Features

Wende Snijders -- The Daily Vault Interview

by Peter Vissers

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Popular Dutch jazz/cabaret singer/chansonnière Wende Snijders recently released her new album called No. 9. Very unlike her previous albums, No. 9 doesn’t contain a single French chanson. Recently I had the chance to talk to her. (The interview is translated from Dutch.)


Your new album has nothing to do with chansons, yet a lot of people still call you a chansonnière. That must be very frustrating.

Well, I have released three CDs in the chanson genre and I have been performing a lot. I decided to do something completely different. It’s not just a change of style; it’s a change of language as well. The only way to show the world you’re capable of doing different things is by just doing something peculiar. Some things just don’t change instantly.

Where will you be 10 years from now? Will you continue doing what you’re doing now or do you have other ambitions? I want to make a lot of albums with a lot of interesting people. I just hope I will continue writing! I want to play everywhere, from public toilets and elevators to stadiums and large halls. I just want to know what everything feels like. Yeah, I’m very ambitious!

What do you like to do apart from singing?

I like photography, and I like live music and theatre shows. And I love to travel, of course. I like to discover things. In February, I’m going to Thailand to practice yoga in the jungle.

Have you ever showcased your photography?

I’m not a professional photographer; it’s just something I enjoy doing very much.

Not every occupation has to be an ambitious one.

I guess you’re right. I just think I have to practice a lot before bothering other people with my art, if you know what I mean.

No. 9 features quite an amount of... well, I hate to use the word sentimental, but it does contain some pretty emotional songs. Isn’t it hard to keep singing those songs in front of an audience without sounding melodramatic? I would imagine it gets less authentic after a while.

No, by sharing my experiences with other people it all becomes even more authentic.

Why?

It’s hard to explain. I played my previous show 140 times. Most of the songs weren’t even mine but they gained a lot of depth simply because I discovered more and more elements in each song every time I performed it. Every time you sing a song in front of a different audience the song changes too.

On your previous albums it was pretty clear where you got your inspiration from. What music did you listen to while writing No. 9?

Moby, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Paul Simon… I listen to all kinds of music; from Mahler to Eminem.

Anyone in particular you would like to work with?

I would really like to work with Marius de Vries, an English music producer and composer who has worked with Björk, Madonna and Rufus Wainwright, just to name a few. I wouldn’t mind singing a duet with Tom Waits either!

One of the songs on No. 9, “Sunday Morning,” starts with a screaming lady. What is she saying?

It was recorded in a church in South Africa. The church was some kind of bunker with plastic chairs. We went there on a Sunday morning, which explains the title of the song. The lady sitting next to me suddenly stood up and started screaming her prayers. Everyone (except from us) thought it was completely normal! I think it’s a great way to get rid of your displeasures and fury, though. Jan van Eerd – who helped me write the songs – decided to record it.

Is No. 9 what you hoped it would be?

I’m never completely satisfied but I really enjoyed it and yeah, I’m actually kind of proud!

[Many thanks for Wende Snijders for speaking with us.]



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