Tag Archives: Swiss pop

Jessiquoi: having the freedom to reinvent yourself

Searching for her personal identity is the force that drives her creativity. It has enabled Jessica Plattner, alias Jessiquoi, to create a complete audiovisual work of art. The 31-year-old Bern resident says that she is brim full of ideas. Thanks to the Get Going! grant, there is no longer anything standing in the way of her goals. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Jessiquoi: having the freedom to reinvent yourself

Jessiquoi (Photo: Manuel Lopez)

“Once I am a grown-up, I would like to have a grand piano on stage,” says Jessica Plattner, laughing at her own turn of phrase. Needless to say, at 31 years of age, she has already been a grown-up for some time, but her statement also indicates that she sees herself as an artist on a path to further development that has not yet reached its end. And this is in spite of being one of Switzerland’s most impressive acts with her alter ego Jessiquoi. She composes and produces herself. She is responsible for the visuals, continually creating fantastic worlds, in which Jessiquoi reinvents, redefines herself with the aid of electro-sound environments that are sometimes aggressive, sometimes gentle.

“For me, identity is something that is fluid,” comments Jessica, quoting well-known drag queen, RuPaul: “You’re born naked. The rest is drag.” Then adding: “I believe that every person has the freedom to reinvent themself. Also, no justification is necessary if someone steers their life in a completely new direction. It is like in a video game, where each and every player can specify their own avatar.”

The quest for an identity is the creative driving force: in Jessica’s case, this has its roots in her extraordinary life-history. She was born in Bern. Shortly afterwards, her family emigrated to Australia. When she was a teenager, her father was offered a job at the Bern Conservatory, so the family moved back to Switzerland. This steered her still young career down other paths. Jessica had wanted to be a professional dancer and trained accordingly in Sydney. In addition, the Plattners spoke exclusively English at home. “If I had wanted to pursue my career as a dancer, I would have had to go to Rotterdam or Berlin. But I wanted to be with my family,” she says. “At the beginning, I felt like I was a foreigner in Bern and like I was being excluded. It was only when I started to speak the Bernese dialect that everything was suddenly OK.” The language came to her easily, her German teacher even giving her the nickname “tape recorder”, “because I could play back everything so perfectly,” she laughs.

Alternative existence

The search for her identity in this strange homeland then led her to music – with dance falling by the wayside. “We always had a piano at home, but I never touched it in the beginning. I’d had lessons for a short time, but I hated them. Then I suddenly started writing songs of my own every day,” is the way she describes her musical beginnings.

But if the loss of her familiar environment was not bad enough, seven years ago Jessica suffered the most painful stroke of fate that anyone could possibly imagine. Her brother, who was two years younger than her, died. “We shared everything and were often even mistaken for twins,” she says before explaining how her brother inspired her interest in the world of video games and film soundtracks.

And it was precisely in these worlds where you can reinvent yourself that Jessica found her new home as Jessiquoi. “You could say that Jessiquoi is a fictional character, but in truth she is actually a different version of me,” she says and adds: “This character can also scare you, because Jessiquoi does not inhabit our fixed system of clear gender roles and national identities.”

On her albums, she now tells us about these strange worlds, in which the valleys are contaminated, so people flee to the mountain tops, and where pilots are able to fly in the direction of a better existence. On stage, she brings about this alternative existence all by herself. She has electronic instruments and a command centre for the visual effects on a wooden cart and dances, playing the part of Jessiquoi as absolute ruler of the stage, which is a place of self-determination and constant repositioning. Jessiquoi creates a complete artwork that is impressive thanks to its uncompromisingness, and with which she has also already drummed up enthusiasm in Seville and New York.

The wooden cart – or “trolley” as she calls it – is like a Chinese harp, which she plays live, and is reminiscent of Chinese culture, for which she possesses great affinity. “In the language school, one of my Chinese friends got me interested in her culture. And once when I was in China – it was three o’clock in the morning in Shanghai – I wanted something to eat and there was this old lady with a wooden cart on which she was cooking food. This old cart in the middle of this great metropolis: that’s an image I will never forget. I wanted to be this woman,” she explains, chuckling.

Craft new songs

Self-determination with no ifs or buts, as well as the freedom to keep her own identity in a fluid state are things that Jessica sees as being essential for her art. “For me, the main job of an artist is to dream about the future of our civilisation anew or to make it visible, because this is what absorbs, analyses, criticises and reformulates the world and the people around them.”

Thanks to the Get Going! grant, nothing stands in the way of this exciting development. “I have had to finance myself by playing concerts, which meant I had less time to craft new songs. I now have my annual budget available at a stroke,” she beams. Where this journey ultimately leads her is totally open: “I don’t know what music I will be making tomorrow. It comes easily to me. But I will never let reasons of market strategy stipulate what my music must sound like. I am working on my identity. Me. Just me, nobody but me.”

www.jessiquoi.com

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Each year, our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding. The invitation to apply for 2020 expires at the end of August.

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Searching for her personal identity is the force that drives her creativity. It has enabled Jessica Plattner, alias Jessiquoi, to create a complete audiovisual work of art. The 31-year-old Bern resident says that she is brim full of ideas. Thanks to the Get Going! grant, there is no longer anything standing in the way of her goals. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Jessiquoi: having the freedom to reinvent yourself

Jessiquoi (Photo: Manuel Lopez)

“Once I am a grown-up, I would like to have a grand piano on stage,” says Jessica Plattner, laughing at her own turn of phrase. Needless to say, at 31 years of age, she has already been a grown-up for some time, but her statement also indicates that she sees herself as an artist on a path to further development that has not yet reached its...read more

Anna Gosteli: “I never know where things will take meˮ

Despite her outstanding training and commercial successes in a number of bands, Anna Gosteli hid her light under a bushel far too often.The 35-year-old resident of Solothurn is now stepping into the limelight and has found her too long-awaited musical identity, thanks to all of her many experiences. The 2019 Get Going! grant gave her the necessary financial independence. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Anna Gosteli: “I never know where things will take meˮ

Anna Gosteli (Photo: Manuel Vescoli)

Parts of a puzzle like mosaic pieces – before they are put together, they shimmer in all the colours under the sun, but: the full picture is just not there. The correct arrangement, the right sequence of events which gives the finished picture its identity, is missing. “Jack of all trades and master of noneˮ is the way Anna Gosteli describes the state of affairs in which she found herself for years. And this is despite how these individual parts of the puzzle can be seen or heard: piano lessons at the age of 7, then the clarinet, followed by the school choir. At home in the Vorarlberg region of Austria, her mother played the guitar and her father the saxophone. “Even as a child I came into contact with all sorts of musical genres, with golden oldies and pop songs, and in our house there were always instruments available to play.ˮ

At the age of 14, she moved to Switzerland. Yet another piece of the puzzle, followed by more new pieces at regular intervals. When she was 21, she joined the Basel-based art-pop collective, The Bianca Story. Nothing seemed to stand in the way of a stellar career. Appearances at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, recording at Abbey Road Studios in London, however: “In the beginning I was the timid one in the band,ˮ the 35-year-old comments today, quickly adding: “This was entirely something I felt myself, and had nothing to do with the guys in the band, who always treated me as an equal.ˮ In spite of Gosteliʼs international success, this extremely talented singer was always the second voice. Combined with her reserved nature, she was left with the feeling that there could be more to her than meets the eye.

