DissiNotRA is musician, vocal coach and dancer. After being born in France, she grew up in Germany and has since spent much of her adulthood moving around the world in pursuit of music, living in Croatia, Heidelberg, North Carolina and Los Angeles. She talks to Grace McCallum about her musical journey.
Where did you get your stage name?
My name came to me in a magical incident. When I was about 18, I had a calling that my stage name would come to me. I ended up writing down about 80 music-related terms to create a stage name. Then what I thought were random letters, started sticking out and hovering above the paper in my vision. And I saw Di-Si-Not-R-A. Stemming from the words: Dissonance – Singing – Notes – Real – Art. And there it was. Later I found out that I am the only one in the world with this name and it has stayed the same ever since.
You come from a musical family, but what was it that inspired you to have a career in music?
I used to go to a youth center in my teens where I started Breakdancing and making music, renting my first rehearsal room. Somehow, I caught the eye of a bunch of people and they started hiring me for street shows, theater plays and giving workshops to kids in the summer camps. It got to the point where I ended up in newspapers and on radio stations.
How would you describe your sound?
This is the hardest question to answer. I heard I belong into the NeoSoul NuJazz category. My biggest influences are Michael Jackson, Dilla, Dwelle, Kaytranada, Björk, Bobby McFerrin and Avishai Cohen Trio (and some more, but that would explode this paragraph).
You use Reason to make a lot of your music. What is it about Reason that you love?
When I started traveling, I obviously ended up not having a band anymore, so I had to come up with a solution to start making music on my own. Besides being a singer, my main instruments are drums and then piano. Therefore, Live Looping with a device that includes keys and a beat pad was the only way to go. After a whole year of researching and trial and error, going through all sorts of music production software, including Ableton, I realized Reason was the only DAW capable of live looping in the most comfortable way without crashing. I started in 2013 with Reason 5 and combined it with the AKAI MPK 49. Then all I had to do was add a mixer to get some vocal effects for my live performances, and boom! It was a match made in heaven. When Reason then finally added Audio Tracks, my life was made! Traveling and being able to do live looping performances was now so easy to do. Not to mention the music production in general. I just love it!
You’re a singer and a vocal coach. How do you use your voice as an instrument? And do you feel vocals can make productions more unique?
Since I used to be obsessed with Michael Jackson and Bobby McFerrin, I felt like being a singer includes having to use my voice as an instrument. I naturally started beatboxing and imitating all sorts of sounds with my voice. My biggest flex is my Mouth Trumpet, that I use in all my performances (especially the ones where it’s only me playing piano and my voice). Those songs are very Jazz-based.
Vocals can definitely make a track more unique but I feel like vocals are not necessary on every track. Sometimes a nice instrumental can heal the soul. But I discovered that when making Binaural Beats, adding vocals is a pretty unique thing, so I stuck to it. It has basically become a signature move in this genre.
What projects are you working on right now?
Besides growing my YouTube Channel and Etsy Shop, I am working on 2 separate albums. One is a constellation of Frequency Beats that I got hired for, covering all Solfeggio frequencies and the second project is an album that finally makes all my piano NuJazz songs into full tracks (on which I will most likely play the drums myself).