Alex Cartana: The Heart Of A Woman
By Tachelle "Shamash" Wilkes
Tachelle: Who is Alex Cartana?
Tachelle: Who is Alex Cartana?
Alex Cartana: My mother is English and my father is Spanish, therefore I'm what I call Spanglish. I grew up in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) and moved to the UK when I was seventeen to go to boarding school and finish my education. Even though I have spent the best part of my adulthood in England, I still feel very Spanish (I think you tend to be extra patriotic, when you're away from your home land). The Spanish part of me influences my attitude (I'm very fiery), my mannerisms, the fact that I use my hands and arms to express myself a lot, there are also various musical Latin elements to my music. When I say Latin, I do not mean Ricky Martin style, you must remember I grew up in Spain where a lot of Flamenco music was played, which is quite different from South American Latin music. I also talk in Spanish in some of my songs, which a lot of people think is really sexy, to me it is just my language. Latin people tend to be very romantic, and I think in part I am probably more romantic and open than many of the Anglo-Saxons, which also comes across in my lyrics and in my form of expression.
T: How and when did you begin to transform into an artist?
AC: Signing is something I have always done, but I never knew I was particularly good at until I came to the UK. You see, when I was in Spain, I thought everyone said I was a really good singer, because I could actually sing in English and knew all the words. But I only began to accept that maybe I was special, when I was at boarding school and people in my Theatre Studies class as well as the rest of the school, said I had a brilliant voice! (You could catch me singing everywhere: lunch queue, toilet, shower, in class, walking to and from lessons.) That was when I decided I not only wanted to become an actress, but I also wanted to sing. So I pretty much started to work on my singing performance skills then, but it was only after I finished University that I really focused all my attention into Alex Cartana the artist. With the help of people, who were already in the music business.
T: I am quite sure that you sang early as a child - share a candid story with us when you were a seed blossoming into the vocal talent that you are today.
AC: I did sing as a little girl, though I do not have any candid stories to tell really. I was always being told to shut up, that's one thing I do remember. Probably because I always sang, non-stop, which I suppose could be annoying, though I never saw it that way! I remember sitting next to Ivan, my best-male-friend at school and trying to get him and two other friends that sat behind us to be Boyz II Men and I of course was Mariah Carey (ha ha) and I'd try to get them to sing One Sweet Day - you can imagine what we sounded like, if you think of three totally tone-deaf kids, who couldn't even speak English and me belching at the top of my voice. It makes me laugh when I think about it now, but back then I was totally serious about it. I was so passionate about singing; I'd try and make everyone sing with me, so I wouldn't be the only one to get into trouble. Normally if I was in class and was getting bored, my glance would turn to the window and I'd stare at life outside of the classroom and automatically start singing to myself, this would happen without me even realizing it. I always got told off and sent outside until I learned to behave! Those were the days.
T: Do you come from an artistic/musical family?
AC: Not at all - at least no one in my immediate family. I believe my father's aunt, was a professional singer at some stage in her life, but other than that, no one is particularly musical. Having said that they absolutely love music and my mother & father would always be playing music. I can't remember a morning when I wasn't woken up by my father's blaring stereo, upstairs. My mum's radio would always be on in the kitchen, even when no one was in there and she had loads of LP's/Vinyl in the lounge, an entire unit was built especially for them anyone would think she was a DJ!
T: What type of energies does Alex Cartana the artist possess?
AC: A mixture of energies, I try to be positive about life and give that kind of energy out to others. But I like to be sincere about what I'm feeling, and realize that life isn't all rosy. I think people want to hear if you've had a bad experience - it's wonderful when a song expresses hurt in exactly the same way as you feel it, but can't necessarily find the words to express it. Therefore I also write sombre songs, which reflect my pain too. I think the Artists is just a sincere reflection of me as a person, maybe everything bad and good is enhanced and multiplied x10, because that's the beauty of being an artist, you get to dramatize all your emotions, but essentially it's all me!
T: What musical genres do you encompass in your artistry?
AC: From Pop, to Soul, to Latin, in some parts it is quite dark and Avant Guard with a few jazzy elements to it.
T: What are some issues that are dear to your heart, which you interpret through song?
