IT has been an eye-opening and fantastic experience…
finding out about Maria Moss. The Spanish-born songwriter talks about how languages and different cultures feed into her music - and the difference between Spain and London (where she is based). I find out more about her latest single, We Will Dance; whether there is going to be more music in the pipeline – how Latin and Arabic twists are integrated into her art.
Moss talks more about her influences and proudest moments; the message she would offer her (many) fans and, as We Will Dance’s video captures the singer-songwriter on the road - what it was like shooting (the video).
Hi, Maria. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam! I am very well, thanks.
My week has been crazy! I have just come back from my holidays in Colombia and I have been very busy preparing the official video for my new single - that will be released around October/November.
I have been promoting and doing interviews (to promote) We Will Dance. We are also preparing a tour and some festival appearances.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a singer, songwriter and a dancer, based in London. I fuse Pop with R&B; Dance and Soul – plus, Latin and Arabic elements. I was born in Tarragona, a small city in Catalonia, Spain. I have been singing since I was three. At the age of fourteen, I won the 'English Key’ prize singing When You Believe, by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, on Cantamania, a Catalan T.V. programme (TV3-Salou).
By the age of sixteen, I was already singing professionally and touring Catalonia. As I wanted to pursue my musical career, I decided to move to Madrid - and then London - where I have just finished studying BA Creative Musicianship in BIMM London. Since 2015, I have performed around Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.A.
Even though I have collaborated with different artists and producers, it was not until this January when I released my first E.P. called Old Times. New songs will be released around October/November - with a completely new branding.
We Will Dance is your new single. What is the story behind the song?
We Will Dance is based on my own experience when I was travelling around the U.S.A. and Europe in 2015.
I felt so lucky to be able to see all those places, meet and play to people and learn from their cultures. I felt so inspired.
Since then; I travel frequently - if my music schedule allows it.
The video follows you around various locations. Was the video shot whilst you were on tour? What was it like shooting it?
Even though the song was inspired while I was on tour, the video was made while I was on holidays - in places like Berlin and Canary Islands - and arranging business meetings and music sessions in London and Tarragona.
We Will Dance is the second track taken from the E.P., Old Times. Was it a good experience recording the E.P.? Will there be another release from Old Times?
Old Times took me a long time to write and record as I wanted the songs to be good - and I had the pressure of having some good material out. I had a lot of fun and it made me learn a lot about my artistry, my music; the music industry and myself.
As I have evolved since then; my new music released soon will be different. I am not going to release any other single from Old Times - but I may do a remake of Not Enough in the future.
How do you think We Will Dance differs from the previous release, Light? Do both songs address similar subjects, would you say?
While Light is a ballad about acceptance: loving yourself, illuminating your own path and fighting for your dreams: We Will Dance is a song about freedom, travelling the world and enjoying (things).
You are based in London but born in Spain. How does the music scene differ here (compared to Spain)? Is there a big difference between the people?
This is a very difficult question - and I will answer it from my own experience...
In London and the U.K., there are so many active signed and unsigned artists working towards their dream. You can feel the music industry is vibrant; radio presenters look for new artists; people go to concerts of unknown artists because they want to listen to new music; music tastemakers go to concerts to pitch new artists; music stakeholders may contact some of them to offer help; many artists will have to play for free in order to be in the spotlight, etc.
While in Spain, due to the economic crisis and, maybe, a difference in the music industry foundation, the radio just plays the songs on the charts. I feel that not many music industry tastemakers go to underground venues to see unsigned artists and people don’t go to see unknown artists that much - as they may not want to spend money or they prefer other activities.
Can you tell me how you got into music? What kind of artists did you grow up listening to? What were your first successes and memories when you stepped into music?
When I was three-years-old, I decided I was going to be a singer and a dancer. I am not sure how I came to that conclusion, but since then, I have loved performing arts and music. Thanks to my mother, I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston; Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner. I also loved the Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child; Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.
When I was a teenager, I discovered and loved The Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys; Linkin Park and Evanescence. I have always listened to so many styles of music.
I remember how I felt when I won the ‘English Key’ prize on Cantamania, a Catalan T.V. programme, in Salou. I was so nervous when I sang the son - but I felt so comforted when Roser, the presenter and singer, said that she was my fan.
You speak different languages and have seen your music shared and loved around the world. How connected are you with the world and is traveling/touring international something that makes you happy?
I only speak English, Spanish and Catalan - but I also understand a bit of German, Italian and Portuguese. I would really love to speak more languages!
My passions are music, travelling and dancing: touring and travelling around the world for a living - it would be my life dream. Currently, I travel and go on tour whenever I can but, if I could do it more regularly, I would be the happiest person in the world – as, to me, it is very important to meet people; learn from new cultures and discover new places.
How important is it to see your music get big radio-play and shared on social media?
Seeing people liking my music and sharing it on social media and having my songs played on the radio makes me very happy. I love seeing that my music can make some good to the world.
If my songs energise people and push them to work for their dreams, be more positive and enjoy life - my mission will have been accomplished.
I hear Latin and Arabic twists in your music. How much of that is because of your family roots and do you believe putting passion and dance into your music is the best way to make it connect with people?
I have always been attracted by Latin and Arabic influences, Hip-Hop, Soul and Pop - that is why I love mixing elements to make the music more interesting. Perhaps, the fact that I am a Spanish singer and dancer, helps with the whole idea of mixing styles.
I believe that music has to, first, be connected with who you are as a person. When people see honesty: they can connect with the music more easily.
What message would you give to the fans that follow you and take your songs to heart?
I want people to build a positive feeling. I want to help people to achieve self-esteem and acceptance; to be brave to work for what they want; to live the moment.
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
IN THIS PHOTO: Ella Eyre
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Monkey Business by The Black Eyed Peas
Because I remember how much I loved it when it came out when I was a teenager.
Loud by Rihanna
As I really loved the new branding of Rihanna.
El Viaje de Copperpot by La Oreja de Van Gogh
They are an amazing band from Spain - with a really unique style and fantastic lyrics.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Learn to be yourself; find what makes you unique; do what you think it is best. Work hard; read the small print; pay attention to the detail; believe in yourself and be brave.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I really love the song called Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony - that talks about being positive, enjoying life and leaving the suffering behind.
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