Cape Verdean songstress Anane has been making plenty of waves next to her legendary hubby Louie Vega lately, with accomplishments that include performing with the Elements of Life at the 2007 Superbowl, a single released last week, and a forthcoming debut album, Anane's World to be released on Tommy Boy Records.
Beatportal had the honor of gaining some insight into Anane Cape Verdean heritage, her mentors, relationship with Louie, and what's coming down the pipeline.
Basically, we got a sneak peek into the lovely Anane's world.
You've just released Bem Ma Mia from your forthcoming album Anane's World on Tommy Boy Records. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration for the album and its musical influences?
Yes, we just released Bem Ma Mi which means "come with me" in my native Cape Verdean language. My album Anane's World is a representation of my views, my hopes and my dreams - it's a soundtrack to the moments in my life.
Your roots stem from the island of Cape Verde. What kind of role did music play for you as a youth? What elements of it inform your current path as an artist?
Well, I didn't grow up in Cape Verde; I left at a very young age.
Because my father is Portuguese and my mom is Cape Verdean, when the country wanted to free itself from Portugal there was a lot of political tension.
We were basically forced and threatened to leave our homeland and everything we had.
But my parents kept our culture, heritage and traditions alive and present, even after arriving in the U.S. Mom would tell us beautiful stories of my family (the Xalino family) who were the guitar, violin and cavaquinho makers of the islands.
Having this connection to music, it remained strong and prevalent in our home, where we would have "serenades" (gatherings of family and friends), singing and playing mornas, coladeras and funanas, expressing feelings, longing to be back home, to a place they left behind. From these experiences, everything about my culture is present with me today as an artist.
When did you discover your impressive set of vocal chords? Did you have any role models or mentors while growing up?
I began singing from a very young age; it was a way for me to escape into a fantasy world of what I was discovering on American television. I would spend a lot of time in my room, writing and recording songs on a radio I got for my birthday. I remember saving up some money and going out to buy a cassette single of Lisa Fischer's Save Me'. I wrote it down word for word, memorized it and spent all my time emulating Lisa in the mirror.
Crazy that nearly 15 years later, I co-wrote three songs with her and she helped arrange a lot of the background vocals on my album. So there you have it: my mentor, my hero, my friend and now my colleague, Lisa Fischer. There are many others.
You are certainly a diva and well-seasoned performer in your own right, working the crowd from your vocals and musical talent down to your fashion sense and stage presence. Please talk about the nature and development of those elements.
I believe fashion and music go hand in hand. I've been fortunate to have some great designers collaborate with me and lend a helping hand.
Kenny Hwang is a NY jewelry designer who has been providing me with one-of-a-kind pieces, and Amen - an incredible company whose dresses I've fallen in love with - have also been on hand, lending me some of their showroom dresses. La Perla (who once and still make Sofia Loren her incredible corsets) has also contributed beautiful pieces for me to wear. And M.A.C. has joined my team, thanks to my assistant Antonello Coghe who's made a lot of these contacts for me. Anyone out there know of any shoe company for me? Ha ha!
On a personal level, what does your collaboration with Louie look like?
It's been an incredible journey for me, I'm still a pupil at the University of Life where I've been studying up on music, song writing, motherhood, married life, cooking lessons...learning to be a seamstress, athletic coach, cheerleader, the all around woman. And Louie has opened every door for me along the way.
As a performer, you've established yourself through several accomplishments - the rework of Yoko Ono's Walking on Ice' and your Elements of Life performance at Superbowl in 2007are just a few. How do you balance your own artistic vision with that of Louie's?
To work with someone like Louie is to be able to put all your trust in the hands of someone else. I mean, he respects my ideas, what I want to say, who I want to be; basically I am the vessel - the ship, let's say - and he is the captain that takes command and sets the right course to a successful journey of music. The beauty is that he lets me be me. I've been blessed that I can express myself in a way that is truly out of the box. The Superbowl was a highlight in my career; I have faith and determination that there will be more. You always have to respect someone you're working with, especially if they have a Grammy on the mantle...ha ha!
What's next for Anane?
I've been writing a movie, and Louie and I have finished the soundtrack for it. You'll have to wait and see.
Published by Beatportal (www.beatportal.com)