“I think I never decided to become an artist like I never had to decide to breathe, because it came to me as a natural instinct.. my natural instinct. It felt like the path I simply was meant to follow, the one where I can be my real self, where I feel happy and complete and…in love with the whole Universe.” – @elenamaroreal
Listen to the Interview
Episode #321 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax :
GETTING TO KNOW ELENA MARO
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
It all started very soon…
If I think of my days as a 3-4 year old child I still can see myself dancing all day long around the house and singing out loud sitting on the stairs (great acoustics there!), making my parents and my beloved elder brother crazy! I can also recall I’ve always dreamt about America and wanted to become like one of those famous American singer songwriters I so looked up to.
I am a huge fan of Carole King…
also named my folk guitar Carole after her and that’s how I met her (the guitar 🙂 )… I had been studying jazz and modern singing and had been performing professionally for several years, but still I felt like something was missing. I started feeling the need to learn to play an instrument to make the songs I could hear in my head become real, so I studied piano and composition for a few years and started to compose my music. Then, a day in May, I was walking in the street and, suddenly, felt the urge to enter a music shop and buy a guitar like if someone had ordered me to. That day really changed my life. Many years have passed, I had so many chances I couldn’t even have imagined and that guitar is still with me.. As in a sort of propitiatory rite, I always start a new song with that guitar… It’s almost like magic…
I think I never decided to become an artist…
like I never had to decide to breathe, because it came to me as a natural instinct.. my natural instinct. It felt like the path I simply was meant to follow, the one where I can be my real self, where I feel happy and complete and…in love with the whole Universe.
Moreover studying ballet and modern contemporary dance made me grow up in a music filled environment, a fact that I think influences my style in composing and songwriting… Music vibes are first of all a physical thing; if the sound is right it goes straight from the skin to the heart and soul… so powerful!
This aspect I particularly keep in mind when creating sound effects. Searching the perfect sound is an amazing process! For example, last autumn I have been asked by Alessio Bertoli , the theatre director I work with in the Artists Association NIG Nuove Idee Globali to create a sound effect to express what happens in the human brain when Alzheimer’s Disease hits a brain cell. It was needed for a theatre drama for a charity event in favor of Alzheimer’s Disease patients produced by the Alzheimer Association in Asti and called “La parola smarrita”(“The missing word”)
I think it is really exciting when you find the inspiration…
to create an effective sound effect to express a sound that doesn’t even exist! In that case I used a violin track I edited to make it sound like an electric shock, accompanied by different tracks edited and mixed of the sound of my dishwasher, recorded putting the microphone in different positions, and used it to express the sudden sense of loss and confusion of the character hit in that precise moment by the disease…
I have just been asked to create the music for…
a choreography for a ballerina to be performed during a theater gala in Monza in June. I just met with the dancer, told her my ideas and we were on the same page already! Plus I discovered that the gala is organized by a former dancer who used to be my Flamenco teacher like 20 years ago, fantastic! I am looking forward to meet her again .
This instrumental is featured in the final scene of the drama I just told you about… The main character finds himself alone in the end… all his memories are almost gone… like dandelion seeds blowing by the wind and taken somewhere else, who knows where… Then he suddenly recognizes his niece and so he takes her by the hand and slowly, walks away while the other characters ( I interpreted his wife’s best friend) watch him lovingly.
The story I would like to share instead is about the magic that happens, as in this case, when I get a new script and, after discussing it with the director, when I get home I immediately have to sit at the piano and then the new theme start flowing on its own, so naturally… then of course there are still many hours ahead for the arranging, the recording and mixing and all, but that particular moment of inspiration in the making is the one I really cherish.
I feel blessed to be able to experience the creativity process…
in that way and I am grateful to be getting the chance to work in the performing arts field. It puts me in touch with such amazing people and beautiful souls… The connection between people in this field lay on a spiritual level more than just a professional one.
One of the photos I am sending you features me last weekend during one of the repeats of a theater drama by NIG called “madness Interiors” where I am singer songwriter and actress… I wrote six songs based on the story of the script and performed live during the repeats, interpreting a character at the same time and the songwriting process was amazing as well.. It is such a strong script, music and lyrics came incredibly fast, all of a sudden!
