Caroline Leisegang Launches New Album [Interview]
Caroline Leisegang releases ‘My Body Of Preludes’
“Fans can expect something new. Something that will become their own.”
One of the youngest classical composers in South Africa, Caroline Leisegang, has just released a brand new album ‘My Body Of Preludes’. The album was written in 2017 over a period of 15 months. Caroline mostly kept with her signature use of triplets and simple time signatures in this body of music. By using her established sound, she added different elements like strings which also acts as a bridge to her next work of music, which will be for string orchestra.
I caught up with Caroline to find out more:
First of all, tell me about the new album ‘My Body Of Preludes’. How long have you been working on this project and how has been received over the past two weeks?
My Body Of Preludes has been a work in progress. I wrote it over a period of two months and edited it over 15. The album as a whole is a conversation; the way we connect with people. Interestingly enough, MBP has done incredibly well in terms of the response it’s gotten. People seem to have connected to the album in an intimate way, which I didn’t expect.
Your debut album ‘Øyeblikk’ did extremely well. How does the new album differ from ‘Øyeblikk’ and do you anticipate that this one will perform just as well?
This album is more simple. Øyeblikk was a very complex work with complex emotions, while MBP is simple with complex emotions. It’s hard to say for sure but I think just by the way it’s being streamed, I think it’s already doing better than Øyeblikk. But it’s always difficult to put two completely different albums together and compare them.
What do you hope people will take from ‘My Body Of Preludes’? And Is there a theme running through this album?
I hope people will make it their own. What I’ve realised about my music, is that it’s all a continuous theme of how every person you meet is an individual hero and how those people become part of you in small ways. It’s how music can become a moment for another person without words to explain it. So, the theme of affection.
And who worked with you on the album?
My sister, Alex, wrote some string parts with me the day we recorded and played on the album. Otherwise, recorded and mixed by Jacques du Plessis and mastered by Jacob van der Westhuisen.
You had a difficult 2017 and took some time off from the scene. How did this influence your career? I believe you also did some writing during this period?
2017 was the year that created this album. From the people that I had met to how they became part of my life. I think it’s made me timider in terms of my career and feel it’s a bit overwhelming to actually get things done. I’m a terrible writer!
You are South Africa’s youngest classical composer at only 28. That’s amazing! Please share a little bit of your journey – how did you get to this stage?
I don’t think I’ve ever really taken the journey seriously, maybe a bit for granted. But I started composing when I was 21, somehow ended up at one of the best music schools in the world and then started to take in my surroundings and learn how to speak in a language I was only just familiar with. I’ve been inspired by friends and encouraged by them, and that’s probably the biggest reason why I became a composer (I’m not really that young anymore). It takes a lot of work and gut-wrenching failure to get to this stage because you have to work, you have to try and keep trying until you make something you can feel the smallest bit of pride in and then you take a leap of faith and put it out there and hope that people understand what you are putting out. I’m still at the very beginning. I’m still taking on the encouragement of my friends and the people who listen to my albums and hopefully a day will come where I’m in front instead of behind the music. I will always be learning as I go.
That’s amazing. So, what, besides other artists and music, inspires you to write and perform?
Influence is a tricky thing. It’s not so much about specificity as it is about expression and experience mapping out out the road to me being a musician. We all go through a phase where we think “I WISH MY LIFE WAS A MUSICAL” and for me, it was about making my life exactly that. I can’t pinpoint the exact artists or moments; but if I had to give one pivotal moment inspired me and has driven me to become the musician I am then it would be sitting at Mamma’s in Greenside (when it was around) with a Zamalek talking to my good friend, Jono. And then I guess we are 8 years down the line and 3 albums in the bag and it’s still the reason I write music.
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year and next year?
Rest of the year I’d like to perform more often. First concert 19 September at MØDERNIST in Parkhurst (ticket available on Computicket). And next year, another album! Either something completely different or something new for the piano.
Album launch event details
Join Caroline for the launch of her album:
Date: Thursday, 19 September 2019
Venue: Modernist, Parkhurst
Time: 8 PM
Photos by Anna-Belle Durrant.