When I was a child I spent a lot of time out in the little wood next to our house. I knew every single tree there, I climbed them, and sitting on their branches, leaned to their trunk, listening to the sound of the leaves and the wind, dreaming of me being a little Indian, I realized: Everything is sound.
My way to becoming a professional musician was tricky and hard.
Although I’ve had classical piano training starting with age 5, it was not even thinkable to become a musician. Middle-class girls like me were raised to get married, have children, and – in my case – become a teacher. Well, this was not MY idea about my life. So I got the outcast of my family.
The rest I try to make very short: I studied philosophy for a while and got two boys. As my then-husband didn’t want me to be a singer (he was a singer and guitarist), I was working as a freelance fine artist for several years, had collaborations with contemporary composers (such as Georg Friedrich Haas, Gerd Kühr etc.), and was very successful getting big orders for huge paintings as well as for sculptures for the University for Music and Dramatic Arts (KUG), for example. Some of my sculptures you can still see at Palais Meran Park in the center of Graz, Austria.
BUT: I was not happy. I had a complete breakdown and lost all power in my hands, arms, and legs. I couldn’t tighten the huge canvases over their wooden frames any more, almost couldn’t move any more.
By that time my parents had organized a mass for my beloved brother, who died several years ago. I was singing his favorite song in the church, My Way.
The tears I had hold back for so long were coming with me singing there. And deep inside I understood: This is where I have to go.
So I had to learn a lot. I started with a program of French Chanson, Tango cancion and also had a Latin Band. My preference for contemporary music by that time then led me into free improvised music. I started acting on a professional level and on international stages, such as New York (at The Stone e.g.), London (Vortex Club), Venice (Conservatory and open air) etc., playing with Free Jazz legend Oliver Lake, with Warren Smith, young New York composer and musician Darius Jones, recording live at Porgy & Bess, Vienna, and so on.
My next breakdown came with another divorce. Having two more lovely children in the meanwhile I didn’t know how to continue. I stopped playing and concentrated on teaching (private singing lessons) and studying musicology, with special focus on aesthetics and gender and the research on jazz and popular music. By now I’m writing my bachelor’s thesis on Carole King, Björk and P!nk. These ladies belong to my heroes, as well as Alicia Keys, Emeli Sandé, Amy Winehouse, Queen and David Bowie.
Through these years I was (and still I am) in continuous conversation with a friend and author in Berlin. After kilometers of Emails I decided one day to answer through a song. And this is how I started my songwriting.
Now I know that songwriting and performing my songs is the Love Of My Life (the one that never will leave me).
LET’S ROCK POP:
COOL POP! is my very start in pop music, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
Working just in duo we did some synthesizer programming to unchain me from the piano for a few songs. Right now I’m working on the next album, this time with full band.
I LOVE YOU ALL being out there. And through my music I want to share this love with you. And on stage I want to be as close to you as possible, and I want us to sing and dance together, to scream and shout, and enjoy life with my upcoming new program.
PLEASE, STAY TUNED!
You also find me on Facebook and Instagram, and I absolutely appreciate you as a follower to stay connected!
See you soon,
Katja Cruz is an Austrian singer, songwriter, composer, improviser, and fine artist.
„Songwriting became the very the essence of my life“, she says about herself. “Cool Pop!” is her very new project in duo with Ernesto Grieshofer. “Cool Pop!” also defines this style of music. In this format Katja Cruz sings, plays e-piano, and performs several tunes as free dance. Ernesto Grieshofer plays drums and uses e-percussions as well as synthesizer sounds. Both together act on a very high level of hot energy, joy and wildness.
In her earlier life she had put a special focus on avantgarde jazz where she worked on an international level and recorded with musicians as Oliver Lake, Darius Jones, Elisabeth Harnik, Andrea Massaria, Mat Maneri and Warren Smith.
Two of her recordings were nominated as „Best Vocal Release“ by The New York City Jazz Record. She also did some Latin, as well as Tango Argentino and French Chanson.
Her fine art can still be seen in the center of Graz – in front of the university for music and dramatic arts you find her sculptures to the music of Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, the so called 2nd Viennese School, worked out in steel and glass.
In several of her projects she cooperated with Austrian composers Gert Kühr and Georg Friedrich Haas. Her strong connection to music is also expressed in her paintings, performances and landart. She was born and lives in Graz.
