Interview with Caroline Henderson: Swedish-Danish Jazz Diva Visiting Thailand

It was just another Wednesday night in Bangkok, but if you were invited to Dream Hotel at Sukhumvit, you had the pleasure of experiencing a true diva. Caroline Henderson, who was born in Sweden, but has lived in Denmark for more than 20 years, gave an exclusive concert on June 6th as a part of her PR tour in Thailand. 
Jacobs Creek had offered to pour wine on the more than 300 guests – a Danish-Thai crowd – and combined with the jazzy tunes of Caroline Henderson and her small band, this Wednesday evening turned into a party.


A little after 8 pm, a tall, black woman enters to room. Her hair is high as are her heels and her dress is short. Her figure does not reveal that Caroline Henderson – whose mother is Swedish and father American – is 45 years old and the mother of three boys. By her side is a little, blond boy dressed as batman. Caroline Henderson has brought her youngest son with her on the Thailand tour. When his mother enters the stage he is the only one in the room who does not look particularly impressed by the star of the evening. Caroline Henderson opens the concert with ‘So Fine’ from her latest album ‘Love or nothing’. 
In spite of major sound problems, which made Caroline Henderson send evil eyes to a hard working sound engineer, the music flowed beautifully from the small stage. The repertoire was a mix of her latest two albums – all jazzy and quite often with a touch of Latino which made at least the singer herself want to dance. 
Surprisingly, the crowd was more interested in chatting which at one point made Caroline Henderson walk off stage to comment on that: “You sure talk a lot. What are you all talking about?”, she asked and claimed that she could hear everything that was being said. “So don’t talk behind my back”, she said and continued the concert with a laugh.
After approximately one hour of highly danceable melodies accompanied by the diva’s powerful voice and clever comments, Caroline Henderson left the stage to DJ Nor who played lounge music until midnight.


Interview with Caroline Henderson:


Caroline Henderson, formerly known as front girl in Danish pop band Ray-Dee-Ohh, is in Thailand in order to promote her music. A kind of music that she does not like to label.


Jazzy pop and vice versa
 “I used to make jazzy pop, but I think it is the other way round now”, she says with reference to her solo debut from 1995 ‘Cinemataztic’ and her latest albums such as ‘Love or nothing’ from 2006.
 “I am fascinated by European jazz which is not like American jazz that is more traditional. I guess it is easier to mix the genres and sounds if it is not a part of your own culture”, she says. “People often ask me what genre it is, but that is a question that two musicians would never ask each other as they usually don’t know”, she says. 
“That’s what I like about jazz. It’s unpredictable and it has room for freedom in it. I have grown tired of pop, because it is so predictable. There is always an A-part and a B-part, but in jazz it can be quiet at one point and loud and wild a second after”, she says. “It is a bit like classical music which also varies a lot”.
Henderson cannot answer if she might go back to pop in the future. “I don’t think I go back or forth. I mix genres and I am musically located at different places at different times in my career”, she says.


Jazz for everybody
Caroline enjoys that jazz has become more mainstream in the last couple of years. “I have a broad audience now. People used to see me as a pop singer because I wrapped the jazz up in pop, but I actually had a lot of jazz songs on my first album such as ‘Velvet’, but people never saw ‘Cinemataztic’ as anything but a pop record”.
According to Henderson, people used to be afraid of jazz, because the saw it as something for ‘old, pipe smoking men’. “The jazz scene has changed in Denmark. I play more than 60 concerts a year all over Denmark now. The Danes don’t know this, but we actually have some of the best musicians and music schools in the world, but many of the good, Danish musicians work abroad, so people are not aware of them”, she says about Denmark where people are more focused on pop and rock in her opinion. 
Caroline Henderson has opened Copenhagen Jazz Festival two years in a row – 2004 and 2005 – and she is also performing this year when the world’s biggest jazz festival takes place in July in Copenhagen.
   
The Thai Tour
One of her purposes of playing in Thailand is to promote her own music as well as European jazz in general which is popular among many young Thais. One of the concerts was held at Dream Hotel on June 6th and was an exclusive show for a couple of hundred invited guests.
“It all comes down to playing your music for the right people and that makes the record company happy. At least I think they were happy yesterday with the show at Dream Hotel”, she says. The event also included Caroline Henderson posing for photographers with numerous Thai people from the music industry. Dozens wanted her autograph and a picture with the glamorous star from Scandinavia.
Henderson has also done TV interviews. “It was a weird experience. I walked in and they asked me ‘Are you the singer?’ And when I said yes, they asked me to start singing. Just like that. They didn’t even give me a microphone”, she says about her first experience with Thai TV. 
Her next stop is Hua Hin Jazz Festival. “I am looking forward to it, because there will be many young people and they say that there will be 50.000 people there. I hope it will not rain”, she says.
So far she has not seen a lot of Thailand. “I see a lot from the bus when we go from one place to the next, but it is mainly hard work for me on this trip so I have not seen the sights yet”. She has planned to stay in Hua Hin for a few days after the festival with her husband and youngest son. “We are going to enjoy the beach and maybe take some trips to go and see the country”, she says.
 

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