A German girl with a Nashville sound par excellence! Everybody please meet Henriette! The Berlin based singer/songwriter and artist has just released her latest single “Remember That” on December 2nd , a heartfelt ode to her Dad, who passed his love of music down to her!
We sat down with Henriette to talk about the backstory of this song, and her songwriting approach and inspirations, including her connection to Nashville and her future plans!
Dear Henriette, thank you so much for your time and congrats on the release of your beautiful single! „Remember that“ is a very personal and emotional song, which your vocals definitely reveal! The song is beautiful and sad all at the same time. Tell us a bit more about how and when you wrote it and what the song means to you.
Thank you so much! Yes, “Remember That“ definitely is the most personal song I’ve ever written. It’s “daddycated“ to my father, who passed away on Christmas 2017. My Dad had a very deep connection to music. He always used to say, “Henri, no matter how bad things are, no matter how sad you feel — sing! As soon as you sing, the world will be a lot better!” After he was gone, this message got stuck in my head, but it didn’t want to come out for a while. That changed when I had my first songwriting session with Adam Ollendorff in May 2019. Adam absolutely loved the story, so we tried out a few things and came up with this pure, powerful, personal song.
Your father would sure be proud, Henriette! In the lyrics it says: „Not every song is in a major key, not every note is played in harmony“. A beautiful metaphor for life itself. How important is music to you in your day to day life? Do you ever get tired of it?
No, never! I can’t remember one day without music in my life… Maybe during my high school exams, hahaha. To me it’s a basic need, it’s the same like breathing or eating, take it away and I’ll get sick. Music keeps me sane and I also think art in general keeps the whole world sane.
Anyone who´s familar with the Nashville music scene, will notice how authentic your sound is! You went to Nashville in 2018 to dive into the music scene and a lot of things happend for you! Tell us about what made you go in the first place and what you experienced during your stay?
Thank you for this sweet compliment! The thing is- I guess I was just insanely lucky that Nashville treated me so well. In 2018 I spent my autumn holidays over there, the original plan was to soak in all the good music, see a few shows, play an open mic or two, connect with the scene, come back with a suitcase full of inspirations and record my Debut Album here in Berlin. But then I met Jay Tooke and James Robertson, which changed the entire scenery. We immediately clicked and they offered me to come back in 2019 and record my music right there on the spot. To be honest-the fact that this happened still is my own, personal miracle and I’m beyond grateful to be given such an opportunity. Those guys really changed my life. So in 2019 I spent three months in Music City, took some voice lessons, played a few shows, wrote a bunch of songs, lived the Nashville life, recorded my Debut EP „Henriette“… it was wicked!
That is quite a story! I would love to talk songwriting a bit, if you don´t mind. When starting a song, what usually comes first for you? Lyrics or titles or melodies or all at once?
First comes the feeling, then the melody, then a few lyric lines or words. Most melodies come to me straight after running, mostly in the shower, so my phone is filled with funny voice memos.
Writing country music as a German can be very difficult! It can easily turn to Schlager or sound unauthentic. Your music always sounds spot on! What is your secret, if you have one?;)
Hm, I don’t know… Maybe it’s the fact that I almost never listen to German music?! Also I collaborate a lot with writers from the US. Before I came to Music City I wrote all the songs by myself, but Nashville taught me that it can be very inspiring to share your heart with other writers. You also learn a lot from each other. We even wrote songs during Covid via Zoom, which was funny at the beginning, but totally worth it as soon as we got used to it.
Wow! A lot of people seem to have written on zoom this year and somehow for a lot of them it works! What makes country music your genre of choice?
It chose me.
Good answer! What is one thing you struggle with in songwriting?
You mean letting go of songs that just don’t seem to unfold as they should? letting go of ideas that you are uncertain about? Or just letting go of doubts?
Yeah, maybe all of that. I tend to think a lot about things instead of letting them flow and see where they take me.
What is one thing you´ve learned that made a huge impact on your songwriting?
Bob Dylan once said: „I don’t make it up, I write it down.“ That’s straight on if you ask me. I try to connect with my innermost and try to listen to the voice deep inside of me. All the good songs I wrote came from this place.
Speaking of Bob Dylan, who are some of your musical influences?
People who make me wanna listen to their song twice are already an influence. The great thing about Spotify or other streaming platforms is, that you can listen to playlists and discover new artists almost every day. During the last years I found so many new bands and singers and their music absolutely blew my mind. But if I had to choose, „The Big 5“ it would be: Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, The Civil Wars, Tenille Townes, The Band Perry.
Hands down, do you ever compare your music to that of your favorite artists? And if so, does it interfere with your own authentic voice?
Good question. I try not to compare, because I think our biggest strength is to be ourselves-which definitely can be hard sometimes. As soon as I realize that I put on some kind of „Kacey glow“ or „Tenille art“ I stop listening to them for a while. I think all singer-songwriters are balancing between „being influenced“ and „being changed“.
Being German, do you ever write songs in German as well?
Only for other artists. I just co-wrote a wonderful, fun song for Claire Saint. It’ll drop next year I think, very excited for this one!
What are your plans for 2021? What are some goals you wish to attain?
At the beginning of 2021 I’ll bring out two more singles- which keeps me highly motivated during those crazy times. Apart from that I’m gonna write more songs and keep pushing. Everything else is written in the hands of Corona. Hopefully we can all play a few shows next year.
Last not least, I always ask our featured artists to hand down one tip to beginning songwriters, that they wish they´d been given as they started out! Anything you would want to share with our community?
Don’t be afraid to write shitty songs. We all do. Bad songs will lead you to the real deal.
Thank you so much for this interview Henriette and best of success to you!
Thanks for having me!
Photo credits: Liam Salzmann
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