With Valeska Rautenberg: an interview with the artist of "The Forest Song"
Weaving acoustic elements, storytelling vocals, and piano sounds into electronica and field recordings and thereby creating landscapes; traveling into Indie, Trip-Hop, instrumental Modern Classical and beyond.vValeska is a multi-genre indie musician, singer, composer, a voice-over actress, and a dedicated music teacher. Born in East Berlin to actor Klaus-Peter Thiele and painter Rosemarie Rautenberg, she grew up living and breathing creativity and has followed that path throughout her life. She began with dance and moved to acting before settling on her true calling, music. "Her music doesn't follow any rules outside of her own inspiration, and so it happens that in the worlds she creates, the Cheshire Cat lives alongside the Steppenwolf." Her songs inhabit a space between vast deserts, a whiskey sour and submersion in the deepest, bluest ocean, to then eventually pour a spectacle of colours down upon you. In her voice, she reveals all of her many facets to you: sometimes intimate and then intense, sometimes dreamy and then again ruthlessly open...all of that carried by the piano and melancholy downbeats. Sometimes the arrangement is minimal, other times the paintbrush paints a larger picture.
Hi Valeska, you are an emerging artist but with different results already achieved, can you tell us briefly what artist you are?
I fell in love with dancing as a kid, worked as an actress as a teenager, and then found my true love in music. I've played and released music with multiple bands and projects, and then "disappeared" for a while to live a different life as a music coach and producer amongst other things.
I sort of re-emerged in 2017 and started releasing all of the music I had written over the years. Since I composed music without any particular goal in mind or any marketing strategy I ended up with songs in multiple genres ... from neoclassical/ambient to trip hop/electronica over to indie pop and singer/songwriter. So this is what I am now, I guess: a multi-genre musician and a dedicated music coach. And I love it.
What are your influences and your musical references?
I wouldn't even know where to start ... there are so many. My parents listened to a lot of classical music when I was growing up and that had a big influence on me. It was probably one of the origins of my love for neoclassical instrumental music.
I also loved listening to Keith Jarrett and his free approach to the piano.
Another huge influence was the trip hop music of the 90s. I still love listening to Portishead and Massive Attack and I guess that shows in some of my tracks, like Midnight Children for example.
Nature is a powerful cycle and we need to accept that. I wanted to create a song that, to me, sounds like nature with all its power and beauty but there's always the melancholy of mortality along with it.
How do you compose? Do you feel a musical theme in your mind or is it more based on creating from sensations?
These are inseparable to me. It is a dialogue. A conversation between the subconscious and the conscious, between outer sources of inspiration and the feeling world.
How was your latest single "The Forest Song" born?
It was born from having a close encounter with death. Losing someone always makes you question everything. Still it is natural. Nature is a powerful cycle and we need to accept that. I wanted to create a song that, to me, sounds like nature with all its power and beauty but there's always the melancholy of mortality along with it.
For that reason I wanted to keep the song as natural as possible and used my vocals instead of instruments. The beat consists entirely of the sounds of my wooden furniture and not a single instrument ;).
At what time of the day do you like to compose? Is it an expressive urgency due to an inspiration or do you meditate and plan everything with scrupulous criteria?
It is very random. It comes over me whenever inspiration strikes. I never decide to compose, it just happens and I open the doors for it and invite whatever musical guest shows up.
What would you answer to those who ask you why you should listen to your music?
Because it's heartfelt. I pour my heart into every song.
What is the meaning of music for you?
It is simply my language. This is how I express myself. And hopefully touch and inspire a few people on the way.
Could you kindly anticipate us something about your upcoming projects?
There's a lot in the works right now. Beautiful collaborations with other artists are coming up, more neoclassical piano music and all sorts of experimental things living in the realm of Downbeat and Indie. I'm looking forward to all those music babies seeing the light of day.