Singer, lyrics writer and composer Şenay Lambaoğlu released her fourth album “Rüyalarıma Gir” while standing on an important crossroads on the path she build herself with many efforts. And she released the album through her first label, Ada Müzik… Lambaoğlu, who has always pursued what is novel without severing her ties with jazz, and I conversed about this album, which the musician calls the product of her maturation.
We called the first three albums jazz albums categorically but we stand at a different point with this album. It is arranged by jazz musicians again, and interpreted by jazz musicians except for a few guests. You are redefining yourself. Was this a conscious attempt or a natural outcome of the process?
“Rüyalarıma Gir” started out as a more adventurous process than my other albums and continued like that. My personal search for my identity naturally reflected on my work as well. My music couldn’t stay the same as my stories, energy and all my emotions were changing. It had to be different. I wanted to distance myself from the comforting arms of jazz, which is the way of expression for me, to test the boundaries, and to let myself go in the flow and nature of music without repeating myself or pondering too much on it. We approach a system in which all disciplines intermingle and this only gets more frequent. I wanted to become an alternative voice and breath to what already existed while not classifying music.
We shouldn’t forget to mention something about the previous subject. For example, we hear a piano solo while listening to your references to tango and flamenco, and it is clear that you haven’t severed your bonds with jazz. How were you able to keep the balance between the other genres since the musicians who arranged the pieces come from a jazz tradition?
Three talented musicians played an important part in my songs. Tolga Bedir, Adem Gülşen and Kaan Bıyıkoğlu weaved the songs with the exact sounds I wished to hear as the texture of the album formed. The arrangements were made entirely to serve the songs and the lyrics. The fact that we all come from a jazz tradition allowed us to speak a common language. We wished to embody different colors through music instead of trying to distance ourselves from jazz. We witnessed how jazz translated differently and got richer on different platforms. The result was an album that has made its peace with popular genres of music.
Many musicians put in a lot of effort in this album, but some of them are rather surprising names; Korhan Futacı, Sedef Erçetin, Erdinç Şenyaylar and Derya Türkan are musicians with unique sounds and they signed their names under the pieces they play in, for the lack of a better term. How did you decide on collaborating with these musicians?
Bringing people with such different characters together under the roof of this album had to do with what the songs conveyed and needed. I designed the songs with the presence of these instruments in mind and bringing these incredible musicians who I think are the best in their fields enriched the album. Korhan, Sedef, Erdinç and Derya expressed my various emotional states and colors well. I respectully bow before all of them. All those new sounds and vibrations opened a door to an entirely different world for me. They inspired and encouraged me. We might have even planted the seeds of the next project already.
There is a big group of people behind this project as a whole but I know that the recording session was completed rather quickly. When were you able to rehearse and to record?
Those who have listened to the songs agree that this is a maturity album. I think I can express myself better and more plainly with my lyrics and compositions. This created a musical integrity in the album. We completed the recording in such a short time like two and a half days in the MIAM studios, which includes the recording of the vocals as well. We were very diligent while preparing for the release. Erim Arkman did the mix and Cem Büyükuzun did the mastering. We recorded with two different drummers, Ekin Cengizkan and Erdem Göymen, and two different bass players, Matthew Hall and Caner Üstündağ. I think we did a good job through very different musical touches.
The lyrics in general are really positive and we can feel the emotional reflections of the past couple of years in the pieces. In this aspect, are you able to express yourself more freely?
Yes, I see myself as a freer and more confident woman in expressing my emotions when I look at the album cover, for example. Mehmet Turgut captured this so well in his photos. One wants to be in an independent mental space that is devoid of worries while creating, this is the ideal. However, we want to be appreciated and heard by the listeners while transforming a work of art into a product. We shouldn’t give in to our fears in order to take brave steps. Sincere things are bound to touch hearts. Music is there to make our lives beautiful. There will be tears in that, and laughter as well. That’s the only way that we can feel alive. Music should always exist so that we don’t forget our humanity.
I believe that independent firms can represent your music better and that your agreement with Ada Müzik, which was your first family, will reflect positively on your album. What kind of motivation lead you back to Ada Müzik?
Ada Müzik and Bülent Forta’s support for song writers motivate me so much. I went with an independent label again because art and the artist keep getting squeezed into a perpetually tightening framework and our work and what we wish to create keep getting categorized and similar. Independent labels allow us to breathe in a sectoral sense and we can take braver steps while sharing what we create.
You have written stories about people so far, but then you wrote a piece called “Günaydın Ülkem”. How do you feel about the present and the future of Turkey as an artist and a mother?
People live as long as they can dream. Everything that is negative in the world and around us increase both my hopefulness and hopelessness. There are a lot of times when we don’t know how to position art while we battle for our most basic human necessities. Music somehow becomes my sole support and haven at this point. Every new day is filled with new starts and miracles. I want to believe that. I want to wake up to my dreams, to be thankful for every single moment we are alive and to hold onto the future with both hands.