We’re a month away from the release of Daniela Orvin’s new album Home. Like her debut Untitled (2014-2016), it combines her classical training as a pianist with delicate, skillfully applied electronics. When she sings, hearts flutter.
Orvin is emerging as an important talent in both her chosen fields: music and photography. Don’t be fooled by the understated, personal nature of her work. It is deeply resonant and deserves a global audience.
She and I spoke this morning.
How does the new album compare to your first?
The first cassette was curated by the label owners. It wasn’t my choice. They sent me an idea and I liked it. The music on this album is really fresh and it’s more representative of what I’m doing nowadays.
You trained to play piano at a young age. How much do you appreciate having that formal background?
I really thank my parents. It was my idea to start playing piano. I really pushed to get a piano when I was six years old. I really wanted to play and I learned for seven years. It’s the best present I could ever get. It gave me so much. It was an anchor for me during my childhood. It’s such a wonderful gift for life. I’m sorry I didn’t continue afterwards. I quit when I was 14. But that’s life.
Was it difficult to go back to playing?
No, not at all. It was amazing. If I’d know it would be so easy I would have returned to it earlier. Pieces I played when I was 12 years old, I just ran through them once or twice and I could play them.
I assume Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” was one of those pieces. Tell me about your treatment of that.
I played it a lot of times that night. I called it “Drunken Alone Version” because that’s how I felt at that moment when I recorded it. I was really happy that it was released. I quit the piano when I was 14 because I made a mistake at a concert. I was a very serious child. I thought I wasn’t good enough and I just quit. I hated the piano for many years. I learned to play that piece when I was young. To have it released now – and I played it OK, without mistakes – that was very important to me. It’s part of the healing process after the trauma of making that mistake and quitting piano.
Was “Moonlight Sonata” the piece you’d made a mistake playing?
No. It was an abstract piece, a very contemporary piece by an Israeli composer. It wasn’t a well-known piece. I don’t think anyone even noticed that I made a mistake.
Your new album is called Home. Does the piano feel like home?
Yes. When I returned to the piano, I had such a strong feeling of being back home. I was searching for so long for a physical place that I could call home. I was born in Germany, then I moved to Israel and then back to Germany. I couldn’t find my place. Then it hit me when I got back to the piano, that my home is a place which is abstract. It doesn’t have boundaries and it’s not limited by anything.
How does your work in photography connect to your music?
Every single photo I take – even if it’s of nature or houses – it’s always a self-portrait. Music comes from the same source; it’s also very personal. It’s always a reflection of me. It’s just me.