How do you describe your music? Free form songwriting, experimental, folk and sacred.
What’s the essence of your new ECM release: Bloom?
It documents a journey which led me toward belief in the [Biblical] Jesus Christ. It is a collection of songs and allegorical stories I wrote as well as reinterpreted.
Who are the musicians and artists who have influenced you the most with this latest project?
There were many people who influenced me and encouraged and inspired me in my work for this album, knowingly or not. Some alive, some passed on. Patti Waters, Gillian Welch, Kate Bush, Morton Feldman, John Cage, AKN Ensemble, Gorecki, and the list goes on and on.
What makes for a memorable performance? Any short stories share with us?
For me a memorable performance is when the focus is felt in the listeners in the room and they are affected internally by the concert. Other times there are experiences that are exhilarating, for example playing in front of about 20,000 people at the Gnawa Festival with Tigran Hamasyan years ago.
How do you adapt to the different audiences and locations when on the road?
Easily. One must just feel the air and the atmosphere in the room. Of course a good sound guy also helps! (giggles)
Do you have any special routines on concert nights?
Yes of course, everyone has their routine. So, I eat half my dinner before and the rest after the gig. I do my vocal warm ups and try to find a time to sit quietly for at least 2 minutes before hitting the stage.
What external or internal factors have the biggest effect on your music? I would like to write music that touches souls, but is also full of truth and is encouraging. Do you have favorite cities and venues?
I love some of the old theaters in Spain as well as some newer venues in the style of Gaite Lyrique in Paris. I also can't wait for the opportunity to perform in an acoustically magical church somewhere in the world. What recent story you cannot get out of your mind?
The only thing I can think about is how my husband made it into the US legally with an Iranian passport and found me and married me. Pretty miraculous, doesn't really happen these days. What is the most beautiful word to you at this point in time?
Redemption. What’s in store as far as concerts and promo tours?
In September, I will be in Switzerland at the Jazz au Peuple festival. I'll also be performing at the SFJazz ECM night with Tigran Hamasyan in October. What events are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to both these events as well as some other possible concerts in Italy and Spain in 2019/2020. Can you tell us something about #BeatTheBlues? Know that you are a child of the Living God and that God is always there for you when you call upon His true name. If you are genuinely seeking the truth, He will come to you. Ask for it and keep your eyes and ears open. Thank you and good luck!