With nothing but an empty stage, I met Ana Moura after her heartwarming performance. The artist changed her clothes to be more comfortable during the interview, and she also put on a big smile to answer all my questions. She finished her tour in Tallinn with her album called Desfado, but a new album has already been released in Portugal ‒ on November 27th the new CD called Moura came out in her country getting Golden records during the first week.
Let’s find out a bit more about this project!
How was recording in Henson Recording Studios in California? Any funny stories?
It was amazing to record in one of the best studios in the world. You have all the conditions there, you know, if I want to try a specific microphone, they’ll do it, they have everything. All the best singers that I love have recorded there, such as The Doors, Pearl Jam, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder.
A funny story? Nothing specific, just the experience to get to know each other, because I only brought two musicians, Ángelo Freire and Pedro Soares, the others were American. Actually, the drummer was Vinnie Colaiuta, one of the best drummers, it was my dream to record with him. I think it was one of the best experiences, the first contact with them and how they felt the songs, because the producer arranged the meeting not long before we recorded the songs. We gave them the compositions, but when we started, all the musicians were doing their own thing, they were creating in the studio. That was the most important thing, they discovered me and I discovered all their small details in my music, that’s what makes it different from the other albums.
A lot of people collaborated in this CD, i.e. writers and musician composers. You knew how it was to work with some of them, like Samuel Úria, who also composed Desfado. How was the experience of working with them, with the new and the known ones?
They are all my friends and they have a very Portuguese way of writing, so it was very good for me to have them in my team. The new ones were really surprising for me, like Kalaf, he wrote a beautiful fado and he did it in such a traditional style. We don’t play pure fado, we use other instruments to give it a different flavor. However, the structure of this poem or song is quite specific and we want to keep it, but it’s very nice to do it in a contemporary way.
However, in this new project you only kept Ángelo Freire on the Portuguese guitar and Pedro Soares on the fado viola. What happened with André Moreira, João Gomes and Mario Costa? How was the selection or proposal to join your project with the new ones? How come that you included the keyboard in this album?
Actually, it was only for the recording that I collaborated with other musicians, but my band is just amazing, I want them to tour with me as usual. Even though I like my group very much, but it was my dream to play and record once in my life with Vinnie Colaiuta. Also with Dan Lutz who creates such a beautiful music, and Dean Parks who is a great guitar player. He has played with Stevie Wonder, one of my favourite artists, so imagine how it was for me playing with him.
The proposal? Well, they had already heard my music, but it wasn’t me who contacted them, it was the producer. Actually, Vinnie told me that when he told his band he was going to record with me, his band said: “Ohh, how lucky you are!” Nowadays in music, we are trying more to go out of our comfort zone, so for him, it was playing with a fado singer, and for me it was a great experience because I love his music.
Looking back to your career, which has been really successful ‒ you have been awarded two Golden Globes and two Amalia awards, within other prizes. What are your expectations for this new album which has been already awarded to Golden status?
Obviously I hope that people like my album as much as the previous one, but I try to live with no expectations, as one Portuguese poet has said: “Living in surprises”, so that’s my way of living, trying to have no expectations, to grab all the experience with more “surprises”, like serendipity.
Your new album is called Moura, what does it mean?
That’s a good story. I was starting to feel concerned about the cover in an aesthetic way, because I wanted the cover to have a butterfly on it to symbolize the metamorphosis, to show that in every album I try to do a different thing. This album was produced again by Larry Klein and I worked with some of the same composers, but in a commercial way people will compare it with Desfado, however, in a musical way, it is a very different album. So my idea was to express this message, and then I realized I had two songs called Moura and Moura encantada. As we have a lot of folk legends, Moura encantada is about my life related with the character of that story. Then I started to look for more information about it and I discovered that those people could change their shapes, so it was similar to a metamorphosis and I thought it was what I was looking for.
From all the songs you have already released from your 6 albums, tell me the top 3 that are your favorite and why.
This is a really difficult question. It depends on the moment, sometimes I feel like singing one specific song because of a current situation, but I can’t say that I have a favorite song.
Ok, let’s ask this way: how do you feel after that concert? What song would you like to sing after these emotions?
The new one called Dia de Folga, because it is happy and it represents my emotional state right now. I’m really happy with the result of Desfado and the new album. The first day it was released, Moura became almost platinum in Portugal, which was unbelievable for me. I would also pick Desfado, because it is a celebration of this big tour which was truly welcomed by the audience. I’m not saying that they are my favorite, but these are the ones that show my feelings right now.
You started your career as a fado singer spontaneously in 2003 when Jorge Fernando asked you to produce your debut album. How did you use to imagine your future life then, and how do you imagine it now?
I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling. It’s not that I knew precisely “I will be a singer”, but I had the feeling that my future was going to be related with singing.
I saw that you had two glasses on the stage and I know that you like wine. Were they water and wine?
Ahh! That’s my secret (laughs).
I guess it was wine but: red or white?
Red water! (Between laughs). Well, I must confess that I love liquor and any time I go to a new country I ask the hospitality rider for the most typical alcohol from the region. I have a lot of liquors in my house from all the cities where I have played. It is like a memory of my travels and concerts.
Was it Vana Tallinn?
Yes, that one. It was quite surprising, pretty strong, but tasty.
We hug to keep our Mediterranean tradition and I say goodbye to the artist. Ana Moura is not only a big artist, but a big person, too.
Ana Moura performed at Christmas Jazz festival on 4th of December at Nordea Concert hall.