Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I’ve always been interested in music, arts and literature and I loved reading artists’ biographies, i.e.: Gertrude Stein, Pannonica de Koenigswarter, Frida Kahlo and many more.
Two important mentors were my first piano teacher, who taught me to improvise and to listen carefully, not only to the notes but also to the silence in between. Also, my art teacher, who bombarded me with art theoretical papers and sparked my interest for the reception of a piece of art. Throughout my career I’ve always been interested in various forms of how to express myself by telling stories.
As my professional music career started in my 40s it cannot be told without my other artistic ways. Experiences from my work as an actress and a writer influence my songwriting and vice versa.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Trusting my intuition and following my heart. While it’s important to be inspired by other artists, in the end it is about finding your own voice. A big challenge in my life was the production of my movie “Frau Mutter Tier”. I wrote the script, produced the film, played one of the main roles and wrote a song for the soundtrack. There were always moments when the project seemed to fail, but I didn’t give up and kept going. The main challenge was not to give up on myself and not to mix my different artistic outlets with each other. Sometimes it was really exhausting, but a very inspiring journey. I learned a lot about myself, artistically and as a human being.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
I cannot highlight one recording or one particular performance. Of course there are concerts that seem better than others, but that can change in retrospect. Additionally, the reception of the audience is always different. I am very happy with my two albums “Pictures” and “Box”, because the atmosphere between my musicians, my producer and me was filled with creativity, trust and respect for each other. I believe this is reflected in the music.
I am always proud when I have finished a work and it finds its way into the world. But they are always just snapshots of a state of mind that changes from day to day. For me, the path is always more exciting than the goal. I want to develop myself further and sometimes even the supposedly small projects that may have little external impact are the most important for my development as an artist.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
I feel like a mother to all my works and I want to treat my children fairly. There are the expressive and the reserved ones, the quiet and the loud ones. Each work plays its role. Some of them tend to be the better performers, but that doesn’t say anything about their importance.
It feels like a big family, in which everyone plays their part. The important thing is how they benefit from each other.
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
What keeps me busy is the question, why can some people fill a room and others less? Of course, the artist’s skills play a role. People attend a performance to see, for example, how virtuously someone controls their instrument. But whether they go home animated or just satisfied after a concert depends on the charisma of the artist, the energy that he or she spreads. Can you connect with your audience or not? My aim is to give something to the people who want to see me on stage. It can be time, knowledge, inspiration or a story that evokes a memory in them. The key word for me is observation. To walk through the world open-minded and with open eyes. I try to see the world through a child’s perspective in order to keep surprising myself and then hopefully be able to delight my viewers.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
Honestly I haven’t had to think about this so far. I am looking forward to performing songs off my first and second album and for each repertoire it’s important to find an overall story that carries the audience through my songs. One of the most important things on stage is the timing, – that’s why I always try to find a good mix between upbeat songs and ballades and to be aware of the silence between the notes.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I love the 606 in London, because it has this very intimate, but with a classic atmosphere. There is a lot of respect towards the artist.
What do you feel needs to be done to grow music audiences/listeners?
Jazz is considered to be cool and sexy, as my oldest daughter said to me. It’s still a niche product, but there’s a lively growing modern jazz scene. I think more attention needs to be brought towards making the younger audience more familiar with the different forms and variations of jazz music and presentation. It’s like classical music – you can hear it in a garden, lying on the floor, in the church or in a large concert hall, but many don’t know about it. The beauty of both jazz and classical music is live concerts – I can’t wait to go and and play live again once we are allowed to!
What is your most memorable concert experience?
One of my most memorable stage experiences was when I was performing a solo piece. I had a blackout for at least two minutes, which seemed like ten to me. At first I thought of asking my prompter, but then I decided to stay in the moment and the character, even though I felt like I didn’t even know what piece I was playing in. But at some point the sentences came back into my head and out of my mouth. After the performance, my director congratulated me to that long pause I had taken in my speech and said that I should keep this as it was such an excitement and he had never seen the audience being so silent and curious to know what´s going to happen.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
To me, success is whenever my work inspires people and touches their souls. After a concert in Berlin a man came up to me and thanked me for the song “unspoken”. He said that he now understood what the problem had been in his relationship and that he wanted to call his ex girlfriend tomorrow.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Listen! Listen to great music and listen to your musicians. It’s about sharing creativity and to leave space for everybody to bring their soul and personality into the work. That is – I believe – what brings the magic to a song.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The magic moment when you feel connected to everyone in the room.
Ada Morghe’s second album ‘Box’ is released on 14 August.