I was not planning on becoming a musician, but music called me back very strongly and I couldn’t say no.
Following Ron Davis’s genre-bending trail, I have discovered Jessica Deutsch’s band, Ozere, which has a fascinating sound that draws from classical chamber, folk and fiddle music. They play old favourites as well as new compositions written just for the band. Tomorrow night (Nov 7, 2013 at 7:30pm) they’ll be playing in a beautiful yoga studio (80 Gladstone Ave., $15/$10 cover) in collaboration with The O’Pears vocal trio. The studio will transform into a performance space, with cushions for seats and home-baked goods for treats.
As an accomplished classical violinist, Jessica’s love of music is not limited to one genre, and that is certianly the spirit that Ozere transmits to the audience through their music. She has brought together like-minded artists who are well on their way to develop their own sound, and bring their music to a broader audience.
Don’t miss this chance to see great local music and home-grown talents. Here’s a Q&A with Jessica Deutsch, whom you can see also perform this Sunday with Ron Davis in his Symphronica concerts at Lula Lounge this Sunday at 8pm.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the performing arts? Is it what you expected, or did it change along the way?
I decided to become a full-time musician while living and playing music in Barcelona in 2010. I was playing very little violin since moving out of my parents house in 2003. So I was not planning on becoming a musician, but music called me back very strongly and I couldn’t say no. It is amazing being in the performing arts. It is a career that is constantly in flux, full of surprises and creative momentum. I love that I am constantly meeting new people, who are almost always friendly and open. I am often asked to play music that really challenges me, or that I am not familiar with, and that is a great part of being a performer. I never thought I’d be composing and singing too, but here I am!
What and who is Ozere, and how did this group come into being? How would you define your sound?
Ozere came about in April 2012 when I started to compose more seriously. I wanted to write fiddle tunes for a string quartet, but decided on a different instrumentation so that the sound would have more textures. So now we are: Myself on violin, Lydia Munchinsky on cello, Adrian Gross on mandolin, Sam McLellan on upright bass and Emily Rockarts on voice.
Vocals became more prominent recently and we are all singing lead and/or harmonies, which is very exciting. The music is still very influenced by chamber music, but also has a strong grounding in folk and fiddle music. If you’ve heard the Goat Rodeo Sessions, I’d say that is the group we most resemble. We are trying to blend all the diverse musical traditions we come from, and our sound comes from bringing together our different backgrounds.
What upcoming projects and events do you have coming up that people should look out for?
Details are always on our website: www.ozere.ca or on www.facebook.com/ozereband. We have a show happening this Thursday November 7th at 80 Gladstone. After that we are playing the Tranzac on December 12th, and the Cameron House on January 30th. We also have a few dates in the Ottawa area. We will be recording our first full-length album in the new year to be released in the spring. That is a very exciting project as we will be working with the excellent producer David Travers-Smith.
What do you see as the main challenges for performing arts today?
It is very hard to make a decent living. That is by far the biggest challenge I and many of my colleagues face. Things have changed a lot in the music industry, as record sales can no longer be relied on for income. So we all have to figure out ways to promote ourselves and put a product out into the world. Also, so much of the business-related work is done by the artist, which takes us away from doing what we need to do to actually be an artist—practicing, rehearsing, composing, creating.
What words of advice might you have emerging performing artists looking to start a career?
Be very certain that this is what you want to do. If you are plagued by doubts, then it’s a lot harder to push ahead. Be patient, meet lot’s of people, find a mentor, get yourself out there, and keep a positive attitude. You are lucky to have a talent in the arts and to be able to share it with people. And lastly, good luck!
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