AC: Real life issues that I have lived through, such as my sister's death. I mainly talk about things I have experienced and which I feel I need to let people know about. Things I may have gone through in my teens, such as dieting, friends and loves. Difficult situations, things I don't comprehend. Because I am such a strong character I sometimes don't understand why people do certain things, and I sometimes feel a little alienated from my peers. Being very strong can sometimes also be a hindrance, that's what people don't understand! I generally focus on my personal outlook on life; I'm very spiritual, so I touch upon subjects such as the Universe and the energies we posses within it!
T: Are you currently on a label?
AC: No, I was signed to a major, but we decided it was best to part ways as we had realized we were heading in two very different directions, and we didn't want the same things out of the project. I am currently working on my new material, which I will hopefully be able to present to the labels soon.
T: Who are some of your inspirations and why?
AC: My father, for his persistence and if at first you don't succeed, pick yourself up and try again attitude. It's in the genes because I'm like that anyway, but he's a perfect example for me to follow. My mother, for her unselfishness, strength and truly unconditional love. I would love to be as un-jealous (If there was ever such a word) as she is! Madonna, because she is forever one-step-ahead of the rest, continuously making herself interesting and despite not being the strongest vocalists, she's an amazing entertainer and has provided us with brilliant music. Another one of her pluses is that even though she is one of the most successful recording artists in the world, she has not delved into abusive substances and has kept fairly grounded and spiritual. She's a brilliant businesswoman too. Ray Charles, because the struggles that man had to endure in order to get to where he eventually got to and to achieve all that he did are truly humbling. He wasn't perfect, but I think he did bloody amazingly well throughout his life. There are many people who inspire me, especially those who struggle and come out the other end stronger and better for it. Those kinds of people will never cease to inspire me.
T: What places /countries that you have you performed at?
AC: So far, only in the UK as I supported Jamelia in her first UK tour, and did a few of the summer festivals.
T: What other artists have you performed with and/or collaborated with?
AC: I haven't performed with any other artists in the past, but have done a few writing collaborations with people such as Fiona Renshaw, Nate James and Jamie Scott.
T: What new projects do you have in the works?
AC: I am writing from scratch, as all my past material is still owned by the label I was with, so I am now writing all new material for my forthcoming album. I have co-written and featured on the new Albert Cabrera (a.k.a. Lee-Cabrera) dance tune, which should be out this summer at some stage and will also be available on his personal album through Eye Industries. Plus a few little bits and bobs which have not yet been confirmed, which I'd rather not mention before they happen. But you'll know when I'm given the green light!
T: Do you use live instrumentation in your music?
AC: Yes, I try to make my sound as organic as possible. Sometimes because of the budgets it's not possible to have every instrument played live, but I try to work with writers and producers who can also play instruments as that helps the whole process.
T: Who are some of the producers that you have worked with in the past and present?
AC: Big Brovaz, Cutfather & Joe, Stargate, Johnny Douglas, Sebastian Rogers & Cr!b Productions, Biker & Delgado (Soulpower) , Pete Martin, Slow & Hard, Snowflakers, Kidz, Waterfall, Jiant, Trevor Jackson amongst others.
T: Do you play any instruments?
AC: Unfortunately not. I did have piano lessons when I was five years of age, but I didn't continue with the lessons, so I can't say I play the piano. Yes, I'm kicking myself now. My parents were never pushy parents, so if I said I didn't want to do something, they just said OK.
T: Do you produce or plan to produce in the future?
AC: I'd love to produce, though at the moment I leave it to the professionals. I'm learning things along the way and I'll probably produce my own vocals someday, because I know what I like to hear and how I want it to sound, if you can do it yourself, you avoid the complications of trying to explain what it is you want to somebody else!
T: What pearls of wisdom do you have for women who are afraid to show their power?
AC: Never be afraid to be the best that you can be, never be afraid to be better than the rest, never be afraid to be you! Always strive for more. If people are intimidated by you, use it to your advantage!
T: Please share all other thoughts, feelings and a website address.
AC: Life isn't easy, but think how boring it would be without the little struggles. We need the bad to appreciate the good. Don't let anyone put you off your dreams. We're all different but that's not a bad thing, it's the unique people who stand out and succeed so don't hide the real you. What is the norm? What everyone does or what is right? What your heart tells you is normal, not what your peers or society dictates. If you're going to rebel, make sure you don't hurt yourself.
T: Please add your website so people can keep up with your projects and performances.
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