Tag Archives: New at SUISA

“As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

Debrah Scarlett already enjoyed international fame before releasing her début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” in mid-March. Prior to that, the Norwegian-Swiss musician joined SUISA. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Debrah Scarlett: “As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

New SUISA member: Joanna Deborah Bussinger who has adopted the pseudonym Debrah Scarlett. (Photo: Stian Foss)

“I prefer to play it safe and don’t place expectations in myself and others that are too high”, explains Joanna Deborah Bussinger when asked about her future plans. It was not least because of this kind of caution that the 23-year-old avoided the risk of turning into a fleeting pop starlet that has to waive the control over its career. In 2013, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a Swiss-Italian father had taken part in the Norwegian version of the talent show “The Voice” – and reached the semi-final.

“I didn’t even want to win”, she adds with a smile, “otherwise I would have had to subject myself to tricky conditions.” Still, she doesn’t want to miss the experience she gained there any less than the experience of representing Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, where she reached eighth place under her pseudonym Debrah Scarlett together with her duet partner Kjetil Mørland.

Trying out new things

“I do like to face fascinating opportunities and challenges”, Joanna Deborah Bussinger explains. “Even if I am scared at first, I nearly always learn something from the experience.” This also applies to her commute between Switzerland and Norway. She grew up in her native town of Basel and moved together with her mother and her two brothers to Norway when she was six years old. At the age of ten, she decided to try out “what it would be like to live with her father in Basel”. When she turned 21, she moved back – “rather intuitively” – to Norway. “That was a point in time where a lot of things were open and nothing stood in my way.”

Her family also played a major role regarding her professional career. “My parents have always told me: If you want to do something, then do it.” Another characterising effect for Joanna Deborah Bussinger was that she comes from a family which had been art and music enthusiasts for generations. Her mother is a painter and singer, her father plays the piano and writes poems. “When I was five years old, I didn’t yet know that I wanted to become a musician but that I had to express myself somehow, whether visually or musically. Music turned out to be the most natural medium and means for me to create my own world.”

Fuelled by feelings

When she was 15, Joanna Deborah Bussinger began to play the piano and to write songs. Soon she took singing lessons and attended the preparatory class at the Academy of Art and Design as well as the prep class of the Jazz Campus in Basel. She became more and more active and was a singer with the project ‘The Rumours’, for example. What she really wanted to do, however, was to develop her own music. The début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” which was released mid-March does, despite its many stylistic influences sound remarkably independent and proficient, and it isn’t just the captivating singing but also the dreamy atmosphere that stands out.

Joanna Deborah Bussinger has written most of the songs at home so far, alone in front of the piano. “I have, more recently, also started to collaborate with other musicians. It is exciting to try something that you wouldn’t do alone at home, after all, as a songwriter, you’re usually some sort of a lone wolf.” Most of her songs are fuelled by a feeling, present around her, and for which she was trying to find a melody. “From this, a theme usually emerges and I soon realise while I am composing which direction the journey will take.”

Still going in 40 years’ time!

Music has become her “language”, as she spoke several languages since childhood and yet never managed any of them to perfection. “Music allowed me to express myself properly.” Nevertheless, she also writes song lyrics subtle and pensive at the same time, which reverberate even more once they are sung. They are always in English even though this is neither her mother’s nor her father’s tongue. “Strangely enough, it feels better for me to write personal lyrics in English. It provides the story with a certain distance, as if I had experienced it three years ago and would now only sing about it.”

Joanna Deborah Bussinger hopes that her career will continue to develop steadily; she is already working on a début album. “I try to do what I can and all members of my great team are doing the same, helping me in Basel, Berlin, London and Oslo. Still, I want to keep a nice, slow pace, not too fast, so that I don’t get under commercial pressure. After all, I still want to make music in 40 years.”

Comforting knowledge

With such long-term plans in mind, SUISA also plays a role, even though Joanna Deborah Bussinger has only recently joined as a member. “I had not really seen the sense in a membership of a collective management organisation for copyright before, as I had not published my compositions at that time.” This changed since she has been signed to the management and label ‘Radicalis’. As the company has its offices in Basel, she decided to become a SUISA member even though she is still living in Norway. “This way, the specialists at Radicalis can check any questions directly with SUISA which is also known for the fact that settlements are made quicker than at any other collective management organisation.” She doesn’t know yet what exactly she can expect from SUISA in terms of royalties. “But I think it’s great for all musicians that this kind of cooperative society exists. After all, it simplifies our lives with its work and defends our rights – to know that is really comforting.”

