Bringing together the signature of her sound with her inner world may just be the essence of what drives Kris Berry as an artist. And that inner world seems to reflect on her personal development and intuitive direction. “My voice is my compass” in her own words.
Singer, artist and songwriter Kris Berry is currently releasing one of her most personal music projects so far, titled NOW; Namelessly Objectifying Wonder.
”Being in the now can be really hard, but hey, you can always look up; the sky offers a lot of headspace.’’
Everything is what it is or appears to be. That pure and unfiltered feeling is reflected in the audiovisual short films, co-created with the talented director Océane Combeau. The album originated between Amsterdam and Los Angeles, and with the arrival of Kris Berry’s daughter Nasa. This gift called for transformation, for sheer surrender as an artist, as a lover, as a woman, as a versatile being, and as a new mother. The name Nasa winks at that endless cosmic space in seemingly nothing — a daily reminder to give Nasa all the space to be who she is. Berry highlights the tranquility, power and beauty in her music, performance and visual expression. The first few episodes set the sub-spiritual tone for her series on ‘being’. Always connected to that sensual, neo-soul color; it is unhurried, inquisitive, rhythmic, and somewhat consciousness-expanding.
As a Dutch Caribbean born in Curaçao, a profound love for music has always been part of her life. Raised in the local, melting-pot rich culture, spanning from Africa to Poland; gospel music in Sunday School, as well as hip-hop and Country music; the signature Son Cubano — a favorite of her father’s — the urgent sounds of Nina Simone and Bobbie Gentry on grandma’s stereo. These origins can be felt on her successful album Berry Street (2017), recorded in Brooklyn, New York.
Still, it took Berry a while to find her voice. She moved to the Netherlands after high school for her studies and to pursue a business career. In 2008 and 2009, at the height of her corporate career, she received an opportunity to be part of a New Orleans-style jazz band. After doing this a few summers, the intuitive decision to give music a fair chance followed. During the subsequent performances, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place; as if a fragment of herself she had hidden away for a long time had suddenly re-emerged.
Her first record in collaboration with Paul Willemsen was called Marbles (2012); stones that glow when subjected to heat and pressure. Kris Berry’s musical adventure had just begun, and she was already being awarded the First ‘NPORadio6 Soul & Jazz Talent’, playing shows at Amsterdam pop temple Paradiso and the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival.
Perquisite was nominated for ‘Best Album’ by 3FM, the single ‘Let Go’ from that album became ‘3FM Megahit’.
The following years Berry was invited to open for arena capacity tours from the likes of Caro Emerald in the UK. The single Perfect Storm was immediately crowned ‘Radio 2 Top Song’. This sparked the foundation for aforementioned Berry Street (2017), an important moment in Berry’s solo career. The success of the song Hold On put the record on the online map, with more than 24.9 million streams plus a Gold Award for the song. In 2018 she received a personal invite from Grammy winning artist Gregory Porter to open his sold-out UK concerts, including the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. “The performances in these historic spaces, the crew band, the warm Gregory Porter audience; this is something I am very proud of, and most grateful for”.
And this NOW project may have come about as a dream to rediscover her artistic ownership between Amsterdam and LA, the music was materialising on her own terms all this time. “There’s always LA-room in my heart”.
Musician friend Marnix Dorrestein contributed greatly to finalising this project, and we were all barely absorbing the notion of lockdown, when Nasa came into this world on April 1st, right in the middle of production & mixing; NOW.