Interview with Malene Mortensen – A Danish jazz star live in Bangkok

Thai dedication
Although this is only her third trip to Thailand Malene Mortensen popularity in this part of the world is evident from the way her songs were received by her Thai listeners.
“I love performing here. People are more dedicated” she says. “When I was here last year they were singing along on some of the song that I have written myself. This was a great experience. And they are so nice and friendly. I experience more reactions from the audience here than in Europe which is great”, she says.
   While most Danes associate the name Malene Mortensen with a 19 year old girl who won the Danish Eurovision just to loose its international equivalence in 2002,  others will know that she since then has entered the jazz environment with prominent Danish musicians such as Niels Lan Doky, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and Alex Riel.
   Her concert in Bangkok was part of the European Jazzfestival Colour Your Life. On Monday she repeated the success in Koh Samui.

Nothing but music
As a naturally gifted singer Malene Mortensen never doubted that music should be her way of living.  “I don’t feel I have chosen anything. I have never been in doubt that I wanted to be a singer. I had something in side me who just wanted to become a musician but I actually never stopped to ask myself why” she states.
   With a father who plays the trumpet and a mother who was a drummer the path of music was not unfamiliar for Malene. However it was the sad circumstance of her mother passing away when Malene was just 11 years old that became pivotal to her dedication to music.
“It was very tough time. But then I started singing in a choir and I forgot that I was sad. I clearly remember that every Monday between 4 and 6 I did not have a stomach-ache. Singing was healing for me”, she says.

A life of learning
In spite of her success so far she still aims to finish her education at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
“Actually I should be in school right now”, she states as she looks out of the window to central Bangkok.
“It is very important for me to be in an environment where I keep learning new things”. She also appreciates the base her education gives her in Copenhagen. “It is tough to be away from my boyfriend and my friends so much” she says.
   Luckily her boyfriend Magnus Hjort happens to be the pianist in her own band. Also several of her songs are written with him.
“As a pianist Magnus has a really good feeling of the harmonious details while I take care of the melody”, she explains. Although she is still new to composing songs her repertoire stretches from themes of love and attraction more serious topics such as human trafficking.

Freedom
Throught music Malene Mortensen finds is possible to do something good for others.
“I would like to give people the feeling, that they can forget time and place and just absorb the music. This is especially amazing about life music. People can come and feel completely drained from work and they might have had a really bad day. Then they can go to a concert and be allowed to forget their problems. In this way music can give people freedom”, she says.
“I cannot save the world although I wanted to. But by making people feel good though music then maybe I can do it a little bit anyway”.

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