Her liberation began when she attended the Jazz School in Basel. Composition with Hans Feigenwinter, singing with Lisette Spinnler and harmony lessons with Lester Menezes. She is able to laugh about it today, but “at that time I was moved to tears when an irritated Lester once again pointed out to me that what I was doing was boring. My singing tended to be ʼtoo sweetʻ.ˮ Ultimately, this love-hate relationship turned out to be an important driving force in her breaking out of fixed roles and listening to her inner voice. Slowly but surely, the parts of the puzzle that had been collected over the years seemed to be fitting together. A feeling of certainty grew that a bigger, more coherent picture was possibly hidden inside her.

Along with Fabian Chiquet of The Bianca Story, she founded Chiqanne. Working together, they created great pop songs with depth. “Suddenly, I was writing lyrics in German and standing at the very front of the stage.ˮ But the decisive step in completing the puzzle only appeared as a result of the album, “Dr Schnuu und sini Tierliˮ, with a collection of songs for children, and most importantly, for their parents as well. Like so many things in her varied career, this was not planned. “I never know where things will take me. But somehow that can also be a way of doing things,ˮ she laughs.

It happened at Christmas, when Anna, now the mother of a six-year-old son, was looking for presents for the children of her friends. “And because I was really short of money at that time, I wrote a song and gave each child a verse.ˮ After the song about “Poultryˮ, came “Biber (Beaver)ˮ, which she gave to the film composer, Biber Gullatz, by way of thanks for a stay in his Berlin apartment, when she was frequently cooperating with him on television film soundtracks. “Only then did the idea come to me of writing a collection of childrenʼs songs.ˮ

It was behind these actual songs that almost all of the musical experiences that Gosteli had gathered throughout her career were hiding, and which suggested that the puzzle would become part of a glittering oeuvre. Thanks to lots of humour, but also immense psychological depth, these songs show off Gosteliʼs talents as a lyricist, whilst the music – which she performed on stage in collaboration with guitarist, Martina Stutz, – reflects her stylistic journey from golden oldies to pop songs and ultimately jazz.

“Iʼm currently bursting with ideas,ˮ says Gosteli, who teaches singing at the Guggenheim in Liestal, as well as leading a “Female Band Workshopˮ for “Helvetiarocktˮ along with Evelinn Trouble.And, last but not least, she is starting to bring the puzzle nearly to completion in the newly established Kid Empress band. “At last,ˮ states Gosteli, “Iʼve found three musical kindred spirits. We make decisions together and without having to make any compromises.ˮ

The “Schnuuˮ and genre-crossing sound of Kid Empress already clearly indicate that the initial “Jack of all trades and master of noneˮ is being condensed into an independent identity. “The Get Going! grant gives me the necessary financial breathing space at just the right time to be able to immerse myself in this new, creative adventure.ˮ And at this point, she beams all over her face once more.

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!ˮ, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Each year, our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding. The invitation to apply for 2020 expires at the end of August.

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Tanya Barany: “The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me”“The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me” During the corona crisis, via its project “Music for Tomorrow”, SUISA is providing a platform for some members to report on their work and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time round, the Valaisian musician and songwriter Tanya Barany tells us why she hopes that people in this crisis have focussed their awareness of things like care, appreciation, solidarity or reflection and exclusively performs her song “Cotton Clouds”. Read more
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Despite her outstanding training and commercial successes in a number of bands, Anna Gosteli hid her light under a bushel far too often.The 35-year-old resident of Solothurn is now stepping into the limelight and has found her too long-awaited musical identity, thanks to all of her many experiences. The 2019 Get Going! grant gave her the necessary financial independence. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Anna Gosteli: “I never know where things will take meˮ

Anna Gosteli (Photo: Manuel Vescoli)

Parts of a puzzle like mosaic pieces – before they are put together, they shimmer in all the colours under the sun, but: the full picture is just not there. The correct arrangement, the right sequence of events which gives the finished picture its identity, is missing. “Jack of all trades and master of noneˮ is the way Anna Gosteli describes the state...read more

“It would be nice if this crisis would lead to some sort of a raised awareness”

During the corona crisis, SUISA’s “Music for Tomorrow” project provides a platform for some members to report on their creative activities and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time, Zurich musician and songwriter Anna Känzig tells how it feels when one concert cancellation after the other flutters into her house and why she hasn’t lost her courage despite of that. For “Music for Tomorrow”, she exclusively performed her song “House of Cards”, which nicely describes the current circumstances.  Text by Nina Müller; video by Anna Känzig, edited by Nina Müller

Anna Känzig (35) was already very musical at a young age. She learned to play the guitar at the age of five. Later, the bass and the piano followed, and her school education also took place in the musical field. At the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) she completed her Bachelor’s degree in the jazz department and since 2009, Känzig has been an integral part of the Swiss music scene. With her clear voice, the Zurich native has already thrilled audiences at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Gurten Festival, Energy Air and the finals of the Elite Model Look 2016.

She has been under contract with Sony Music Switzerland since 2014 and has already produced three albums, the first one still on the Nation Music label. She produced the album “Sound and Fury”, which also features on “House of Cards”, together with music producer Georg Schlunegger from Hitmill, and Lars Norgren, who also works with Swedish pop musician Tove Lo, mixed the album.

In 2016, her song “Lion’s Heart” was the anthem of the fundraising campaign “Every Rappen Counts”. Anna Känzig is the first woman to contribute the official song for the fundraising campaign by the SRF and the Swiss Solidarity organisation “Glückskette”.

“House of Cards”

For “Music for Tomorrow”, Anna Känzig performed and recorded the song “House of Cards”. On the play, she says: “The song actually describes the current situation very well. It is about the fact that situations can change from one day to the next and despite meticulous planning everything can suddenly be different. The song was written a few years ago and has been a fixed part of my live programme ever since.

