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Barbara Sfraga at IAJE

By Published: February 2, 2004
BS: Marketing. Well, that’s one of the things. But there are people who are looking to hold the genre back from growth, which is unfair to the genre, as well as the folks who are playing it. But, you know, you take your life in your own hands when you do this. You do it for the passion. You do it for the real reasons. You don’t care what other folks say. You just do what you do, and hope people get on the train.

AAJ: Do you do any teaching?

BS: Yes, I do. I teach courses in the business of music. Well, not courses... I give my own seminars and clinics. I also teach an arranging clinic. I work with mostly vocals, but also instrumentalists on how to think out of the box when you are arranging. I like to tell people, think no boundaries. Better yet, don’t think. Just let your music flow out of you. Let the ideas happen. You’re a jazz singer. Beautiful. But don’t be afraid to put other elements and other genres in. Don’t be afraid to start something a capela, or with just voice and drums, break it down on the bridge. Texture it so you can really hear the layers.

AAJ: That’s another element to Under The Moon There’s a lot of texture even though you allow for a lot of space. Instead of just layers and layers of different sounds and instruments, you can really focus in on the textural development.

BS: Oh, thank you.

AAJ: When you are teaching, what’s the most difficult part of the process.

BS: I think getting people to open up, to trust themselves. To trust that everything they need is inside them. Most of the time—-and I’ve been doing this until recently myself—-we go outside of oneself to find the answers, and you have to realize its all in there if you can just figure out how to tap into it. I’m just starting to do that myself. So as I’m telling you this, I’m also telling myself.

AAJ: What’s next for you?

BS: I think the next album will be more original heavy. Mike, Chris and I are all writing for it. We also have another writer on board, Mala Waldren. I’ve been writing lyrics, and we might do some spoken word on it as well. We’ve got no boundaries. We’ll go wherever the music leads. It leads, and we follow.

AAJ: When you’re writing, what subject matter do you prefer?

BS: It depends... I hear lyrics pop into my head as the song is developing. If I’m writing lyrics to other people’s tunes—-same kind of thing—-but I guess what’s been happening lately in my writing is an overall message of peace and being true to oneself.

Visit Barbara Sfraga on the web at .

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