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Progressive Rock Interviews

Haikaa

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Haikaa from 2012
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music?

 

 

I think music is what gave me my first glimpse of what freedom may be all about. I was born in Brazil and on my first trip to Japan, my uncle gave me a cassette tape of “The Sound of Music.” I was so fascinated by it I would spend hours in the shower singing away. Music really took me to a different and more interesting place and actually it still does that to me.

My first professional experience came when I was living in Japan and I released an album by Sony Japan as a member of the girl band “Girls Club.” Having been told what to wear, how to dance, what to say on an interview, it was clear to me that the freedom I was searching for was not to be found down that path. I had to look elsewhere.

As an independent singer-songwriter, I found the creative freedom I needed in order to learn how to express everything I was wanting to express. I’ve written hundreds of songs, recorded several demos and then I finally got to record an entire album called “Work of Art” which was released digitally in September 2011.

MSJ:

You are an author and a musician. How do you see those two relating and complementing one another?

 

 

I love languages. I speak Portuguese, English, Japanese and some Spanish. I love words. I love to talk and to connect with people. I do part of that through my music and lyrics. However, poetry has certain rules especially for music where the number of notes on a melody often determines how you convey an emotion or an idea.

On my book “What is Diversity,” I got to expand a bit more on the ideas that I introduce in my lyrics – the importance of self-acceptance, the uniqueness of every individual, the celebration of the diversity in our world that results from all of our “uniquenesses” combined.

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in the arts what do you think you'd be doing?

I actually got into the Marine Biology course at UC Santa Cruz and at the last minute I went to study International Relations at Tufts University in Boston and soon dropped out. I think that if I had gone to UC Santa Cruz, I may have been very happy working with dolphins and whales. They sing too.

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

I’ve had many but I’ll just mention those that made me want to make music more than anything else in the world – Kate Bush and Renaissance.
MSJ: You devote yourself to a number of social causes through your work. Could elaborate on some of that?

 

 

I think it’s easy to complain about the world we live in, to become enraged with it and then just go on with our normal lives until the next display of madness comes up and then we become enraged again but do nothing about it. Devoting myself to social causes is my way to constantly contribute in whatever way I can to, hopefully, help avoid some of this madness from building up in the first place.

On “The Work of Art Global Project,” I recorded my song “Work of Art” in 20 languages with the help of more than 40 collaborators spread across the globe. In order to make this happen, I put into practice the theory of “Six Degrees of Separation” which states that all citizens on the planet are at maximum six degrees away from each other. We live in a small world, we are a lot more alike than different and singing my song in 20 languages was a way to express that without having to explain it.

I’ve been engaged in many other initiatives as well, including a photography project called “PeacePage” that gathered NPOs from all seven continents to share awesome photos with the theme “The Humanity We All Share.” I was the co-creator of this project along with Bob Knotts, the founder of the Florida based NPO The Humanity Project. I constantly promote the works developed by Transparency International as well as World Wildlife Fund.

MSJ: What are the goals you’d like to accomplish with your art?
If I can get more and more people to understand that collaboration is smarter, cheaper and a lot more productive than conflict, I will die a happy artist.

But of course, in order to do that, I have to build a large enough fan base around me that not only spreads the word about my work but also supports me by buying my albums, books and coming to my concerts.

MSJ:

What's ahead for you?

I honestly don’t know. These have been very tough times for many independent artists and I’m no exception. I feel like I’m sailing on an ocean with no map.

On the creative front, I have written all the songs and done much pre-production work for Album II. I’ve also started writing my second book based on my vlog “Journal of a Singer-songwriter.”

MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
The vocal lines are very melodic, the lyrics are just as important as the music and the arrangements gravitate around the vocal line. It’s pop. I never really sought to be different but rather truthful and authentic, so I don’t mind being labeled at all.
MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins, Elton John, Maroon 5, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Manah, Andrea Bocceli, Laura Pausini and Shakira.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Sigh… Who can really answer that, right? On one hand, it certainly helps Indie artists to the extent that it may increase visibility. On the other, it really sucks because people have gotten used to expecting music to be free and it ain’t free for us artists!
MSJ:

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I suppose I feel the same as I do about illegal downloading.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
You can tell I’m sort of Zen, right? But okay, my arch nemesis would be artists who promote violence, hatred, vulgarity, consumerism and idolatry, in other words, artists who fuel and feed on the existing stupidity.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Freddy Mercury would be the vocalist and pianist, Slash would be the guitarist although I really love Brian May, Flea on bass and Neil Peart on drums.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Wow, that’s a REALLY hard question because the music of many of the artists I love doesn’t necessarily work in a big venue. But okay, let’s try:

-      Yann Tiersen

-      Kate Bush

-      Nina Simone 

-      Mark Knopfler

-      Red Hot Chili Peppers

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Like everything else in my life, my music playlists are very diverse. I’ve been listening to The Who, Rush, Sublime, Tori Amos and Earth Wind and Fire lately.
MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

Right now, I’m re-reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle which is such a good book. One of my favorite lines goes something like “the egoic mind loves enemies” which goes back to what I’ve been saying. I mean, if we could focus on who we are and on what we love, that would keep us busy for our entire lifetimes. We wouldn’t have spare time to hate, really.
MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

I went to see Nelly Furtado.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I love listening to the crappiest re-mixes of famous songs when I’m working out. All the predictable loops help me pace myself on the treadmill, spinning bike and especially on the mini-trampoline. Before I know it, in my mind, I’m standing on a stage saying “Come on, get your feet off the ground!” Helps me sweat…
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
In 2007, I was invited to do this outdoor concert at a business event and the pay was the highest I’d ever received to perform. We set up two stages (one indoors and one outdoors) in case it rained, rehearsed like crazy and

I was really looking forward to perform at the end of this event. But as soon as the meal had finished, the sponsor of the event left on a helicopter and everybody left right behind him. We performed to the trees who remained motionless throughout the concert...

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
It would be great to gather Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes and ask them what they make of the current global economic scenario.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
One of my specialties, Moroccan couscous and red wine.
MSJ:
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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