I was born in a house flooded with music, Bach played for naps and the whole orchestra fit in the kitchen, it reached the bathtub, it could be heard on the terrace, it vibrated in our bodies as our hands and dreams grew. Since we had loudspeakers in every room, the light and sound spread with the flowers, we sang songs with our breakfast, our walks, and our games.
As long as I can remember music has been my life and my first language.
It all started in Córdoba, a beautiful city in Andalucia where my Grandmother was born. Fuensanta Fernandez Ecenarro was drawn to music from a young age, she learned piano and sang in a choir in her school, and she imagined herself on stage, singing in theaters, and having a musical career.
She begged her father to attend the Conservatory to become a professional but he refused, at the Conservatory boys and girls were together in the lessons and that was unacceptable.
Being a singer was not a serious profession and of course not for a well-educated lady raised to behave and be a wife and a mother, so the dream stayed a dream, and just like that her voice was silenced. She has lived a simple life, and she has never sung again, forced to push aside her biggest passion which was and always will be Music.
My mum grew up with the stories of my grandma, with forgotten melodies in sunny corners.
She went a bit further, attended the Conservatory, and learned some piano and singing but the wound of my grandma was so deep that she would forbid my mum to pursue a career and force her to quit.
So she kept it a hobby, she got pregnant and married and then it was when she decided that my sister and I will break the curse.
Before I ran down the corridor of my house, I hummed melodies in my cradle, with the thread of my little voice I rocked my time as a round and happy baby... surely before, from my mother's womb, her choir rehearsals, her piano and the songs for my sister Alicia came to my ears.
I woke up every day to the sound of Mozart or Pergolesi, Rachmaninoff or Palestrina, my memories are filled with music, with nights on the patio with a guitar and the voices of my family singing Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa, of singing with my mum and my sister everywhere.
The first time I sang on stage I was not yet 3 years old. I started playing violin and singing in a children's choir.
It became my nature, who I am.
Even though my bones were built with music, I hated the violin with all my heart and gave up when I was 7.
Since you can’t train the voice till puberty, I started to play classical piano at the Conservatory when I was 9 years old, and for 10 years I studied harmony, technique, music history, composition, Mozart, Chopin, Haydn, Debussy, etc. being so many times so close to giving up, the pressure of my mother was so high and the training and teachers so demanding. I would go to school till 15h and go to Conservatory at 16h every day for my lessons. I learned what discipline and perseverance were.
But my search was not just musical, my search like any other human was a journey of the soul, of self-discovery, music just opened paths for other ways of seeing the world. Music led to myths, magic, Tarot, Astrology, rituals, the ancient ways of the ancestors, dark dreams, and wild experiences.
And through every step music has always been the guide, the escape and the cure, the answer, and the question.
“All wisdom comes with a price, and the price is never money” That’s what he used to say, that stayed with me through the years.
I was 17, he was 54. I was in a deep depression, in a chaotic confusing moment in which I didn't know what do to with myself and I didn't want to be in this world anymore. He taught me Astrology and Tarot, he showed me wisdom and magic, he broke me to my core, he took my youth and illuminated my darkest corners, the places I didn’t know existed inside myself, he shaped me for better or for worse.
He came like a hurricane ripping my home apart, burning to ashes everything I thought to be true, he disappeared one morning with a storm of tears and rage and I’ve never seen him again, maybe I never will, and I don’t think I want to.
I am grateful for what I learned, for the brutal awakening that allowed me to be who I am now, that allowed me to take off the masks and the society's demands of how things are supposed to be, it took all the prejudices away and opened a new space to embrace and discover who I was meant to be.
In the end, the deepest wound brought awareness and led me here today.
So I can tell this story, a story about how vulnerability sometimes takes you to dangerous places and to people who abuse their power and take your energy.
In the end, is just a lesson, so you become stronger, so you learn that in order to grow you have to burn to ashes, face your fears, let your identity die to make way for a new skin, a new song.
Because when you are broken, all the light can pass through you, and all the possibilities are open because there is nothing left to lose, and that gives you freedom, and courage to be who you are.
I had to be reborn again, with the responsibility of the ones that know pain and mysteries. There is no going back from hurricanes.
After the storm traveling seemed the only way. South America healed me in all the ways possible, volunteering, discovering new cultures and amazing places, walking and discovering, falling in love, expanding my horizons… Just a bag pack and my sister, nature, and the journey ahead. Traveling brought me back to myself and planted a seed of who I wanted to be from that moment on. It showed me that the world is a beautiful place, that there is hope waiting in every corner, that human pain is universal, that I was not alone and everyone has scars and that kindness can take you way further than rage and of course, that art and music are everywhere and in every form.
The adventure continued traveling through many countries and continents till destiny led me to the Netherlands.
