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C.C. Tennissen Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

C.C. Tennissen Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you? 

Answer:  If I had to write about me, I would say, I can not be sorted into a shelf with my music. I sometimes try to do the impossible and mix instruments, that have no business within the same song, but it works. I am somewhat stubborn in my music and will also mix styles and experiment with many sounds. My songs do not consist of  “speaking a lot without saying anything“. I really emphasize on meaningful songs and not always the “cry in your beer glass“ kind. The target is simply stories out of real life put in a musical dress, whether they tell of my own experiences, things I have witnessed and seen, my different and various heartaches in life and those of others. This does not mean a broken heart or relationship kind, but anything deeply hurtful or happy situations.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Answer:  Back To The Roots means back to original Country Music in various forms and styles. Back to nature, back to the important things in life and away from artificial music and things. It also means back to trying to pay more attention to the important things in life and less emphasis on the shallowness and make believe of  it all. We all get sucked up in that trot and I am totally trying to break free from it.

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?  

Answer: Yes, my husband and me both write songs together and individual as well, but we also always gladly collaborate with singer/songwriter/author Michael Gerwien from Munich, who already contributed three songs to our album as well. While my husband ‘s (Wolfgang Ulm) songs are written in German language, I write the English lyrics and visa verse. It is important to us, that songs have something to say and are not a bunch of words or notes slammed together. I have to feel them in order to sing them and to be convincing in my performance. Of course I will also sing a very occasional Cover Song if I really like it and it has a definite statement to go with it. But covering a little Tina Turner also goes a long way with the fans.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Answer: The songs for my upcoming album - Back To The Roots have been carefully selected and are handpicked. Back To The Roots in my case means back to handmade music and away from  artificial creation and back to real Country Music. Influences on all of our songs are Life, Nature, Emotions and Happenings in our lives or that of others.
     
Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

Answer:  Songs with a meaning behind it or a story. They call me the Queen of ballads, because I love writing and performing ballads, but as emotional, as I can get performing them, I can feel the fun and “rock“ in upbeat songs as well. Fast or slow, as long as there is a meaning to the songs, I will feel them and am able to bring them across along with the message in them.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer:  I have total control. The music industry and being what it is, as well as personal, not always positive experiences, inspired us back in 2010 to create our own label 5apes Records. We did not open it to be in competition with anyone, nor to try to be better, but simply, so I could unfold as an artist and songwriter along with my husband. We all know, that most labels will not jump on the chance to produce a song written by their artist. With us it is not about becoming famous or try to become rich. We do what we do out of love and commitment to the music and because we enjoy creating music. The fun is one of the major factors and I think, when music becomes a regular 9-5 job, it is time to quit.  
  
Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Answer: Most importantly, when I am able to touch my fans with my music and when my music actually served a greater purpose like my voice was able to contribute to helping less fortunate people and animals. We also are proud holders of a Golden Record issued by deutschsongs, not for sales, but for Song Of The year 2016 in the genre Folk Music in Germany. To me this is honest Gold, because we received it for performance, knowledge and talent and not for the number of sales, which can be determined already by how many CD’s are being pressed,(like when a song goes double platinum overnight due to the number of CD’s ordered).

Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?

Answer: Without a doubt, I am the biggest critic of myself. My husband sometimes shakes his head, because I refuse to use Melodyne or other straighteners on my vocals. There is not an artist alive, that sometimes does not have a waver in his voice. We are humans and not robots, which makes us imperfect. I will rather rerecord the song or passage, than have it artificially modified. Luckily we have our own recording studio in our home, where I can record for as long as I want. It happens very rarely, that I do hit a blue note, but it does and I will present myself as a singer in my songs and not with vocals, that have been modified and repaired by technical possibilities. I refuse to sing full playback as well. When I hit a stage, it is me “LIVE “  and not Memorex or Melodyne :)

Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?

 Answer:  Absolutely and that is the Grand Ol ‘ Opry. I believe it is every Country Music singer’s dream to be added to that family. It has been mine for most of my life and I will keep dreaming about it until I close my eyes forever.  Additionally to that, to be on stage and sing with Reba McEntire would complete that dreamy picture, because to me, she is the absolute Queen Of Country and has inspired me in so many more than one way.
  
Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Answer:  Sure I have my own website. Fans will find me, what I am about, my music and many more things. We are easily found on Facebook as well and in Wikipedia. There are still other artist platforms and some of them are less known than others, but we are there. If  people google  me, they will find me for sure :) https://cctennissen.jimdo.com/

 Lamitschka:  What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

 Answer: That my music and lyrics saved them from doing something stupid. As I mentioned before, my music is carved out of real life experiences and writing about them not only helped me work through some serious stuff myself, but also sends out a message to those who maybe going through the same or worse. I do write happy songs as well, but a lot of my music is on the serious side, but also offers answers within the song. When I was invited to a few funerals to sing the last song, because it was requested by the person who died, I gladly obliged, because I do try to keep a close relationship with my fans. Surprising was, when family members in each case told me, they had to bury my CD’s with the person that died, because they loved me and my music so much and wanted to take it with them. This really touched my heart and keeps me going to keep writing the way I do.
I feel that this is one of the greater honors to be loved by fans that much.



Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de ) for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show









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