Introducing Naima Joris
Text: Jasper van Vugt
Who? Naima Joris
How many? Naima and four companions
The track: 'Bellybutton'
How would you like to see your music be described?
'I don’t really care how my music is described. It’s already weird to me to even talk about ‘my’ music. A description I liked was from a Korean girl who sent me a letter. She wrote that my music stops the rattling inside ones head and comforts the heart.'
Which record makes you hit the dancefloor?
'There’s a lot of music that makes me put on my dancing shoes!. I like dancing to samba, and the song "Magalenha" from Sergio Mendez in particular.'
The record I currently listen to a lot is…
What genre or which country would you like to explore (and why)?
'That would be a trip around the world, because I don’t have a favorite country. I like worldly music, thanks to my father Chris, who is also a musician. I noticed every country has his own kind of blues music. There is melancholy in fado, morna and Mali blues, but also in Mongolian throat singing and the female choir singing of, for example, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. I started singing for therapeutic reasons, not to become a performing artist. When I sing, the blues will come. I could express my feelings by singing cover songs. It’s quite recent that I started writing my own songs.'
What is the biggest challenge in your life as a musician?
'The only challenge I could think of a musician can have is fear and insecurity, but that’s not different from normal life. I don’t live the life of a musician, I was leading a normal life and all of a sudden I was a musician. I didn’t strive to be a musician, but it somehow ended up on my plate.'
The moment I transcend myself on stage is when…
'…I’m free from fear.'
How do you deal with setbacks, and how do you celebrate successes?
'Singing is one of my coping mechanisms in dealing with setbacks. My goal is not music, but redemption. Music is the means to achieve that. By singing about painful feelings of sadness my tears turn into pearls. I’ve had to deal with death a lot in my life (Naima lost her stepmother and sister to cancer). That makes you chance the way you live. I try to enjoy the time I spend with the people I love, by laughing with them in a drama less setting and perhaps make some music together. Success for me is being happy. That starts by being thankful for what you have, like having had a positive and lovingly day.'
What do you do to relax?
'Laugh, chat, massage or get a massage. Take a bath, with or without a bit of music in the background. Basically, taking things not too seriously is a very good way to relax.'
Which experiences have made you the way you are?
'In a musical sense that is seeing my father Chris Joris making music. I often accompanied him to his gigs and workshops. As a toddler I walked around while he performed and I watched him play. He is a percussionist, pianist and composer and has a unique take on jazz. For example, he uses a lot of African influences, free structures and explores the freedom in music. I would like to take that route too someday.'