Anna Känzig, what does your working day as a composer/lyricist look like during the corona pandemic?
I try to use the resulting compulsory break as creatively as possible. At the beginning of the corona crisis, I found this extremely difficult, as the whole situation paralysed me. Every day new concert cancellations fluttered in, and the planned single release suddenly didn’t seem to make much sense anymore. At some point I was able to free myself from this lethargy and found my creative flow again. I dug out a lot of song ideas that had been lying fallow until then and barricaded myself in my band room with them. Meanwhile many new songs have been written, at best material for a new album!

What does this crisis mean for you personally?
Due to the crisis I suddenly had to deal with myself and my work much more intensively again. The collective foreclosure triggered a creative impulse in me. Since no more live concerts were allowed to be played, personal contact with the audience broke off abruptly. Many concerts have been moved to the internet, which I personally didn’t really like. I understand that alternative forms have to be found, but especially with streaming concerts an essential part of cultural enjoyment is lost for me. In the meantime, smaller concerts are allowed again, and I notice more than ever that this exchange of energy between musicians and audience is simply irreplaceable.

How can the audience support you at the moment?
In quite a classic way: Buying albums and songs always helps. Of course, this does not always have to happen via the large platforms. It helps us most when the music is bought directly from us, via our webshop, or upon personal request. Streaming is also possible, but here the revenues per stream are very low. Social media certainly also play a role in supporting the artist. A Like is not a payment, but the attention and sharing of contributions in social media helps us to expand our reach and, at best, to gain new fans.

Would it help if people on Spotify and Co. streamed your music more often?
Streaming helps to a small extent, sure. But it would be much better if people would consume the music on platforms where they can buy the individual tracks. It would be nice if this crisis would raise awareness and people would be more willing to pay for the consumption of culture again.

In your opinion, what positive things could the current situation bring about?
I hope that the lack of cultural experiences and adventures triggered by the corona crisis will create a new hunger for live encounters among people and that something like a concert visit will be much more appreciated again.

What do you want to give your fans to take away from this interview?
I am looking forward to welcoming my fans at a live concert again soon!

www.annakaenzig.com

“Music for Tomorrow”
The Covid-19 crisis has hit SUISA’s members particularly hard. The main source of income for many composers and publishers has completely been lost: Performances of any kind have been prohibited by the Federal Government until further notice. In the coming weeks, we will be posting portraits of some of our members on the SUISAblog. They will tell us what moves them during the Covid-19 crisis, what their challenges are and what their working day currently looks like. The musicians also performed and filmed their own composition for the SUISAblog at home or in their studio. SUISA pays the musicians a fee for this campaign.
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  1. Guten Tag Nina,
    danke für deinen Beitrag! Ein sehr wichtiges Thema was du da ansprichst. Es war und ist auch immer noch für uns alle eine schwere und ungewohnte Zeit.

    Liebe Grüße
    Christoph

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

During the corona crisis, SUISA’s “Music for Tomorrow” project provides a platform for some members to report on their creative activities and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time, Zurich musician and songwriter Anna Känzig tells how it feels when one concert cancellation after the other flutters into her house and why she hasn’t lost her courage despite of that. For “Music for Tomorrow”, she exclusively performed her song “House of Cards”, which nicely describes the current circumstances.  Text by Nina Müller; video by Anna Känzig, edited by Nina Müller

Anna Känzig (35) was already very musical at a young age. She learned to play the guitar at the age of five. Later, the bass and the piano followed, and her school education also took place in the musical field. At the...read more

“The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me”

During the corona crisis, via its project “Music for Tomorrow”, SUISA is providing a platform for some members to report on their work and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time round, the Valaisian musician and songwriter Tanya Barany tells us why she hopes that people in this crisis have focussed their awareness of things like care, appreciation, solidarity or reflection and exclusively performs her song “Cotton Clouds”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Tanya Barany, complemented by Nina Müller

“Dark like my British humour, but with a touch of fresh mountain air,” is how Tanya Barany describes her “Dark Pop”. Born and grown up in the Upper Valais, Tanja Zimmermann, that is what she is actually called, found her way to music at an early age: “I’ve been singing, dancing and performing all my life. The stages have simply become a bit bigger over time,” she says in a written interview. “What was once my bed has mutated into a Gampel Open Air stage.” Her musical career began with her first solo appearance with guitar at a children’s hit parade at the age of 11. At the age of 14 she founded the girl power trio Labyrinthzero, with which she released her first EP with her own compositions and played over 150 concerts at home and abroad.

Found a musical home

Decisive for her musical career was the encounter with Jonas Ruppen, who plays keyboard in her band and creates the videos: “He showed me the world of Radiohead, James Blake, etc. – and suddenly I had found my musical home!” The two have been playing music together for ten years now and work together on the overall concept of “Tanya Barany” – Tanya as songwriter and Jonas as video producer.

She began her musical education in 2014 by studying music at the Zurich University of the Arts, where she says that she was able to benefit from great teachers. “At the same time, I learned how to use the recording program LogicX, which took my songwriting in a completely different direction – my ‘Dark Pop’ saw the light of day!”

The debut album “Lights Disappear”

In 2019, Tanya Barany’s debut album “Lights Disappear” was released. Several performances on stages at home and abroad followed, e.g. Gampel Open Air, Zermatt Unplugged, Swiss Live Talents or at the Blue Balls Festival.

Besides her project Tanya Barany, she is a full-time studio singer and musician, songwriter, lyricist and vocal coach.

“Cotton Clouds”

For “Music for Tomorrow” Tanya Barany performed and recorded the song “Cotton Clouds”. She says the following about the work: “‘Cotton Clouds’ describes the feeling of immersion in water where suddenly everything around becomes silent; where suddenly another world appears. One the one hand, the water walls are depressing (almost oppressive), on the other hand they remind us of the security of an embrace. ‘Cotton Clouds’ is my unreleased hidden track. Like my songs on the album ‘Lights Disappear’, ‘Cotton Clouds’ grew out of the dark corner of my heart, but the track didn’t find a place on the album. I had composed ‘Cotton Clouds’ on the piano at that time; I prefer to play the piano alone for myself, without anyone listening to me. I chose ‘Cotton Clouds’ for ‘Music for Tomorrow’, because I want to invite the audience into my little lounge and take you on a little personal journey … :-)”

Tanya Barany, what does your working day as a composer/lyricist look like during the corona pandemic?
Tanya Barany: At the moment, I have more time to convert my song ideas into finished songs. Therefore, I try to generate as much output as possible – not only for me as Tanya Barany, but also as a ghostwriter for other artists. My partner, David Friedli – also a musician and composer – and I often write together. We move in all possible style directions – from folk to rock to pop to electro pop to soul etc. – it’s really fun!

