enjoyed singing and listening to many styles of music.
Jazz was, however, something I was very drawn to, and that I showed a natural
affinity for as a singer, even when I was as young as 9 or 10.
I was a big fan of Diana Krall, Nat King Cole, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald,
and other jazz and blues artists that were in my mother's music collection.
Jazz was also one of the first kinds of music that I performed in front of
an audience--when I was 10, I was selected to perform a solo song during the finale
showcase at a fine arts camp I attended in Sitka, Alaska, the town where I grew up.
That was the first of many jazz performances I ended up doing throughout my early
and late teen years, when I really spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with
many jazz standards and listened to an even wider array of jazz vocalists.
This period of intense learning helped me to build a strong foundation as a vocalist
and song interpreter, not just in the jazz genre, but in all of the genres I've
performed over the years.
N : Why do you think you started music?
Did you have specific moment or incident that attracted you to music?
H : I've loved singing and listening to music for as long as I can remember.
Maybe I was born with music in my soul.
From what I can recall, and from the things my parents have told me about my
early years, music came very naturally to me from the very beginning.
Singing has always brought me a lot of joy, and my family always encouraged me to
When I started performing as an adolescent, the positive feedback I got from those
who listened to my early performances instilled enough confidence in me to make me
believe I could really do it--I could really pursue the path of a professional musician.
I've been hooked ever since.
There were a few times, when I was a little bit younger, that I tested out what life
would be like if I were to have a different kind of career and if music were just a
part-time job or hobby.
It never lasted for more than a few months.
I found that it felt very wrong to treat my musical self as a part-time identity,
and I always found my way back to a life driven by music and creativity.
Music, for me, is a calling that I can't ignore, even if I wanted to--
but I don't want to ignore it. I love it.
N : What type of music did you usually listen when you were a child?
Different music than jazz?
H : I listened to a very wide variety of music.
Growing up on a small island in Alaska, I was more isolated from the kind of
pop-culture saturation that exists throughout most of the rest of the United States.
I had TV, of course, but MTV didn't play very many music videos by the time I could
We only had one or two radio stations, which played NPR (National Public Radio)
programs that featured some music, but not much pop/rock music.
So my exposure to then-current pop music was quite limited.
I listened to a lot of my parents' music, which included a lot of jazz, blues,
classical, and adult contemporary.
Besides jazz, I liked listening to and singing the music of Patsy Cline and
Annie Lennox in particular a lot... and Jewel, who was a new artist back
then--the fact that she was also from Alaska (like me!) made me even more
drawn to her.
There were some pop sensations that couldn't be escaped, even in Alaska--I admit
that I bought albums by Ace of Base and the Spice Girls when they were immensely
popular when I was 11 or 12. :) When I was 13, we moved to Oregon, where a whole
world of music opened up to me.
It was the first time I'd really heard the vast expanse of the Top 40's pop of the
1990's, and I quickly found a lot of artists that I loved.
Sarah McLachlan was one of my very favorites, as was Paula Cole, The Cranberries,
Tori Amos, Joan Osborne, Jonatha Brooke and other pop/rock and singer/songwriter
artists and bands.
I started listening to some country artists, like Tricia Yearwood and Shania Twain.
I also heard a lot more jazz artists for the first time, like Cassandra Wilson and
I guess you could say my taste was very eclectic from a young age.
N : In your album "they oughta write a song", a song "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps" is
I love this song very much, but I think the song is not ordinary for jazz in terms
of music selection.
Why did you choose this song for the album?
Was that your idea, or somebody else's suggestion?
H : "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" was a song that I had performed at a lot of my shows
with Matt Treder (the wonderful pianist on the album) over the past few years.
It was always a crowd favorite, and a favorite of ours, too--such a sassy,
sultry song can't help but be fun to perform!
I felt that it would add that element of fun and sexiness to the album, too, and it
was just jazzy enough to fit in with the jazz/pop style of the rest of the album.
It just seemed like a good fit.
N : Standard songs like As time Goes By have been song for a long time by a lot of
musicians including great names.
How do you try to differenciate to others when you sing standard songs?
H : It is always a little bit daunting to record songs that are really famous,
simply because so many other well-known artists have done renditions of the songs.
The bar is set really high! However, I don't find that I am thinking about that
while I am singing these standards... I don't think about how to differentiate my
version of it, or how I want to make the song similar to someone else's version,
I interpret the song however it makes the most sense to me.
