New York has definitely made me grow as a musician and vocalist. You get influenced by so much and so many all the time, and it shapes the musicianship. There are so many great singers in this city, it keep you on your toes. And all the great musicians you meet and hear and want to play with!
Being in the city for a while and doing the local thing first, then you start to want to take your band and your music out of town. It was an amazing feeling to take my guys to Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta. We really had a great time playing there.
First time I sang with Xavier Davis was at a jam session at a friend’s Christmas party years ago, and since then we always had a very strong relationship.
Article in the section Articles about the Music Journalist of the Year award
The Music Journalist of the Year 2015 is Ruth Saxelby.
Earlier in the year Musicians' Corners' artist-jury elected Saxelby, currently at The Fader, as the recipient based on your nominations.
And yesterday Ruth Saxelby received her much deserved award in New York.
Singer Emma Larsson presented the award.
The artist jury's motivation for awarding Saxelby's journalistic work is:
Ruth Saxelby is our choice. We have done many interviews, and questions can occasionally feel contrived. Saxelby's approach to questioning artists keeps the interest of the reader, while moving the subject matter in a cohesive manner. As performance artists ourselves, we appreciate her insight and attention to the topic. It was refreshing to read about subjects we don't often read about, such as the inspiration of a film composer. Saxelby is a talented writer, and we hope that she will have many years of unique and insightful journalism.
The artist-jury for the award this year are Kent Beatty, Will Calhoun and Mfa Kera.
This was Musicians' Corner's second annual Music Journalist of the Year-award. In 2015 it first went to Derek Walmsley.
The importance of quality music journalism can't be overestimated, and we very much want to acknowledge it here at Musicians' Corner. We look forward to following Ruth Saxelby's work in the coming years.
New York has been in my dreams as long as I can remember, but it was after coming here for a visit 8 years ago I knew it was time to turn the dream into a goal, and so I started to plan my big move. I was teaching at a Universtity in Finland.
During my first year in the city I was lucky to get a steady gig at Lime Leaf and I have been there with my trio every Thursday for almost 5 years now. It’s so great to have a place to try out new material. And I’ve met so many good musicians and friends through doing that gig.
I released my third album ‘Sing to the Sky’ last October. It’s my first release in the US. It took a while to get the music together. Coming to New York was overwhelming in many ways, but especially it made me really think about jazz and its origin in a new way. I guess I was a little intimidated being surrounded by all these great American musicians, at the same time considering the cultural aspect of jazz more than treating it as an academic field, which I feel is happening a lot these days.
So I took a step back and thought a lot about these things, talked to people, read books etc. And little by little the music came together and I had a feeling that it was already written and I was just discovering it. Kinda like that Michelangelo quote “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
I played classical piano growing up, but fell in love with the sound of saxophone. So eventually I got into jazz. I listened to everything from Spyro Gyra to Charlie Parker. My heart has always been close to music with a groove, that makes you feel good. I always had a longing for singing though. Looking back, I can see how everything I’ve done musically growing up, student big bands, wind orchestras, classical music, singing etc comes together in my composing and singing.
Emma Larsson "Irie Butterfly"
On a typical day I get up and have some coffee before I practice, answer emails and go to the gym. Usually I give lessons to students in the afternoons, and I devote my evenings to being creative at home, or if I don’t have a gig myself, checking out some music in the city. Being an independant artist sometimes I feel like I’m always working.
During the rest of the year I’ll be doing what I am already doing and I’m also planning to take my music outside of the US and play more in Europe and Japan. I’m also starting to write music and lyrics for my next album.
There was recently (March 23 2016) a nice review about Emma Larsson in JazzTimes: "... Beneath that elegant surface is a tiger ready to spring, a jazz-savvy adventuress worthy of Abbey Lincoln or Betty Carter. "
Emma Larsson is a Swedish singer based in New York. She released two albums while based in Scandinavia: Irie Butterflies (2006) and Let It Go (2010), where she also studied music at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Her third album, a US release, is titled Sing To The Sky.