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INTERVIEW: Susana Raya

Interview with Susana Raya

– The winner of Nõmme Jazz Young Vocalists Competition 2007 




How have you spent the year after winning the 1st prize at  Nõmme Jazz Young Jazz Artist Competition?


With a very intense musical activity. I've promoted this international prize to its best advantage: articles at press, national radios interviews, mailing by internet,.. All of these things just done for getting the most important aim, playing on the stage.

This first prize has really contributed to improve my musical image in my country and, because of this, increase offers to play. So, I have been playing more than usual, with my own proyect in differents jazz national festivals, some fun gigs with a big-band, and so on.


Also, winning the 1st prize at  Nõmme Jazz has had a snowball effect. A  lot of interesting things have happened this year thanks to Nomme Jazz: Playing at Pori Jazz and Kaunas Jazz, participating at Lady Summertime Contest, arranging some gigs in Finland with my band, and maybe one of the most important things: meeting new people, some of them good contacts for my carreer, and others just good friends.


The prize has provided me with a lot of energy and self-confidence to go on with my music during this year. I have been working with enthusiasm in my first album (not finished yet), preparing a tour in Budapest supported by the hungarian goverment (21-27th may), and, a very fresh new, applying for the International Jazz Soloist Competition in Monaco, being selected as one of the 3 finalist for the final in June.



How do you evaluate the prizes of our competition which are different performances?


I think the prize of this competition is a very good prize, maybe more useful than others cash prizes (though they are also interesting, of course). Money comes and goes, but performing at these prestigious festivals is a unique experience for a young artist. We absolutely need this kind of support. Playing at an international jazz festival is only possible is you've got a cd, with good promotion, a manager, this kind of things..



What kind of impressions did you get of your performances at such big festivals as Pori Jazz and Kaunas Jazz?


It was a great experience. In Pori Jazz I had the opportunity to enjoy the whole festival, full of gigs twelve in the morning till night. Everywhere you look, there was Jazz! Incredible! I could meet a lot of good musicians from all over the world. I enjoyed my performance  in a open-air stage, and I was accompanied by fine Finnish musicians.

In Kaunas it was a bit different, but also fantastic. I performed with my usual piano player from Spain. We played in an intimate club and the audience was very receptive, I think they liked our perfomance! In both places people from the organization treated me very nice.


Performing in such big festivals have gave me an excelent experience on the stage, making me be a better artist. For example, it has been the first time that I have had to speak in english on the stage during a whole concert. 



What would you like to say to the Estonian audience before your concert here?


First of all, it´s a fact that any soloist plays much better when musicians who support her are very good. In this case, I can't have a better combo, with international musicians like Giuseppe Continenza or Toivo Unt. I'm sure this wonderful section will make me give my best.


On other hand, I'm always thinking in my audicience when I select the repertoire. Well, people have to be listening for one and a half hour, sitting in their sits, in silence, while I enjoy on the stage. I don't want to be selfish and I think very much in this situation, audience must enjoy the gig too, so I try to transmit my emotions and create different atmosphere in the concert.

So, next day people can enjoy a carefully repertoire that include swing, bebop, braziliam tunes, funk, singing in english, portuguese, and maybe a surprise in spanish.


A jazz concert is a magic experience, always different than the others. Just I encourage Estonian people to go for knowing why we love this music.



May 2007

Questions: J. Ventsel


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