Upcoming EP: the track called ” πάντα ῥεῖ – (Everything Flows) Bitter Sweet Theme” is about the fact that everything and everyone change while life flows and we’d better do the best use of it, never losing hope. I called it bitter-sweet theme cause I am a fan of Synesthesia.
“The journey” is the title of the EP of instrumentals I am currently recording. It is dedicated to life travelers who, just like me, have experienced some serious bumps on their road and the message I wanna give is that after all your suffering, still your soul can guide you towards a new life, a better life. But you must have faith and listen to your soul. It knows what is the best for you.
As I was saying THE JOURNEY has just begun and from the moment I decided that I deserve my life to be as happy as a nice party, life itself started to planning that party for me! Such amazing and unexpected things are happening every day -like you listening to my tracks and featuring me!- and the more I smile , the more reasons to smile I get…
Regarding the tracks included in the EP I receive messages everyday from people who just thank me for writing such deeply touching tunes and I am so grateful for that.: I just want to make my message of love, positivity and hope get heard and I really mean it, so at the moment I am not thinking too much about the marketing aspect. I will think about it when the EP is ready, so many good things may be happen in the meantime, I know I will figure things out when the moment comes.
I live on top of a hill in the Monferrato countryside in Piedmont, northern Italy…
My house is a restored farmhouse built in between beautiful vineyards which last year have become a Unesco World Heritage Site.
I bought this house right after my life as I knew it had fallen apart and I needed a project to keep me busy and focused.
I refurbished it with my bare hands, doing all the work myself, including wall painting, assembling furniture, putting on chandeliers, making curtains and so on.. with the aim to sell it one day and to use the profit to do something for myself as a musician. well, the house is almost sold now and I am so excited #thejourney has finally begun… I have two plans involving my favorite cities in the world : Los Angeles and London and I am looking forward to put them in motion 🙂
The country town where I live is ten minutes drive from Asti, which is a very nice medieval town. In Asti I have been part of the local artist community for years. In particular two years ago I joined the Artists Association NIG and started working continuously as a singer songwriter, composer, sound designer, playwright and actress in theatre productions. Asti is a small city, but it has got a vibrant artistic life with two theatres up and running and this fits me perfectly, giving me the chance to keep on working in the Performing Arts field.
At the moment I can’t tour as my day job is teaching English at two local Primary Schools. (By the way, luckily my students are my fans, maybe because I put my experience in the performing arts area into use for teaching English, so in my lessons I put music, acting, dancing and creativity is welcome, that way students can get really involved. I also created an ESL teaching method called “FUN-tasy English” based on performing arts)
As I said, Asti is a small town and so there aren’t many places to go out or even less to gig, that’s one of the reason why, even feeling grateful to the fellow artists in NIG who gave me the chance to work in such beautiful theatre productions and with so many amazing artists, I feel like I need to go abroad for a while.
Living in such a beautiful place…
I go hiking a lot, it helps me recharge my batteries and “clear my ears” in between the work in my home studio. I also love gardening and, as I am Italian, cooking is one of my favorite hobbies of course, you should try my home made ravioli and pizza and bread!
But when I want to have fun I watch one of my favorite romantic comedies, yes, I must confess I am a hopeless romantic 🙂
Living in such a beautiful, but still small and remote corner of the world I really don’t know what I’d do without social media! They really help you make and keep connections and get your sound heard. I mean, the fact that ANYBODY in the world can one day hear one of your tracks and then totally change your life is amazing, isn’t it?!
You may say there is plenty of exceptional free indie music online so the chances you get are really small, but I think you don’t need to worry about this. You just keep on doing your music with competence and love and then the occasion will rise. Be true to yourself and believe in you. If you don’t, how would you expect other people to?
Singles vs an album…
As I said before, there are so many options and factors to keep in mind and I think there aren’t specific rules. Music business changes constantly, sometimes in the blink of an eye. You have to keep your mind “alerted” and when you feel the right window for you music is opening, just go for it! Please remember I am a “music business virgin” :))
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
That would definitely be Josephine Baker! (I hope you will consider my answer, even if the person is dead.. because SHE REALLY IS MY INSPIRATION!!! She was an eclectic artist , a wonderful and generous person, and, most of all she really loved what she did and never gave up!) Three years ago I was thinking about writing my first theater monologue to be performed by me. I wanted it to be about a dancer and one morning I woke up with the name of Josephine Baker in mind. I started researching and was immediately captured by her story! So I wrote “…And the Ocean in Between_ an emotional biography”. The monologue tells Josephine’s story as she would tell it herself: sitting in the garden of the house in Roquebrune, near Montecarlo, talking about her experiences as a woman and as an artist and about all the emotions that accompanied her existence. During her life Josephine Baker experienced many historic events of the XX Century herself and that makes her story even more relevant and interesting.
