Originally posted on September 2nd 2020 here is a Q&A with composer Zuzanna Matuszewska. She talked about her experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
I started very early on, when I was five or six. I was a very energetic and disobedient kid so one day my parents said “she will either go to sports school or music school”. I chose music and since then I got a lot more peaceful, music has been my companion, comfort, and a safe space to express myself. Who are your influences? It could be anything ranging from indie rock to classical music. I am enchanted by simple, but beautiful themes, which is probably why I love film music so much. Some of my favourite film composers are John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman and Yann Tiersen. I also enjoy minimal and neoclassical music from composers like Philip Glass, Ludovico Einaudi and Arvo Part. I’m also inspired by many outside factors – people, places, other forms of art. In general, I like art that challenges me, that makes me look at the world in a different way. With making music where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process? It depends mostly on whether this is a commission work or my own artistic project. If I compose music for a film or theatre, or even a commercial, I will spend a great deal of time talking with the team, the director, to align the vision for the whole piece. I do my background research to better understand the story, to find the right sound palette that will support the work best. We sit together and discuss, try different versions, adjust. With my artistic projects, the possibilities are pretty much endless – in terms of form, style, time, or size of the piece. It can get pretty overwhelming, so it is important to first find your own direction and space you wish to explore as an artist. Overall, I am fond of miniatures and playing with simple musical ideas. I like to create themes around my work – for example in my first album each song was named after a different color. The creative process behind most of my music starts with me sitting at my piano, improvising, trying to find the element that will capture certain idea or mood. At later stages, I like to play with samples, layers, and additional voices. At the final stages, but not when I feel the song is completely finished, I like to borrow an additional pair of ears and ask my partner (a talented filmmaker and musician) for his initial feedback. It’s very difficult for the ego, but very beneficial to the music.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
It certainly helps with constantly expanding your musical vocabulary, as there are so many new techniques used and developed over the years. It is also interesting to look back at the music from the past, it might be a great source of inspiration.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Definitely! You get to experience the connection between the artist and the crowd. There is a different energy, you might get to hear some songs that were not released, sometimes an artist will play their songs differently, share a story about how a song came to life. It is not only about the music, it is also about the moments in between, the live interaction with the crowd.
What are some of your music performances and projects you were involved in that you enjoyed the most in the past years?
Back in June 2020, I was asked to give a charity concert in Cigacice in Poland, and I really enjoyed this one. It took place on a boat at the riverside, when the sun was setting, and people would simply swim over near us to listen. At the end an elderly lady approached me and said “listening to your music, I could imagine myself dancing like a ballerina. It was beautiful”.
I also liked the collaboration on A theatre play two years ago, it was A one of a kind experience - seeing how everyone contributes to the work and how we all connect in this quite tiring, fast-paced, but also very rewarding process. There are always last-minute changes before the premiere, so it taught me flexibility and better time management.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently wrapping up a small music book with my piano pieces from my “Colors” album. They will be released within a couple of weeks on my bandcamp site – you should check them out! I hope these music notes will be a good company for all of those who want to purchase them. I hope I will be able to come back to regular live performances soon.
At the same time, I am always composing new music, working on commercial projects as part of Louie studio that my partner and I started back in 2018. As Louie, we get to work with companies, brands and artists on their most creative works, so it is a challenging, but a very exciting process.
What advice would you give to people who want to do what you do?
I am juggling a full-time job, music studies, and music projects, so if you find yourself stretched, it is important you keep that protected time for making music, coming up with something new, collaborating with other people. I try to wake up earlier before work, book some of the evenings and weekend mornings for music.
Also, this might sound obvious, but surround yourself with good friends, people who will support you and encourage you. Don’t be afraid to share your work with the world, with other creatives - you never know what might come up in the future. If you take first steps in music industry, be patient and stay open.
Drop me a line on my Facebook, Instagram or Louie page if you want to connect!
To find out more about Zuzanna click below
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/ZuzanMatuszewska
Louie Studio Page - http://louie.pt/
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