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Fields of operation: Entertainment
Deep in the heart resounds a kind of yearning that is bearable only with the help of lots of plum brandy. Throw your glasses at the wall! Life’s a dog and it’s beautiful. What started two years ago as an experiment to reconcile one’s own personal history and one’s talent now has become a very successful live event. With her debut album “Chefa” (2007) Miss Platnum, who once set out to knit together her R’n’B and soul skills and her Romanian origin, did not only present a remarkable and well-received CD but also subsequently directed a nine-piece band touring through Germany and sparkled as a support act for German mega stars Peter Fox and Die Fantastischen Vier. “People keep coming up to me and tell me that they first saw me with the Fantas and that’s why they’re now coming to my concerts,” the Berliner-by-choice says, who at first wasn’t exactly convinced she would benefit from doing support slots. Seeing now that she could win a non-familiar audience did not only strengthen her self-confidence but also confirmed that the route she chose four years ago was right. Or was it in fact twenty-nine years ago? In 1989, Ruth Maria Renner and her parents arrive from Romania in Berlin. Having just escaped from the watchful eyes of the Romanian Securitate, the little girl has to face completely different problems in the consumer wonderland that is Germany. Suffering from social exclusion due to the fact that she doesn’t speak or understand any German, combined with a certain zeal (most likely a remnant of socialism), music becomes young Ruth’s sanctuary. It is obvious that she can sing, but it needs Jocelyn B. Smith, the grand old dame of the Berlin Rhythm and Blues community, to tell her that she can in fact go further. Jocelyn B. Smith is thrilled with Ruth’s voice and accepts her as student. But the first steps in the business are a disappointment. Following the release of a moderately successful, run-of-the-mill R’n’B album, which doesn’t really suit Ruth’s personality, something has to happen. Know your own history, discover your roots and so Ruth turns into Miss Platnum and sets out to find the soul in the music of her native country. And there’s a lot. “Come marry me”, her third single, for which Seeed frontman Pierre Baigory reveals his alter ego Peter Fox for the first time and also her first release, “Mercedes Benz” are instant hits and “Give me the food” becomes an anthem for all those who have enough of dolled up skeletons (as shown on Germany’s Next Top Model) and prefer eating cream gateau to stuffing themselves with orange juice soaked dabbers. An attitude that could have secured Miss Platnum a seat in all relevant nationwide talk shows. But the idea to talk about eating disorders and then hold her CD to the cameras didn’t feel right to the artist, although there’s no doubt she would have had some smart things to say. She much more preferred to work on her music instead and travelled with her soulmates DJ Illvibe and Monk, aka producer team The Krauts (worked with Peter Fox, Beatsteaks, Die Fantastischen Vier) to Minis in the Ardeal, a wine-growing area in Romania, to absorb the original flavour and then to Belgrade to work with a renowned gipsy brass band in the studio. Boban and Marko Markovic are luminaries and proper legends of the genre and according to Miss Platnum virtually a little crazy: “I’ve never seen people working on music like that. There was no `I can’t come up with anything` or `I can’t do that`. Things simply needed to be done. It was a question of honour, no excuses.” The 29-year-old was in particular impressed with the fact that the booked orchestra had to depart three days earlier than planned and still successfully completed the whole programme. They played from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and didn’t even allow themselves breaks for the occasional spliff and Latte Macchiato as German rappers most likely would have done. The brass band skilfully provided the basic structure for Miss Platnum’s new album “The Sweetest Hangover” which is scheduled for release in Germany on September 4th 2009. "We wanted to use real instruments instead of synth sounds and so we opted for this orchestra," says Ruth and takes a bite of her toast with egg which in turn reminds her of Pleşkavica, the kind of greasy burger filled exclusively with huge amounts of cheese that was served at the station near the Belgrade studios and that provided a staple food for the brass band. Young band leader Marko Markovic, who inherited the orchestra from his Dad, is not a stranger to the world of Mash Up Balkan Music. With manic enthusiasm, he worked himself through the different styles and so it was no wonder, that despite of language barriers and several cultural differences, a true musical connection was established between The Krauts (ECHO award winners 2009), Miss Platnum and the man from the other end of Europe, who encouraged her and loved her work. What an accolade. Though some protagonists of the genre would love to adopt her, Miss Platnum doesn’t see herself as an Ethno or World Music artist. “We even cancelled some shows that headed towards that direction,” she says and explains that she wouldn’t fit in with these festivals anyway as she rather sees herself in line with the likes of M.I.A. or Santigold. Modern, urban, danceable but still organic, spontaneous, effortless. That’s what it should sound like. „Working on the album almost took too long for my taste. I often lack patience,” she says and dreams of one day finishing recordings for a complete album in three months. After all, music wouldn’t just be craft and dabbling, but also emotion and capturing the moment. Music will always be special for certain moments in life, “and when I feel bad, I listen to certain songs by Tom Waits or the Foo Fighters and then I cry and then I feel better. That’s what I want to do with my music. Making music for the moment. Party and ruckus. Crying and screaming. Dancing. Laughing. Love. Sex. All aspects of life.“ Or alternatively, music to tidy up to, as Ruth claims that she has a massive neurotic obsession with cleanliness. Just to add some trivia. Neurosis or not, Ruth aka the beautiful Miss Platnum has eventually found her artistic persona and when she’s listening to her old funk and soul recordings today, she alternately smiles and blushes, because “I’ve got the technique, but that’s not me. Makes me cringe, I hate it. I’m so happy that I found my way musically. Feels like I’ve arrived at home.” Some say the Balkan starts right behind the city of Ulm with the river Danube. Others say, the border river would be the Drau or the Save. Utterly wrong. The Balkan starts in our hearts. Să trăiţi!