With a voice of her own – interview with Orsi Kozma
A concert like no other in an astonishing milieu – that is what the night of July 11 offers, when the group of Orsi Kozma, Gábor Cseke, Viktor Hárs and Csaba Pusztai, otherwise known as Kozma Orsi Quartet, will light up Jazzy Tower. We sat down to talk with Orsi Kozma about the concert, her development, and having a voice of one’s own.
Kozma Orsi Quartet will perform live on July 11, 2015 at the Margaret Island Water Tower. What kind of concert do you have in store for us?
The atmosphere, provided by the beautiful scenery of Margaret Island, is already a given. We’ve never played there before, so I’m really excited and looking forward to it. I’m sure that the vibe of the venue will affect our mood and playing as well, but we’re basically preparing a listener-friendly, dynamic mixture of vocal jazz, with just a hint of romance and unpredictability. Our repertoire mostly consists of tracks written by bassist Viktor Hárs and pianist Gábor Cseke, but we have a couple of covers too. There are already three albums’ worth of material under our belts. The last one, Soulprints, was released a little bit over half a year ago, so that will be the backbone of our gig at Margaret Island. We’ll be playing songs from our first two albums too, of course, and some others that we haven’t done in a long time.
Jazz+Az, Cotton Club Singer, a solo career, Kozma Orsi Quartet, concerts, musicals. We’ve seen many of your faces so far, but do you have a real one? Is there a persona that is the most like you?
I’ve shown my true face each and every time, since I don’t think of these projects as just trying out different things but as steps on my inner path of getting to know myself. I’m the kind of person who likes to test her boundaries, pushing forward all the time. I was trying to discover who I really am with these previous groups, to find out what kind of voice I have. Although, now that I think back on it, I’ve always possessed a voice of my own. It’s just that as I get older, affected by various experiences, this voice changes as well, little by little. I really enjoy this game of learning and discovering new sides of me. Let’s take a look at motherhood, for example. It is another kind of experience by which my voice gains even more emotion. We constantly age just like fine wine, as they say.
So you’re saying that motherhood is another step in this developmental process?
On the one hand, yes, it is. At the same time, however, motherhood is kind of like a sweet burden too, especially for someone like me who has twins. It’s a tremendous responsibility, but I’m able to learn a lot about myself in the process. I’m trying to harmonize and reconcile my musical side and my motherly side, but it’s quite the task. It was especially tough at the beginning, because I immediately started singing again, recording two albums, and not long ago we had an English tour with the band. This kind of double role demands a great deal of discipline on my part. At first, it was hard to find the balance between the two areas of my life, but I think I’ve succeeded. Thus, now I can really feel what it’s like to be a singer as a mother.
How did the idea of your latest project Kozma Orsi Quartet come about?
To tell you the truth, I didn’t consciously plan this band, it’s just how life turned out. I tried not to overthink our name either, so it just became Kozma Orsi Quartet. It’s a very good team. We like each other both professionally and personally, so we’ve been working together really well and for quite a long time.
Besides your singing, you’ve popped up onstage as an actress too, in such plays as Valahol Európa, Dzsungel könyve (The Jungle Book), Brecht’s Koldusopera (The Beggar’s Opera) and Űrzrínyiász. It’s quite a different genre, especially since people think of you as more of a jazz singer.
That’s true, probably because Jazz+Az had that little word jazz in it, or Cotton Club Singers had that swing style. Originally, I wanted to become an actress, that’s how I made my way to the world of musicals, and before I knew it, I landed in the band Jazz+Az. When that was over, only a couple of months later I got invited to Boldizsár László’s group. I never thought I’d be singing in a swing group. Basically I just went with it. I didn’t even listen to that much jazz before joining Cotton Club Singers. I was more about Michael Jackson, pop, and occasionally some metal. I didn’t go to a jazz conservatory, so I had to teach myself about the genre. I don’t have that authentic jazzy voice anyway, and I never struggled for having one either. I always just sang in my own voice. I do try to include in our sound what I think of jazz and what gets me excited about it. I love the playful nature of the genre that leaves room for improvisation. It’s all about jamming and having a good time, that’s why I feel so happy doing it.
Kozma Orsi Quartet will have their next concert on July 11, 2015, next to the Margaret Island Water Tower. Tickets to the event include return boat transportation, a welcome drink and a visit to the Water Tower as well. To find out more and buy tickets, please visit www.szabadter.hu