From a young age, the Munich native Alma Naidu (*1995) has won admiration for her extraordinary versatility. Her first appearance at the Prague Spring Festival is also her premiere performance in the Czech Republic, and her repertoire will be taken from her first album titled Alma, which she released this February. She is including ten of her own originals, while the text of the eleventh song Wondering is set to music by Wolfgang Haffner. Her selection includes the ballad And So It Goes by Billy Joel.
The singer’s lyrical approach does not attack the audience’s hearing with exaggerated expression, but with her controlled emotions and muted dynamics she creates beautiful tension and gives plenty of room for the listener’s imagination. In doing so, she makes wonderful use of her beautiful voice. That vocal beauty is her strength can be seen from enthusiastic reviews that praise her singing with adjectives like lovely, gentle, velvety, masterful, pure, clear, elastic, breathtaking, emotionally charged, full of tenderness, and flawless intonation. Her strength is not only her voice, but also the soulfulness that is also expressed by her first name Alma.
Because of the diverse nature of her talents, Alma Naidu would be very successful in many fields, but music has become her passion. In view of her family background, however, this is not surprising. Her father is a conductor and her mother an opera singer. Thanks to her mother, Alma grew up in the atmosphere of Munich’s Gärtnerplatztheater. That environment shaped her significantly, and it largely predetermined her future as an artist. Ms. Naidu began playing piano at age five, and that remains her favourite instrument to this day. Soon she also started taking violin lessons, but at about age 14 when she became an enthusiastic fan of the band Metallica, she switched from violin to guitar. After a while, her passion for heavy metal faded, as did her thoughts of a musical career, but music won out in the end. Along with lessons in classical singing and her regular studies, she attended lectures on composing film music at the Academy of Music in Munich. She herself says she was always a maniac about music theory; already at age ten, when she still knew nothing about technical terminology, she wrote down notes about what was happening in popular songs.
She made her debut on the concert stage singing popular music at the age of 15. A major turning point in her development came in 2016, when she attended a workshop of the Jazz Institute, where under the guidance of the singer Sandy Patton she sang in the jazz singspiel Rosaly – das Mädchen aus Glas by Joe Haider. Her awakening interest in jazz was further supported by her teachers Sanni Orasmaa and Anne Czichowsky at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. She perfected her skill in the field of jazz vocals during a semester at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where the jazz authority Norma Winstone passed on her experience. She made quite a splash with her arrival on the jazz scene at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, when she became a member of the big band Landesjugendjazzorchester Bayern and a welcome guest at a various jam sessions. At that time, she also introduced herself on a concert programme consisting of her own songs and sensitive arrangements of standards accompanied by a group led by the remarkably talented guitarist Philipp Schiepek. With that small ensemble, she won over the admiration of the public for the first time at Munich’s jazz club Unterfahrt.