We covered Jeannel’s first release “Mind Tricks” last year, now she is back with another fantastic song and video – the beautiful, reflective, multi-layered ballad “Karma”. It’s from her forthcoming debut EP ‘Love’ on Better Call Rob which was co-produced by Tamer Fahri (Dillon, Lafawnda) and Christian Prommer (Fauna Flash, Voom Voom). We were delighted when she agreed to answer some questions for us about the song, her life in music and most importantly – haircuts.
“Karma” is pretty introspective and self-critical, was it uncomfortable to put yourself out there like that?
No. In the moment of writing it, it was a vital outlet for my hyper-emotional and sad state of mind, and a way to understand what was going on.
Is the song reflective of the sound of the new EP?
It kind of is since the EP is pretty e-guitar based, lots of organic sounds in it etc. It is the darkest and most “epic“ of the songs, though. The other ones are a bit more light.
How was it to work with Tamer and Christian?
Christian was randomly introduced to me and immediately understood my songs. He appreciated the imperfection of the productions and didn’t try to change anything, which was super refreshing. So he played some additional drums on the tracks, engineered the productions, and let me record at the RedBullStudiosBerlin, which was pretty nice. With Tamer, I did the final production. He’s just like the most easy-going, pleasant, serene person with extreme talent and delicate taste. I’ve always wanted to work with him, so I’m really happy I could work with him on the project. He did some super nice extra tweaks and added the missing cherries on the cake with some additional sounds and synths here and there.
When did your musical journey begin?
Pretty much when I was born I guess, since we grew up with classical music through my dad, who is a classical singer. I remember being surrounded by classical music only, for most of my childhood. He would play organ and piano, or be practising arias or stuff like that. My sisters and I all learned an instrument from early ages on, and we would make music together on Christmas Eve, together with my mom, who has a high affinity for music as well. Through her, we learned about pop music like George Michael, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and so on.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
OMG, this is really embarrassing but it was “Angel“ by Angelo Kelly. I must have been 10 when I bought my first CD and I remember really loving that song. LOL.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
It’s “Love“, the title track of the EP, which is not released yet. It’s light and positive, even though it’s based on a tremendous heartbreak. But it says: “Babe, don’t worry about me, I can give love for the both of us“. It’s a kind of naive-romantic-sad song, but on a deeper level, it’s really an ode to the ability to love and to love as the greater, more overarching force. It celebrates love as the inexhaustible, unconditional fountain that it is, and the ability to have access to it.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?
Clearly, Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston, because that’s the kind of singing that I got hooked on at an early age and which made me discover my passion for singing, R’n’B and Pop and I think that burned-in deeply into my subconsciousness. And then Jeff Buckley, who I discovered quite late, but I immediately felt like he was speaking out of the core of my own heart. He somehow resonates with me on a very, very deep level. I remember feeling like he was expressing feelings of my own with his music, that I didn’t even know I was feeling. He influenced me a lot, and still does, I guess.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
“Alaska“ by Maggie Rogers. It’s just an awesome song, awesome production, awesome vocals.
Do you think it’s more difficult for women to work in the music industry? Have you experienced much sexism?
I’d say growing up with rather feminist parents, I naturally surround myself with people who vibrate on a similar level like me. So I haven’t experienced that kind of obvious, stupid sexism when making music. I’m very aware of it though, and of course I have experienced the gender „clash“ I’d call it, when making music in the past, simply in a sense that most men naturally tend to be more dominant than women, especially in the field of music. And of course, I know that female producers aren’t taken as seriously as guys, just like a female drummer would have to prove herself more than a male one. I honestly really stay away from such vibes though, because they’re simply a waste of energy for me. What I did experience a lot though, is a rather subtle, more complex sexism, in the form of power games with guys I „tried“ to work with and who I made myself dependent on, because I thought I needed them as producers or engineers. Being let down in really bad, nerve-wracking ways is something I had to go through a lot. And I claim that it was my rather reserved, sensitive, understanding, gentle, feminine nature, that gave them a platform to perform their power games on. This is in my eyes the worse form of sexism because it’s less tangible. And in an industry that is predominantly led by males, you simply can’t get past some of them, which can be very frustrating. So yes, it is harder for females in the industry, as it is harder on every level of society for women. I know for a fact, that my manager, who happens to be a woman too, deals with that constantly. But instead of pointing the finger, I just try to avoid hopeless stupidity and for the rest practice a pragmatic, open-minded, and offensive way to look at it. Men and women are equally responsible for the gap between them, so my approach is to spread more female energy, more love, more sensitivity, more sharing.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you recently?
Going to the hairdresser saying I want a long bob and getting a short bob.
What’s exciting you on the Berlin/German music scene?
Uhm..a few friends of mine who make music too. (see below)
What’s the best phrase you’ve picked up in another language?
Et is wie et is, et kütt wie et kütt, et häät noch immer jot jejonge.
What’s your idea of success?
Being able to enhance my network, being able to be creative and to make music with inspiring people, being able to realize my visions, without struggling with no budget, to learn and grow constantly, to realize projects that I have in mind. Being able to travel the world, play concerts all over the world and share my music. And of course being able to make a living from my music, without having to do other jobs on the side.
Which of these activities are you most likely to be found doing: (a) making a soufflé, (b) tinkering with a motorbike, (c) doing the ironing, (d) putting up shelves?
Putting up shelves.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what would your answer be?
What is it like to be a man in a women-dominated world? It’s beautiful, I can be who I really am.
Is Robert Heitmann as good a dancer as he appears to be in the recent KLA video?
Still waters run deep.
Does the path of excess lead to the palace of wisdom?
It’s all about the balance.