Occupation: Songwriter, vocalist
Recent release: Strama's debut EP Silver Lining is out now.
Recommendations: The latest albums I’ve been listening to are: Kendrick Lamar’s Mr Morale and The Big Steppers and Lucio Battisti's Il Mio Canto Libero.
If you enjoyed this interview with Strama and would like to find out more about her work, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started piano at 10, songwriting around 14 years old and learned to produce nearly 2 years ago. I grew up listening to my parent’s record collection, listening to classics like Buena Vista Club or Nat King Cole, there was always variety.
Music to me means listening to any kind of sounds that makes you feel a special connection, like there’s a catharsis-type of feeling happening in real time.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you’re listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
If I feel a connection to it, then definitely a sense of freedom and lightness.
With creativity I want to be able to reach a point where I’m crossing boundaries.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’m still going through a development stage and I’m just excited to find my own direction.
I think the challenges I’ve encountered so far are emotional ones, being independent can be a struggle at times!
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please. What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Figuring out your identity can be a slow process, and by no means have I established it yet! I’m still figuring myself out and I think at the moment I’ve leaned towards a more soft and soulful sound, inspired by jazz, neo-soul and pop music.
My approach to music is usually trial and error, creating something that moves you and honestly to have fun with it.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
My goal is to write sustainably, I don’t want to make music that’s trendy or viral for a short period. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to make music that’s considered timeless.
I don’t think there’s ‘perfection’ in music, I reckon actually the opposite - it’s the imperfections that make the music be unique in its own way.
Art imitates art, it can be hard at times to be original especially today when there’s a lot of saturated music.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Be open minded and also be humble because you’re constantly learning whether that’s from your peers, people you look up to or just YouTube. (laughs)
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
It varies! The morning or late afternoon is a good time for me to try to be creative because I’m more focused. For example journaling / writing lyrics, going through sound packs, making beats etc.
I usually leave any admin work at the end of the day. I also eat, shower during the day and watch a film or read before I go to sleep. (laughs)
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I would like to collaborate more! More people, more ideas. (laughs)
So far I’ve been doing things alone, it can get lonely at times.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Music should be fun! The role of music is to connect people together.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I use music to tell stories, so even though I mention these topics I don’t necessarily understand them 100%. Like no one will ever properly understand how you cope with grief or why love can be confusing and that’s what makes it relatable to people. I hope they find a connection to my lyrics, because we’re all going through similar experiences.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
For sure there’s a connection and it is super interesting to see how physics and music intertwine or how music can help ease chemical imbalances in the body.
I was never good at science though so please don’t take my word for it. (laughs)
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn’t or wouldn’t in more ‘mundane’ tasks?
Yes, sometimes in the process of writing a song when I make toplines or have ideas for instrumental parts the best ideas have happened when you’re not really thinking, so it’s a bit in your subconscious.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our eardrums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I think music is associated with memories. So when you take a piece of music you’ve heard before it makes you think of it in a different way and it makes you feel a reminiscent connection to it.