Concerts:
4th – 6th April at the “Zermatt Unplugged Festival”.

www.debrahscarlett.com, Debrah Scarlett’s official website

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Debrah Scarlett already enjoyed international fame before releasing her début EP “DYS(U)TOPIA” in mid-March. Prior to that, the Norwegian-Swiss musician joined SUISA. Text by guest author Markus Ganz

Debrah Scarlett: “As a songwriter, you’re some sort of a lone wolf”

New SUISA member: Joanna Deborah Bussinger who has adopted the pseudonym Debrah Scarlett. (Photo: Stian Foss)

“I prefer to play it safe and don’t place expectations in myself and others that are too high”, explains Joanna Deborah Bussinger when asked about her future plans. It was not least because of this kind of caution that the 23-year-old avoided the risk of turning into a fleeting pop starlet that has to waive the control over its career. In 2013, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a Swiss-Italian father had taken part in the Norwegian version of the talent show “The Voice” – and reached the...read more

“New York forced me to be original”

Basel-based musician Manuel Gagneux has caused quite an international stir with his utterly unusual style mix of his project Zeal & Ardor. The composer and artist of dual Swiss-American nationality has recently joined SUISA. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

Manuel Gagneux: “New York forced me to be original”

New at SUISA: Basel-based Manuel Gagneux of Zeal & Ardor. (Photo: Matthias Willi)

Last year, Zeal & Ardor seemed to appear out of nowhere with their mix of gospel, slave song, blues and black metal. The renowned US-American magazine Rolling Stone wrote the following under the title “Best Metal Records of 2016 So Far”: None of this year’s songs sounded “as strange, unfathomable and wonderful” as “Devil Is Fine” by Zeal and Ardor. Said album will now be officially released globally, and international live performances will follow.

Broadly influenced style

It is not out of nowhere that this solo project by Manuel Gagneux has appeared, after all. He grew up in a musical home in Basel, where there was a piano that always invited to tinkle the ivories. Such are the memories that the 28-year-old shares during an interview in his cool and gloomy basement practice room in Kleinbasel. His mother is an Afro-American singer, his Swiss father has been playing percussion with the salsa formation Picason and in the funk band Grand Mother’s Funck for many years.

They sent their son to take saxophone lessons but Manuel Gagneux couldn’t get on with this instrument at all. At the age of 15, he began to play the guitar because he loved Rock and Metal – well, he still does. Soon, he fell in love with Black Metal because “it was the most extreme music around back then”, he admits with a laugh. “Of course I know now that a lot of things surrounding Black Metal are questionable”.

Looking for a challenge

Manuel Gagneux has already proved with three astoundingly versatile and pop-like albums of his solo project Birdmask that he does not want to be nailed down when it comes to his style. These albums were mainly created in New York where he had moved to in 2012, since he found that the Basel music scene was not challenging enough. “If you do something in New York, you can be sure that there’s someone that does it better. That requires a certain kind of humility but also forced me to be original, something I actually appreciated.”

Looking for a new creative approach, he followed unusual paths. On the internet forum 4chan, he posted the question which two music styles would be incompatible, intending to use it as a kind of exercise to combine them into a song in half an hour. Someone replied “Black Metal and nigger music”. While Manuel Gagneux didn’t find that too funny, what with his Afro-American mother, but he found it musically stimulating.

Combine the incompatible

The singer and multi-instrumentalist thus went on a search for original material of Black Music. He had particular success in the online archive of the US-American ethnologist Alan Lomax. He took his inspiration from songs sung by slaves in the fields, for example, and repeated them by singing parts of them in a modified manner, then combined them with Metal riffs and even added electronic sounds to three of the songs.

Following a trial & error method, he was able to combine these different elements, Manuel Gagneux adds. “The first songs turned out to be awful”, he recalls and rolls his eyes. “But at some point I realised that it would be best if I opened the pieces with Spiritual Music, as it has a welcoming effect: You want to bop along, join in. Metal Music, on the other hand, is like a slap in the face, and you can give the music an enormous push with that.”

From a solo project to a band

Manuel Gagneux played all instruments himself, apart from the drums which he programmed, as he does not regard himself “as a gifted drummer”. He also recorded everything with his laptop and “a simple microphone” and engineered it. “I only used bad equipment, but that was also an advantage”, he grins.

What he probably means: The recordings really don’t sound perfect but it amplifies their authenticity. In order to be able to give a captivating performance during his coming tour, he has assembled a band with five musicians – and he’s already writing new material for it – his album is, after all, only 25 minutes long.

“There’s no two ways about it”

Before his career kicks off properly, Manuel Gagneux registered with SUISA. His parents had already told him early on that he ought to become a member. “I used to laugh it off. And my opinion of SUISA was ambivalent because some of the bands had told me that they would not be booked by clubs because they had to pay SUISA fees.”

His manager, David Burger of Reelmusic, had, however, warmly recommended that he become a member, because there’s simply no two ways about it. He has no expectations as of yet what benefits this could bring him for definite. “I am a new member and have therefore got no clue what I can expect.”

