People are always on the search for individuality. Especially in the music biz, they crave for something and someone they haven’t seen and heard of yet. Furthermore, they love authentic personalities and people who have the braveness to break standards and to express the exceptionality in all their facets. One of those musicians of this kind is the Dutch artist Kovacs.
IN TALK WITH KOVACS
VALEUR was able to meet with the warm-hearted artist in Berlin. During our meeting it became obvious quite soon that Sharon Kovacs stands out – positive, in many different ways.
Thus, we had an exclusive and interesting talk about her new album ‘Cheap Smell’, which healing effect it can have to write and make music and the connection to fashion and beauty as meaningful possibilities to express your very own personality.
On 15th October 2018, the tour of her new album ‘Cheap Smell’ started in Germany.
It is a piece of music that has an unusual title and is individual – just like Kovacs herself is. To the question of what the name of her new album signifies, she refers to the influencing time when she studied at the Rock City Institute in Eindhoven.
‘Cheap Smell’ was the name of my band I had during music school. While I wrote on my album I got inspired by that time again.
Cheap Smell also signifies for me kind of a ‘cheap perfume’. You put it on, it smells strong and suddenly the smell is already gone. This is what many of the songs in my album reflect. They are about loss, the feeling to be abandoned. Moreover, they are about people that didn’t stick with me for a long time.
Moreover, she explains what the process of the production of the new album meant to her in an emotional way.
The whole album was one big therapy. It helped me getting through some stuff and each song has a significant story behind. This album is autobiographic and was a process for me to let things go, accept myself, be honest about stupid decisions in my life. I created it, so I could confront myself with things and learn from them.
Kovacs grew up in a foster home. To make music and to get support for what she wanted to do was a difficult journey to follow.
I couldn’t do music lessons. So, I had to find other ways. I began with playing karaoke songs on YouTube. With 19 I really started to make own songs with friends who played the drums, guitar etc.
Furthermore, Kovacs says that her uniquely rough and low voice sometimes was challenging to pursue her career as a singer.
It took me a long way of finding out how it works. Even to sing as a child had its difficulties. In school they wanted me to do cover songs, but I was way more into making my own music. Also, I couldn’t sing very high but instead, very low. So, somehow I just started to focus on what I can do and not on what I cannot do.
Therefore, the musician always had a strong will, a given individuality of how to deal with things. To stick out has always been something normal in her life. It defined her look, her perception of things and her creation of music.
To answer our question of how she created her very own style, especially in regard to her amazing, short haircut, Kovacs says:
When I was younger and had long hair, I always felt like a girl but not like a woman. One day, I saw a woman who had shaved her hair. I was so impressed by how powerful just this haircut had made her. For me, she became even more feminine. So, I decided that I would do that, too. And I did it, already 12 years ago. I feel so feminine and comfortable with it that I just keep it like this.
To make an example, break standards and not follow any stereotypes is a common thing for the Dutch artist. Besides that, she is not even aware of the fact that she does so.
Her individuality Kovacs also shows in topics like fashion and moreover, the fashion industry. Kovacs, who also has a signed model contract with ‘Viva Paris’, explains her own sense for fashion.
For her, there is more about fashion than just to put some clothes on.
Fashion means design, this means art work, which includes photography, film and more. Moreover, fashion is something you can very well combine with music.
Kovacs explains. She continues and tells VALEUR which role fashion personally plays in her life:
For me, the quality of clothes is highly important. I am willed to pay more for a shirt, so it will last longer. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to buy something that you can reduce to child labor.
Kovacs explains that it took her some time to find her way through fashion.
When I was younger I never paid attention to brands, but I always wanted to create my own style. Now, I dig more into the fashion world. Furthermore, I get to know ‘my brands’, like for example ‘COMME des GARÇONS‘. Finding my way into fashion also was influenced by my good friend Noa Zarfati. She works as a fashion stylist and therefore, she helps me out with those things. I trust her a lot with that.
Noa Zarfati also worked together with Kovacs during her album. She was responsible for some of the outfits Kovacs wears in her music videos, for example in ‘It’s the Weekend’.
I wore this beautiful recycled shirt from Vivienne Westwood, it was simply beautiful. Recycled clothes have a story they carry, that’s what I like most about those outfits.
That products have a story behind and are on a high level of quality is not only important for Kovacs in the fashion industry. To our meeting, she already brought her new album on Vinyl. Thus, Kovacs points out her love for Vinyl and Turntables in general.
THE LOVE TO VINYL
Vinyl has this special sound. On CD for example, there is much compression on it and the files are smaller. On Vinyl you have the grooves and the sound is much wider. Plus, I really love the feeling to scratch it. On Vinyl it is a complete story of music you listen to. I want to create a full story with an album, too. ln a book for example I wouldn’t want to read just one chapter either.
Thus, the artist also refers to the importance of listening to an album in a way like to follow a whole story. This also leads to the fact that in times of the Internet and music streaming platforms, it gets harder for musicians to stay in people’s minds with their music.
I love the Internet. I think I wouldn’t be where I am now without the possibilities of the internet. Besided that, I even got in contact with my first producer through the internet. But I think that the disadvantage of it regarding music is that people tend to not do much research anymore about artists. Sometimes they just listen to one song. As a musician you have to work harder, so people don’t forget you.
In case of her own album and the question which song of ‘Cheap Smell’ in particular is most special for her, she adds:
The whole album is important, because it builds a process. But if I had to choose one special song, it would be ‘Mama & Papa’.
This song represents a big part of my life. Especially the search for my dad, to find him and realize that he is a little bit different from what I’ve expected, was hard. Thus, this song represents a big part of a long healing process for me and also for my mom. Therefore, ‘Mama & Papa’ is not only the most important song of my album, it is also the most intense one.
KOVACS’ ALBUM ‘CHEAP SMELL’
However, it becomes obvious that ‘Cheap Smell’ is an important and very personal story of the Dutch singer to be told. Kovacs does not only reveal her deepest emotions and inner struggles in this album, she also makes clear soon that she learns from her experiences in a positive way.
For VALEUR it was truly inspiring to have the chance to meet this creative and lovely soul. The interesting talk gave insight in the art work and personal life of someone so independent, strong-minded and exemplary.
Kovacs reflects and understands the difficulties to be a constantly successfull musician in a digital era where everything is so fluctuate. Still, she follows her own ideas and wishes and stays authentic.
Even though she had to go through some rough times in life, she never looses her optimism and faith in people. It even seems to have shaped her perception of values like respect and tolerance retroperspective.
The most important value in life for me is to treat everybody the way I want to be treated. No matter if someone is rich or poor, in the end we should treat each other the same.
To stand out, do something unique and still be yourself in the music industry is difficult and can be a huge challenge. Therefore, the success of Kovacs shows how it is possible to manage to do your ‘own thing’ in an aspiring way and still be a down-to-earth and warm-hearted public person. This becomes clear in her caring attitude as well as in her new album.
I have always been and still am the one who never follows the rest. So, for me it always comes naturally to stand out.
CHEAP SMELL – THE TOUR
Who wants to see and hear more from Kovacs and her new album, these are her touring dates of ‘Cheap Smell’ in Germany:
15.10.18 – Munich
16.10.18 – Berlin
17.10.18 – Hamburg
18.10.18 – Cologne
Text: Denise Stell
Video & Photos: © Warner Music Group (WMG). All rights reserved.