What does this crisis mean for you personally?
The crisis feels a little like being in a rehab clinic to me. I don’t really want to be there – I miss performing live, cultural life and even planning ahead – who would have thought – and I can’t wait for normality to return.
On the other hand, this crisis also brings something valuable with it: Time! The world just seems to revolve a bit more slowly. Suddenly I am allowed to concentrate on things that are not necessarily on my having to do list but on the nice to do list – that feels incredibly good! This time has made “Reboot” possible, now I feel much more energetic and creative than before the crisis.

How can the audience support you at the moment?
My audience can best support me by telling all my friends and relatives about my music and telling them to buy the “Lights Disappear” CD! 🙂 Dark songs help through dark times … 🙂

Would it help if people on Spotify and Co. streamed your music more often?
When selecting live acts, the organisers look at the number of “listeners” on Spotify, YouTube etc. Therefore, it is surely an advantage if my music is streamed regularly on these platforms. It is also nice to see that my songs are even heard on the other side of the world! But to support me as an artist directly, I am always very grateful for purchased music on iTunes etc. or directly at concerts.

What do you think the current situation could bring with it?
I very much hope that people’s awareness will be sharpened somewhat – on all levels! A little more care, appreciation, solidarity, reflection – that would do us all good!

What do you want to give your fans to take away from this interview?
Dear fans, although it seems to be quieter around Tanya Barany at the moment, I’m working diligently in the background on a new concept, so that it will be even more cracking afterwards – so enjoy the calm before the storm! 🙂 I am already looking forward to presenting you new songs! Thanks for your support so far! Take care <3

www.tanyabarany.ch

“Music for Tomorrow”
The Covid-19 crisis has hit SUISA’s members particularly hard. The main source of income for many composers and publishers has completely been lost: Performances of any kind have been prohibited by the Federal Government until further notice. In the coming weeks, we will be posting portraits of some of our members on the SUISAblog. They will tell us what moves them during the Covid-19 crisis, what their challenges are and what their working day currently looks like. The musicians also performed and filmed their own composition for the SUISAblog at home or in their studio. SUISA pays the musicians a fee for this campaign.
Related articles
Information on live streams for SUISA membersInformation on live streams for SUISA members The corona measures led to a loss of performance and earning opportunities for music creators and to a painful loss of live music for music consumers. Live streaming therefore enjoys great popularity, especially in these times, and takes on a pertinent role in the cultural industry. Read more
Kety Fusco: “This situation will put everyone – musicians, technicians, insiders – to the test”“This situation will put everyone – musicians, technicians, insiders – to the test” With the “Music for tomorrow” project, SUISA aims to support its members in these difficult times. We offer artists a platform where they can talk about their current situation while in lockdown and present one of their works. The prelude is made by the Ticino composer and harpist Kety Fusco. In a written interview she talks about her everyday life in lockdown and why not that much has actually changed for her. Read more
Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORMWhy SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM Composers and lyricists who are SUISA members and are also active as artists and/or producers and whose performances are broadcast by Swiss or foreign radio and TV channels are entitled to receive a remuneration from SWISSPERFORM. For all those authors-composers-artists/producers, a membership with SWISSPERFORM is thus a necessary addition to their SUISA affiliation in order to safeguard their rights and the full remuneration they are entitled to. Read more
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Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

During the corona crisis, via its project “Music for Tomorrow”, SUISA is providing a platform for some members to report on their work and the challenges they are facing during this period. This time round, the Valaisian musician and songwriter Tanya Barany tells us why she hopes that people in this crisis have focussed their awareness of things like care, appreciation, solidarity or reflection and exclusively performs her song “Cotton Clouds”. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; video by Tanya Barany, complemented by Nina Müller

“Dark like my British humour, but with a touch of fresh mountain air,” is how Tanya Barany describes her “Dark Pop”. Born and grown up in the Upper Valais, Tanja Zimmermann, that is what she is actually called, found her way to music at an early age: “I’ve been...read more

Helvetiarockt: SUISA supports the voice of female musicians in Switzerland | plus video

Women are still underrepresented in music, on stage and as producers. For this reason, the association Helvetiarockt has been standing up for women in Pop, Jazz and Rock in Switzerland. Since 2019, SUISA is a partner to and supports Helvetiarockt and participated in the “Female* Songwriting Camp” at the Fri-Son, Fribourg, last August. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

The share of female SUISA members is a little more than 15 percent today. Even though there is a slightly rising tendency – the share of women among new members was at 20 respectively 21 percent – compared to the population share of women which is more than 50 percent, women are still underrepresented in the Swiss music business. That is actually surprising because there is no reason why professions in the music sector should just be a man’s thing.

In order to counteract this imbalance and to ensure that the female musicians are heard, the association Helvetiarockt was founded in 2009. Helvetiarockt has been supporting female musicians for ten years to set foot into the music business and to network successfully. To that end, the association organises a wide range of workshops for (future) female artists, producers and composers. It also offers networking opportunities for female musicians and provides important educational work in order to promote the equality in the music business. Helvetiarockt raises awareness among event organisers and therefore places female artists, female DJs and bands to festivals, clubs and corporate events.

SUISA, a partner of Helvetiarockt

SUISA has been a partner of Helvetiarockt since 2019 and supports the association within the scope of a sponsoring commitment in terms of finance and visibility. As a Cooperative Society for female composers, lyricists and publishers of music, the focus of this cooperation for SUISA lies especially with the “Female* Songwriting Camps”. This year, Helvetiarockt and SUISA also cooperate at the Cully Jazz Festival (27 March to 4 April 2020).

Helvetiarockt has been organising the “Female* Songwriting Camps” since 2015; in the meantime, they take place twice a year, in August, at the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. During the five-day camps, experienced female songwriters support female participants in group workshops, individual coaching sessions and for the self-study of composing, writing lyrics and arranging. What is more important than finished songs being the outcome at the end is that the female participants can extend their songwriting abilities and build up a network with other female musicians.

Up to now, 42 female musicians visited the “Female* Songwriting Camps” of Helvetiarockt, many of whom, such as Kimbo, Sasa or Anna Mae are now very active. “We were able to ‘empower’ a few female songwriters, and that is a beautiful thing”, says Muriel Rhyner, who is in charge for projects such as the “Female* Songwriting Camps” and the “Female* Producing Circles” at Helvetiarockt. It was her, who called the Songwriting Camps to life five years ago and has been running them since – together with Élodie Romain aka Billie Bird since 2019.

SUISA was present at the “Female* Songwriting Camp” in the Fri-Son and accompanied the coaches as well as the eight participants during the two days. The Songwriting Camp was well received among the female musicians. “At the juncture I was at, it was really important to me that I could meet other people who do the same as me, and that there were professionals who could provide advice or take a look at what I was doing at that time”, says Ines Martenet. Another participant, Emelyne Pannatier, came to the camp with specific questions surrounding the recording process of songs since “she mainly had problems with the structure of a few songs”.

