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Aug. 31, 2022

Interview with MARO

We had the pleasure of interviewing MARO over Zoom video.

MARO, born and raised in Portugal, started her music studies at the age of four. Her mother, a music teacher, and her father, a music lover, MARO grew up gathering many sounds ranging from...

We had the pleasure of interviewing MARO over Zoom video.

MARO, born and raised in Portugal, started her music studies at the age of four. Her mother, a music teacher, and her father, a music lover, MARO grew up gathering many sounds ranging from Rajery and Milton Nascimento to The Beatles and Bulgarian choirs. She crossed the pond to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where she linked up with “best friend” and regular collaborator John Blanda [Khalid, John Legend].

Settling in Los Angeles upon graduation, she released a series of LPs and caught the attention of multi-GRAMMY® Award winner Jacob Collier who championed her music early on. Signing to Quincy Jones Productions, she accompanied Jacob on tour as a featured vocalist and instrumentalist.

In 2021, she teamed up with NASAYA for the PIRILAMPO EP. Of the latter, Billboard raved, “The whole thing is exquisite.” She lent her voice to Odesza’s 2022 single “Better Now,” while “saudade, saudade” appeared on the Festival da Canção 2022 compilation and made waves internationally.

Beyond going gold in Portugal and eclipsing 11 million Spotify streams, it elevated her to the finals of EUROVISION 2022, placing in the Top 10. Now, the singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist threads together plainspoken straight-from-the-heart lyrics with delicate songcraft on her independent full-length debut, can you see me?

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What is going on?! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we hung out with Morrow over zoom video. Mara was born and raised in Portugal, and she talks about how she got into music, born into a very musical household. Her mom is a music teacher, so from four years old, through 14, 10 years, her and her siblings had to study music. Once they finished at the school, it's like a conservatory school that aligns with the actual school that they're going to at 14, when they finish that, then they could give it up. 4 (2m 8s): She didn't continued obviously, and went through 12th grade at this conservatory at 19, she applied to get into Berkeley here in the United States and got a scholarship moved to Boston. And she tells us about that. She had started writing songs around 11, but never showed anyone these songs. She tells us about the first moment she signed up for she's kind of pressured into signing up for an open mic night. Like one of the first few days she had been in, in Boston. And that experience eventually recording all the songs that she had written or a chunk of them that she had written from like 11 on. 4 (2m 49s): She did that at Berkeley. She moved to LA. We hear that story getting signed to Quincy Jones, production, her stint on Euro vision. She made it in the 10 on the sheers, most recent Eurovision. We hear about that and all about the new album and the incredible story that goes along with it. It's called. Can you see me? You can watch our interview with Mario on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It'd be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and tic talk at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts would be awesome. If you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review, 5 (3m 33s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 4 (3m 39s): We're bringing it backwards with Moro. 6 (3m 41s): Hello. 4 (3m 43s): Hi, how are you? 6 (3m 44s): Hi, nice to meet you. 4 (3m 47s): Nice to meet you as well. Thank you so much for doing this. 6 (3m 51s): Thank you. Thank you for having me. 4 (3m 52s): Of course. My name is Adam, and this is a podcast about you and your journey and music. And we'll talk about the wrecker album you have coming out in ode on Friday. I believe her in just a few days from now. 6 (4m 7s): Yeah, yeah. On Friday. 4 (4m 10s): Yes. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So first off, I always just ask, where were you born and raised? 6 (4m 19s): Born in Lisbon, Portugal and lived there till my twenties. So yeah, very, very Portuguese. 4 (4m 28s): Okay. Very cool. What was it like growing up there? 6 (4m 32s): Amazing. Honestly, it's very, you know, family oriented and I did a bunch of sports and studied. We call it science and technology. So because I was going to biology or a veterinarian, I didn't even know. And then also was at the conservatory to study classical piano. It was nice. It's nice. 4 (4m 53s): You wanted to, you originally thought you were going to be a vet. Is that what you said? 6 (4m 57s): Yeah. Or something, you know, something related to animals, but maybe, maybe more like biology and less castrating. 4 (5m 5s): Sure, sure, sure. I want to talk to you about your music, but now I'm fascinated. How long were you interested in that? Because from what I read, you went to Berkeley, right? 