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Pinnawela (real name Paulina Przybysz [pron. pah-woo-LEE-na P-SH-bish] born September 12, 1985 in Warsaw) is a Polish R&B/neo-soul singer. From 2001 to 2006 she was the lead singer (along with her sister Natalia) of a successful Polish R&B band Sistars. Her solo career began in 2007. Her first album, Soulahili came out in February 2008.

More info:

http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinnawela (in Polish)


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My Man, Video-clip for the first single off Pinnawela's debut album Soulahili

An interview with Pinnawela

January 2008 translated by Qball

PIOTR MIECZNIKOWSKI: When did the idea of a solo album first come to your mind?

PINNAWELA: The idea came with the break-up of Sistars. As for the song themselves - they were written much earlier. I had many songs in my closet and I reached for them when necessary. I always managed to put a few of my songs on the band's albums, and now I was finally able to release 100 per cent of my songs on my own album.

Why didn't your project with Natalia (Pinnawela's sister - Q.) work out?

We had that project in mind and we wanted to do something together, but Natalia went to school when I was recording the material. When she came back, my album was already finished, so she started recording her own. However, when both albums are available in stores, we'll definitely return to the Sismachine project. There's even a song with that title on Soulahili (Pinnawela's debut solo album - Q.), recorded with Natalia. It's a taste of our future collaboration.

Aren't you afraid that the huge popularity of Sistars will be some kind of a burden, that people will constantly compare what you do now with what you did back then?

The real fans are waiting for some new music. Those people carefully keep track on us, they know each band member, they follow each change and each step. I know they are very impatient now because we haven't done anything for so long... [laughs] They're surely gonna compare my music to the band's albums, but I'm sure they're gonna like it. They will understand why everything's the way it is...

Would you be able to compare these two phenomenons - your music and Sistars tunes - in an un-biased way?

My songs are different, that's a fact. Sometimes they are less compromised. The band had several people and each member tried to apply his or her vision, so we had to split everything into parts to make it work. My music is a work of one person and I believe you can feel that. Of course, Jacek Antosik co-wrote and co-produced it with me, but most compositions and lyrics are mine.

The entire material was made at home. Does having your own studio motivate, or does it make you lazy?

Surely, when you have a hired studio, you are more disciplined to fit the time schedule. It gives you the 'kick', but I can't imagine this "schedule-like recording". At your own studio, you can record at midnight or at 7 a.m., in your slippers, tracksuit or in your pyjamas. And there's no pressure - if I have a sore throat, I go and have an hour nap and I come back relaxed and with full energy. It improves the quality of performance... [laughs]

Tell us, then - how long were you working on Soulahili in such comfortable conditions?

The recording itself didn't take long - the song-writing process did. It turned out eventually that I had lots of songs - thirty-eight, if I remember correctly. My whole family and friends helped me in the selection process [laughs], but the final decisions were mine. Eighteen songs were chosen - sixteen plus two hidden tracks. Then I chose the musicians and I had to arrange, set and book everything - it took quite some time. Being the producer is no easy task for a singer... [laughs]

Eighteen songs is quite a lot for a debut album...

Yeah, many people think so, but I'm not worried about that. Lauryn Hill had sixteen songs on her first album and she made it. And I'm gonna make it, too [laughs]. The songs are well made as far as ideas and sound are concerned... They're not boring, they are diverse. I feel that, all in all, it's a quite interesting album and it can't be labeled in one way.

You invited some talented and experienced musicians to work with you. Did they contribute to the way your album sounds?

Sure! When I write my music, I can't program everything in the way real musicians would play it. The drummer, Radek Marcinski, played like only a great drummer can play. The same goes for Piotr Zabrodzki who played all keyboards, Rhodes, grand piano, Hammond and Moog. I don't write bass-lines so Michal Grot also contributed a lot. Also, there's DJ Twister on the album, a string quartet, Przemek Maciolek on guitar, my close friend Ania Karwan... Basically, there's a lot happening on the record.

Were there any changes or hesitations during the production stage?

No. There were moments when I was angry that it all took so long, but now I'm happy and I know it had to be like that. Mastering was done in different locations, so that we could see where it came out best - in the States, in England, in Germany... It turned out that the best mastering was done... in Wroclaw (a city in Poland - Q.). We moved the release date not because of production issues, but because November is not a good time for releasing a debut album. In the pre-Christmas hype, nobody would notice my album among Christmas compilations and Harry Potter... [laughs]

Who is the publisher of the album?

Me and Jacek, that is Penguin Records! [laughs]. Sony BMG handles distribution. I set up my own label. We do all things for the first time - promotion stuff and all that. It may turn out we did something wrong, or it may work out well - we'll see when the album has already been on the market for some time. A few labels wanted to publish it, but I didn't want to do this on their terms. I decided to do it myself - I'm young, I've got time for possible mistakes. I'm happy and brave - if I stake everything on one card, it's only because I can get myself some new ones if I lose it. If I'm not able to make a living from music, I'll sing songs to my children... or to myself, by the mirror. I'm a working woman, I'm not afraid of any work. I'm holding my own. [laughs]

OK, so how do you want to promote the record? Any videos?

Yeah. The song title is "My Man". The lyrics are a number of questions a girl asks her boyfriend - whether he thinks about her seriously or not. The video was shot partly here and partly in the mountains, and it was made by a Canadian director, Martin Gauvrean. I won't tell what's going on in the video, because it's simply not possible. You have to see it to understand what it's about.

What are your plans after the release of the album?

I'm gonna play. The club tour is already scheduled. We'll play in EMPiK, then we'll play a promo concert and we're off to Poland. I wanna play, play, play! And I'm still writing new songs, so I'll have to think about the next record sooner or later. It's the comfort of having your own company - you can do whatever you want and whenever you want. [laughs] I believe in minor labels - people working there at least wanna do something, they've got the power. The majors don't even listen to music anymore...


A combination of two words: soul and suahili...

A soul language, then?


Music, that is?


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