Danny Kuttner doesn’t listen to, or write music; she sees and feels music through its colors. In the title track of her debut album Purple, released last month, the Amsterdam-born, Israeli singer-songwriter sings about reaching for the feeling of that color.
To her, purple is soft and slow, it envelops us in a velvety atmosphere. Purple is the sensation of floating through the galaxy; closing your eyes and flying between the stars.
Kuttner shows signs of synesthesia, the rare and fantastical ability to feel colors through words and objects. With nine eclectic songs in the new album – each with its own soulful rhythm, and complex techno beats combined with Kuttner’s soothing vocals – her music helps listeners feel the vibrancy of its colors too.
While an Israeli and international tour is in the works, Kuttner will launch the album on Wednesday, May 3 at the Ozen Bar in Tel Aviv.
Of all the live show spots in the city, Kuttner thinks the Ozen Bar is a reflection of her passion for music and upcoming artists.
One of her recent performances was at InDnegev last October, one of Israel’s biggest yearly musical festivals, with as many as 15,000 attendees. Having been selected to perform as a new artist, Kuttner appreciated the opportunity to perform in such a professional environment. “It was the first time I performed on a stage I felt like I deserved”, she says. “[InDnegev organizers] really respected me and the band.”
Between worlds the many sources of music
BORN IN Amsterdam to Dutch and Belgian parents, Kuttner moved to Israel at a young age. Now 27, the artist has always felt like she has lived in both worlds, but has still always felt Israeli. “Israel is my home,” she says.
Despite her connection to the country, Kuttner believes her album emerged from being away from Israel. “A lot of this album was created because I had been traveling for so long,” she says. “Through being away from home, I got an understanding of how I want to live and that shows in my music”.
Even though Hebrew is her first language, Kuttner never seriously considered writing and singing in Hebrew. “Music has its own aesthetic, and Hebrew has a very specific sound,” she says. “The moment I decided I wanted to do music, it felt natural to write and sing in the language that I was listening to.”
Even though Kuttner thinks it’s “pretty weird to describe her music in words,” her style could be classified as a combination of the European aesthetic with Middle Eastern spice. While she is signed by a London-based distribution company, her music is completely self or co-produced. Kuttner creates rhythms and beats on her computer or guitar, and her sound is driven by recording other artists, shaping harmonies, and collaborating with friends and other musicians.
She acknowledges that despite the individuality of the industry, working with others is still important, and by collaborating, the music is always more vibrant. “It helps bring more colors to my creations”.
While a talented songwriter, with themes of grappling inner demons and searching for inner calm, Kuttner is more motivated by how her music moves and transports her listeners. The atmosphere her music creates, particularly in a live show, means more to her than the lyrics ever could.
More than anything, Kuttner is just relieved the album is out. Rather than explaining what her music means in words, she can let people just feel the dispersion of the music’s colors for themselves. Finally, with the album’s release, Kuttner thinks that people can really see her and understand the feelings that she is trying to produce.
A solo singer with an accompanying band of talented string and horn musicians, Kuttner insists that she cannot thrive without collaborating and listening to other performers. “The most important thing is to love the musicians you work with,” she emphasizes. “I get so much joy just from playing with my band for that show, each rehearsal ends with happiness.
“I will work with another artist or go to a show and colors will emerge,” she mentions. Kuttner insists every sound and artist has a color that surrounds them, and her own music comes from listening to artists and absorbing their colors.
Kuttner is set to perform an Israeli tour for the album in the coming months. With an international tour also in the works for later this year, and a growing audience around the world, Kuttner is just starting to build her palette. Soon, the artist will envelop herself in even more colors, and listeners will experience the full spread of magical shades she has yet to share.
Danny Kuttner is playing at the Ozen Bar on May 3 at 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at: ozentlv.com/event/dannykuttner