6 (5m 18s): Yes. So I, I wanted to, to go into the animal world till I was 19. And it was, it was at 19 that I actually had that click of I, what am I doing? I should actually be doing music because I've always studied, but I never really liked studying anything. Not that I didn't like music cause I actually loved music and I loved playing, but I just didn't want to study. Like I think a lot of kids placement 4 (5m 48s): Yeah. Do what they want to do. 6 (5m 50s): Exactly. Exactly. It's like way too hyperactive to be sitting at a piano. And, and then at, I actually had that kind of realization like, oh actually I, you know, music is the one thing that makes me not even be able to sleep when I'm excited about it. So there was that kind of like just realization. 4 (6m 14s): Yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah. We'll, we'll get to that point. So mom's a piano teacher. Is that what I saw 6 (6m 21s): Mom is like you training it's it's a lot of things like music, pedagogy. I don't even know how to say it in English, but like basically she teaches people that want to be also like music teachers for, you know, it's a lot of different things, but also your training. And so, yeah, but on the more of like classical. 4 (6m 45s): Okay, so you were born right into music? 6 (6m 48s): Yeah. Yeah. Cause she basically not forced us, but kind of have this rule at the house that my siblings and I had to do the ninth grade in music too. And we didn't need to do anything with it. We just had to kind of study it because it's good for your, you know, more than like 4 (7m 10s): Up to ninth grade or, or at ninth grade. So from whenever, what was that? Four 6 (7m 17s): Or something. 4 (7m 18s): Okay. So from four to 15 or 14, you had to do it. 6 (7m 23s): It's a 14. Exactly. It's like 10 years of you. Cause you get a diploma and oh, she also had this thing where like, oh, it's not only good for you, but if for some reason, everything doesn't work out in your life, like anything works on in your life, then you can at least you have a diploma and you can teach music. If, if for some reason things didn't work out. 4 (7m 46s): Oh, okay. So you, do you still have the diploma? 6 (7m 50s): Yeah. Cause then, you know, I, I reached ninth grade and then I was kind of like, well I did 10 years and there's three left. So I kind of just kept on going, even though I really didn't want to study, but I was, I, I kind of that person that if I start something, I just want to finish it anyways. And then I did it until yeah. Until 12th grade. So I did three more years. 4 (8m 12s): Okay. But I mean like the physical diploma, do you have it? Like I completed these years of piano. 6 (8m 20s): Yes. Yes. It's somewhere stored in a folder. 4 (8m 25s): It's not like a framed in the house at all. 6 (8m 29s): No, I think we were too mad too. You were like, wait, I don't want to study now there's a look back. And we're like, yeah, that was absolutely worth it. 4 (8m 38s): Sure, sure. Wow. Okay. So it was just piano. You're studying all the way through. 6 (8m 44s): Well, piano has the instrument, but then it's like a conservatory, the book. So you, you do like your training in the choir and like music history and like all these things acoustics you, you actually, the whole it's like a hole. So I did that while studying. That's why it was also a lot. 4 (9m 0s): Oh. So it wasn't just lessons. It wasn't just like, okay, you have to do piano lessons through ninth grade. This is like you're in a whole other school learning all of the stuff alongside your, your regular classes. 6 (9m 13s): Exactly. And you, wow. At least after ninth grade, people choose an area of like studies. And usually if you do this kind of like music program, even if in some other school, then in your regular school, you don't have some courses, but I actually did both of them. So I was like, I'm pretty, you know, busy at, at, at the time. 4 (9m 38s): Right. Wow. Okay. Were you writing songs at all during this time or is it just basically soaking up all of this musical knowledge? No, 6 (9m 45s): I, I was, I wasn't showing them to anybody though, but I started writing when I was 11, but it, it was always, I never actually took them seriously. I, I didn't even think I would ever show my music to anybody. I didn't even think of it as my music. He was kind of more like my, I guess my journal, like instead of writing whatever I was feeling, I would kind of put it into songs and ever since I was a kid, but I never really took it or any of it seriously up until I was already at Berkeley. And I decided to record some old stuff, just for fun, kind of like, well, we'll start here. We'll take some of these really, really old songs from when I was 11 and 12 and 13 and actually record them and release them. 4 (10m 28s): Oh, wow. So you were, I ended up releasing the songs years, years later. 6 (10m 33s): Yeah. So some, so I want, you know, I'm saying like, they were like a lot of songs. I got songs, but, but probably most of them are, are trash. I'm not saying they're good. But then I went and I chose 23, I recorded 23 and then I ended up releasing 22, which was kind of like a good sum up of like, you know, this one, I was 11 and I kinda went like, try to do a really quick catch-up of all those years. 