I knew I wanted something different from my previous experience in Conservatories, I knew I wanted interdisciplinary and experimentation, freedom, and new perspectives. I checked some conservatories around Europe and found the Fontys Academy of Music and Performing arts through Sanne Rambags whom I discovered through Spotify, and it had what I was looking for, offering the opportunity to meet and create with not just musicians but dancers, designers, circus performers, visual artists, etc
Since the beginning, I was committed to make my career come true. I was ready to study again and take all the necessary steps to become a professional singer and artist.
I arrived in the Netherlands with my soul filled with dreams, trusting with eyes closed and my heart open, with nothing else than a song and my bare hands, ready to start an uncertain journey in an unknown place, culture, and country.
After 4 years I finish my studies having recorded “RITUAL” a Visual Album where I collaborate with circus performers, visual artists, and musicians Joost Lijbaart, Johannes Fend, and Sjoerd van Eijck, signed with SONNA Records, having met amazing people, with so many friends and with so many dreams materialized.I've been part of a lot of beautiful projects and experiences that have brought me so much growth and learning. I've performed in amazing festivals and places, and I have become what I've always been, an artist pouring her soul on the stage.
I found my place here, mixing my own Spanish culture with the Dutch culture, assimilating and finding a balance and a way of merging these two different worlds.
Through the years I’ve worked with Dutch musicians and artists, and with many internationals from different cultures and backgrounds.
I’ve realized that when it comes to music and art there are no frontiers or barriers, different languages and cultures just enrich art and make creation way more meaningful. Sharing different experiences and perspectives makes artistic projects interesting, and opens new paths that couldn’t be possible without the mix of cultures.
I found myself in a completely different context, and country but I found a home and common ground through music and art, because it connects us all, and even when your life circumstances and culture are completely different art is always the answer.
I arrived like a girl and I end like a woman, I shaped myself with hard work and patience, with resistance and passion, with rain and longing, loneliness and sleepless nights, with trust and truth.
The journey of a woman that creates, who falls and stands up again showing her scars and throwing her fears to the wind, that believes that another world is possible, that beauty is the root and that art is always urgent and the key to transformation.
I think we are all here with a purpose, I knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to sing and create, always dressed up at home doing drama and comedy, always with a song on my lips.
I see music as an irrefutable destiny, as something I must do, as something I would do despite everything.
And that urge to sing and create has acquired a new meaning, now is not just singing and creating but doing it from a place of sensitivity, and vulnerability with a deep aim to transform me and the world around me.
Music runs through my veins, I surrender, it is my way to reach a world beyond, to connect, to share. I immerse myself in its vulnerability, in the way that is related to myths, to magic, to healing, music as the living memory of our ancestors, as a social force that unites us at the deepest level.
I am an entrepreneur , I compose my own music ,I direct film and edit my own videos, I lead my projects and make them from scratch by myselff with nothing more than willpower and hard work.
It's not easy to be a young woman creator trying to materialize her artistic vision.
I do everything in my power , sleepless nights , thousands of emails and calls, going to all the performances possible to meet more artists and connect, I did crowdfunding to create my album Ritual, I spent countless hours editing and filming , and I do all that because for me is not about achieving ,is not about money or recognition is pure necessity , I have to create these projects and I have to put this vision into the world.
Whatever happens after ,if people like it or not, if someone feels something, is not under my control.
My only power is my intention.
I breathe music, it’s a necessity, it’s oxygen for my soul and I will keep creating, experimenting, and discovering what it is to be an artist, a human, put all the emotions on a stage, channeling and expressing experiences.
Music for me it’s something sacred and something that you can't escape, the sound goes through you and takes over your body, and the vibrations pass through your bones into your core.
So there is not enough time for your mind to analyze, no excuses, no denial, you feel what you feel when music comes.
Is a potent social force for drawing people together, inspiring them, coordinating them, generating emotions, strengthening belief systems, changing group dynamics, and channeling communal energies, It's vibration.
I believe creativity is the most important human tool, and that artists are a channel for society, they take everything that is happening around them and make it art.
Their vulnerability and expression allow the audience to release and express themselves through them. It goes both ways creating beautiful communication and an intense release.
I have things to say, and I have to get them out of my chest and my soul, and some things can only be said with music.
Because as Hans Christian Andersen said, "Where words fail, music speaks."
My purpose is to convey this message, to transform myself and society through music, vibration, through beauty. That when people come out of the performance they feel changed, moved, and different in some way.
MY VISION, WHY MUSIC
Did you know that most societies have no concept or word for “music” in a Western sense?
To Western minds, music is generally considered to be a rare talent possessed by only a few and it’s an inexplicable “mystery” because it is so unevenly distributed among individuals.
But if one looks at traditional societies, “music” is just like any other human capacity, and everyone participates in music-making.