Two “Female* Songwriting Camps” planned in August 2020

Helvetiarockt has also scheduled two “Female* Songwriting Camps” for 2020: from 3 to 7 August in the Kulturzentrum Galvanik in Zug and from 17 to 21 August in the Fri-Son in Fribourg. You can register via the Helvetiarockt website: www.helvetiarockt.ch/songwritingcamp

Just as Ines Martenet said in the video: “You just have to come by!”

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Women are still underrepresented in music, on stage and as producers. For this reason, the association Helvetiarockt has been standing up for women in Pop, Jazz and Rock in Switzerland. Since 2019, SUISA is a partner to and supports Helvetiarockt and participated in the “Female* Songwriting Camp” at the Fri-Son, Fribourg, last August. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

The share of female SUISA members is a little more than 15 percent today. Even though there is a slightly rising tendency – the share of women among new members was at 20 respectively 21 percent – compared to the population share of women which is more than 50 percent, women are still underrepresented in the Swiss music business. That is actually surprising because there is no reason why professions in...read more

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

This year, the Swiss Music Awards will honour the Swiss “Best Hit” of the previous year once again. But the award does not only go to the performers of the best hit: Thanks to SUISA, the songwriters of the winning song will also be honoured for the fifth time. Performing artists and songwriters talked about the development of the songs in interviews. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

The nominees in the category “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards: “Punto” by Loco Escrito, “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner. On behalf of SUISA, the composers are also honoured. (Photos: Nina Müller)

“She Got Me” by Luca Hänni, “Punto” by Loco Escrito and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner were the most successful songs in the Swiss charts last year and are thus nominated for the Swiss Music Awards 2020 in the category “Best Hit”. However, there are no hits without songwriters: On behalf of SUISA, the composers of the “Best Hit” will also be honoured at the award show on 28 February 2020 in Lucerne’s KKL.

This award is intended to show and acknowledge the work of the songwriters behind the big hits, too. For Luca Hänni this is an important matter, as he points out in the video interview: “I think it is mega important that the songwriters are on board, too. That’s the be-all and end-all. With these people you have the feeling in the studio, you write stuff and bring the emotions into the computer.”

Three songs, nine songwriters

Besides Luca Hänni, five other songwriters have been nominated for the “Best Hit” award for “She Got Me”: The song was composed in just one day at the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 by Luca Hänni, Laurell Barker (CAN), Jon Hällgren (SWE) and Frazer Mac (CAN). Until its finished version, which achieved an excellent fourth place for Switzerland at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the song was further refined together with Lukas Hällgren (SWE) and Jenson Vaughn (CAN).

Büne Huber, singer of Patent Ochsner, is also pleased that songwriting is honoured at the “Best Hit” award: “In many cases in music history, the people who provide important inputs to songs are not mentioned at all”, says Huber in the video interview. The only one of the three nominated songs “Für immer uf Di” was written by a single person: Büne Huber himself. The first song sketch was already drafted in 1994; only after the death of his mother, 24 years later, did he finish the song in a very short time.

Not only Loco Escrito can hope for a concrete block for “Punto”; the co-songwriter and producer Henrik Amschler is also in with hopes. The two have been writing the songs of Loco Escrito together for years and were already honoured with the “Best Hit” award in 2019 for the song “Adiòs”. Henrik Amschler is delighted that they could win the award again this year: “It is a huge acknowledgement that we have been nominated for the second time”, he says in an interview with SUISA. The song, which is about the end of a relationship, was created in a spontaneous session between Amschler and Loco Escrito – which is typical for the well-rehearsed team.

The winning song is chosen by the audience via telephone voting during the show.

  • “She Got Me”: Luca Hänni
    Songwriters: Laurell Barker, Luca Hänni, Jon Hällgren, Lukas Hällgren, Frazer Mac, Jenson Vaughn
  • “Punto”: Loco Escrito
    Songwriters: Henrik Amschler, Loco Escrito
  • “Für immer uf Di”: Patent Ochsner
    Songwriter: Büne Huber

Video interviews with nominees

During the interviews, Loco Escrito, Henrik Amschler, Büne Huber and Luca Hänni told us how their hits came about and what stories lie behind the songs. Videos of the interviews can be viewed on the SUISA Music Stories channel on Youtube:

Büne Huber from Patent Ochsner talks about the song “Für immer uf di”
Loco Escrito and Henrik Amschler in an interview about “Punto”
Luca Hänni talks about “She Got Me”

www.swissmusicawards.ch

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This year, the Swiss Music Awards will honour the Swiss “Best Hit” of the previous year once again. But the award does not only go to the performers of the best hit: Thanks to SUISA, the songwriters of the winning song will also be honoured for the fifth time. Performing artists and songwriters talked about the development of the songs in interviews. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

Swiss Music Awards: Songwriters are awarded with the “Best Hit” award

The nominees in the category “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards: “Punto” by Loco Escrito, “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner. On behalf of SUISA, the composers are also honoured. (Photos: Nina Müller)

“She Got Me” by Luca Hänni, “Punto” by Loco Escrito and “Für immer uf Di” by Patent Ochsner were the most successful songs in the...read more

10 years of Helvetiarockt: Amplify the voice of women*

For the last 10 years, the association Helvetiarockt has been fighting for a better representation of women* in the music scene. Time for a review. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

10 years of Helvetiarockt: Amplify the voice of women*

Isabella Eder (left) and Muriel Rhyner of the Zug-based band Delilahs rock the stage at the PFF FFS Openair Menzingen 2015. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Those who go to concerts or who look at the information on music productions will not be surprised by finding out that women* are greatly under-represented in the music scene. The association Helvetiarockt estimates that in the pop, rock and jazz sector the share of women* on stage is about 15 percent, whereas in music production it is even as low as 2 percent.

SUISA, which is a supporter of Helvetiarockt and specifically promotes the association’s projects, can provide precise figures: At the end of 2018, the share of women* among authors was 15.7 percent. In a preliminary study regarding the womens’* share in the Basel pop scene, the result was even worse: Only just 10 percent of the persons who actively made music in the years between 2008 and 2017, were female. These figures are even more disillusioning since the share of girls* in music schools, according to an estimate by Helvetiarockt, is still 50 percent.

Support and sensitisation

Helvetiarockt has been promoting a “significant increase of the womens’* share in the Swiss music business” since 2009. The association follows this objective mainly with an increasingly broad and specific offer of workshops such as a “songwriting camp” and events such as panel discussions.

