23 years old bass phenom, Kinga Głyk, who is said to be the best Polish bass player of the new generation and a rising star of the music, will be on stage in CSO Ada Ankara on November 5th. Right before the concert, she had the courtesy to answer our questions. Her own words, unedited.
How have you decided to choose bass instrument? What has attracted you?
It was definitely my decision. I never had any doubts about wanting to play the bass. It was the one and only instrument I always wanted to have. What I like about the sound is that I can produce low notes that help to glue everything together but at the same time if I want I could play harmony and melodies. I find it beautiful that I can have different roles in a band. I can lead but the bass is needed mainly to create a strong and powerful base for the rest of the musicians. It means I’m there to support but also to inspire and sometimes changing just one note in the bass line can change the whole theme. Of course I did not know many of these things at the very beginning but what I was sure about was that I love this connection of rhythm and low notes in songs.
Can you tell us about your growing up years? How was it to play with the family?
Family is very important to me. Maybe it is not the easiest to work together. We went through many difficult and hard moments but I think we got stronger after years of trying to understand each other better. I grew up in a small village in Poland and when I was 12 we began a family band with my dad and brother called the Głyk P.I.K Trio. I have a lot of admiration for my dad who inspired us in many ways and helped us develop independence in our adulthood. Growing up in my family is the best thing I could imagine.
I’m grateful for my brother who knows so much about music, sound engineering and the whole topic of equipment and my mum is one of the closest friends I have so I guess this says enough about how happy I am to have her. I could bring here many stories and details but it would be a very long answer then.
Poland has brought many talented jazz musicians, including bassists, to the jazz world. What do you think is the reason why jazz is so productive in Poland?
I always find it hard to answer questions like that because it is a very long topic that I would have to study for a long time and maybe then I would be able to tell you the real reason why. So everything I say is based on my experience and my perception of our country and its behavior.
I think Polish people are very ambitious and hardworking. I appreciate this fact about our culture. I know there are so many great musicians who use their time to improve and develop their knowledge about music and everything connected to this topic. Many people care about the quality, they don’t want to pretend or fake something. There is a need to master the craft you are in.
Who are the musicians you are influenced by? How do you develop the inspiration you get from them?
I feel influenced by everything that surrounds me. Without different emotions and situations I would feel less capable to tell stories through music. I love to hear beautiful songs and melodies. I admire musicians who through music help you experience moments that are special and unrepeatable. The genre is not that important. I’m not a jazz freak, not stubborn with only one way of creating, playing or listening to music. I look for depth and maturity, then I feel inspired to follow this path and learn how to become a better version of myself.
Is there any Polish musician you idolize?
I don’t want to sound weird but I’m not sure I idolize musicians in general. I prefer when I don’t love or understand everything an artist chooses to do, but like when I can appreciate their work and something about them that is unique.
I was recently listening to Michał Barański’s new album and was so inspired by his way of connecting slavic elements with indian influences. I have deep admiration for the producer of my previous album Paweł Tomaszewski because of the ease he has in such a wide variety of music that he is not only part of but enhances greatly.
To what extent and in what sense do you think your music is a continuation of the jazz tradition?
Growing up around jazz certainly had a big impact on the way I create music. I really appreciate this genre although the things I compose are sometimes far from mainstream jazz. I would not call myself a jazz musician. I have a big respect for this title and for me it means having certain knowledge that I am still trying to develop. All I create is deeply connected to my emotions and what I find beautiful in music. Improvisation and understanding how to choose notes tastefully and tell a story coherently is not an easy skill to have. I know the world likes to divide and label genres and people into boxes. I hope to avoid being locked in any of them.
Though you are a musician of your own compositions, you recorded Lennie’s Pennies in Feelings and Donna Lee in Happy Birthday Live. What does Lennie Tristano and Charlie Parker mean to your music? What have attracted you to record these classics?
Donne Lee is one of the first themes I learned on the bass. I was extremely excited by this challenge I gave myself to transcribe this melody by ear and was obviously deeply impressed and inspired by Jaco Pastorius‘s version of this Jazz standard. Lennie’s Pennies was a suggestion that came from the producer Paweł Tomaszewski who helped me a lot with putting everything together for the album Feelings. I love the arrangement he did and it is a great joy and challenge for any musician to play this piece. I really like that we can perform Lennie’s Pennies in a very different way than the original but still it is recognizable.
Although you had recorded two albums then, your real breakthrough has come after you issued Tears in Heaven performance in Youtube. Was it artist instinction or a part of the plan? Have you been surprised with the fame’s coming?
My story with the cover of Tears in Heaven taught me to always be 100% involved in what I do. Quality is extremely important. I never want to be careless with what I put out there…
I did have a lot of admiration for Jeff Berlin who created this cover and because I was so excited about the music, I really wanted to play and record it. Of course I had no idea it would get so much attention – this is never something you can predict and usually it happens when you least expect it. For me this wasn’t even in my wildest dreams…
That is why I would suggest being devoted to what we do because there are different Tears in Heaven moments in life. I’m very thankful and still surprised when I think about it because this social media boom helped me a lot with reaching more people around the world who would have never known who I am and now attend my concerts.
As you once told in GuitarWorld interview why is to stop playing is the hardest thing to do onstage? Is this because of the youth energy?
It is definitely not an age thing but perhaps getting older it might be easier to control emotions. The stage is a place where we feel things differently. Time has its own tempo and is uncomparable to the one we know from our daily life. Our heartbeat is faster. Our thoughts are sometimes laserfocused and sometimes very dispersed and distracted. I think both the pressure to perform and our wish to play well can kill authenticity and beauty of the music. What we can forget in these moments is that silence is just as important as sounds are.
Please tell us about the band you will play with in Turkey?
We will play in a quartet or quintet as I like to say, because my brother/soundengenier is a very important member of my band. The set up on stage is two pianists (Paweł Tomaszewsi and Arek Grygo), a drummer (Tomek Torres) and myself.
Please tell us about the repertoire you plan to play in Turkey?
We will play the songs of my latest albums “Feelings” which will be special to me, because I only have a handful of concerts left with this repertoire and after that hopefully you will hear my new music, which is in production right now.
Thank you and we hope you will enjoy playing in Ankara, Turkey.
Thank you. I can’t wait to come and meet you all!