4 (10m 60s): Yeah. 6 (11m 1s): Yeah. 4 (11m 2s): Wow. That's cool. That's really cool. 6 (11m 5s): And now there's, I look back and I find it enduring. It's like, I hear the songs. I'm like, oh, that's cute. I'm not like, oh, that's amazing music. I'm just, I just find it like, it's good to look back and see where you come from and how much you evolve and you grow up throughout like years in general. So it's yeah. 4 (11m 25s): Yeah. It's like you have a timeline of your musical, you know, writing exactly like at 11 and 14, whatever it is all the way through. That's really awesome. 6 (11m 36s): Exactly. Exactly. 4 (11m 37s): Okay. So you were doing both. When did you, you didn't show anyone your song until you're at Berkeley? 6 (11m 44s): I kind of started showing some stuff when I was, I think 17, 18 started did like two or three YouTube videos, but then I, I still didn't really sing in front of people. I and I, and the few times I did it, I wanted to die. I was like, oh God. And then at Berkeley, I think, I think that was because there was really like a blending ocean. I'm like, I'm like abroad. I I'm far from home. So I'm also not going to be shy about singing or doing my music or I'm just going to own up to what I do even if maybe it's not perfect. 6 (12m 31s): And, and that was the moment where I actually started singing. 4 (12m 40s): You're like, you just had this kind of epiphany of, I, you know what, I'm here. I, I got here, let's just go for it. 6 (12m 48s): Exactly. That there was a, an open mic on the second day, I had never been to the states then, or even that, that far from home. And, you know, I, I had entered, then I packed my stuff and I went and I was far away. And suddenly on the second day there was an open mic and, and somebody passed by me and gave me a sheet so I could put my name. And I was like, no, thank you. And then a girl that I had just met was like, oh, let's, let's do it. And that was the clique. I was like, actually, yeah, I'm already here like that, screw it. And I put my name. And then the funny thing is that I realized that suddenly I was like, ah, I don't even have my, my guitar. And I don't even know what to play. 6 (13m 29s): And then I was so, you know, scared and this guy had just played a song and he was gorgeous and he was amazing. And so I went up to him and I asked him if I could use his guitar. And he looked at me kind of like, oh God, this freshmen annoying, annoying freshmen is asking for my guitar. How is she doing this? And so he kind of like very, you know, in a rest the reticent way. I dunno if she have this word in English descent, like they just kind of didn't want to say yes, but he said, yes. And now this is one of 4 (14m 3s): My, 6 (14m 5s): Exactly. It's, I'm kinda, kinda like almost mad. And then, and then, you know, I went and sang a song in Portuguese and I made everybody seeing this like bridge part that had like this choir with parts that I taught while I was singing. And everybody kinda like tagged along. And it was this moment, maybe that was why I also immediately got the courage to start doing it more because it was such an insane like first moment. And then that guitar guy, when I, when I went back at him and kind of like, thank you, thank you. And he was like, no, no, no, thank you. So he completely switched. And nowadays he's like one of my biggest friends and I'm actually starting, you know, I ended up singing in his band and now we're actually starting a folk duo. 6 (14m 49s): So it's funny how things kind of go around. 4 (14m 52s): Wow. That's really cool. That is so cool. Oh my gosh. I love that you had never done that. And you were, you didn't want to really you're shy or afraid to getting in front of people, but then when you're up there, you're teaching the audience how to sing the bridge of yours. You're like, okay. And then at this point, we're all gonna do this. Like they're really engaged everyone after just kind of being, instead of just going up there, timidly and playing, it sounds like you were like, it just like clicked when you were even up there. 6 (15m 24s): Yeah. I don't know what happened, but I still kind of feel that even in moments where sometimes I'm a bit nervous before any show. It's like, when I, when I start playing, it's not when I, even when I get on such, but exactly when I started playing, it's like, everything makes sense. It's like, well, actually it's about the music. So there's a part of me that I drop my shyness or my ego or my anything, because it's the second music starts. It's about the music and that's why we're all there together. And I think I felt the same, you know, I started singing and then he got to the bridge and instantly, actively instinctively 4 (16m 1s): Like 6 (16m 1s): It, like out of instinct. I certainly didn't think, I 4 (16m 11s): Don't know that 6 (16m 14s): Word. I just, you know, I had the pirates in my head. And so it was kind of easy to it. Wasn't about being shy or anything anymore. It wasn't about me anymore. It was suddenly, there was this part of the song that had these three vocal parts. And suddenly I was, I had all these musicians in front of me. It's not even a normal audience. It was like all these, you know, colleagues like people that are, are musicians like me. And so it was kind of easy to ask, but yeah, like when I walked off stage, I was like, whoa, what the hell just happened? It was