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Catalina is a Moldovan by birth but when she was around 7 years old, she came to Portugal and currently she feels like Portuguese. She cannot imagine going back to Moldova. She studied Communication Sciences at the University of Algarve, but truly her biggest passion is Music.
We know that you have a relationship with music from a very early age, do you remember the first time you had contact with music? Was it in Portugal or in Moldova?
My first contact with music was in Moldova when I was 4 years old. At kindergarten I had a music teacher who wanted to work with me. So she invited me and my mother to go to her studio and we ended up working together for maybe a year, I don't remember precisely. But with her I had my singing lessons and my first contact with a studio where I recorded children's songs and performed my first live show.
And in Portugal, what did you find here that captivated you and made you feel at home?
What really made me feel at home was a reunion with my parents. Because my parents were working here but my sister and I were living in Moldova with my aunt and uncle. For me the "feeling at home" is being where the people I love the most are.
And now I am used to the life I have here, my friends, the people I work with, because more than half of my life I spend here.
Can we find a piece of Algarve in your artistic identity? In retrospect what were the main influences that helped you define the musicality of Catalina?
I always listen to international music, especially music in English. When I had my first band in high school, we had a lot of rock influences, we played songs from Paramore, Incubus, NoDoubt. Then when I began performing in bars / events with the band I started to feel connections with other types of music - soul, blues. Nowadays I am listening more to R&B / Pop and I'm having an even bigger connection with hip-hop. It is because friends around me are artists in that area. In other words, I feel that I have gone through all styles of music. So, I think I don't have a concrete answer to what defines my musicality. I think it's the feeling of the moment, each phase of my life is different, each song tells its own story.
What about writing, how does it fit into your life and how do you describe your relation with it?
From the time I’ve learned to write, I think it was in the first year of school when I started writing poems into one diary I had. The theme of the poems was mainly "Miss you" and I wrote them all for my parents. I never showed them to anyone. It was something only for me and I think it has become a habit since then to keep diaries where I can write how I feel. Then, when I came to Portugal, due to my English musical influences and because it was a language I also knew in Moldova, I started writing lyrics in English. On a poetic level, I think expressing myself in Portuguese has always been a challenge for me, but I intend to overcome it.
"(...) we know that, it's not because someone says no, that we'll stop doing our art, just because someone doesn't understand it, doesn't mean that nobody understands it."
Before this pandemic it was possible to see you in bars performing with your band while you also write, compose and produce your work. Tell us a bit about that journey that brought you to this day.
It was in high school when I started my first band. I was 16 and it was something that I always wanted to do so I gathered some friends and we formed GRYT. We were rehearsing at the musicians association and it was there in that place where I met other bands that invited me to be a vocalist. That’s when the opportunity arose to enter the world of covers, to perform in bars, hotels and events and to make some money with music. But the desire to make original music never left me which is why I always did both. The last thing I did before creating my solo project was "EPIPHANY" a pop/electronic duo. And nowadays despite having my own solo project CATALINA I maintain with my cover band.
In the last few years you’ve had two appearances in television programs. What was it like for you in The Voice?
Those who know the world of the arts, in this case of music, know the amount of "no" and "criticism" that we encounter in our lives. And I had already received a "no" in another program that I participated in when I was 16. Deep down we know that it's not because someone says "no" that we stop doing our art, just because someone doesn't understand it doesn't mean that nobody understands it. However, to participate in a program again was really scary, but my sister insisted and with her help I went there and this time I received a "YES". Overall it was a good experience to meet some people with whom I still keep in touch today. It's still an entertainment program so not everything we see is what it really is.
The second time, I received an invitation to do a blind performance at The Voice in Romania and I went mainly for the experience, as I had never been to Romania before.
You recently released 3 singles Butterflies, Lost Control and Moving On. We can feel Catalina reinventing herself with each song. What version of Catalina can we see and hear in each of these creations?
Each song has its own sound, corresponding to different phases of my life. Butterflies I think is more pop/R&B. It is about a badly ended relationship and the two characters attack each other for no reason because nothing will change. The message is that the best way is to let go of the butterflies we felt in our bellies because feelings are disappearing anyway. Lost Control has a very cheerful sound however the lyrics are the opposite and I wanted to create this paradox to show that not always what we show the world is what we feel inside. In other words, the first impact is the melody of the music that appears to be cheerful but if you spend a little time reading the lyrics you realize that the feeling of the music is a little darker. Moving On has a drum n' bass sound, a style I like as well, influenced by Ella Eyre.
In the production of music you have maintained a collaboration with the producer Tommaso Antico. How did you meet Tommaso and how has it been working with him?
Before working with Tommaso I did some work with "GoodjohnProductions". "Butterflies" are an example of that.
As for Tommaso I don't remember exactly how I met him, I think it was through Pedro Baptista, the current drummer of my band. And I like the way he makes my voice sound. Besides that he's a fantastic person and we are very good friends.
While working with Tommaso I met DNA Films. This is all a network, one person leads to another. With DNA we made very elaborate videos, which are very high quality and with them I feel comfortable because there is the friendship factor. However the video of "Moving On" was recorded with SpearLight.
If you had to list only 4 artists of the new generation who you admire and who inspire you, who would they be?
A difficult question because I discover so many new artists every day. I'll say the ones I've been listening to the most lately and that have inspired me are women Snoh Aalegra, Khelani, Kiana Ledé and Jorja Smith.
In this pandemic period, what do you miss the most?
Playing live again and being in the studio.
Thanks a lot Catalina!
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