Published since 2006
Miss. Wheeler is a free lance journalist, model and aspiring actress. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from a private Jesuit University and is pursuing a Juris Doctorate, focusing on Entertainment Law.
In Sweden at that time, and for quite a long time, there was something called Kommunala Musikskolan (government subsidized music school), where every kid that was interested had the chance to get music lessons for free, and I feel very, very lucky that I got a fantastic teacher.
AAJ: Apart from your great teacher, did anyone else inspire you, either personally or professionally?
RG: I discovered Stevie Wonder when I was twelve and basically became a fanatic... I still adore Stevie Wonder, but I've also listened a lot to Sarah Vaughan and Elis Regina, just to name a few if were talking about vocal artists. But since my major instrument was guitar up until I was seventen, I listened to a lot of instrumental music; Mahavishnu, Al Di Meola, Miles, Coltrane, and a lot of the other classics.
AAJ: How did studying at the Royal Music College in Stockholm and the New School jazz program in New York help to shape the artist that you are today?
RG: Wow, hard to say... I've just been trying to learn as much as I possibly can. And of course, being a Swedish country girl living in NYC was a new experience.
AAJ: You have been known for your vocal interpretations of such greats as Dionne Warwick, Michel Legrand and Burt Bacharach. When deciding which songs to interpret is it important for you to already have a connection with the lyrics or is it more about creating a connection with lyrics?
RG: Yes, I certainly feel that I need to have a connection with the lyrics, but sometimes I really love just the melody and the lyrics don't mean too much. I still feel totally okay with singing a song like that as long as the lyrics don't feel clearly wrong to me. An example is Burt Bacharach's "Wives and Lovers." I love the tune as an instrumental and really wanted to record it on my Close to You (ACT, 2004) CD, but simply couldn't find an honest approach to the lyrics.
AAJ: You have said that you believe that music has its own existence. Can you elaborate on that?
RG: It's hard to put into words exactly what I believe. It's a feeling inside. A feeling that everything is beyond our knowledge and imagination... Maybe we live in different dimensions... who knows? Anyway, it's a feeling that music is existing always and that I (and everyone) have a chance to be a part of it in one or another way.
AAJ: One of the best things about music is the way that it affects listeners, making them feel like they're a part of the music. Alone With You is the first album in which you have written all the songs yourself. Did you decide that the time was right to show this other unknown creative side of yourself to your audience?
RG: I released three CDs that included some of my own material before I got signed to ACT, so composing has always been a part of me. When I signed with ACT I got really busy with touring and it took a whileand three more CDsbefore I felt that I had to say no to gigs and focus on my composing. There wasn't really any plan time-wise, though it's just that the need for writing got too strong after awhile.
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