fun. It was fun. 4 (16m 47s): That is so cool. That's really cool. And then at that point, are you like, okay, you kind of pulled the bandaid off and now, all right. Let's show people my songs. Like that was kind of like the over the hill moment for you, where now you felt comfortable showing people your songs and then you eventually went and start recording them. 6 (17m 9s): Yeah, for my songs, it still took a a bit, but that was like, you know, the, the, the second day. And so that starts to sing that kind of that's where it started. And then I started a series called Berkeley people to kind of go against this competition vibes that I was feeling that, you know, around school. And I started doing, I think it was a video a week. I would post every Sunday or something like that. And every semester had a bunch of views where I would just put together people. We didn't, we wouldn't rehearse. I would just send the song like the day before they would listen, we'd get to the practice room, put the iPhone. So we have a bunch of bloopers. 6 (17m 49s): A lot of times he would just be funny and, and very, very unpretentious then kind of like, it is what it is. It's about the music. And that I think started also giving me the confidence to keep on singing and calling people and just, and then in 2017, because I went in 2015 and then in 2017, that's when I actually went and recorded some of my old songs. That's where I chose, like the 23 songs. And I went to the studio and I rehearsed and I recorded. And, and then in 2018 I released, so it took a bit to actually be like, this is my music, but at least the singing and the, you know, I, you know, I, I did this type vibe that, that, that kind of started in 2015. 4 (18m 32s): Okay. Wow. And from, from there, from like releasing the, the, the, all those songs, like, what was next, did you end up finishing at Berkeley and like, what's kind of the next phase. 6 (18m 44s): So I graduated from Berkeley end of 2017. So it was like three full years. I want January, 2015 and up until December of 2017. And then I decided to go to LA actually to live in LA in 2018. So I got there, I released this 22 songs that I had done in three different albums, which are called <inaudible>. 4 (19m 9s): Yeah, 6 (19m 10s): Exactly. And then I ended up doing two more projects in LA, one that is called Moto and Manel, which is, you know, all songs by a friend of mine, from Portugal, Manel. And I, and it was fun cause I, we pretty much did it in five days and it was a very, like, let's just do it for fun. And so we recorded it for two days and then I mixed with Pedro Kalani for today's and then we mastered for the, and that was it. And it was like them. And then I kind of did the same in two weeks. I, I recorded it's okay. Which is, you know, the last album I released before this upcoming, which I did with Andrew Keller, a friend from LA, and we would do it, you know, he would be working up until 1, 2, 3 am, and then he would call me kind of like, Hey, I'm done working. 6 (19m 55s): Do you want to come record? And I would be sleeping. I was like, yes, yes, yes. And so I'd go meet him to just record all the songs that I had written while I was at Berkeley. 4 (20m 4s): Oh, wow. Okay. That's so, oh my gosh. Let's see. He just call you in the middle of the night. You had to go over there whenever it was, Hey, come record. I'm done. And then that's when it came. It's okay. 6 (20m 17s): Exactly. Cause, cause I went to LA, but I, I didn't, you know, I, I went to Berkeley because I had scholarships. And so then I went to LA and I was kind of like counting my pennies, you know, like I didn't really have a gear to record or I couldn't afford any studio. And so Andrew, it was his way of like Pete loved the music and he loved, you know, me as an artist and, and we're very, very good friends. And so he would just w which is insane because he would work 12 hours and then call me kind of like, Hey, I'm done instead of going to sleep like anybody would. 4 (20m 52s): Right. Exactly. He'll just go, okay, I'm ready to record you. Now it's 2:00 AM, let's do this. 6 (20m 58s): And he has a, you know, he has a studio is all like, he's amazing. He's an amazing producer and amazing engineer. And so he'd be like, okay, I I'm done let's, let's do it. And so it's okay. It's really, it's, it's only like, it only exists because of Andrew and it was all made kind of like that. Like I was in LA and really taking advantage of every opportunity and Andrew, you know, had a studio and had the will to do it and the love for it. And so we, we put it up together. 4 (21m 27s): Wow. Okay. And then you end up getting signed or just kind of discovered around that time too, right. Or was that before that? 6 (21m 35s): No, it was around that time. So the whole 2018 was my LA you and at the end of 2018, that's when Jacob told me he was going to LA, like he messaged me on Instagram saying he was going to LA and that he had some ideas for songs that he loved my stuff and he would love to meet. And so we actually met end of 2018, super. I got along and yeah, like in December I went to do a show with him in Boston, already as part of his band. And then the whole 2019, I went on tour with Jacob Collier. I don't know if I set up for it. And that's, that's when, you know, the Quincy Jones productions that works with Jacob and has been working with Jacobs since he started to listen to my original stuff, not just as, you know, Jacobs band member, but actually as model. 