That way, Helvetiarockt wishes to motivate young women* to become active in the music scene on the one hand. On the other hand, the association wants to specifically support and connect professional female* musicians and sensitise the sector regarding this subject. As a consequence, it is important that the many women* who engage themselves in the association should also be active in the music industry themselves.

Create awareness

Chantal Bolzern is a lawyer and has been working for SUISA between 2004 and 2017. Since 2015, she has been involved in Helvetiarockt, provides input talks regarding the topic “music and right”, and has been female* Co-President of the association since 2018. She counts the fact that Helvetiarockt has been able to create awareness for the main objective of the association among the most important achievements. “We hardly need to discuss it any longer these days whether the equal treatment of women in the music sector is important. We have thus a good basis in order to have a bigger effect.”

Protected environment

It is with satisfaction that Manuela Jutzi states that she no longer has to listen to the question whether there is actually a need for Helvetiarockt. She is a female* Co-Director of the association and already took over the management of the “Female* Bandworkshop” in 2014. “Whenever we run it, the importance for young women* becomes clear time and again, i.e. that they can take the first steps of making music in a protected environment.” Many are still rather inhibited at first – irrespective of whether this might be due to socialisation or old role models. “I can, however, see an improvement that has taken place throughout the years, and a major part of this is due to the fact that young women* can increasingly experience role models on stage.”

Role model function

In fact, it is no longer as it was at the end of the previous millennium where only a few self-confident Swiss female* musicians such as Vera Kaa, Betty Legler or Sina created a stir with their songs – and could thus become role models. Today, there are many examples, for example Nicole Bernegger, Heidi Happy, Stefanie Heinzmann, Sophie Hunger, Anna Rossinelli, Valeska Steiner (Boy) etc. Music styles which had been previously uncommon for Swiss female* musicians are now home to Anna Aaron, Big Zis, KT Gorique, Anna Murphy (Eluveitie) and Steff la Cheffe.

Muriel Rhyner can also act as a role model. She has been involved with Helvetiarockt since the beginning, she is a member of the team and is running the “Female* Songwriting Camp” which had been supported by SUISA in 2019. She also felt that there was a clear change. “When, in 2005, at the age of 17, I seriously chose a music career with The Delilahs, back then a pure womens’* band, I felt rather lonely. I could not exchange my views with other female* musicians – something that is also very important from a human point of view, something I can now experience repeatedly at Helvetiarockt events.” At the “Female* Songwriting Camp”, she keeps discovering that the female* participants are initially rather insecure. “But then, they push each other increasingly – and such a momentum is something I hope for the efforts of Helvetiarockt.”

Development and outlook

It is hard to say by how much exactly the womens’* share in the music scene has improved. SUISA’s evaluation at least revealed that the womens’* share among the new members in the last five years was higher than that of all female* authors (End of 2018: 15.7 percent): It stood between 19 and 21 percent, respectively. That’s a good starting point for the future work of Helvetiarockt.

After years of development and explaining, Helvetiarockt was now in a position where it could focus on the implementation of the association’s objectives, Chantal Bolzern adds. “We now have some good and new instruments such as the Diversity Roadmap which we created together with partner institutions. It shows event organisers how they can recognise diversity and equality in clubs and at festivals.” Next to be added are new offers for professional female* musicians as well as the expansion of the previous contact pool.

The main objective of the association

“We create a new database which is not limited to female* musicians”, Manuela Jutzi reveals. “It should also be open to other women* who are active in the music sector. That way, we can increase the visibility of women* in the music sector and facilitate the exchange among them at the same time.” The main objective for Manuela Jutzi is, however, “that, one day, Helvetiarockt will not be needed any longer.” In her opinion, this would be the case if at least every third person in the music scene was female.

Further information: www.helvetiarockt.ch

* In this text, the notion of the “gender asterisk” (a method to provide a gender-neutral version in the written form of the German language) has been applied, just as it is used by Helvetiarockt.

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  1. Gut möglich, dass Musikerinnen als Urheberinnen noch stark untervertreten sind: Komponieren und Song-Texte schreiben, ist offensichtlich nicht jederfrau’s Interesse und Talent. Hingegen sind gerade Sängerinnen als Interpretinnen (oftmals in Kombination mit Gitarren oder Piano/Keyboards) im Grunde wesentlich zahlreicher, als ihre männlichen Pendants! Wenn sie zudem – wie meistens – auch noch attraktiver aussehen, als singende Männer, verdienen sie auch noch entsprechend besser, als letztere…

    • Elia Meier says:

      Guten Tag Jean-Pierre E. Reinle

      Es ist schön, dass Sie den Fakt anerkennen, dass es weniger Musikerinnen und Urheberinnen gibt. Wir denken aber nicht, dass ein Geschlecht etwas darüber aussagt, welche Themen sie oder ihn interessieren oder worin ein Mensch talentiert ist oder nicht. Natürlich kann es sein, dass aufgrund von gesellschaftlichen Normen Menschen gehemmt sein können, ein für sie unbekanntes/untypisches Terrain zu betreten. Dieses Verhalten hat jedoch nichts damit zu tun, dass diese Menschen nicht wollen. Es hat damit zu tun, dass Netzwerke ausschliessend wirken können. Es braucht uns alle um diese Normierungen und Stereotypen aufzubrechen und Menschen zu ermutigen zu machen was sie lieben. So haben wir in einer gleichgestellten Welt hoffentlich auch bald mehr Männer am Gesang und mehr Frauen am Schlagzeug. Ihrem Punkt bezüglich konventioneller Attraktivität, pflichten wir insofern bei, dass es durchaus so ist, dass leider Äusserlichkeiten zu Erfolg beitragen können. Wir sehen diesen Aspekt aber für alle Geschlechter. Nur wird es bei Männern nie herausgehoben. Frauen werden, so wie hier an Ihrem Beispiel, immer wieder systematisch auf ihr äusseres reduziert. Dabei wird ihnen jegliche Expertise abgesprochen. Wir wünschen uns genauso wie Sie, dass es ausschliesslich um Expertise geht. Und, dass diese Expertise unabhängig von äusserlichen Merkmalen und unabhängig von Geschlecht, allen Menschen zugetraut wird. Dafür müssen wir uns alle tagtäglich an der Nase nehmen, gelernte Strukturen zu durchbrechen. Es würde uns freuen Sie dabei an unserer Seite zu wissen.

      Freundliche Grüsse Elia Meier, Helvetiarockt

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For the last 10 years, the association Helvetiarockt has been fighting for a better representation of women* in the music scene. Time for a review. Guest contribution by Markus Ganz

10 years of Helvetiarockt: Amplify the voice of women*

Isabella Eder (left) and Muriel Rhyner of the Zug-based band Delilahs rock the stage at the PFF FFS Openair Menzingen 2015. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Those who go to concerts or who look at the information on music productions will not be surprised by finding out that women* are greatly under-represented in the music scene. The association Helvetiarockt estimates that in the pop, rock and jazz sector the share of women* on stage is about 15 percent, whereas in music production it is even as low as 2 percent.

