Vanessa Forero: Interview -Colorful Wilderness Of Folkloric Colombian Music
While someone may describe the ups and downs of his everyday life by sketching the lines of a roller-coaster,
Someone else might picture his life as that ‘Same Boat’ sailing over the rainbow, back and forth, on different tides.
Vanessa Forero, chose to picture the tales of her life and roots through the image of this sailing boat.
This is why she’s releasing a 5-track EP this Monday March 28th, an actual 5 day trip for Columbia, with a new single, ‘Same Boat’ (Directors – Rob McLellan & Faye Fillingham, Creative Director & Producer – Vanessa Forero, Art Director – Faye Fillingham).
Her voice, calm and voice, charmingly invites you into a colorful, wild and astonishing story, taking place in the middle of an uproar.
The collection of stories told with an amazing taste of poetry by this authenticity of a Folk British-Colombian singer-songwriter, compose a debut EP titled ‘FROM THE UPROAR‘.
Vanessa is a skilled multi-instrumentalist as well as a producer, composer, arranger and vocalist.
After being selected in 2015 by Brit Award Singer-Songwriter Beth Orton to write and perform at her UK show, Forero decided to become her own artist and record her own songs in her distinctive Indie/Folk style with Latino influences.
Her sound is a reminder of her roots and has been greatly inspired by her time spent in Colombia, and Heavens knows, connecting with your roots adds Soul to your music:
Forero was first introduced to a whole new music scene whilst filming National Geographic’s feature documentary ‘Woman Raised by Monkeys’, a film based on the bestselling book on her mother’s extraordinary life ‘The Girl With No Name’, a book that she co-wrote herself.
Vanessa Forero is obviously one nice artist, yet not only, she’s also one nice and warm person, and it’s been a pleasure to interview her.
1) Folk Music is the best music genre to expose one’s roots, one’s cultural heritage and influences; it resonates with the core of your identity and this is why Folk Music is the synonymous of authenticity. What part in particular of your Colombian heritage would you like to transmit/share through your music? Why?
I’d like to most transmit the attitude and outlook of the people – that strong, feisty, spirited, colourful, wild thing that Colombians have in their blood.
As well as some of the tones in folkloric Colombian music – that tribal, raw, earthy sound that instruments like goat skin drums, native whistles and dancey little guitars bring.
All which I featured on this record.
2) People qualify your music of “warm”. How do you relate to this and what is your creative process to produce your own musical atmosphere?
Warm is good!
I intentionally wanted a sound that was all-inclusive, something that people felt was an open, friendly and accessible sound.
I could talk all day about how I felt to personally achieve that atmosphere because it’s in every detail.
It’s in the intervals in the melody, the harmony of the chord movement, the chosen range of the instrument I picked to play the part, the EQ used in post-production,
But I guess one practical method I can mention is the decision to keep things close-mic’d and keep the reverb low in the main, so that you hear the human’ness in things like hands slapping on the skin of the drum or the voice close to your ear rather than in a big atmosphere. Things like that.
3) You’ve written a song in Spanish, which does means much to you, if it leads right back to your roots and primary language. So concretely, qué Anhela significa para ti?
You’re right it does mean a lot to sing in Spanish for this record because, in part, this EP was my way of reminding myself who I really am, and at my very beginning, I was raised bilingual English and Spanish.
As for the meaning of the song, it comes across quite ambiguous but essentially it’s about my natural leaning for isolation and my constant longing for something greater – something I don’t think will ever be satisfied, and I hope it stays that way.
So those are two things most people would say aren’t very healthy, natural, or normal things to feel, but I’m learning to turn my strange ways into things that add to my outlook and enjoyment of life, so this song really cements that for me.
4) Tell us about your contribution to the documentary ‘Woman Raised by Monkeys’, an outstanding story indeed.
Well it’s based on my mums story that I co-wrote the book on a few years ago,
And that National Geographic turned into a feature documentary where I got to travel around with my mum in Colombia to find answers to the mysteries of her life as a kidnapped child in 1950’s Colombia,
And to find supporting evidence for her time living in the jungle alone with monkeys for over 5 years! All of which we found.
You’ll have to watch the documentary!
5) Beside your Latin roots, has this story influenced one of your songs? Inspiring you about childhood, family, nature…?
Yes it has inspired a few songs but not any that are on this EP.
One song ‘Forgotten to Be’ was written from the voice of my mother speaking to me, and it was my way of trying to get in her skin, feel and see things as she did with what she went through.
The other song was written out of the confusion in not knowing my heritage. Because of mums kidnapping, we’re all left rooted in this great mystery – like the Mayans!
So the song is called ‘Old Mayan Mill’ – ‘Mayan’ for the mysterious Latin-American side, and ‘Mill’ for my Yorkshire side. That song will definitely be on my next record.
6) In your overall poetry, we find the concepts of underwater-themed video, and a guitar decorated with birds, how much do you relate to the Nature?
I relate to it totally.
When I’m most absorbed in nature is when I’m closest to myself.
That’s where I really open up like a flower in full bloom.
I do struggle from time to time with my natural leanings to escape society and a man-made world, it does me no good in attaching to the reality I do live in so I’m learning to find my ways to do that, but my default and happiest place is on my own in as natural setting as you can get me.
I crave and need moments of that in my life so I make sure to get time in that setting.
7) Finally, tell us about the making of your video Same Boat, which happened to be quite a journey we’ve enjoyed embarking on.
The video was made on a shoestring budget with me and a few talented friends, so it’s a home-made, love child!
With the song having a watery metaphor and with my love of underwater vintage theatre, they had to be put together, and luckily it worked perfectly.
So that….as well as living out some childhood dreams to be a pirate and a mermaid!
Congratulations on your EP!