6 (22m 23s): And, and at some point, you know, reached out saying that they would love to work with me as well. 4 (22m 30s): Wow. And that must have been a big moment for you I'd imagine. Right? 6 (22m 35s): Yeah. Cause I had met Adam fell, which he's, he's the president of Quincy Jones productions and he's, you know, guy that talks to me about wanting together and everything. And I had no, he's an amazing guy and professional in Sweden, very, very passionate about me then it's like, well, I, I really like him. And also it's Quincy Jones productions. Like you can't, you just, you know, it's, it's just, you just know that. 6 (23m 16s): Yeah. Yeah. So, so I was, I was truly, truly excited and happy. 4 (23m 21s): And you put an EAP out pretty quickly right. With them. 6 (23m 26s): Yeah. I mean, they're, they're like my management, so I, I still work independent even now for this album. 4 (23m 34s): Yeah. I really, I knew this album was an independent release, but the other stuff was still too. I wasn't sure how that works. Okay. 6 (23m 41s): Everything has been independent. 4 (23m 43s): This is 6 (23m 44s): Incredible. This one is the first one that I have the fusion company called Venice. So it's the first time I'm re I'm independent, but I'm not by myself. I actually have a team of awesome people that that believe in, in, in, you know, 20, 19 up until now, I've been working with, with contingents productions, but as management. So I still release everything independently and the EPA with NAZA and I think that's what you're talking about. Yeah. I, I was already with QGP. Yeah. 4 (24m 21s): Okay, cool. Well, I want to talk to you obviously about, can you see me, but real quick to touch on just the Euro vision thing? How did that all kind of come about? Because it's such a huge, cool accomplishment. 6 (24m 33s): Yeah. It, that was, that was a crazy ride. I, I'm not really a, a big TV competition person. I always, you know, I always thought I would never, ever do stuff like that. Not, not because I have a problem with it. It's just not my type of, it's just not my thing. But then for some reason, I had been invited for three years, like three years in a row to be a part of <inaudible>, which is basically air vision, but in Portugal and then whoever wins, 4 (25m 9s): It goes on to Portugal. Right. Okay, cool. That's what I thought. 6 (25m 13s): Exactly. And so for some reason, when they called me last year, inviting me for the fourth time, for some reason I had just had a gut feeling that actually I should say yes, this time around and I don't know why. And when I was talking to my team, you know, they invited me again and they were kind of like, yeah, you shouldn't do it. 4 (25m 35s): I 6 (25m 36s): Don't know. Usually people are like that. And I was like, I know, and I've always thought that way and I totally get why, but for some reason I have a massive gut feeling that I should actually do it this year. And 4 (25m 56s): Sorry, I'll just get it. Wasn't due to the song that you had or was that something that came later? 6 (26m 0s): I didn't even have a song yet. I dunno what it was. I think it was just literally like a gut feeling. And the amazing part about the missing thing about my team is that they, they, they do trust me when I like when I'm mad about something. And so they're kinda like, oh, well, okay, then, then let's just do it. And it was just purely out of, you know, I, I have started a career kind of like out in the world and I go a little by little, but I w my work wasn't really known in Portugal, which is my country. And so I think, I thought maybe like, you know, Fest, it's, it's the, it's a festival that has, you know, people watch it in Portugal. 6 (26m 43s): And so I go with any song that represents me. I can, you know, say, I dunno how to say, like, stay last. Like I can be the last 4 (26m 54s): And you can get like, yeah, I'm saying 6 (26m 58s): It's still fine because some people at least will hear, you know, about me or see my name or see my face and then go look for my stuff and we'll find some. So I kind of did it out of pure, you know, little exposure, but I didn't think that suddenly I was actually gonna win the whole thing in Portugal. And then go, go to the real deal that, you know, your, a vision. And that was, that was a big, big, big surprise, but it was also amazing because the, the whole exposure thing that was, that was, you know, 4 (27m 29s): Massive. I mean, the scale that people are watching it is yeah, massive. 6 (27m 35s): Yeah. I was doing it for like little exposure in my country, just so that some more people in my country would know about my work. And then it ended up, ended up like reaching a lot of new people, like people that really didn't know my, my music. So that, that was awesome. 