Andrea, and all that jazz

Andrea Motis Each Wednesday evening, El Punt Avui Televisió airs the series of interviews, Catalan Connections. Marcela Topor talked to the popular young jazz musician, Andrea Motis.
You are one of the most popular jazz musicians of the moment, and you are here today to talk about your new album, Emotional Dance.
Yes, that's right, it will come out in February next year. We went to New York in March to record it, with Impulse!, a legendary jazz production company. I am very pleased about it; some great artists such as John Coltrane recorded with this label, so I feel very lucky. In New York we spent six days in the studio; it was very intense work, but a great experience.
In terms of style, your new album sounds slightly different from your previous ones.
In general terms, there are two main differences from my previous albums: one is that it includes three songs in Catalan for the first time. It will be a surprise. One is called Matilda, the other one is called Louisiana, by Els Amics de les Arts –they are from my neighbourhood and we are friends– and the third one is a jazz version of the popular havanera, La Gavina. The other difference is that it includes my own compositions, three songs of mine. They are all fresh songs, not standard at all.
Tell me about the songs you've composed.
It's like the music I used to listen to, it's really a mix of Latin and jazz and swing. One of the songs is called, I Didn't Tell Him Why, another one is, He Sang That Way, and there is also a ballad, If You Give Them More Than You Can. A pre-album with a few songs is already available now. The other albums are shared with Joan Chamorro, and we have others with the Sant Andreu Jazz band. This is the first album in my name only, Andrea Motis and the Joan Chamorro Quartet, and invited artists.
Tell me about your beginnings.
I started studying trumpet at the local school in Sant Andreu with my teacher Toni Gallard; I will always remember him because he encouraged me to play and I started playing jazz at 10, with Joan Chamorro as my teacher, and at 11 I started singing in Sant Andreu Jazz Band and it was great to have the first contact with jazz music, I loved it. I also started saxophone classes with him, and he gave me a lot of jazz material to learn, and made me fall in love with this music because he's so passionate about it and I just wanted to learn more and improve. Then he invited me to play on his new album. It was called Joan Chamorro presents Andrea Motis, and it was like my CD presentation. That's the story: we started this and we grew up together, and from this CD we did a lot of festivals, concerts and gigs, and the audience received us really well. When did you start singing?
With the Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Joan was always looking for someone to sing, but nobody wanted to. I tried one day and enjoyed it and he encouraged me to learn more songs. All my life I had enjoyed singing at home by myself and, little by little, I lost my fear of singing and started to feel comfortable. I didn't actually take many singing classes, I mainly practiced voice and trumpet.
Who inspires you?
Billie Holliday, she was the only one at the beginning. Then I fell in love with Ella Fitzgerald and now I am really into Sarah Vaughan, and I love Amy Winehouse, as well, Dinah Washington, Annie Ross, and I try to find new musicians all the time. In terms of today's artists, I love Cécile McLorin Salvant. I would love to collaborate with her in the future.
You study at the same time as developing your career as a jazz musician. How do you find time for everything?
I study jazz and trumpet at the Esmuc [the Escola Superior de Musica] in Barcelona and I try to spend all my free time on practising and improving. There are no limits to the things you can do as a musician. I can spend the whole day composing, trying my voice, improving my trumpet and saxophone technique. You always feel that you could do more. I am enjoying my classes at the university a lot this year, and I go on with my concerts, which is my job, and going to rehearsals.
You had a summer full of concerts, here and abroad. Critics call you the local Norah Jones, the new revelation of jazz in Catalonia. How do you feel about that?
I feel that our project has grown and I'm pleased that people know us and like us, and it is great to be able to live off doing what you like. But what many people don't know is that there are many young modern jazz musicians here, and I am proud to meet them and play with them. I feel that I've been very lucky to become more popular than others, but I'm not the only one.
Did you imagine you would come so far when you started?
Not at all. From seven to eight, when I started singing, I thought becoming a singer would be impossible, like wishing to be a princess, something everybody wants but never happens. It has been like a dream come true.
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