RAD. - "energy, keyboards and singing"
For six years RAD lived in Hamburg, Germany - where she had her breakthrough with her first album "RADified" on her own label "Soulciety" - founded together with her husband Michael Kirsch. Eight years have passed since then - there have been two more albums and - just four months ago - one "best-of"-CD. And now: "Make Every Second Count". Her fans all over the world have stayed true to her - also after her move back to California.
RAD. (Foto: luxwache)
Her name - Rose Ann Dimalanta - has the meaning: "a graceful rose that´s ever lasting". She is a small but strong, good looking woman with a very sensitive way of composing and singing funk-songs with ingredients of jazz and soul. On tour she was backed by the famous "Tower of Power"-drummer David Garibaldi. Before her concert at the Quasimodo in January, Carina Prange talked to RAD:
Carina: Was it originally planned to do the tour with the complete "Tower of Power"-Band - or was that a mistake in the info-material from East-West-Records?
RAD: It was a bit of a mistake! One of the saxophone-players was going to come with us - so there was a personal change. So there was only two people. - But since - you know: names bring people! I suppose that´s why sometimes they get written up very big. Of course, the drummer David Garibaldi, who is really one of the original bandmembers who created the big Tower-of-Power-Sound, is on tour. So, in fact - many people come just to see him as well. - It was not planned, however, that the whole Tower of Power will back me up.
Carina: How would you define your music - is it soul, funk, jazz - ... or something else?
RAD: At this point - now we are about to release the fourth album. So after like kind of developing a sound for four albums - I would say this album is really based on Funk and R&B. But there are directions which go into Jazz. The way it is conceived, it is supposed to be "hard-hitting, energetic, fiery, passionate" - something you can move to! - It is still to have a little bit of this "jazz-intellectuality", without "overstepping" and becoming Fusion or anything like that. It is very much Dance and Funk in nature - it is based there. But of course it´s songs, it is singer-songwriter-songs as well. So - that´s how I would probably describe it this moment. I don´t know - it might change.
Carina: Why did you choose the title "Make Every Second Count" for your album?
RAD: Well, there are eleven songs on this record. One of the songs has this title. Originally we intended to give the album a different title - we had a whole different concept. But then, as we were getting closer to finishing it - we started before the "millenium" and then it came around - it was always this question of time! On the record there are some songs that have different time-signatures - so musically there is a multitude of rhythms and things. So we just thought this title comes close - in a very subtle way - to describe the feeling in the record - what is in the music. It´s positive! It is really about that it matters what you are doing: just mean it, make it count!. Not a bit "peace-thing" - that is why it has this title!
RAD. - "Make Every Second Count"
Carina: The song "Fela" - is it a song for Fela Kuti?
RAD: This song is indeed a kind of homage to Fela. The text I sing - I don´t have a long text - is just a small kind of repetition, it contains his middle-name Anikulapo. It has a little bit of a "afro-electric" vibe. We wrote the tune and said: hey, name it "Fela" - for him! Because he is really one of the greatest influences in this style of music - in Funk as well as in African music. And you know many people from many styles of music are influenced from him! It just seemed appropriate.
Carina: When did you start playing keyboards and why?
RAD: Oh, god! I really started when I was very young. My parents started me at four and a half years old. So I have been playing music all my life almost. Very long - and unlike other kids, who got scared of their teachers and stuff - I really got really good teachers and I was really a good student. And then: it keeps developing. - And here I am today, haha! - with you - making an interview.
Carina: What would you say is special about your playing-technique?
RAD: One thing, that I love when I play is to "comp"! And "comping" is, when you are not necessarily taking the solo - but when you are playing the rhythm behind the groove. I just love all kinds of jazz pianists who - even when they are not taking a solo - somehow only being supportive - but are able to push and drive in.
I like to be the kind of player who is a little understated. In the last few years - when I was maybe 19 and 20 and used to play classical too, I had a lot of technique, like "lelelelele". Now, I have switched more to really "taking time", using space - simply because: this is a funk gig and mostly you should be hearing a guitar, not thousands of keyboards - otherwise you will just loose your groove. To know when to play and when not to play is really important! That´s something I hopefully am getting better and better at. - And then of course the combination of playing and singing! So, when that is together, I think that´s kind of special - else I don´t know.
Carina: What does it mean for you to be a musician?
RAD: I don´t think I could ever have done anything else. From early on I just knew I loved this - I started playing in the church-choir when I was eleven, I was in the school-bands. I did all these contests and scholarships and schooling! And, actually when I went to university, my parents said: "Oh, you are sooo smart, you should do something high business-sort!" - I had a kind of fight with them - but it was a good fight, because it clearly told me: this is the only thing I want to do!
So being a musician is not necessarily a "profession" - it is more like in the german word: "Beruf" - it´s a "Ruf", it´s a "calling". Even if you get frustrated with the "business" of music - the music itself is something. - It is a funny thing with creative people in general - not just musicians, but any kind of artists. Sometimes you can kind of tell who they are in a crowd, because you have some sharing of "madness". You have a little madness in there ...
And so: as long as I am a musician, I will be "mad like that" a little bit. I really believe - I say all the time - probably until I am eighty years old! In some form or another I will still have music in my life. Even if I teach little kids or whatever ... - I am sure, it´s just there - it doesn´t go away - it´s the "persona" already!
CD: RAD. - "Make Every Second Count" (7Bridges Records 7BR 8573 85008-2)
RAD. im Internet: www.radmusic.com
Foto: luxwache; Cover: Greg Galinsky