4 (27m 52s): Yeah. I mean, winning, and then not just going in as, okay. I want my country to know who that I'm, I exist and I write music and then to win. And then now you're representing your country on this huge scale. That's such a cool experience. I'm sure. 6 (28m 9s): And it was awesome because a lot of people, you know, think your vision, especially musicians, everything you think your visions kind of lame or whatever. And I, I think when you go do things with whatever thing in life, with the right perspective, kind of like, you just, you can always take something good out of anything. It can become cool. And that's what happened with their vision, like the Portuguese delegation and the girls. I, I took to sing with me that are also amazing artists on their own. We took that so lightly. And so about the music and enjoying other artists music, instead of looking at it as competition, we just kind of went as like, you know, what an awesome experience to even be a part of it became this, you know, two of the best weeks of my life truly. 6 (28m 55s): So, so I'm so, so happy I did it. 4 (28m 60s): Yeah. What a fantastic outlook to go into it, as, you know what I'm just going to be here. I'm not going to look at it as we need to win. This is going to be a huge competition. Let's just have fun and go with it. And then you still do incredible in the, in the contest to, 6 (29m 16s): Yeah, it was, it was, it was not, it was nice. Cause exactly. We were like fifth on the jury and then like ninth overall, which is, you know, it's a lot of countries. And I knew I wasn't taking a very like era vision song. So I wouldn't be surprised if we would like become like blasts. I, it w it would be fine either way. We were so happy about what we were doing and I'm happy about, you know, watching all other performances and meeting all these people. And, and honestly, we're all kind of rooting for Ukraine too, even though some people are like, well, this is not about politics. It's about meeting. It's like, well, it's, it, it kind of made sense. 6 (29m 57s): And we were just happy that, that at the end of the day, people actually re you know, liked the song and related to it when we were even thinking, you know, it's not a very festival song and it's known, but it's fine because we get to be part of it. So it was this cool. 4 (30m 13s): That's so cool. That is so cool. Well, so tell me about that was this last year, did you already have this album ready? Cause it looks like you started this record in 20 at the beginning of 2020, from what I read. 6 (30m 25s): Yeah. This, this record was a lot done in 2020, and then we kind of finished up some production details in 2021, but the album really, I, I, I listened to the album. I know it's already like two years old. Cause we did like half of it, beginning of 2020, like January. 4 (30m 44s): Yeah. And then a pandemic doesn't help anything. Right. 6 (30m 47s): And then pandemic started, which was cool because, because of the pandemic, well, not because of the pandemic, because we would have met earlier and stuff, but at least at the end of 2020 blender, which, you know, my friend that did the whole album with me, which he's an amazing producer and pianist from Minnesota. And he actually came to Portugal for two months and he spent whole October and whole November in, in Portugal or like actually, yeah, the end of October till mid the summer, something like that. And maybe he wouldn't have done that if, if the world wasn't stopped because he wouldn't have time. But at the same time we did have to wait. 6 (31m 28s): Like we started all these things and ideas and actually finished like five songs in January. And then end of 2020, it was like only in, at the end of 2020 was a moment when we were like, okay, we can meet again and make music again. And then we finished the album. 4 (31m 45s): Okay. Wow. Yeah, because it started like when he came out to Portugal right. To, to, to start to record with you. 6 (31m 53s): Yeah. Both like in January and at the end of the year. 4 (31m 57s): Oh wow. You did 6 (31m 58s): It all in Portugal. And then we finished up details. Some that fills in Brazil, which was fired and then some details in Nelly. 4 (32m 8s): Okay. Was that the first time that you've wrote, wrote and recorded a record in Portugal? 6 (32m 15s): Yeah, actually. Yeah. And, and it was awesome. Cause we didn't, you know, we, we went like a data studio to record a part at the piano and record my siblings cause they sang for a bunch of tracks, like 4 (32m 26s): Really? That's cool. 6 (32m 27s): Yeah. Yeah. And they're awesome. They're awesome. But actually the whole thing, we, we did it, you know, blend brought like his Apollo twin, like his interface and computer and his mic. I got some speakers that are friends like lentils and, and we went, you know, two weeks here, two weeks here, we kind of went like jumped from place to place in Portugal ended the whole thing, like kind of with this mobile studio, like zero quality and just, it was all about the, the vibe of the places where we were at it. Wasn't like prepared places to record zero, zero, like literally one of, one of the best places was this little Airbnb that we found in the middle of the mountains in Portugal. 6 (33m 14s): And in like even snowed in one of the days we looked up the window and we said, we set up the whole thing, like in front of this little window of this like stone house in the middle of the mountain. And then suddenly we looked up and he was snowing and you know, it's all these memories that really make the album so much more special. 