Sunday, May 12, 2013

Catching Up With Miho Wada The Exit 621 Interview!

An artist that bleeds an eclectic mix of passion and unbridled joy and enthusiasm is the young flute phenom from New Zealand with her latest and best release in Exit 621. I was fortunate enough to catch up with her for a few questions.

Describe Exit 621 for us and where or what you were trying to establish from a musical perspective.

M.W. - "This is the third release I have produced myself.  I think for the first two releases I was trying to create “beautiful” albums using more layers and extra musicians so I could create the sound I wanted.  With “EXIT 621” I really wanted the album to be a souvenir of our live show for the audience, so both the players and the sound on the record are very close to how we perform live.  I wanted the audience to be able to take us home with them and enjoy the experience again.  My main focus was to capture our love for performing this music and the electricity of the band playing together as a unit."

You cover a great deal of ground, while as a former sax player I hate labels but if someone asked you to describe your music what would you tell them?

M.W. - "“Feel-good jazz” is what I usually describe to people.  I want to make people smile.  I want it to be like the old days when music was for dancing!  I strongly believe that music should be a fun experience and I want to take people on a musical journey.  I often have people telling me that I cover a lot of genres, but for me I am just trying to create a more interesting and original programme by incorporating different feels and styles."

Having shared the stage with punk rock legend and icon Iggy Pop, how has that transferred over to your music and what was the best thing you learned from the experience?

M.W - "I had this amazing opportunity to work with Iggy on TV adverts for Orcon in 2009, broadcasting a live performance over the Internet to promote their super-fast broadband services.  So although we were playing together, he was in the States and I was in New Zealand!  It was incredible working with Iggy - he was extremely warm and encouraging, making sure we were all comfortable and enjoying ourselves.  It was absolutely wonderful to feel his enthusiasm and passion for music-making."

Your sound is incredibly unique. Passionate, energetic and wildly imaginative. So who do you listen to and what inspirations if any can you site in thinking about your music in general and the latest release in particular.

M.W. - "That is such a compliment thank you so much!

World music fascinates me.  I love the authentic sound of different instruments and traditional folk songs.  I especially love traveling to different parts of the world to experience local music performed in its country of origin.  My biggest influences come from Cuban el Son music which I completely fell in love with during a jazz summer school in Cuba in 2008.  I immediately knew I had to return there and study traditional Cuban music until the rhythm became imprinted on my heartbeat...
One of my favorite records of all time is Paul Simon’s “Graceland”.  Included in the 25th Anniversary edition of the album is a special commentary with Paul discussing how he collaborated with musicians from South Africa and the magic of world music, which has only made me love it even more."

Ever given any thought to coming to the States to live permanently and is in store in the future for you?

M.W. - "I absolutely love visiting the States and performing to such open-minded audiences there.  I have felt extremely welcome every time I have played there and my US tour crews have always been fantastic.  However, home is where my heart is and I am very happy in New Zealand with my family.  It gives me so much comfort and freedom to write music under this big blue sky, overlooking the hills and the ocean.  I still feel like the best is yet to come and I have so much music within me that is waiting to be born."

As a woman in what is still (for the most part) a genre of music with a strong male domination have you found acceptance a little harder to come by or do you even allow yourself to dwell on things such as this?

"To be honest I haven’t really thought about this before!  I guess studying flute has always been a female-dominated world so maybe that helps to balance things out ;-)

I think the most beautiful thing about music is that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what your age is, it’s a universal language through which all of us can share both laughter and tears.  I feel very lucky to be a part of this world and to be able to reach and connect with so many people through my music."

Thank you!!


My review of Exit 621

Special Thanks to Miho Wada and for more information check out