Photo By: Agatha Powa
Friends are everything at 14. Our style, interests, and personalities are all shaped by those around us at that age. While my peers were guiding me towards Mall Punk and away from boy bands (not for long), J. Lamotta’s were sparking her interest in Jazz. She admits that music wasn’t her first love, “ I wasn’t really talented in music, but I was very motivated to practice and learn from my friends who played music.”
An introduction to Ray Charles shifted her gears forever and eventually led to Sarah Vaughan and later Billie Holiday, “Sarah was my idol for many years until I discovered Billie Holiday. Listening to Billie changed everything for me and shaped my way of singing.” Today J. Lamotta has taken all of those elements and created a style as cool as the skylines of the world’s most picturesque cities. We exchanged words about those cities, her April 2019 release, and more.
Kendra: You had plans to study in New York City but wound up in Berlin, where you are today. Do you feel like you’d be anywhere different with your music, or even have a whole different sound, had your New York plans went through?
J. Lamotta: Sometimes I ask myself the same question. There was something about this experience that pushed my musical development further. Just being away from school, I really needed this freedom; listening to different types of music and stop acting like a student. I came to Berlin almost on my own with no clue of what was gonna happen and taught myself how to follow my true musical taste. That’s how I got into Soul, R&B, and Hip-Hop, which feel like home now. I don’t know if I would have the same experience there also because the plan was to move to New York with loads of other friends from Tel Aviv. However, now after I developed my own sound, it will be amazing to make music in New York.
Kendra: Whether it’s NYC or Berlin, I imagined a really awesome night looking at the skyline of a city when listening to “Turning.” There was something very cool and metropolitan about it. Do you remember where you were when you penned that and did the locale inspire the mood at all?
J. Lamotta: “Turning” was written about one of my visits to Tel-Aviv. I was playing my piano and captured these feelings. When I got back to Berlin to play with my band, I rearranged some parts but tried to keep that intimate mood it had when I first wrote it. Visually, I had “Isn’t a Crime” by Sade in my mind and the director Robert Winter mixed it with his urban aesthetics.
Kendra: The line that stuck out most was “don’t forget yourself.” A mantra I feel we should all have but ironically forget. What kinds of things do you like to do to stay grounded with your inner self? I mean, other than make music
J. Lamotta: Other than music, I practice traditional yoga from India called “Ashtanga” and I also meditate. If I want to live in peace with my surrounding. First I have to learn how to be in peace with my body and soul. It’s very challenging. Otherwise, writing words are something that I have to do in order to stay grounded. Expressing my feelings through words is still the most satisfying thing for me.
Kendra: “Turning” has some friends coming when Suzume drops in April. If you were to compare the record to one of the four elements, which would it be? Air, water, earth or fire?
J. Lamotta: I honestly think Suzume has all four elements. However, if I have to choose the most prominent one I would say Earth. Although some parts sound dreamy, it all comes from within the ground.
Kendra: Once the album drops, are you going to head out on some tour dates or keep it local with the performances?
J. Lamotta: There are many things to come after the album release, I don’t have much info at this point but we are planning a tour in Asia and one in Europe.