German singer, Michaela Steinhauer’s latest album is “Changes and Choices.” The work is a concept album about a “seasoned lady” (perhaps veteran performer) seeking inner peace after leaving the past behind through thoughtful reminiscing.
The songs take audiences on a journey of emotions and personal growth: two things that modern audiences can identify with, especially in the age of COVID-19. Steinhauer’s work reminds audiences how important it is to remain in touch with who they are and what they seek. Steinhauer is joined by alto-saxophonist Alexey Kruglov and pianist Roman Stolyar.
“Me, Myself and I” by Michaela Steinhauer
The song begins as a meditative spoken-word effort. Almost poetic in its softly rendered syllables. When the piano kicks in, the tune gets a bit more jaunty. This is where Steinhauer shines. The song sways with the verve of singer-songwriter tunes of the 1970s. An impassioned saxophone pairs well with the piano– as the saxophone grows more and more frenzied, the piano matches its feel. Then, the piece calms down and the jaunty motif from earlier returns. There is a swell that makes the song feel like a triumph. The swell comes just before Steinhauer’s lyrics return. This time, she takes the notes to a stratospheric pitch and ends in vocalese. An emotional journey that pays off for the listener.
“Why Is She Still Here?” by Michaela Steinhauer
If the “she” in question was someone outside of herself, this song would take on a more salacious feel. But the references to “singing her song” and “until her last breath she’s gonna try to find the perfect rhyme to her melody line,” make it clear that Steinhauer, or some other female singer is the “she” in question.
The piano line is darker at first, then it lightens, and loosens. The saxophone follows it. Toward the end there is a tinkling that gives way to a rush of sound and audiences can feel the energy pushing through the song again. Just two songs in, Steinhauer and her small ensemble create another thoughtful soundscape that audiences won’t soon forget.
“Changes and Choices” by Michaela Steinhauer will be available Jan. 15, 2021.