Music exists in unremarkable ways, music is a fundamental part of our nature and social practices and through centuries has made us connect deeply within ourselves and each other.
In many cultures, music is conceived as a medium for the transformation of boundaries between the sacred and the profane, and the natural and supernatural and that is what I want to bring back, to awaken in myself and others, music as a ritual as something that goes beyond mere entertainment but a force that contributes to group integration, ritualistic power, visionary inspiration, and emotional intensity.
We should reflect on how once upon a time the West was indigenous. What happened to that path and those teachings? How could it be that a path that served for so many thousands of years is now irrelevant?
There is a fundamental flaw in the radical rejection of past practices in the name of “civilization.” To return to old practices that are nature-based and that open the door to experiencing the magic and beauty of this world, we must go back to our spirit.
Our ancestors knew something that we should remember: music is very powerful. A song can contain a cataclysm.
We should rediscover the music that was once the connecting rod between the living and the dead, between humans and the earth. It will require fine-tuning the ear to hear the subtle vibrations once more, enabling us to recognize when the sacred is around. It will require remembering the practices that once kept the village and the tribe together.
In a world that moves so fast, I offer a pause, an invitation to look inwards, to rediscover magic and to feel deeply.
I want to bring the music to the collective again, music as an experience and as a ritual.
Maybe if people would listen more to Debussy, Nina Simone, or The Beatles, if people sang more, if they would enjoy nature and connect with their souls, if they would paint and move and cook more allowing their creativity to come out, to express themselves, our world would look quite different.
Are we willing to journey back into the past in the interest of healing the future?
IF I WIN
Winning the Jacques de Leeuw Prize will allow me to develop further as an artist and creator. To share my vision with new audiences and keep creating and expanding my perspectives.
My dream is to keep making music and creating because it's something that I need, my mind and my heart are full of many interdisciplinary projects that I want to create. I want to perform a lot and keep learning and experimenting with myself and my artistic identity.
And mostly I want my art and my music to transform people.
As a starting point I want to be able to bring to life my next multi-disciplinary projects "ARCANA" and “LA LUNA CAE” both different and both bringing a new perspective on art with symbolism and magic.
My focus and my goal is to make big projects that include scenography, dance, circus, film, visuals, design, and other art disciplines.
I deeply enjoy concerts but I want to be able to create whole experiences where the audience can immerse in new worlds and dimensions, where the line between reality and fantasy fades and everything is possible. Experiences that connect people to their hearts and to each other..
That is my aim.
Making alchemy through music and art.
I know Paloma Lazaro Arteaga as a student from the Fontys academy where I teach.
She asked me to record her album ‘Ritual’ in 2021 together with Sjoerd van Eijck on piano and Johannes Fend on bass.
I was interested because Paloma has a unique and different way to approach music.
She combines her strong and personal voice with a wider idea of emotions.
Her compositions are personal and different. Her music is not written from trust in knowledge.
She dares to use very simple ideas which give a lot of room for improvisation and communicate the right emotion.
For instance, for her album Ritual she used different elements (water, fire, air, earth) as a starting point for her music.
Besides this Paloma is a strong entrepreneur. Extremely creative and an ‘out-of-the-box thinker’.
In her stage performance she takes risks and is using unorthodox ways to get her message to the audience.
She is combining her music with beautiful videos and knows how to communicate.
Drummer, Percussionist, Teacher, Entrepreneur
Paloma is a real special and rare talent. Not only does she have a beautiful, deep, and touching voice. She also has a very strong creative, artistic mind and immense drive for creating music that is truly unique. She is a true professional in collaboration, someone you can build on and who you can trust. She is authentic in her vision and how to express this, in which she is totally not afraid to be vulnerable and express the core of her being through real emotions. That is to me personally a huge strength. Her conceptual development approach is strong and extremely authentic. It is a huge joy to work with Paloma and experience her endearing presence when she is performing. I envision a big future for her and with me I know there are many others who share this feeling.
Singer and Composer
De Spaanse zangeres en componiste Paloma Lázaro Arteaga is nu al een opvallende verschijning in het Nederlandse muzieklandschap.
Met haar Spaanse achtergrond, klassieke muziekopleiding en fascinatie voor folk en jazz koos ze in 2019 voor een opleiding aan het Tilburgse AMPA.
Al snel kwam ze bij Paradox in beeld doordat ze veel concerten bezocht, aansluiting zocht bij collega studenten
en veelvuldig te vinden was op het podium gedurende de wekelijkse jazzsessies.
In korte tijd ontwikkelde ze zich tot veelzijdige talentvolle muzikant die samenwerkt met diverse artiesten in interdisciplinaire projecten.
