As an integral part of the Big Sock Story 2014 musical line up, Lisa Bauer, sat down with us to tell us all about her electric quartet single; A Life That’s Lead.
- You have just launched your new single in January; tell us a bit about it.
The new single A Life That’s Lead is my electric quartet composition, reflecting my continual musical journey of reinvention as a jazz artist. I wanted to challenge myself as a vocalist/drummer in studio, which is a concept that has always come naturally to me. The A Life That’s Lead project started in 2012 and features me on drums, friends and collaborators Chantal Willie on electric bass, Andrew Lilley on keyboards and Lee Thomson on trumpet. I am passionate about and started studying the drums privately since age 16 completing the advanced diploma at the Tony Rothschild School of Drumming in Johannesburg at 18 years, alongside guitar from age nine, classical piano from age seven and violin from age 12. I continued to study the drums during my undergraduate vocal jazz degree with Efrain Toro at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The single was co-mixed with my partner Max Starcke at Ronan Skillen’s studio in Kalk Bay and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York City with Steve Fallone, who has worked with notable artists such as Die Antwoord, Avishai Cohen, The Strokes and Lionel Loueke.
- The single is called ‘A Life That’s Lead’ why did you choose that title?
The title refers to the sense that one’s path is, especially at times of high focus, determination and inspiration, being led by other ‘forces’. I travelled to New York three times from 2008-2010 to study with my vocal mentors and attend jam sessions at jazz clubs around Manhattan. It is an amazing city for following ones calling and especially exciting for jazz musicians to connect with other musicians from around the globe. I went there solo, with an open mind and was so often in the perfect place at the perfect time without a fixed plan. It was as though my ‘gut’ instinct was on overdrive resonating with the city buzz and oozing music history, finding that wonderful strangers would be waiting there for me, supporting my mission. At times, the life of a full-time musician can be heavy, yet golden and there are many challenges on the journey, hence the pun on the word ‘lead’ in the title.
- What or who inspired you during the creation of the single?
I have always loved traditional jazz, but since my teen years, funk and motown bands/artists such as Kool and the Gang, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Jamiroquai, and later on neo-soul artists such as Jill Scott, Robert Glasper and drummers Billy Cobham, Harvey Mason and others, changed the way I listened to music and being a drummer, a prominent rhythm section always attracted me. I wrote this tune over two years ago and have been performing it with my quartet at various jazz venues in Cape Town, sculpting and changing my approach to it as my rhythm section interpreted it live, until I was finally ready to go in to Sound and Motion Studios to lay it down with the perfect group. My debut 2011 SAMA nominated album Finding A New Way was also recorded there.
- Are there any gigs that you will be playing in the near future that fans can attend to hear your new Single?
There are ideas of a launch party for later this year. Since the recording is a digital release, as well as being a radio-friendly length, we are hoping that it will enjoy the attention of a wider scope of radio-stations and airplay than traditional jazz albums usually receive in SA. This tune has strong roots in funk & latin music and is up-beat and groove based with female rhythm section- the perfect track for summer in the city!
- Where do you see yourself, your career and your music heading in the next couple of years? What is on the cards for Lisa Bauer?
The revenue from digital downloads of A Life That’s Lead, will go towards the funding of my second full-length album, for which I have composed a three part suite and am looking to record by October 2015. I have some radio interviews lined up and would also like to tour with the electric quartet in Cape Town and Johannesburg at music festivals and exhibitions, promoting the single and playing a whole lot more drum set, as well as vocalizing. One never knows exactly what the future holds, but I continue to produce work, hoping for a continual flow of creative energy and feedback. Follow me on the website: lisabauer.co.za and official FB Page: Lisa Bauer Quartet, for more info about reviews, gigs etc.
- With regards to the Big Sock Story, what made you decide to get involved in such an initiative?
South African musicians admire Nelson Mandela and strive to uphold his legacy. He was a great friend of the late Mama Afrika Miriam Makeba and supporter of music. Madiba Day represents an opportunity for us to get involved and for South Africans to celebrate, share their stories and make a difference, no matter how small, in their communities. I love performing for children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and working with talented young vocalists, pianists and drummers. I also appreciate the Big Sock Story team’s dedication and aims to donate clothing and food to SOS Children’s Villages, especially in winter which is a particularly challenging time.
- What other charities do you get involved in, if any?
I have performed at charity events for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre, with all-female vocal group Mamavox from 2001-2007, among others.