Thanks to Takuro Kikuchi from Japan for
translating this article:
Just as singing is my expression, I feel good when singing in the band and being inspired
Silje is a singer-songwriter from Norway, 23 years old. When she was 16, at a club, she jumped into a jam session going on by backing musicians of the late Jaco Pastorius (bass), who were visiting Oslo to participate in a jazz festival. It was reported on national newspapers, etc., which turned into an opportunity for her to start her music career.
She formed a band and started performances. Later she met the producer Richard Niles and started her London-based activities. In autumn 1990 she achieved her debut with "Tell Me Where You're Going" (Toshiba EMI - the label for the Japan issue, later renamed as EMI Music Japan).
She's a female singer-songwriter who performed together with Pat Metheny, who seldom participates in others' recordings. And her music career starts from a jumping-in performance at a club in Oslo. In these episodes, we can see links between Silje and jazz, and I could feel, by listening to her debut album, that such links were not simple coincidences. I hear no jazzy phrase, but I feel flexible reactions here and there, and the sense of time. She sings naturally in a way fitting to the flow in the overall flow. That's why I asked her. You are familiar with jazz, right? "My mother likes jazz, and my father plays the guitar. They have many records. I can say I grew up while listening to jazz records. My father was trying to convince me that the best guitarist was him (laugh). I could believe it until I met him."
That "him" is Pat Metheny. She asserts that he has been her "hero" for many years. Such feeling of Silje led to her performance with Pat, but, before talking about it, let me introduce an episode of the time when she was 16, which triggered the start of her music career. "Though Jaco was not there, his band members were doing a jam session, and I thought I'd be happy if I could sing with them. Of course I couldn't tell them so, and I was singing at the bathroom in the club. Then a woman who happened to be there told me, 'why don't you ask them to let you in?' So I replied, 'yeah, I'll do!' It was like this."
Silje impresses me as a neat, pretty woman. Though she never seems strongly enthusiastic, I feel that her shining eyes show her strong will and positivity. And her decisiveness and ability to take action enabled not only her jumping into the jam session but also her co-performance with Pat. "I went to New York, and, after I saw his concert, I went to see him and gave him my demo tape, and told him, 'playing with you is my dream'. He said to me, smiling, 'well, I'm busy, you know'. Then, two days later, I again went to see him and Steve Swallow (bass) playing together. Then, he said, "your music was good. I'll play with you if time allows'.
It was 1988. Despite not having a contract with a record company or a manager, she was introduced by Pat to Richard Niles, whose activities were based in the UK. Then "Tell Me Where You're Going" was completed with the full support of Niles. Getting back to Pat, she played together with Pat in the Rio-recorded version of the title song.
Though she says, "to be honest, I want to stay in Norway," she has been based in London for the last two years. Maybe because of that, she speaks very fluent English (rather fast). All lyrics are in English, too. "My friends ask me why I don't sing in Norwegian, but English fits to my music. I grew up while listening to jazz and pop music, by which my music was influenced, not by Norwegian music. I'm afraid that, if I sing in Norwegian, the music itself will be changed."
In December (three months later after I met Silje), I listened to her live performance on FM radio. It should have been her performance with cohorts with whom she said she has been playing for more than five years, but it was what she was talking about with confidence, a "dynamic, expressive" one, and it sounds like a band including her. That made me reaffirm the reason why she sticks to the band and the fact that her music can be generated only in the band.
"It's hard to maintain a band. But I learn a lot, and the accumulation during the last several years was comfortable. Just as singing is my expression, I leave their space where they can coruscate. Singing at a situation where I'm inspired rather makes me feel good, you know!"
(Original Japanese article by Kiyomi Matsunaga)
webmaster: Note that some information written in this article is incorrect.
The jam session was at the famous Molde Jazz Festival in the north of Norway, far away from Oslo; later on Silje had several bands, but there was no steady band when she started in London in 1990, although there where some musicians with whom she often