Haar presentatie van haar album RITUAL op 1 maart 2023 in Paradox leverde een indrukwekkend concert op
wat haar aanstaande afstudeerconcert eigenlijk bijna overbodig maakt. De recensie van het betreffende concert op Jazzradar zegt eigenlijk genoeg: https://www.jazzradar.com/concertradar/paloma-verbindt-muziek-en-kunst-met-rituelen/
Paloma Lázaro Arteaga
Spanish singer and composer Paloma Lázaro Arteaga is already a standout on the Dutch music scene.
With her Spanish background, classical music training and fascination with folk and jazz, she chose to study at Tilburg's AMPA in 2019.
She soon came into Paradox's picture because she visited many concerts, connected with fellow students
and could frequently be found on stage during the weekly jazz sessions.
In a short time she developed into a versatile and talented musician who collaborates with various artists in interdisciplinary projects.
Her presentation of her album RITUAL on March 1, 2023 in Paradox delivered an impressive concert
which actually makes her upcoming graduation concert almost superfluous. The review of the concert in question on Jazzradar actually says enough: https://www.jazzradar.com/concertradar/paloma-verbindt-muziek-en-kunst-met-rituelen/
Bartho van Straaten
Programmer - Paradox
'I got to know Paloma when she moved to the Netherlands and started studying at AMPA where I teach the course Jazz History & Research. From the start it was quite clear that she was always eager to learn more about new music and interested in a wide range of musical (jazz)genres. In second year she wrote an excellent research paper about rituals in music, which might have been the first step towards her debut album RITUAL she released this year in Paradox.Being not only a teacher, but mainly a programmer at the venue Paradox, but also working for the festivals November Music and Jazz in Duketown, I'm always thrilled to see exceptional talent. And Paloma definitely qualifies in that category. During the presentation of RITUAL in Paradox, she added something new, fresh, and distinguishing to the jazz vocabulaire with an organic blending of vocal improvisation with influences of jazz, classical, and Spanish music. Furthermore she showed an excellent stage presence. The fact that she shared the stage with well known performers as Sanne Rambags, Joost Lijbaart, and Sjoerd van Eijck says it all. Paloma will also perform RITUAL at November Music this year. And I really think she has the potential to perform at a wide range of (inter)national venues and festivals.'
Programmer - Paradox, November Music, Jazz in Duketown
Journalist - Jazzism
Teacher - Jazz History & Research AMPA
Paloma Lazaro Arteaga is een ontzettend talentvolle leerling die hard aan het bouwen is aan haar succesvolle carrière.
Ze is een onwijs getalenteerde vocaliste die keihard werkt en haar ambacht heel serieus neemt. Ze is enthousiast, gedreven en nieuwsgierig en pakt alle kansen die ze krijgt met beide handen aan.
Paloma blijft niet bij alleen muziek maken, maar ze combineert graag verschillende disciplines zoals licht ontwerp, theater, en film.
Over 2 weken komt haar debuut album RITUAL uit, een visueel album met alleen maar eigen composities. Haar band bestaat uit grote namen uit het Nederlandse jazzveld, waarmee ze laat zien dat ze ook een brug wil slaan tussen verschillende generaties.
Het is een ontzettend bijzonder product geworden, waar ze de combinatie heeft gezocht tussen prachtige video die aansluiten bij haar muziek. Hierbij werkt ze zelf ook keihard aan de edits en het kleurbeeld van de video’s.
Deze interdisciplinaire visie is eentje die je niet vaak ziet. Ze blijft ook zoeken naar verschillende mogelijkheden en combinaties, iets wat heel erg bijzonder is.
Stem technisch is ze ook een ontzettend bijzondere zangeres. Ze zingt in veel verschillende talen en heeft een enorm breed scala aan klankkleuren, maar toch herken je haar stem altijd en is ze heel erg eigen.
Paloma Lazaro Arteaga is een naam die iedereen zal blijven onthouden na het horen en zien van haar werk!
Paloma Lazaro Arteaga is an incredibly talented student who is working hard on her successful career.
She is an incredibly talented vocalist who works extremely hard and takes her craft very seriously. She is enthusiastic, driven and curious and grabs every opportunity she gets with both hands.
Paloma does not stop at just making music, but she likes to combine different disciplines such as light design, theater, and film.
In 2 weeks her debut album RITUAL will be released, a visual album with only her own compositions. Her band consists of big names from the Dutch jazz field, showing that she also wants to bridge different generations.
It has become a very special product, in which she has sought a combination of beautiful video that matches her music. She also works very hard on the edits and coloring of the videos.
You don't see this interdisciplinary vision very often. She also keeps looking for different possibilities and combinations, something that is very special.
Voice technically, she is also an incredibly special singer. She sings in many different languages and has a huge range of timbres, yet you always recognize her voice and she is very much her own.
Paloma Lazaro Arteaga is a name that everyone will remember after hearing and seeing her work!