Lua Hadar with Twist

12th Annual Long Form Music Video Nominee

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Record Label: Bellalua Records

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Artist: Lua Hadar with Twist

Home Base: San Francisco

Genre: Cosmopolitan jazz

Categories Entered: Album, Concept Album; Music Video, Long Form; Music Producer, Album; Design, Album Art / Photography; Song, Cover Song; Song, World Beat; Song, Eclectic

Work Submitted: Like A Bridge CD, Like A Bridge poster, Like A Bridge DVD

Artists Featured: Lua Hadar on multi-lingual vocals, Music Director Jason Martineau on piano, Dan Feiszli on bass, Celso Alberti on drums, Ian Dogole on global percussion, Larry De La Cruz on reeds. Our new recording, Like A Bridge also features guest artists Dave Miotke on jazz accordion, Emil Miland on cello, Fumiko Ozawa on koto, and Gideon Bendile with members of the Kalahari Experience Zulu Choir.

Label: Bellalua Records

Who are your influences?: Karrin Allyson, Ella Fitzgerald, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cesaria Evora, Celia Cruz, Audra McDonald, Sarah Vaughn, Susannah McCorkle, Dianne Reeves, Bill Evans, Louis Armstrong, Stephane Grappelli, Nana Mouskouri, Edith Piaf, Pink Martini, Madeleine Peryroux, and the list goes on…

Describe your nominated work: We’ve been nominated for our long form video, a Live Studio Concert called Like A Bridge. It runs 70 minutes and includes 13 tunes in 7 languages. The Bridge is a symbol of the connections we can all make to each other to promote world harmony. The concert was recorded in a two-day, 5-camera shoot at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, directed by Emmy Award-winner Lawrence Jordan, who has directed for Tony Bennett, Sting, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard and so many more. The instrumentation is vocals, piano, bass, drums, percussion, reeds, jazz accordion, cello, koto and Zulu Choir.

FROM THE DVD JACKET: World jazz ensemble LUA HADAR with TWIST presents a 70-minute Live Studio Concert directed by Emmy award-winner Lawrence Jordan, shot at the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California. Songs of hope, courage and our common humanity in seven languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Malagasy) weave the theme of world unity through this passionate, fun and eclectic cosmopolitan jazz performance by vocalist Lua Hadar and her band of top international musicians.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: In our re-imagining of the Japanese pop hit Sukiyaki (the song’s real title is Ue O Muite Aruko) we used a traditional Japanese koto. In our recording of the Jobim/Buarque song Imagina, we used a classical cello, and we brought in members of a Zulu Choir for our French pop song about immigration, Né Quelque Part.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: Pretty much things went as planned, and that in itself was a either a happy accident or a miracle. In two days, after a massive load-in of the video equipment and lighting, we recorded 13 tunes, both for CD and with a 5-camera broadcast quality video shoot. There was no time to hear back any of the takes after the first song. I had to go on faith that my sound producer and video director were getting the stuff they needed, and just trust them. Otherwise the shooting schedule would never have worked.

How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I shudder to confess that I used my so-called “retirement funds,” taking huge risks both personally and artistically. It will take forever to recoup those funds. In the process I became an “Accidental Film Producer,” learning the ropes as I went. It was a huge challenge in every way.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: As a difficult-to-pigeonhole performing artist, I am thrilled that the IMA’s exist. I sing an eclectic sort of world jazz that draws from pop, folk, and even international cabaret, in 7 different languages. “Independent Artist” is the best label for me, I guess, and I’m grateful that the IMA’s recognize that, much as we might try, not all of us fit neatly into a category.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: My definition of success is performing nationally and internationally, in large halls, on a regular basis, with my band, and being able to pay everybody decently, including myself.

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: Buzz is what sells tickets, ability to sell tickets is very important in getting booked, and the IMA honors will be of great help. This of course assumes that you know what you’re doing when you finally get up there!! 🙂

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: Our fans are unique because they are a crossover audience; they like a range of musical genres and they are open. They have an age span from 15 to 90. My whole objective is to foster a sense of unity in our diverse audiences, across culture, language and age by singing in different languages and bringing many influences into the language of jazz.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: I’m pretty tame because I’m a vocalist – when your voice is your instrument you have to be careful of your health and how much you sleep and so on. Netflix on my laptop at midnight is about as crazy as I get.

Who are your musical heroes & influences?: I have to start with my Dad on that one. Both a professional musician and a teacher, he worked hard all his life and supported our family while following his passion. He is an inspiration to me every day. I’m also in love with my band members. Each one is a gem of a musician and a gem of a person. Jason Martineau, my music director, has been a huge influence on me. He’s really become the bridge between my ideas for Twist and their manifestation. He’s able to do that because he is immensely talented, skilled and well versed in world music styles as well as jazz. My co-producer, Candace Forest, has also been a huge support and inspiration. I’ve worked with both Jason and Candace since 2005.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: John Lennon’s Imagine, Gil Scott Heron’s It’s Your World, Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are, Noel Coward’s  If Love Were All. There are so many more. I admire songs that say a lot with simple words, songs that express deep feeling, songs that are beautifully written in musical and harmonic structure. I was raised on good music and meaningful story.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: Loreena McKennitt, Frederica Von Stade, Natalie Dessay, Gipsy Kings.

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I tend to buy individual tracks online, especially if I am working up a new arrangement; I like to gather influences and then make my own. Sometimes someone will mention an artist I never heard of and I will check them out, or I might hear someone in a compilation and delve deeper into their music.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: That is an excellent question. When you figure it out, get back to me, ok?

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: Today, almost anybody who wants to can find a way to produce an album. So that is great because everybody has access to the tools. Not everyone has knowledge about the difference between a recorded work of art and a live work of art, such as a concert or club performance. Not everyone records in a situation in which the best possible product can be realized. The consumer isn’t necessarily aware of this. I think you need educated ears to hear the difference.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: I don’t think singles will replace full albums, but I am already getting the picture that you can get the same kind of response from radio stations and critics on an EP as on a full album. With music being listened to and purchased track by track, albums don’t need to be as long as they traditionally have been. It is more like the artist’s personal choice now – how many songs do I need (and how many can I afford to produce?) in order to say what it is I have to say?

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…in a wave of change. We as artists need to get on that surfboard, keep our center, and ride it.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: With 2012 having been the year of production for Like A Bridge, this is a year in which I get to take that work out into the world. I’m looking forward to performing in Paris again this summer, and hopefully in Italy, too. I’m looking to establish non-profit fiscal sponsorship for The Bridges Project and develop residency programs in universities. We really want to get out and build some bridges.

Official Website:
Bridges Project: