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flag Argentina - flag Venezuela - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97

Ricardo Montaner
Interview - autumn 1997

After a long and distinguished career, sales of over six million records worldwide, and seven albums filled with classic hits such as Yo Que Te Ame, Ojos Negros, Dejame Llorar, Sera, and too many more to list here, Ricardo Montaner, born in Argentina but raised in Venezuela, has recently finished recording his eighth studio album, which will be released by WEA Latina on October 28, 1997. First single, Es Asi, (It's Like This), from the album of the same name has already been serviced to radio in the US and around the world and should debut on the charts next week. Recently, Ricardo was in Los Angeles to promote his new album and single, and was gracious enough to grant Luna Kafé this exclusive interview:

From the beginning, you have crossed international barriers with your music. Now, you have sold over six million records, please tell me how your personal and professional life have changed, and how they continue changing.

How has it changed? Before, I dreamed in black and white--now I dream in color. This is to just give you a quick explanation. Now, I think that day by day I continue crowing, and continue in my personal evolution, and I keep growing artistically as well. My truth is that I continue growing and my growth is shown to my public through my work.

What music influences you?

My European roots - my grandparents were European. Although I am Venezuelan, my parents were from Argentina, and the way I was brought up was very European, with many Italian customs. In the 80's, in my country, in Venezuela, there was a lot of Italian influence in the music. It was a very strong influence. And, the producer of my first album was Italian. His name was Paolo Manavello, he was my first arranger, my first producer. I am absolutely convinced that my music has been completely influenced by the Italian music and atmosphere.

What artists do you listen to?

Well, this is another thing entirely. I listen to and have always listened to Al Jarreau. He is definitely my favorite artist. I listen to a lot of music in Spanish and I like a lot of Spanish artists and composers. I also like to read. I read Mario Benedetti and I also like to read Argentinian authors. There is an Argentinian woman author who I like because she likes to describe the surroundings as she tells the story. She can tell you the story while she describes the chair, the table, the wall. That is the way I like writing, although she is better than me of course, but that is how I write the song. Even though I talk about two people in a relationship, I also give a lot of inportance to the surroundings, to the place that they live, to their environment.

And are you an author also?

Obviously! (Smiles)

But in addition to songs, is it true that you are writing a book?

Well, I haven't written a book yet. What I do is I have a pad, upon which I write all sorts of things. I write of many intimate moments in my life, of love letters etc. I decided not to be so rigourous on myself, because when you write songs you are always thinking about the rhythm and the timing. I let myself go, I vent, I write whatever I feel like writing, I write for hours until I get tired. Like I said, it is like a way of venting, of getting it all out. Then, I put it away, and those things I have written sometimes become songs, sometimes not. Sometimes they stay there, and sometimes I keep what I have written for later on.

Tell us a little bit about your most recent production, Es Asi (It's Like This) and how you came to work with Piero Cassano.

I had written a few songs with Piero before, such as Dejame Llorar (Let Me Cry) and Cuando Nacen Amores (When Loves Are Born) Vivir Con Animo (Live With A Positive Attitude) and the experience was wonderful working with him--we were very succesful with those songs, they sold a lot. And we were never able to work together again because he was very busy in Europe and I was very busy in America. Time went by until one day we decided that no matter how long we had to wait, we would work together again. That we would set a time and we would start working on this album, we would start writing this story together and so we did. It took us about six months to finish the album, but I can assure you that is one of the richest experiences of my life as an artist.

Why?

Because he knows a lot, he has a lot of experience. He has worked with many people, including Eros Ramazotti among others. He is very talented and you can definitely see his influence in my music on this particular album. This album was recorded in different countries - part in Italy, part in Bulgaria, and we also mixed in Paris, Germany and Sweden. It is a very powerful album, a very rich album as far as the music is concerned, and the technical details as well.

Of all your hits, which is your favorite?

Actually, my favorite songs were the ones that were NOT hits. Of my favorites are El Mundo Giro Aunque No Estes (The World Spins Even Though You Aren't Here), but that wasn't a big international hit. Me Va a Extranar (You Will Miss Me) is one of my favorites, but that one was a very succesful song. I also like Sera and Al Final De Arco Iris, which did really well here in the US. Oh, you know what? I have many songs that I like.

How do you see yourself musically at the moment?

It is all part of evolution and growth. But I can tell you one thing, that my essence is the same. It is kind of a way of being respectful towards my audience. They accepted me the way I was, and they don't have to put up with changes, with weird things, because that is the way they like me, so why change it for them? I am not going to scare them by coming out with green hair (laughs). Of course, as you grow musically, you change. But your essence has to stay the same. The way I see it, changing is a way of wanting them to change, and I have no right to do that. They are the way they are and I am the way that I am, and they love me and I love them and I respect them.

Do you prefer to be on stage or in the studio?

That is a good question! They are two entirely different things. In the studio, I am bareoot, I lay on the floor, I sleep if I want to. On stage it is different. I feel like I am barefoot, I walk on stage as if it was my house, and I enjoy it as if I was eating my favorite dishes or drinking my favorite wine. There are two different energies but one comes as a result of the other. It is almost like a full cycle-- the energy that I put in when I am in the studio reflects on my albums. Then they play the songs on the radio, and people buy the album and come to my concerts. Then the people bring their energy to my concerts and that gives the energy back to me. Then I reprocess the energy and I take it back to the studio and put it into my songs and so on. It is a way of exchanging love and positive energy. If one of those things were missing, then the cycle wouldn't be complete.

Do you have a computer and are you online?

I have a computer but I barely know how to use it! I know how to go online, and I also have my own page, but its not that great. Actually, it is really bad (laughs). My new record company (WEA Latina) is working with me to make it better. I know how to go online--and I know how to turn on the computer--- and turn it off! (Laughs again)

Finally, do you have a message for those who are going to read this on the internet?

Well, tell them not to turn me off! (Smiles) And to know that wherever they are, at this very minute, I might be anywhere in their fibic optics of their computers, or even in their keyboards. As a matter of fact, I am on the R of the keyboard! Bye!

Ricardo Montaner will be touring in support of his new album, Es Asi, beginning in February 1998, in South America. Look for Ricardo to perform in the US beginning as early as May of 1998. Es Asi will be available on October 28, wherever records and tapes are sold.

Special thanks to: Ricardo Montaner, Adolfo Fernandez, Pedro Biaggi and Elisa Berenstein.

Copyright © 1997 Allison Winkler e-mail address

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