I follow my intuition, and let the emotions that the song brings out in me guide the
way that I perform it.
Sometimes the musicians I perform with will also musically re-interpret standards,
which leads me to interpret them in an entirely different fashion than how I had
sung them and thought about them before.
"Blue Skies" is an example of this--Matt Treder (pianist) came up with a funky piano
part before we performed it at a show a couple of years ago, and it changed the song
entirely for me.
It became bluesier and a little more pop in our approach, which is the version that
made it onto the album.
N : Your original music is fantastic!
How is your mind status like when you are engaging in songwriting?
H : Thank you for the compliment about my writing!
It is something that I really love doing, and have been doing for over 10 years now.
Inspiration to write comes to me from a lot of different places and experiences...
sometimes, I will be inspired by my own life experiences, or a friend's experiences.
Other times, my songs are purely from my imagination.
Other art forms influence my songs sometimes, too, like movies, plays, books,
poetry... I never know what will bring out song ideas in me.
It just seems to happen. And the way that I actually write songs varies greatly, too.
Sometimes, I will sit at my piano and actively try to come up with song ideas,
or complete partially-written songs, playing chords along with a melody or whatever
lyrics I've written. Other times, I just experiment and have fun with playing things
on the piano, and songs will just emerge from the chaos of my experimentation.
I can remember many, many instances of writing part of or all of a song while
driving or riding as a passenger in a car.
On road trips, or any driving trip of more than twenty minutes or so, I always try
to remember to bring along a small tape recorder for exactly this reason! :)
I generally write my best material when I'm not trying as hard to "write a song"...
it comes more naturally if I let my mind go, and see what my creative intuition
comes up with while untethered to any specific goal.
N : How do you deal with songwriting when you are in slump?
H : I don't often force the process of songwriting--if I don't feel inspired,
I don't write.
Sometimes I'll go a month without writing anything at all.
When I start writing again after these periods, however, it's like a dam breaks,
and I'll suddenly have all kinds of ideas all at once, and I'll find myself
writing all the time--whether it's on paper or just in my head constantly.
I think for me, the "slump" periods are necessary--I think this is when a lot of ideas
plant themselves in my mind, and then slowly germinate.
N : How do you usually come up with good ideas?
Do you have some specific activities you usually do when you start writing songs?
H : Well, like I mentioned before, driving or being in a car (or another form of
transportation) is an activity that frequently lends itself to writing songs.
Other things I do to get me into a creative mindset are hiking or doing other
activities outdoors where I have a lot of quiet alone time in nature, sitting
down at the piano and just playing whatever feels good, and just singing around
A lot of times, singing other songs I've written or songs by other people will
get me into the mindset of creating new music.
For me, the more music I am hearing or creating, whether it's while I do studio
work for an album, while I practice, or while I am listening to live music at a show,
the more I start coming up with ideas for new songs.
It can be problematic--particularly when I am trying to finish a recording
project--to be bombarded with new ideas all of a sudden while trying to finish
working on other things, when I don't have enough time to dedicate to working on
those new ideas.
It's not a bad problem to have, though. It certainly could be worse! :)
N : There are a lot of fans over here in japan.
Do you have a plan to come visit Japan this year or neartime in the future?
H : It would be a dream come true to travel to Japan and perform.
I am hoping to have an opportunity to do so in the near future.
I can't say for sure whether it will happen within the year or not, but some
possibilities are emerging.
I will definitely keep fans informed about what my travel and touring plans are
on my website (www.halieloren.com), Facebook, and my other websites, as well as
through my mailing list.
It would be so wonderful to have a chance to meet and perform for fans of my music
I really hope it happens soon.
N : Could you give a message for Japanese fans?
H : I would like to thank all of you who listen to my music in Japan for your support
and enthusiasm for what I do! It has been a very surprising and exciting past few
months, since introducing my CDs to Japan, and I am looking forward to hopefully
sharing a lot more of my music with you.
And I really enjoy hearing from people, so please feel free to "friend" me on
Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etcetera, or join my mailing list and send me an email!
Meeting new people and music-lovers is part of the joy in what I do.
And thank you, Mr. Nakata, for your wonderful interview questions and your enthusiasm
about my music!
I am honored by your request, and am glad to participate in Explore Jazz--thank you!