4 (33m 34s): Do you feel like each place are recording in different areas like that you kind of shaped different songs on the record? Like did certain songs come out of situations like that? 6 (33m 45s): For sure. Yeah. Yeah. Like for example, the song, can you see me is about my granddad that died at the end of 20, 20, literally a week or two before blend got there. So when you, when you got to the Portugal hours absolutely destroyed even there 4 (34m 5s): That's a that's that's hard. I'm so sorry. 6 (34m 9s): Yeah. It, it, it sucked and it's, it's, it's always so hard when somebody that is such a big part of your life is gone. And it was the first time I lost somebody that was that close to me. So it was, I was just not in a good place and, and blend is like, my he's like, my safe place is my best, best, best friend. And my he's like my brother and we have so much fun together, but we also writes and we get along and we have deep conversation, you know, he's just that person. And so when he got there, it was at the same time, like this relief kind of like, I feel awful, but at least 4 (34m 49s): Is there somebody there to kind of be there for you, a shoulder 6 (34m 53s): To 4 (34m 53s): Cry on so to speak? 6 (34m 55s): Exactly. Exactly. I probably the reason why I didn't absolutely lose it was because he, he arrived like literally right after. And we went up north to this house. That was my grandpa's and the, the day we get there, we go and have lunch to this woman that is like a friend of the family that, you know, worked at my grandparents' house for like 35 years. And he's, you know, she saw us all grow up, like my cousins and I, and, and so the whole time I was there at lunch, I was it's like, I would look over my shoulder and I would think like, it doesn't make sense that he's not here. You would be sitting there at the table and the, you know, cause he was such a, like, he loves her so much and she cooked so well and he loved her food. 6 (35m 43s): And so I, I kept on thinking about him the whole lunch. And so when you got home and we set up the studio and it was the first day of this whole writing camp and writing camp, it was a trip, but we set it up, blah, blah had some dinner. And at night we're like, okay, let's, let's start working. And immediately, can you see me co came up like it just blend to start playing some chords on a synth. And then immediately I had like melody and lyrics and it literally starts like that, like that. So they, I looked over my shoulder, hoping you'd be sitting in. I almost felt like I could see you. Can you see me? And that's the name of the song? And that was the, you know, the first song we wrote on that two months chunk, you know, trip that we did. 6 (36m 29s): And so that definitely the, the places we went to, they, they truly shaped the album and some of the songs. And you know, in this case, it's like this, the, the album is called, can you see me? The whole album is dedicated to my grandpa and it's called Tennessee me because of this one song that is about him. And it wouldn't have happened if Glen didn't get there, like right after my grandpa was gone. And, and if we didn't go up to this house up north where, you know, it's, it's even like kind of weird. It's like his ashes are like kind of next to the house. Cause there's like the little village graveyard and it, so it was, I think all these things really do shape, like where you go and how do you feel and who you work with and who you feel good, what they do shape, like the way you make music and write songs. 4 (37m 24s): I completely agree. And my granddad was my, was my favorite person in the world too, like so relatable. And he, I lost him if you handle years ago, tattoos named my wrist. But just like hearing that, like, I feel like he was there with you when you're writing the song, like to talk about it. Like, you know, his ashes were right there. Like it's, I, I feel like that's such a beautiful thing to, you know, can you see me in the name named the album after that? And it kind of shapes what became this whole project? 6 (37m 56s): No, no, completely. Completely. 4 (37m 59s): Wow. And so would that happen right in the beginning of 2020, you said, 6 (38m 4s): So that was end of 20, 20 or 2020 4 (38m 8s): At the beginning. 6 (38m 12s): Yeah, it was the first chunk and we actually got to this like five days at this house in front of the beach, the little apartment in front of the beach and we would, you know, wake up and go surf and then come back and write also like with our little mobile setup, but it was like five days and we did five songs that are kind of fun and light. And, you know, we did like rewires with it never been so sure which is not out yet, but we'll be, we did when mama was used to saying we did some, you know, some songs there, but then when he came for two months with it, a bunch of others. So we did this fuse a and can you see me? And, and that's really one, you know, two months that's when we, because in January we, we were just goofing around. 