SUISA, which is a supporter of Helvetiarockt and specifically promotes the association’s projects, can provide precise...read more

The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo, made up of Zurich and Winterthur residents Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, experiments with sounds that defy established definitions and seeks out interdisciplinary exchanges with other art forms. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Eclecta: The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo. (Photo: Andrea Ebener)

The place where verbal definitions of different arts implode; where stylistic pigeon-holes exist only as relics of past times; where everything can unfold freely and continually move into more and more new arrangements: that is precisely where Eclecta feel at home. Eclecta is a duo featuring Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, both of whom are solo artists, multi-instrumentalists and singers. And both are, as they describe themselves, “quite simply curious”. Which is something of an understatement. An unadulterated passion for experimentation is their driving force. Although in their late twenties, the couple have not forgotten their youthful enthusiasm, but combine it with mature reflection and are therefore better able to integrate additional elements into their art, which means the result always remains homogeneous.

Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher got to know one another at jazz school, but it was actually the second time they had met. “We had already met as children in the (childrenʼs circus school) ʻCircolino Pipistrelloʼ”, says Bollinger. Whitcher laughs, adding: “But we only found out later that this was the case.” You cannot escape fate, so what was bound to happen inevitably did: “When Marena was asked to do a solo concert, she didnʼt have enough material to be able to fulfil the booking on her own. So she asked me. We then amalgamated our songs, which proved to be the start of everything”, recounts Bollinger.

Their first album from 2016 is called “A Symmetry”, and the play on words concealed in this title says it all, both women are in fact actually confident individuals when it comes to their manner and their art, who have been happy to tread their own path in a large number of collaborations and solo performances. “From the very start, we played two characters that are totally different. Eclecta thrives on this duality, this asymmetry, but at the same time we also have the opportunity to melt into one another”, explains Whitcher, to which Bollinger adds: “We can blend our voices, so that people can hardly distinguish one from the other. The album title describes this ongoing interplay between symmetry and asymmetry.”

The 15 songs, which, as previously mentioned, refuse to be pigeon-holed and deliberately map the stylistic spaces which contribute to the experiment, when added together become an opalescent kaleidoscope of euphoria and melancholy, of passion and thoughtfulness. And listeners still find “A Symmetry” astounding even three years after it first appeared, allowing more and more details to be unveiled: for the protagonists, today the record represents only a snapshot of their artistic process. “On our forthcoming album, which we hope to release at the beginning of 2020, we want to advance this play even further, so that the whole thing continues to become more intermeshed.”

“The Get Going! funding gives us something very precious, namely time. Apart from that, you are never paid for the immensely long period of time it takes to get to grips with specific topics, and to research and write songs.”

What this will sound like, reckon the duo with a wink, “currently remains a secret”. When they talk of their influences, they range from social issues to painting, from theatre to performance art, from literature to philosophy. Whitcher, who has American roots on her fatherʼs side, is enthusiastic about the surrealists and, during her performances, goes into such questions as “What are monsters nowadays and why do we need them?” or “Having first world problems and creating art – do they go together?”. It is also important to Bollinger to integrate political and social topicality into her creative work. Consequently, she writes about such issues as climate change, freedom of thought and digitisation, as well as searching for places where numbers and codes do not control us. She splits her time between Zurich, Berlin and her Engadine homeland, trying to capture the sounds of these different places, because, as she says, “it is crucial where you are when you are creatively active”.

One of these creative playgrounds is also the stage. With instruments and costumes she makes herself, she transforms a performance into a kind of complete artwork. Therefore, in future they want to make increased use of the medium of video in order to lend a visual aspect to their music. But this is only one of what seems like a thousand ideas with which these two musicians are busy. In the end, Eclecta should also be a statement that contradicts the zeitgeist: “In our individualised society, everyone is focused entirely on themselves, never once glancing at what is going on around them.” Whitcher believes “Yet community is a basic requirement of humans”, and Bollinger adds: “I already see it as one of our jobs to reflect the world in our art and to encourage a different way of thinking.”

In any event, they regard the Get Going! funding from FONDATION SUISA as something that offers them a great deal of freedom. “It gives us something very precious, namely time”, comments Bollinger. “Precisely”, emphasises Whitcher, “apart from that, you are never paid for the immensely long period of time it takes to get to grips with specific topics, and to research and write songs”. When you look at it this way, Eclecta is a fine example of this kind of encouragement, because both of these young ladies are venturing down paths that so far remain untrodden and now no longer risk falling between two stools with their passion for experimentation.

www.eclecta.ch

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.

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The Eclecta duo, made up of Zurich and Winterthur residents Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, experiments with sounds that defy established definitions and seeks out interdisciplinary exchanges with other art forms. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Eclecta: The result of an endless passion for experimentation

The Eclecta duo. (Photo: Andrea Ebener)

The place where verbal definitions of different arts implode; where stylistic pigeon-holes exist only as relics of past times; where everything can unfold freely and continually move into more and more new arrangements: that is precisely where Eclecta feel at home. Eclecta is a duo featuring Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, both of whom are solo artists, multi-instrumentalists and singers. And both are, as they describe themselves, “quite simply curious”. Which is something of an understatement. An unadulterated passion...read more

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

SUISA member KT Gorique had been invited to the panel organised by SUISA, “Hit the World” at the M4music Festival 2019, in her capacity as an expert for songwriting in the Rap genre. Shortly afterwards, it became known that she is one of the price winners of the Swiss Music Awards 2019. An interview with the rapper who lives in the Valais, and who carries her music into the whole of Switzerland. Text by guest author José Tippenhauer, Swissmusic.ch

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

“She performed on stage in the Senegal, in Canada and all over Europe and it is not possible to imagine the Swiss rap scene without her”, writes the Federal Agency for Culture (BAK) with regards to the recent award winner of the Swiss Music Award 2019, KT Gorique. (Photo: Jérémie Carron)

KT Gorique deserves her nickname “Swiss knife”. After winning the international rap improvisational contest End of the Weak in New York in 2012, she starred in the film Brooklyn by Pascal Tessaud, portraying the young rapper Coralie. In 2016, she released her first album Tentative de Survie and last year, she entered the charts with her project Kunta Kita. A few weeks after her nomination at the Swiss Music Awards, her ascent continues. She’ll be warming-up for Nicki Minaj at Hallenstadion (Zürich) and is so far the only French-speaker on the bill at Frauenfeld. 2019 is full of promise for this Valaisanne rapper with whom we talked about Switzerland, her inspirations and her creative processes.