Tour dates in Switzerland and adjacent regions:
14 April 2017 Czar Fest Basel, 3 May 2017 Magnolia Milano, 4 May 2017 Usine Geneva; he has also planned some summer festival performances.

www.zealandardor.com, official website of Zeal & Ardor

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Basel-based musician Manuel Gagneux has caused quite an international stir with his utterly unusual style mix of his project Zeal & Ardor. The composer and artist of dual Swiss-American nationality has recently joined SUISA. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

Manuel Gagneux: “New York forced me to be original”

New at SUISA: Basel-based Manuel Gagneux of Zeal & Ardor. (Photo: Matthias Willi)

Last year, Zeal & Ardor seemed to appear out of nowhere with their mix of gospel, slave song, blues and black metal. The renowned US-American magazine Rolling Stone wrote the following under the title “Best Metal Records of 2016 So Far”: None of this year’s songs sounded “as strange, unfathomable and wonderful” as “Devil Is Fine” by Zeal and Ardor. Said album will now be officially released globally, and international live performances will follow.

Broadly influenced style

It is not out of nowhere that...read more

“Your soul is reflected in the Blues”

Yannick Nanette joined SUISA in 2015. The singer, guitarist and harmonica player from Mauritius lives in Lausanne and constitutes the Blues band The Two together with Thierry Jaccard. They already had performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival and Zermatt Unplugged. In the US, the duo made it to the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Text by Michael Welti

“Your soul is reflected in the Blues”

New SUISA member: Yannick Nanette, based in Lausanne. (Photo: Y. Nanette)

“My dad played the guitar and sang – and as they say ‘like father, like son’”, writes Yannick Nanette. He is half of The Two; a band which has dedicated itself to the Blues. “In the Blues in its entire depth and released truth, your soul is reflected”, he continues. He finds himself in the music and where it takes him.

Yannick Nanette grew up on the island state of Mauritius. “My uncle often listened to Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and Big Bill Broonzy. I did not understand a lot of what was said, I was still small. But I loved the rhythm, the movement, the expressiveness”, the artist remembers. “Apart from these links to the USA, I found a similar timbre within traditional Mauritian music, the Sega, with the voice of ‘Ti-Frère’ or – newer – with Eric Triton: the same wild strength, a happy seriousness and the desire to be independent. That is absolutely understandable, after all, the Sega dates back to the times of slavery.”

“Blues is still very much present today”, Yannick Nanette writes. “You just have to switch on the TV and watch images of people which eat each other in the name of comfort and individualism. Slavery of the 1800s is over. The ‘strange fruits’ which Billie Holiday sang about do no longer hang on the trees, but above us hovers man’s monstrosity in its entire spectrum. Modern slavery is colour blind. It’s not about black or white; cotton today is money, and mankind bends over backwards to serve it.”

Sweet Dirty Blues

At the age of 13, Yannick Nanette began to play the guitar and to sing. Four years later, he discovered the harmonica on a bus ride heading for Port-Louis. A regular passenger behind him was a harmonica player called Ignace. “During the one-hour trip the sounds on the back seat were whirling and swinging. That was incredible!” Yannick was fascinated and asked the musician whether he would teach him how to play the harmonica. The man said yes.

Today, the 33-year old lives in Lausanne. The band The Two which he founded together with his friend Thierry Jaccard, published its first album in 2014, called “Sweet Dirty Blues”. In the meantime, the two have played at over 130 concerts, among those festivals in Croatia, Denmark, Italy and France.

SUISA membership

At the moment, Yannick Nanette only finances a part of his cost of living with the music. “I am a student at the moment and work on the side as a teacher. The two ‘supporting legs’ generate just about enough money so that I can support myself and pay my insurances etc. From a philosophical standpoint, I earn my life and live thanks to music”, Nanette adds.

The SUISA membership gives Yannick Nanette a big advantage: “I can delegate the rights management, knowing that a competent and experienced organisation such as SUISA is looking after that. That makes things easier and relieves some time pressure. The time thus saved can be re-invested into creating my music. I am content and hope that SUISA will continue to do such good work. I also expect transparency from SUISA, after all, mutual trust is important for continuity.”

www.the-two.ch, official website

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Yannick Nanette joined SUISA in 2015. The singer, guitarist and harmonica player from Mauritius lives in Lausanne and constitutes the Blues band The Two together with Thierry Jaccard. They already had performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival and Zermatt Unplugged. In the US, the duo made it to the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Text by Michael Welti

“Your soul is reflected in the Blues”

New SUISA member: Yannick Nanette, based in Lausanne. (Photo: Y. Nanette)

“My dad played the guitar and sang – and as they say ‘like father, like son’”, writes Yannick Nanette. He is half of The Two; a band which has dedicated itself to the Blues. “In the Blues in its entire depth and released truth, your soul is reflected”, he continues. He finds himself in the music and where it takes him.

Yannick...read more

«Der Kleine Prix Walo ist ein schönes Erfolgserlebnis für die Seerugge Feger»

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«Ich schätze die Unterstützung der SUISA für die Künstler sehr»

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