Jeff Buckley is not dead. He has been reincarnated as Holly Miranda. At least half of him. You can think I am nuts, but I could not think of another thing than Jeff while listening to her in Vigo last week. “Festival Voces Femeninas” brought her to Spain to present her last album “The Magician’s Private Library”. I love that kind of shows acoustic and nude. And her show was just like that. A guitar, a piano and her voice. No more embellishments. For what? It was not necessary at all. Her songs are full of deep and emotional nuances. Behind her fragile aspect there is a lot to tell. Her beginnings in the music world were not easy. She grew up in a close musical environment where her parents only listened to Religious and Motown music, so these were her early approaches to what was going to be her future career. When she was fourteen years, she took her luggage and moved to New York. She ran away from Detroit to seek a change of scene and start a new life focused in what she loved the most: music. There she discovered new genres, new styles and was opened to the world. With only sixteen she started to play her first shows. And now, fourteen years late, there she is, still delighting the ones that lend their ears and attend the particular appointment with her music.
In contrast with her last album, maybe a more “noisy” one (where reverb is one of the protagonists), the show in Vigo was detachted from any element that could distract us from her voice and her songs in a clean and pure way . She was nude on stage with her songs as only garment. And I thinkk, sometimes, there is nothing more beautiful than that. So with reverb or without it, do not miss the chance of seeing this girl live if you can. You will not regret it.
Here are some questions I asked her after the concert. Enjoy them.
Tell us a bit how was your beginning in the music world.
I started playing piano when I was seven, then when I was fourteen I learnt how to play the guitar (self-taught) and then when I was sixteen I move to New York and started with the shows. And yeah fourteen years later here I am…When I was a kid my parents used to listen to a lot of music, but basically Christian and Motown. Motown was ok but Christian music…well you can imagine. After that came Jeff Buckley and other musicians and styles that were new for me.
Which are your main musical influences?
Mmmm…Curtys Mayfield, Taj Mahal, Edith Piaf, Tool, The Cure…
How would you describe your music to somebody that does not know you.
A psychedelic fairytale.
How was working in your last album “The Magician’s Private Library” with Dave Sitek?
Great. He is a good friend. He really influenced my sound, more as a friend than as an artist. He challenged me doing the songs and exposed me to artists that I did not know before like Cocteau Twins, Swans and a lot of 80’s stuff.
What can we find in “The Magician’s Private Library”?
I don’t know…It is a kind of a dreamy style. It is the Magician’s Private Library haha. I do not know. It is difficult to define. It is the most quite personal record I’ve ever made. It is about love, and life, and gain and loss. We can find there vocal harmonies,a lot of reverb and very personal songs.
What differences do you encounter between your first album and this last one?
I have four albums and the first ones were done on my own and this last one has many differences in comparison of the others. There has been an evolution in my music, specially with the voice. Now I really know how to use my voice, in the way I want, use it like an instrument.
Is there any special place where you would love to play again? And any special audience do you remember?
Vigo. I love it. And about the audiences…all the Spanish audiences were great. Portugal was incredible too. Detroit (my city) adn Chicago are really good ones as well.
I have read you play several instruments (guitar, piano, trumpet). Which one do you enjoy playing the most?
I enjoy playing piano very much butI think it is probably the one I play the least. About the trumpet I would say I try to play it, not very well. I have to practise more.
Do you have any ritual at the time of composing?
I love to write when I’m travelling, specially in the train. I love to write when I am moving.
If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would be an engineer.
The last record you have bought.
Passenger – Lisa Hannigan
A record for a Saturday night.
Any of Kindness.
A record for a Sunday morning.
Ladies of the Canyon – Jonie Mitchell
Photos: Nacho Iglesias