Your last project “Kunta Kita” was released in July 2018. What’s been the outcome for you?
KT Gorique: This project has marked a big change in my career. I could not have expected half of what has happened to me as a result!
Since its release, I’ve played forty gigs, including my first as headliner, and several were sold-out (St. Gallen, Lucerne …). These last six years, I’ve primarily done “discovery” gigs for people who didn’t necessarily know me. With “Kunta Kita”, a fan base has now been established. The paradox is that most of my audience comes from German-speaking Switzerland despite the fact that I sing in French, quite unbelievable!
The project is distributed by the Zurich label FarMore Records, but most importantly, in September SRF3 named me “Best Talent” of the month. It’s mainstream radio that has brought me to a different audience. I notice it at my concerts where there are now hip-hop fans, punks, rastas, rockers, young and old people. For me, this is the best gift. I make music for everyone, not just for those who already have the rap vocabulary.

Now that you’re performing a lot in German Switzerland, what do you think of this famous Röstigraben (the symbolic barrier between the French and German-speaking parts of the country)?
The budget that the audience is ready to part with is very different. I recently played a date in Lausanne with other French-speaking artists, the entry fee was 25 CHF. I thought people would find it expensive and, indeed, the room was not full. The following week, I played in German Switzerland, just me and a warm-up act for 30 CHF, and the venue was full!
I have the impression that in Romandie (French part of Switzerland) we seek our identity from the French side. Whereas when the Swiss Germans see Swiss artists who have talent, they say “it’s cool because they are good and especially because they are Swiss!” And they will encourage them.
In Romandie, we tend to appreciate our artists only if they are validated in France, or at least outside our borders. Fortunately, things are starting to change. I recently performed with Danitsa, Comme1Flocon, SWK and Chien Bleu – a similar line-up with just French-Swiss artists would have been impossible 3 years ago!
To come back to the Röstigraben, when I tell the Romands that I am going to gig in German Switzerland, they say to me: “But aren’t they really closed-minded?!” On the contrary, I realize that they are twice as open as us! The proof is that they welcome us, but the Swiss-German rappers are unknown here.

In “Outta Road”, you hit upon people dressed in yellow vests, before the group had become a movement. In your “NAYUNO Session”, you talk about the “Gilets jaunes”, saying: “yellow has the edge this winter, they wear it as a vest, I want everyone together.” Is this a cutting remark?
On the contrary, it’s a message of encouragement. If I were French, I would be on the road every day with them, wearing yellow vests all the time, even on my legs!
Everything I write comes from instinct. I find it wonderful when I see people who do not necessarily come from the same social backgrounds asserting their rights as human beings, because they are in an unfair or unbearable position. So when I say “I want everyone together” it means “I’m with you till the end!”

Let’s talk specifically about your creative process. What do you mean by “writing from instinct”?
To come up with lyrics, first of all, I need a beat. I can sometimes write a little without one, but it won’t result in an entire song. When I want to start writing a song, I automatically need to have music, it’s what determines the words.
With regard to inspiration, my source is the day-to-day. There are many things in life that I’m sensitive to. It can be what I see, what I live, what I hear, the experiences of people around me, my family or difficulties that I encounter. It can be very personal, but also more global – as in the example of the Gilets jaunes.
From there, I’m guided by the music and emotions. I try to connect to what I’m feeling and to shape this around the rhythm. I quite often write on my computer, otherwise, when I want to keep things really sharp and instinctive, I write out the lyrics directly in my head. I do one sentence after another and I retain them little by little, without having to transcribe anything onto a sheet of paper. The voice melodies and the flow then start to follow naturally, depending on what I want to say. This way I feel much more instinctive: direct in what I mean and how I want to come across.

In addition to writing your lyrics, you also compose your own beats. How do you do this? What sounds do you start with?
Yes, I compose from time to time. In theory, I start off with a base, a little vibe that acts as an energy, for example something that could be melancholic, a bit reggae or a little cainfri (“African”). I always set off with a kind of colour that’s in my head, it’s actually very abstract. I then try to transcribe, melodically-speaking, what’s in my head, using a lot of samples on my MIDI keyboard. I keep looking and looking until I find the right sound or the notes that speak to me. I then start with the basic melody and I build around it from there. I continue like this until my instrumental part is composed.

KT Gorique on Youtube

The interview with KT Gorique was held in the course of the thematic dossiers “A la découverte du rap romand” (Discovering Rap in the French part of Switzerland) by Swissmusic.ch and was first published there in March 2019.

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SUISA member KT Gorique had been invited to the panel organised by SUISA, “Hit the World” at the M4music Festival 2019, in her capacity as an expert for songwriting in the Rap genre. Shortly afterwards, it became known that she is one of the price winners of the Swiss Music Awards 2019. An interview with the rapper who lives in the Valais, and who carries her music into the whole of Switzerland. Text by guest author José Tippenhauer, Swissmusic.ch

KT Gorique, conquering the East side

“She performed on stage in the Senegal, in Canada and all over Europe and it is not possible to imagine the Swiss rap scene without her”, writes the Federal Agency for Culture (BAK) with regards to the recent award winner of the Swiss Music Award 2019, KT Gorique. (Photo: Jérémie Carron)

KT Gorique deserves...read more

Switzerland will be represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Luca Hänni and a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp | plus video

For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a SUISA member since 2015. The Bern native was first exposed to the broader public in a German casting show in 2012. Since then, he has issued four albums and a number of singles, and recently appeared on stage with Helene Fischer. Eurovision is the next big adventure in his career. Hänni says he’s excited, “and I just want to give the best show possible.”

Last year, Luca Hänni took part in the SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac returning for a second time. For Laurell Barker, the Swiss camp is a real success story; she contributed to Switzerland’s Eurovision entry last year as well. She wrote the song “Stones” with ZiBBZ, which is made up of SUISA members Corinne and Stefan Gfeller. Jon Hällgren, the Swedish producer, completes the songwriting quartet. After the camp, he produced “She Got Me” for Eurovision 2019 in collaboration with his son Lukas Hällgren.

This year, Swiss broadcaster SRF left the decision on the Eurovision entry to an international jury of 20 experts and a 100-strong viewer panel in a multiple-stage process. Over 420 songs were entered.

On 16 May 2019 (SRF zwei at 9:00 pm), Switzerland will be battling for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv. The Eurovision final will take place on 18 May 2019 (SRF 1 at 8:00 pm).

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place in June 2018 for the second time. Overall, 36 musicians from eight countries took part in the three-day event in Powerplay Studios, Maur. This resulted in 19 pop songs in a range of styles. The camp was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

www.lucamusic.ch

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a...read more