Each month, Miranda van den Heuvel talks to creative people in Luxembourg and says “look, Luxembourg is creative! Here’s how and where!” The December talk is with jazz singer Edith van den Heuvel.
1. What is CREATIVITY?
To me creativity is when new and original ideas come up in your head and you implement these new ideas into practice. I think it has a lot to do with getting in touch with yourself and letting go of the negative voices in your head that block creativity.
Creativity can flow when you’re in touch with yourself, when you’re in the moment and when your mind is relaxed. At least that’s my experience. I actually often have creative ideas when I’m driving for a couple of hours in the car… But only if I’m alone…
2. How are you creative?
My creativity comes out when I sing. I sing jazz which means that I’m always reinventing and I’m always trying to find new ways to sing a song. This is most of the time a joint effort of course because I usually work with other musicians. These musicians inspire me and every time I sing a song it’s different because jazz musicians are always looking for new and creative ways to play a tune. To me it’s being in the moment, in the music, listening to the other musicians, connecting with them and getting inspired by them. Then you get into a flow where ideas can flow freely. As soon as you start to think or try to control the situation I feel very strongly that you go out of this flow. Improvisation is one of the most important things in jazz and this is where you can very much develop your creativity and your own style and signature. But it’s mainly about letting go!
3. Suggest a simple creative activity to our readers that can make them more creative
I would say: start singing and improvising just by yourself. In the car for instance, in a separate room in the house (where noone can hear you…), or in the forest. Just start singing with sounds. Without words, without thinking, without expectations, without preconceived ideas and explore your voice and possibilities without any judgement. Just enjoy singing, your voice, the vibration of the sound and explore. Make sounds or rhythms and maybe if a word comes to your mind, sing or say this word. Or shout if you feel like it! Singing is good for the soul, for the heart, for the lungs and for your whole body so I can really recommend it!
4. What are your top 3 websites for creative inspiration?
I love the beautiful and inspirational pictures on Pinterest and I’m often on YouTube to look for interpretations of the songs that I’m singing. Sometimes I look for interviews with jazz musicians. It’s wonderful that you can find old interviews of jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson on YouTube. I find them incredibly inspiring. Otherwise I’m actually not so active on the internet. Apart from Facebook…
5. What are your 3 tips to become more creative in Luxembourg?
The Apéro Jazz concerts on Sunday morning at the Abbaye de Neumünster are definitely worthwhile. You can have a coffee at the Brasserie and listen to some nice jazz music. The entrance is free but if you want to have a seat, get there early because usually it’s quite packed. More info on http://www.jail.lu
When you’re at the Abbaye de Neumünster take a stroll along the river or take the beautiful Wenzel walk around the Grund. It’s my favorite part of town with wonderful views of the city.
Have lunch at Happ in Limpertsberg with your friends for a healthy and inspiring meal. You will surely get new ideas for your own cooking and you have lots of energy to be creative in the afternoon.
6. What’s your suggestion to make Luxembourg a more creative, innovative place?
I think it would be nice if artists from different disciplines would get together and organize joint events. Musicians, poets, writers, painters etc. It would be lovely if there would be a nice grand-café in Luxembourg where you could get together, eat, drink, read a magazine, listen to music, get inspired, meet like-minded people and have spontaneous conversations. Something lively, creative and open where you can go every moment of the day for a meal or a coffee. That would be so nice!
7. Anything you’d like to add?
This past year has been a very creative year for me as I’ve recorded and produced my second album. My new CD „Beneath the Blue” that I’ve recorded with piano player Frank Harrison will come out in December and on 13th December we will have our CD-release concert at the Abbaye de Neumünster. Entrance is free and everybody is very welcome to come and share this special evening with us. The CD can be found in the following shops in Luxembourg: Classic Mania in Limpertsberg, Chapter1 in Merl and at the CD Buttek opposite the Palais in town. As of 1st December you can also download the CD on iTunes, Amazon, Shazam and CD Baby. On my Soundcloud page you can already listen to two tunes from the CD:
“ I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it” – Pablo Picasso
Fear kills creativity, jump in, don’t be afraid!
Edith van den Heuvel, interviewed by Miranda van den Heuvel, December 2014