6 (38m 53s): We didn't ha we weren't like, we're going to do an album. We're like five miss you let's do a trip. And let's just make music for fun, which is what we did. And we had this five songs that we loved and then COVID started. And then he spent the rest of the year kind of like, man, we really love these five songs. Let's, let's actually meet up and do more and see what happens. And that's when she came like end of 20, 20, he came back to Portugal and we actually spent two months. And that's when we actually realized, you know, cause then we wrote a lot more songs and then realized, wait, we have an album of 14 songs. And we started like, there's like, there's like seven or eight more songs that we didn't put on the album. Cause then it was too much. But so we were going to do more and more stuff just because we worked so well together. 6 (39m 37s): But really, truly those two months were the time where we came up with the actual project, like a, you know, a thing that has a beginning and an ending, you know, 4 (39m 48s): That's awesome. That's I had a chance to hear the record and it's, it's amazing. It's a really, it's a beautiful album and that must be really exciting. Obviously it comes out this week. Is there anything like when you release something like that, is it like, are you nervous at all? Or it just feels good to have it out there. 6 (40m 8s): I, I, I never got nervous from releasing anything I think because I always released things I like and that I really enjoyed making and that I, I really enjoyed listening to. So I think I'm so secure about it. It's so genuine. Like I really truly like it. I didn't do it to try and please anybody or to try and make something go viral or I really, I did it, it just came up that way that even if everybody would trash it, I would still be like, well, it's okay. I love it. You don't need to like it. So I think that completely takes out the, the possible nervousness that I might feel like it's just not, I it's, it's fine either. 6 (40m 53s): I'm actually just so happy that it's out. Because one, I feel like as an artist, when you release something, because you have this, there's a whole process where you record and then you mix and then you mass and then you're checking if it's fine or details or so by the time you release it, it's so like, just so nice and so exciting that you shouldn't, it shouldn't matter what other people think. It's like, if you like it. And if you enjoy the process and if you, if you're happy about the result and then that's it. And I I'm really, truly in that regard, I'm truly confident about the stuff I do because I only do what I, what I like. So at the end of the day, really, the only feeling is really like, ah, it's been almost two years. 6 (41m 37s): We didn't release it because of COVID. So now that it's going to be out, it's like, oh, and you feel like you can, it's a chapter, you kind of close it and you can move on. And at this point I have like 12 albums that are ready to record on my laptops. I just don't like, 4 (41m 53s): I would imagine that. Yeah, it's been a while, since this has been finished, you probably have so many other songs that are already done and ready and probably excited about putting those out as well. 6 (42m 4s): Yeah. I actually haven't. I literally had like 12 albums that already have like music that I love, but all for different projects and I haven't recorded anything. So I kind of want to, you know, take album by album right now, you know, once September starts like kind of that. And, but, but for now it just feels exciting to, to kind of see, can you see me like out in the world where it's not just minor blenders, it's like everybody it's for whoever wants to hear it too, which is always nice. 4 (42m 37s): Yes. I love that. And I don't think anyone's going to trash the record. I think it's an amazing album. So I don't think you have to worry about that, but I appreciate your time today. Thank you. Thank you so much. One more question. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists 6 (42m 55s): For 4 (42m 56s): Aspiring, for, for, for artists, aspiring artists, 6 (42m 59s): Aspiring artists. I heard for signing an artist. I was like, oh, 4 (43m 4s): Do you have any advice for signing artists? 6 (43m 9s): No, I, I think maybe what I was just talking about kind of like, no, I do it, you know? No, Y you do music and go after what truly moves you and what is exciting to you and what you like, you know, including, you know, to hear what you do and, and just focus on that. Like, don't really worry. I feel like in the beginning, people are like, ah, but then I'm scared what people will think, or I'm afraid of posting videos, or I think it's more of like, do the things you like, including videos. If you film yourself playing a cover and then you listen and you like it just post it. If you like it, that's fine. It doesn't matter if no one else will, but at least to start. 6 (43m 51s): And I think the same with music just go after what, what makes you excited that, that has been working with me like from day one, because then you're doing it out of like pure pleasure and it's not to become rich or famous or go viral, or, you know, you're thinking about already how to succeed, how to succeed. And I don't think it's it's about that. I think, I mean, it can be if you want to make it like a business thing, but if you're actually in love with music, then just remember that, that you it's about the music.