born as Katja Pristavnik, March 4, 1968, in Graz, Austria
raised in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria
1986: Matura at BORG Feldbach, with honors
1986-89: studies in philosophy and history of arts, Graz
1989-95: first exhibitions as fine artist, management of the music group Aniada a Noar, founder of the label Garage klang
1995: Camera Austria, Forum Stadtpark Graz, secretary
1996-97: advertising agency Promotion, Feldbach, texter, concepts and costumer advisory service
since 1997: freelance artist and musician
since 2009: private singing teacher in pop, rock, Lied and jazz
since 2016: singing teacher at music school Hart bei Graz
2016-18: studentische Mitarbeiterin of Univ.Prof. Dr.phil. M.A. Andreas Dorschel, Vorstand des Instituts für Musikästhetik, Kunstuniversität Graz
since 2016: studies toward the Bachelor of Arts in musicology in Graz
BEST VOCAL RELEASE 2014 – The New York City Jazz Record, for Hexaphone feat. Oliver Lake
BEST VOCAL RELEASE 2012 – The New York City Jazz Record, for Lightning & Thunder
discography (compositions and projects of my own):
2020: Cool Pop! Live, with Ernesto Grieshofer, G Minor Records
2018: You Make Me Feel Good, with Armin Pokorn, Thorsten Zimmermann, Roli Wesp, Ernesto Grieshofer
2017: Purity, with Roli Wesp, Klemens Pliem, UNIT Records (CH)
2016: I Am The Wind, live at Porgy & Bess, with Darius Jones, H. Curtis, UNIT Records, (CH)
2015: Duineser Elegien, with Andrea Massaria (I), H. Curtis, ein_klang records, Wien
2014: Hexaphone feat. Oliver Lake, with A. Massaria, P. Dunst, H. Curtis, Rudi Records, Rome
2012: Lightning And Thunder, with H. Curtis, ein klang_records 051, Wien
2011: Light And Shade, with Carolyn Hume (p, UK), Leo Records, UK
2010: Mi Corazón, with Marco Costa (BR), P. Dunst (A), H. Savic (A), D.Lima (BR), Leo, UK
2010: Primeval Sounds Of The World, with Thomas Rottleuthner (bcl, f, sax, A), Leo, UK
2009: I AM ONE – Stories From The Worlds In-Between, with M. Veszelovicz, Leo, UK
2009: Wassermusik/Watermusic, with M. Veszelovicz (acc, A), ATS-Records, Austria
2008: Cantango, with Martin Veszelovicz (acc, A), ATS-Records / Extraplatte, Austria
2007: Ich bin, with Martin Veszelovicz (acc, A), ATS-Records / Extraplatte, Austria
sampler: 2012: KOFOMI #16 – Music?, sampler of Komponistenforum Mittersill 2011, with my composition „HONIG“, performed by K. Cruz, voc, Sylvie Lacroix, fl, Michael Moser, vc; furhter compositions by Jamilia Jazylbekova, Martin Daske, Mu- Xuan Lin, Anne Wellmer, etc., ein klang_records, Vienna
Austria, New York, USA, London, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey
band project with Ernesto Grieshofer, Thorsten Zimmermann, Georg Jantscher
I Am The Wind, with Elisabeth Harnik, piano, Clementine Gasser, 5-string cello
The Sound Of The Planets, with Elisabeth Harnik, piano, and Toshiko Oka, dance, Japan
klangbogen, voice meets electronics, Rondo Graz 2011, with D. Pirro and M. Kronlachner
Leo Records International Tour, 2011, Vienna/London/UK
workshops & master classes as instructor / Artist in Residence
2015: Improvisation I (to John Cage’s Songbook), Verein junger Musikschaffender, Graz
2012: Izmir Jazz Camp, Turkey / Master-Classes at Elon-University, USA
2012: Quo vadis, Teufelsgeiger? University of music, Vienna, guest singer and instructor
2011: Improvvissazione senza fine, Venice conservatory, guest singer and instructor, with Mat Maneri, A. Capelletti…
2011: Artist in Residence, Komponistenforum Mittersill
Oliver Lake, Mat Maneri, Warren Smith, Elisabeth Harnik, Clementine Gasser, Burkhard Stangl, Darius Jones, Armin Pokorn, Ras Moshe Burnett, Günter Meinhart, Jure Pukl, Arrigo Cappelletti, David Pirro, Andrea Massaria, Matthias Kronlachner, Jamilia Jazylbekova, Fredi Lang, Alexey Kruglov, Jaak Sooar, Carolyn Hume, Edith Lettner, Michael Moser, Sylvie Lacroix, Ewald Oberleitner, Klemens Pliem, Christoph Wundrak, Blaise Siwula…
fine arts (excerpt):
2016: 8 musikalischen Gesten, 8 paintings (oil/canvas) to Gerd Kühr’s composition, Konzerthaus Vienna, performance with Janna Polyzoides, p, and Andreas Lindenbaum, vc,
2011: Rondo Atelier scholar
2002: Himmel über Wien, Osterklang project with Mia Zabelka, at Theseustempel Vienna; interactive light installation to the music of Wolfgang Muthspiel
2001/2002: 4 elements composing a universe, permanent light installation at the new office building of Bauunternehmung Mandlbauer, Bad Gleichenberg
2001: in vain, a light composition to the music of Georg Friedrich Haas, for steirischer herbst and Wien Modern, performed by klangforum Wien
2001: Easterfestival Graz, 8 paintings to 8 musikalische Gesten of Gerd Kühr
2000: The Mountains Resounded When We Shouted, Int. Land Art Symposium South Korea
2000: Galerie Eugen Lendl, group exhibition, Graz
1999: weißes rauschen, Galerie I&AC Graz
1999: sculptures to the music of Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern; Palais Meran Park, commissioned by the university for music and performing arts Graz (KUG)
1998: sculpture to Alban Berg’s Violinkonzert, Palais Meran Park, commissioned by the university for music and performing arts Graz (KUG)
fellowships, grants, and commissions:
Neue Galerie, Land Steiermark, city of Graz, university for music and dramatic arts Graz, Wirtschaftskammer Graz, municipality of Feldbach, municipality of Fehring, Land Steiermark / Kunst am Bau