Known to the worldwide audience as “The Black Venus” or as the woman who first danced topless wearing the famous banana skirt, she may be considered the first real pop icon; but she was way much more than “just” a great revolutionary artist and this is what I wanted people to know through my monologue.
I discovered an amazing person and wanted to share it with the whole world. She left everything and moved to France and even when she made it in Paris she never forgot about what she experienced as a child in racist America.
The last words of the monologue are about the only time she really got afraid, when she was about to get on the transatlantic to cross the Ocean “My heart has been split, my beloved hometown left behind, a free land to become my new home…And the Ocean in between”
Josephine Baker gave her personal contribution against racism and also gained three medals of honor from France ( one of them the prestigious “Legion d’Honneur”), she began an active part in the fight against racial segregation and also participated, with a suggestive and powerful speech, to the March on Washington in 1963, totally supporting Martin Luther King actions.
Since as a little girl she experienced the tragedy of exploitation, of physical and psychological violence, of sexual harassment and of racial discrimination herself.
All these facts made her a real modern woman who always did it her way, by countless sacrifices, making her way through life with the constant determination, definitely “futurist” in the Twenties, “to never depend economically on a man”.
She couldn’t build a traditional family, so she adopted 12 children from different countries with the aim to show the whole world what brotherhood is. Josephine Baker’s story represents women’s chance to win their battle against disadvantage, be it cultural, social, racial or economic by an extraordinary will, a deep trust in life and the endless capacity to love.
A fantastic performer and outstanding woman! When I was researching on her I also had the honor to meet her son Jean Claude Baker (who sadly is no longer with us as well) in his restaurant in New York. I was impressed by the need he felt to talk about his mother and the suffer that it still caused to him…He quickly answered my email and told me to go and meet him… And once I talked to him I remember feeling so sad and connected to him. I’ll never forget that night. It’s impressed in my heart like a writing carved in stone.
Moreover, in the restaurant ,dedicate to Josephine Baker, it felt like she would had come and perform any minute.. It was like magic. I would like to meet her and feel her energy. It must have been unique!
I think you don’t need to force yourself to become trendy…
you have just to focus on being yourself and be the unique person and artist you are.. that way you’ll give yourself the chance to BECOME the trendy one. Other attitudes will make you just an imitation 😉
Anyway it is important to listen and to get connected with as much other artists as possible, it allows you to get inspired and to learn one another.
I am most afraid of…
Maybe you won’t believe it, but I am absolutely not afraid of anything. Fear is a bad, bad counselor, the worst and if you let fear have you, then you will find yourself always a step behind anybody else and will feel time is going by and you are uselessly staying still in your state. Life is too short for wasting time being afraid.
My personal definition of success is..
to be able to change your life and allow yourself to live 24/7 loving what you’re doing and doing what you love. It may seem not easy at all, as if you look around you’ll find so many unhappy and frustrated people, but IT IS. Living like that IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS. show the world you’ve got the guts, make your choices, have faith and go and grab it!
I was living in a state of “stand by”, working too hard, thinking too much, stuck in the past, doing things I didn’t feel mine… then I decided I had enough and made some serious choices. I put the house on the market and started planning the journey. It is all happening and it is happening pretty fast, too, so this is the proof that success as I mean it is behind the corner.
My overall goal for my life & career is…
I have been spending years watching Hollywood films and American TV series to keep my chops up with the language and as an artist I adore finding the great artists who are included in the soundtracks.
Since one thing leads to another my dream is now to have my tracks featured in a TV show or in films and I am working on it 🙂
3 Ways that I challenge myself… Whatever my objective, I always take this steps:
1) Make the decision, then be true to yourself
2) Have faith, don’t be afraid and never give up!
I am challenging myself in…
living this way, every day, every minute, so the challenge is not in what I do, but in HOW I do everything.
List of my social media links and websites