Music & concerts
In the flow

Shirma Rouse: ‘If everything goes the way I intended, it’s pure magic’

How do artists get into the right flow to create something fantastic? Is it a certain piece of music? A special workplace? Or is it purely down to luck? This month: singer Shirma Rouse.

‘I don’t use drugs, I don’t smoke and I barely drink. But when I manage to turn my vision into reality and everything goes the way I intended, it’s pure magic. That’s my high. A natural high, that keeps me going for ages. Last summer, for example, my cookery book was published. I’d been brooding on it for quite a while, but I only recently got the chance to actually write it. But I was prepared. So it was just a case of turning my thoughts into action.

It was the same with this tour I’m doing with the Orchestra of the Royal Netherlands Airforce. I’ve been wanting to recreate the legendary concert that Aretha Franklin gave in the Concertgebouw in 1968. But you need to find an orchestra that fits the bill. And someone to write the musical adaptation. Make you must make sure that the concerts are sold out. It’s so cool when everything comes together; that’s what I call excitement. At times like this, I can surprise myself. I push back my own boundaries, do things I wouldn’t normally do.

I was brought up to believe that I can be anything I want. Can do anything I want. But it doesn’t have to be straight away. I never set myself strict deadlines, but I do like to be prepared for the things I want. I like to be ready if the opportunity to fulfil a dream presents itself. And yes, I’m an optimist. I mean, why wouldn’t I be? There’s so much to be grateful for. Optimism determines how far you go in life.

But you can’t just plough on regardless. I learned this lesson 15 years ago when I suddenly lost my voice. The dreaded ‘singer’s burn-out’. I’ve looked after myself much better since then, and only the best is good enough. So I get my nails done in Rotterdam, my hair in Amsterdam and my eyelashes in Roermond. I have regular massages and take the odd day off for no particular reason. And I book into hotels for a couple of nights to get away from my daily routine.

All my shows were cancelled during the pandemic, so I spent last year catching up and took no time off at all. I was running on automatic pilot and was exhausted. So last summer, I took seven weeks off and went to Costa Rica, Panama and to see my parents in Curaçao. Taking this break allowed me to find another flow, one that helps me create new things again. I was able to make new plans and re-focus my ideas.’

Shirma Rouse & the Orchestra of the Royal Netherlands Airforce celebrating Aretha Franklin

29 November 2023 at TivoliVredenburg:

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