Head up High, my dear
Whenever you talk about musical versatility and vocal range, we know those run in this family. And no, we’re not talking about Floor, but her younger sister, Irene Jansen. In case you don’t know, they performed together several times from “The Black Hole“, by Star One (HERE) to the remarkable, well-known performance in “Who I Am“, by After Forever (HERE) in 2007, for example. Irene also took part in the production for “The Power of Love” with Stream of Passion (HERE) in 2014. She also is acclaimed by her outstanding part in Ayreon, headed by Arjen Anthony Lucassen, having recently played the character “Passion” tremendously well in concert “The Human Equation” by Ayreon in 2015.
After many years, Irene surprises us with her return, in this case, in the studio. ‘Head up High’ had the opportunity to chat with her, and the result of this interview, you see now:
Head up High: You spend quite some time focusing on your studies and your career, with little or no musical activity. Also, more recently you became a mother. How did you make the decision to not make music for a while and focus on these other things in your life? Was it a difficult decision?
Irene: I really wanted to get a degree and make sure I got educated well. Because I was not doing at all bad in music at that time already, it seemed too hard and time-consuming at some point to do both, and do it both really well. I made a conscious choice at this point to focus on one thing first, realising that singing was something I could do my whole life. The time to study was now.
This gave me the opportunity to focus solely on my studies, and my life around it. It was not even that hard to let music be for a bit. I was fully enjoying exploring my other (academic, intellectual and professional) qualities and living life like any other university student. Luckily studying resulted in graduation followed by building a career for myself, and building a life together with my now husband who has been with me and supported me in all those choices from the early beginning.
Head up High: It’s rather common to see female-fronted bands nowadays and an artist always needs to keep trying new things to be a part of what can be considered as innovating in music. From the moment you joined Alarion, what were your contribution to the album “Waves of Destruction” which tell it from the other albums?
Irene: I am mostly known for my powerful singing, which is indeed my forté. However, my voice is capable of more than just this. I can sing more sensitive and mellow too (or even jazzy or bluesy), and this is why, I recorded an acoustic version on this album too.
Head up High: When we talk about your voice, could you tell us a bit more about the techniques you use, your vocals range and what have you been doing to take care of your voice?
Irene: I try to make sure I am properly warmed up before I start singing anything, and focus on breathing correctly. That is all my techniques I can briefly indicate. Singing is complex and I would be lying if I said I would be able to teach or explain singing techniques at length. But I am definitely doing some of it right.
I have no idea of my vocal range other than it doesn’t seem to have a lot of boundaries. I don’t really care about the technicalities to be honest. Singing is feeling and singing comes from inside me. I don’t focus heavily on the theory behind it. I tend to be able to sing what I want to sing. Is know I can do a high G at full voice. That’s high, right?…
I have really not done much at all to maintain my voice during all these years. I almost feel guilty towards all the people in music who works so hard to maintain and train their instrument continuously, where it seems I don’t have to. On the other hand, we’ll never know what I’d be able to do had I indeed trained and maintained…
Head up High: We know heavy metal’s history is composed mostly by men. As a woman who is a part of this history, have you ever felt any kind of prejudice or have you seen any kind of behavior which makes you feel bad or even judged by your gender?
Irene: This is a surprising question to me as a Dutch person maybe. To be brief..NO. I do not recognise this at all.
Once again, we would like to thank you for this opportunity, Irene. We wish you all the best in this new journey.
01. Chains Of The Collective
02. Waves Of Destruction – I – Rising Tide
03. Waves of Destruction – II – Struggle For Survival
05. Turn Of Fate
07. Clash With Eternity
08. A Life Less Ordinary
09. The Whistleblower – I – Devastation
10. The Whistleblower – II – Vindication
11. Turn Of Fate (acoustic version)
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