Terry has already made a name for herself in the Greek jazz scene, with her collaborations, multiple appearances and her exceptional sound. She is ready to present her first jazz album conceived somewhere between Athens and New York and she needs your help in order to make it happen!
What is your first music memory as a child?
Although no one in my family is a musician, they all love different styles of music and there was always a radio sound background in the house. One of the first memories I have around the age of two, is my mother playing a Greek rock song on the cassette player, while I am literally hugging the speaker and dancing to it. She vividly recalls that the minute the song would end I would burst into tears, so she had to play it again and again to keep me happy and dancing.
Greece has a great variety of amazing local musicians dedicated to jazz for decades
When did you discover jazz was going “to be your thing?”
When I got accepted at the Ionian University there was an orientation ceremony for welcoming the new students, which included a performance from the school’s jazz ensemble. That was the first time I was exposed to live jazz music and I was immediately fascinated by the freedom of improvisation and intrigued by the level of the musicians. One year later I met Sheila Jordan when she came at IU to give a seminar and a performance together with the double bassist Cameron Brown. Sheila’s spirit and love for jazz music combined with her incredibly history and openness to share it with all of us became the turning point and made me respect and want to learn and practice jazz and improvisation.
You have lived in jazz capital, New York. How did this happen?
During my undergraduate studies I had the chance to study and sing with various inspiring teachers and musicians from the Greek and International jazz scene. As a result after graduating I wanted to expand my knowledge in jazz and improvisation and get even closer to the origin of this music. NY is definitely the jazz capital with historic venues that attract the best and newest musicians from all over the world while at the same time is the home of some of the most famous jazz universities. Therefore I decided to continue my studies and apply for the graduate program at “Aaron Copland School Of Music ” of Queens College and for a Fulbright Scholarship and an Onassis Foundation Scholarship, that both of them later sponsored my studies abroad. Fulbright believed in my vision as a musician and supported me from the very beginning. Not only with funding my studies, but offering me an amazing opportunity to network with people from all over the world, get to know other cultures by participating on the Enrichment Seminars and making the whole process of living in another continent a more friendly and unforgettable experience.
Did New York influence your music and your way of life?
New York is undeniable a world center. Every part of the city is a small world that exposes you to different cultures, art, music and lifestyles. Living in a city as competitive while surrounded by amazing talent forces you to step up and work harder towards your goals while only experiencing life there can be a lesson of a lifetime. Studying in New York developed me as a musician not only from being in an advanced educational environment, but also from being exposed to the newest and most creative music projects. My everyday life and experiences in New York where a big part of the inspiration for my first work and original compositions and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.
Do Greeks enjoy jazz?
Jazz is an improvisational music with its roots in the African-American tradition that has been developing and changing through the eras and times. It has always been influenced by other genres and cultures and created new fusions of them. Greece has a great variety of amazing local musicians that have been dedicated to this music for decades creating and building an audience as well as a basis for all the new musicians. Nowadays that music is easier to share and people are exposed to several different styles, they tend to be more open and explore sounds that they weren’t as familiar.
The past few years Athens jazz venues and live scenes have multiplied and today you can see a variety of concerts every day in the city. I believe especially during the financial crisis people seek to hear something new, different and full feeling for their soul, while musicians have the opportunity to showcase their love, creativity and hard work. Every project is so different and individual that I believe everyone can find something to love in the Greek jazz scene once they give a chance to listen to the music.
What is your first album, Qualia?
In the “old days” if you loved a musician you would buy their record in the store and support them that way.
Qualia is the title of my upcoming debut album. It is named by the homonymous philosophical concept and inspired by everyday life in New York and Athens. The qualia problem has to do with the communication of feelings, for example how can someone describe the color green to a colorblind person? This is my attempt to communicate some feelings and states of awareness that people may experience through their lifeline. I wrote the oldest song before I left Greece to go to NY, the rest where composed in NY and while back in Greece now, kind of like a circle. The album consists of nine original songs and one cover while each song of the record has a different emotional landscape mirroring reality at that time.
I am very happy to have an exceptional team with me, starting with the musicians of the band: Thodoris Kotsifas on guitar, Yiannis Papadopoulos on piano two of my oldest friends and musicians I deeply admire, Kostas Konstantinou on double bass a pioneer of the Greek jazz scene and an exceptional musician and Dimitris Klonis one of the most innovative and creative drummers. Damian Aronidis made our Indiegogo Campaign video and captured everything in a special film for Qualia.
Is crowd funding a necessity for contemporary music artists?
Today you can directly support the artist by basically pre-buying the record or even through donations and other special perks that are offered on a campaign platform.
Being an independent artist can be very challenging and there are many obstacles to overcome in order to be able to exist and create. Recording can be a very demanding process that requires a lot of different stages. From studio time, mixing and mastering to printing and designing the album, in order to achieve our creative goals, there is a line of people working for this project. Crowd funding made amazing projects worldwide come to life and lately more and more Greek artists use it to support their work. In the “old days” if you loved a musician you would buy their record in the store and support them that way. Today you can directly support the artist by basically pre-buying the record or even through donations and other special perks that are offered on a campaign platform. I feel it is an honest way for musicians to showcase their work, while at the same time cover the necessary funds of a demanding production. What I personally like most about this process if that we are asking from people that love what we do to support us and become a part of our team by being involved in the creative part process.
What are your plans for the future?
My first and biggest future plan is recording Qualia. We are aiming to get in to the studio this upcoming September so we can continue with the production through the next months and release it before Christmas of 2016. Later we will start touring and performing with the record in different international and local jazz festivals. At the same time I am teaching voice, jazz and improvisation at Lab Music Education in Athens and at Ionian University in Corfu as well as performing in several other projects around Greece.