In the Summer of 2021, BIMM Hamburg welcomed six students to Juniton Studios to record the ‘BIMM Hamburg Album 2021’.
The album is being produced by Ben Schadow, who has over 20 years of experience working with a wide range of artists as a producer, songwriter and arranger, and is co-produced, recorded and mixed by Thomas Hannes, who has worked as a freelance sound engineer in the studio for many years. Philipp Welsing, who has spent time in New York City working at Avatar Studios and has founded Original Mastering will master the album. With genres ranging from indie-pop to guitar-driven rock the songs make a diverse body of work.
We caught up with each of the six acts featured on the record to find out more about the meaning behind their track. Here Rilana tells us about ‘Pictures of You’
How would you describe your music?
My music is a gate to my personal experiences and observations, my hopes and fears, my dreams and emotions. They may be happy, they may be sad but there will always be an underlying message representing a positive outlook. I hope that, by people entering and listening, some of them can relate to the stories I tell and share them with me.
What made you want to become a musician?
I’ve always enjoyed listening to and making music. It was probably around the time I gained my first stage experience in the primary school choir that I first thought about making music for a living. Every other stage performance I have done or seen since, however small it was, just encouraged me to pursue that dream as I realised that music is the only thing that truly fulfils me.
Who or what inspires you as an artist?
There are a number of bands and singers that have inspired me over the years. Ranging from Classic Rock, to Folk, to Jazz, I keep discovering more. In general, I feel drawn to musicians who are able to combine great sound and musical skill with an authentic and emotional performance, which is what inspires me most about bands like Supertramp and Queen, who are some of my biggest influences. I am very proud of saxophonist John Helliwell making a special guest appearance in my song.
What’s the meaning behind the song you recorded for the BIMM Album?
The song is very dear to my heart as I wrote it for a good friend who passed away a while ago and due to Covid restrictions, I never got to say goodbye to them. I think that grief is a topic that everyone encounters in their lives in one way or another. Hopefully, “Pictures of You” can help some of those dealing with loss by putting some of those feelings into words, notes and chords.
How did the song come about and how did you write/produce the song?
The song came to me very spontaneously. I was thinking about said person and how I missed them when I suddenly had some of the lyric lines in my head. So I wrote them down and extended them, came up with a melody, found the chords. It all just fell into place. Once I had a rough composition, I recorded a stripped-down demo. For the album, I am happy to be joined by 4 very talented musicians who can give this song much more power and expressiveness.
Can you describe your Songwriting process?
I don’t have a universal songwriting process but I realised that, the less I pressure myself to come up with something, the more ideas come to me. Just singing random lines and recording them is usually the best way for me to start writing a song but I also have a collection of lyrics and snippets of such that I like to make use of every now and then. The most important part for me though, is to capture anything that may have potential, as there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to remember a good song idea.
What projects are you currently working on?
Besides the recording for the BIMM album, which I am very excited about, I am involved in a couple of smaller projects. I am working on a live set of both own and cover songs with fellow BIMM student Yannis Wulf. I also have a number of collaborations planned with other BIMM students. Additionally, I want to write more songs and record them in a presentable and possibly even releasable way. If I don’t work on my own material, I like to record cover songs, on which I get to practise my home recording and mixing skills. If they turn out to be good, I will upload them to my Instagram account.
What are your future plans as an artist?
I definitely plan to release a single with a music video in the near future. Depending on the development of the pandemic, I hope to be able to play some gigs again soon. I also want to work on my public and social media presence in order to reach more people. I can’t wait to explore many more ways to connect with my audience and fellow musicians.
Rilana’s track ‘Pictures of You’ is featured on the BIMM Album from Hamburg. You can read more about the album and the other artists + tracks featured here.