Jazz enthusiast Billie Davies, came to the streets that is Hollywood, particularly Hollywood Boulevard, where she constructed her all new album “On Hollywood Boulevard”. Through the years, living there and going elsewhere, in which time, she says it’s about life, her life, as well as the lives in general, and how the media, it having such a big influence on our lives, through the means of TV, movies, magazines, music, and stars, of course. She then went on to experience, what can be said and seen within those streets, that it can be found upon this release, which she discusses dearly.
1. Out of all of the jazz genres available, why did you go with picking the style of jazz that you do and why?
All of my music is improvisational… a conversation between musicians and musical instruments, a joint emotional expression inspired by a certain common feeling, thought or perspective that is being communicated to an audience, a listener, a community. I did not go and consciously pick a style, I just evolve into it and with every project comes something different, depending on the subject of the project or album, there will be a different expression. I do not think of myself playing avant-garde, or avant-jazz or free jazz or nu jazz, I just play jazz and then for the public at large, for the music industry, it needs to be put into a little box or niche… I just play music and what comes naturally to me, in the case of “On Hollywood Boulevard” for example I needed it to sound very electric, almost commercial like because Hollywood Boulevard is a commercial, is very electric and full of neon lights. It’s all jazz to me … :)
2. If you had to pick another jazz genre, which would it be and why?
Jazz. Because to me Jazz equals Freedom in all its forms and expressions. It is my roots, answering, calling, and continuing the Mission of liberating the notes to be free and the sounds to be re-invented, re-explored, so that others will hear and see and feel the roots. So that others may identify with it. As I Do. So that this extremely Free, Heart Beating, Soul Searching, Mind Bending form of fine art through the medium of music… be still here after I am gone… unconstrained by color, race, gender, dogma, politics, fashion and trends and money.
3. Have you ever heard of another jazz musician by the name of Jamie Cullum, his jazz style consists of pop/jazz. If you have, what do you think of him, and if you have not, will you be checking him out?
I have not heard of him and I will be checking him out … :)
4. You went into the studio to write and record for your new album “On Hollywood Boulevard”, how would you say that this release is different, comparable, and equal to your previous releases.
It is different because after 20 years of playing instrumental music, “On Hollywood Boulevard” has vocals brought by the fabulous New Orleans singer IRIS P. It is different from my other releases as all the music is played on electric/electronic instruments and therefore has unique expressions. It is different because I wrote lyrics for it. It is different because it has improvised beats. It has no comparison to my other releases except for the fact that I wrote anchor melodies for it that we improvise around, just as with 12 VOLT, and that the music is improvisational just as with my other releases and that it tells a story just as with 12 VOLT or Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon. It is A Nu Experience.
5. If you had to pick one song off “On Hollywood Boulevard” for someone to check out, if never hearing your music before, which would you pick out and why?
That’s a tough question for me to answer :) And it has been tough for me alone to decide which songs to pick for promotions or for single releases and therefore the consensus between all involved went with “The Girl In The Window” or “Palm Trees” but my personal favorite is “Hollywood Boulevard” because it touches at the heart of Hollywood Boulevard behind the scenes, of the Hollywood Boulevard no tourist or visitor might ever experience.
6. Why did you want to go with calling this release “On Hollywood Boulevard”, what is it about the infamous Hollywood street, that just had to strike a chord with your music.
“On Hollywood Boulevard” came about while I lived at 6533 Hollywood Blvd. at The Historic Hillview Hollywood in Hollywood, Los Angeles. I lived there for several years and my many profound experiences in and reflections and impressions of Hollywood Boulevard needed recording. I wrote lyrics, I wrote music, I conceptualized, I auditioned and tried out concepts for all I saw and lived on Hollywood Boulevard. It took from 2012 in Hollywood, the initial conception, to September of 2016 in New Orleans to result in a recorded album where the title persisted and where I could not call it anything but “On Hollywood Boulevard”. It is all about life, and my life, on Hollywood Boulevard, and what that boulevard represents to the world, to America. But then again it is also very much about life in general, and how the media has such a big influence on our lives today through TV, movies, magazines, music and its stars.
7. Have you had the chance to see all of the sights and sounds that can be found within Hollywood’s terrains.
I lived in Hollywood for a good 5 years so yes I have seen and heard and experienced most of it… :)
8. If you were to ever receive a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, what would you say in your speech, and what would be your reaction?
If I were to ever receive a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, I would be able to say, Thank You, and otherwise be speechless. My reaction would be one of total surprise and amazement.
9. What/who is your biggest motivational musical inspiration?
10. If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career?
11. Would you do anything differently?
No, I can only listen to my heart and follow that path.
By Natalie Perez – firstname.lastname@example.org