The Heroine’s Journey of Berenice van Leer

What is the best thing that I love about my work? To be able to express myself with my own sound of voice. It is super personal. And with this I feel free on stage. And love to create a special interaction with the musicians/dj’s and the crowd, and really be in the moment.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? To be in balance as a person. To grow as a person. Everyday I learn something about myself. And this feeling to be able to connect to myself and to be compassionate towards myself and my surroundings is a feeling of enrichment of life. To come closer and closer to meet myself and thus to be a nicer person towards others.

What is my greatest fear? To be in silence. And then to write down my lyrics. Because I’m afraid do do it wrong. This is coming from the feeling to be perfect. But I know there’s no right or wrong. But still I am afraid. This is a constant battle/challenge within me.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Sometimes I can be too hesitant, maybe also to do with a lack of discipline. I’m still exploring myself in this…

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I don’t have one specific person I most admire. There are many, and also respect is a better word for me to use I think. As a performer: Grace Jones. As a “singer/songwriter”: Lianne La Havas. Joni Mitchel for the most beautiful album Both Sides Now from the year 2000.

What is my greatest extravagance? Shoes and clothes. I sometimes take advantage of being an artist/performer to buy that specific peace….And now I have too many clothes and shoes in the house…

On what occasion would I lie? If I see something beautiful on a market and I really don’t want to spend too much money, I would say I only can spend this much, and I will use my smile to be able to buy it.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The late hours. It is a violation to my body and mind sometimes.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? When I was playing Sziget in 2012 with Kraak & Smaak. For me the first time in front of almost 8000 people. What a kick!! The feeling you’re really in the same zone together. With just one common feeling: to make receive the love back from the audience. Rather it is on a big festival or in a small room. It is that same rush that makes it so addictive.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would like to be less messy in the house. And to say ‘no’ more.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I really connect with the audience and I’m credible. Because I am honest and real on stage and being myself…. I’m an allround singer, I feel at home in a lot of genres in music.

Where would I most like to live? Would love to live in Ubud, Bali. Last year we lived there for 2 months. The nature, people and food is so amazing. I felt better inside and outside…

What is my most treasured possession? All the nice photo’s from my childhood.

What is my most marked characteristic? A real personality. Authentic. Honest. Open minded. Energetic. Warm.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The canals of Amsterdam. Especially on a very early Monday morning in summer, when I ride back from a gig with Wicked Jazz Sounds. Usually around 5. No one on the streets….There and then melodies often come to me and I record it with my phone..(this is the silence I actually am afraid of because of my insecurity around writing songs)

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? I love to have a drink at one of the many nice hotel lobbies of Amsterdam and then eat Japanese soup at Fou Fow Ramen on the Elandsgracht.

What books influenced my life and how? In my really early day “Alleen op de Wereld” in English “Without Family” from Hector Malot. And now I’m reading a great one “The War of Arts, Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles” from Steven Pressfield.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Joni Mitchell “Both Sides Now” album from year 2000

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Princess Leia from Star Wars. She was confident and serene in a beautiful way.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? People who are doing what they really want. What they are passionate about. I admire people like that. They are all heroes to me. It comes from love and kindness towards yourself. From there you can reach many….

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016)

What role plays art in my life and work? It is more that I see art in everything. Especially in nature, trees, animals. Also in everyday life. People from various backgrounds in a very busy city, living amongst each other, that to me is also art. Art for me doesn’t have to be something “higher”. It is everywhere around us. It all combines a feeling from which I can carry out my passion for music and performing…

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? I would really love to make a beautiful music video from one of my new songs with my brother filmmaker Ruben van Leer.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? I would love to meet Joni Mitchel. What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? My own music. And finishing preparing my own album.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I’m on stage every week. With Female Fusion, Wicked Jazz Sounds, together with a jazzy guitarist, singing a capella in a church… Currently now more often with Kraak & Smaak Live band. We’re touring the Netherlands. And May 18 we will have a tour in the USA. Starting ion May 18 in The Regent in LA. Traveling the world; it’s my dream come true. I can experience the beautiful world with doing what I love most.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is what drives me. Without it I can not be who I am. Passion is deep within me.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Richard Alma Christel van Calsteren (textile designer) Annelied van Dijk

How can you contact me?

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