The British-born, Luxembourg-based singer-songwriter Claire Parsons released her album "In Geometry" on Double Moon Records this 29 May.
If you would ask any music group, whether a jazz quartet, pop-rock band or world music ensemble, which singer they would like to have onboard their project, then there is a high chance they will drop the name "Claire Parsons".
Claire's career as jazz vocalist and pianist in countless projects throughout western Europe has not only propelled her musical chops and her packed performing schedule, but also help discover and shape (no pun intended) her own musical taste of "In Geometry". Stephen Lowe chats to Claire Parsons about the writing process, inspirations, and Luxembourg's music output amidst a pandemic.
How have you had to change your approach to this record, being that it has come at a time of vast change in both the industry and in life?
The biggest change to the release approach is probably the fact that I had to to cancel the release tour that was planned for it and had to think of an online release strategy instead. I thought it was bizarre to release a product without a concert, but I noticed that in other music styles this is actually quite common.
Does this record, as it now stands, fit with your goals for it when you started recording?
Absolutely! I often heard that people like to move on after they released a recording, but I don’t feel this way with this album. I think I just honestly love the outcome of it and it even surpassed my expectations.
How are you hoping to promote it and eventually tour?
The album is linked to a wonderful German magazine called ‘Jazz Thing’ and I am part of their Next Generation Series which includes a nice article and CD shipment with their magazines.
I will probably focus on building a stable online presence for the product which will hopefully later allow me to have more people on my release concerts in October and concerts in the future. I have also two amazing press agents that help me promote the product in France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
What were the major (and minor) inspirations behind the recording?
One of my biggest inspirations during the writing process has probably been Diederik Wissels who was my composition minor teacher this last year. He made me discover new ways of breaking the old composing patterns and let the music and compositions breathe and develop naturally.
How hard/easy was the recording process?
It was both hard and easy at the same time. I knew that I had prepared compositions and arrangements that I stand behind, but not knowing 100% how it was going to turn out and sound in the end, and fully trusting the recording process was really exciting and scary at the same time.
Are you able to 'finish' things easily, or are you a relentless tinkerer?
I am quite a perfectionist and won’t stop working on something until I am 100% happy with the result. The hard part is of course knowing when to stop and let things be, but I think I slowly figured that out.
What were you listening to during the writing of the album? And what are you listening to now?
I was mainly listening to the Punch Brothers, Radiohead, Michel Reis solo album, Andrew Bird, Gabriel Kahane, Alan Hampton and Sufjan Stevens and am to this day still pretty hooked on these artists.
I was also listening a lot to the albums of my fellow musicians like the new album of Eran called ‘World Citizen’, the album of Pol Belardi’s Force ‘Organic Machines’ and Jerome’s EP ‘Fake Borders’. I would also listen to the albums of my composition teacher and the works and artists with which we inspired ourselves for the writing process like for example Daniel Goyone, Kirstjan Randalu and Harmen Fraanje.
Which one track are you most proud of?
I think I love Enneagon very much because of the natural writing process I’ve had with it and the absolutely stunning performance of Jerome and Eran in Duo that had me in tears already in the studio.
How do you think COVID's impact will effect the nation's musical output and do you see a way out?
As long as I keep writing, loving the music that I want to share, work on a live performance and keep writing to the different festivals and cultural centres that we are ready to perform, I fully trust the competent and passionate hands of the professionals of the cultural sector that have been organising concerts, writing about concerts, photographing concerts, play music on their radio stations and have invested their entire lives in the cause of live performance organisation and music in general.
My part in all this is giving my all in the music and hopefully motivate them to continue the unbelievable work they have been doing over the past years.
Words or melody, which comes first?
Melody. Planning on writing a few new songs the other way round, though, which will probably have a surprising turn for me, in how the melodies have been constructed so far.
If you were on public transport (socially distant) and overheard people talking about your music, what would you hope they said?
I hope they say what they want to say.