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Interview with Filomena Croce
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music when l was ten years old. There was an audition for a choir at my school and l passed it. I never stopped singing ever since. l don’t know what l would have done otherwise. I am also a teacher, so that could have been a possibility.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When l am not playing music l like to cook, spending time with my loved ones, watching my favourite movies or series. I also love to have walks by the beach. Hearing the sound of the waves, feeling the gentle breeze and smelling its smell relaxes me and that helps me with writing, which is also one of my favourite activities. I also get inspiration when l am doing random tasks like washing dishes though, for example, even though l don’t particularly enjoy them ahah. What influences me really is what happens in my life at the time, what l am going through, more than the type of activity l’m busy with, l guess.
How long have you been making music?
Songwriting is relatively recent, like 7 - 8 years, but l’ve been singing for over 20 years. I started in a choir as a child and step by step l started my career. l got a bachelors degree in Jazz Voice at the Conservatory in Bari, Italy, my Masters degree in Jazz & Pop Voice at ArtEZ Conservatorium Zwolle, The Netherlands, l traveled around the world for my music, and l had the opportunity to sing at great Festivals like the London Jazz Festival and Tomorrowland and work with great names in the industry like Roy Hamilton lll, DJs Tiesto, Afrojack, Steve Aoki and more. I am sure you’re gonna ask me about my collaborations more in detail later in the interview ahah
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
l have spent the past ten years traveling around the world and moving to different places and that has surely changed me as a person, it has opened my eyes and my mind. When l write though l take a lot from my teenage years l guess, so the type of music l used to listen to at the time. Late 90’s and early 00’s sounds and Christina Aguilera’s poweful messages which l put together with my own experiences. l really get more inspired by events, less by places. I have also sang Indian music but I’ve never been to India before. It’s more about what l have inside, more than what surrounds me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
There are many memorable shows. From the EDM Festival Tomorrowland Belgium in 2019 (our orchestral performance of the Symphony of Unity has been watched by a million people online in the first 24 hours); to Tomorrowland Or Story - 15 years of Tomorrowland where together with múltiple Grammy Award Winning orchestra Metropole Orkest at the Ziggo Dome Arena in Amsterdam we have supported DJs Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Afrojack, Steve Aoki in front of an audience of 17.000 people; to the performance with the Big Samba group União dos Paises Bajos at the Bremer Karneval in Germany in 2018. I remember there was a theme, “Ball in the Universe”, so all the groups were dressed up as astronauts, aliens, Yoda. l was dressed up as Princess Leia from Star Wars and
it was one of the funniest shows ever. I love big audiences!
Even though it wasn’t a live show, also the performance with the Orphy Robinson’s Virtual Jazz Club Band for the London Jazz Festival 2020 was pretty memorable. I remember watching the premiere at home and saw my name written in big letters on screen. Thanks to the new online formula adopted due to the pandemic, that edition of the festival earned the Innovation Award at the prestigious JazzFM Awards in 2021.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There isn’t really a favourite venue. I love arenas, like the Ziggo Dome Arena, and l hope to sing more of these big shows in the near future.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
As a Bossa Nova singer, l would have loved to share the stage with João Gilberto and Tom Jobim. Unfortunately, they have passed away a few years ago.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you are really serious about music, you are and good at it, give your best and believe in yourself even when people will try to bring you down.And please believe in red flags. Both in personal and professional relationships, when someone is showing you a side you don’t like: run, it won’t get better.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is a difficult question as they are all special to me, all for different reasons. For sure Love Will Come Back is special as it is the song that gives the title to my first EP, released in April 2022 and it’s also the song among the ones from the album that really delivers the message of positivity and self love l wanted to give. Anyway, my latest single Renaissance was also ready to be included in Love Will Come Back, but for its energetic and powerful rhythm and even stronger message, l thought it was special so l decided to keep it on the side. I showed to award-winning producer Roy Hamilton lll and he was so enthusiastic about it that he personally invited me to Toronto to work on it and record it together. We released it on the 16th of February 2023.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Beside my original songs, l sing a lot of Jazz and Brazilian Music. Songs l’ve been asked to sing a lot are O Pato (the duck, in Portuguese) which is pretty funny as it talks about a duck, a goose, a swan and a garganey singing and dancing samba; and also My Funny Valentine that usually people dedicate to their loved ones. I personally love Dindi as well. It’s a ballad written by Tom Jobim and it’s simply beautiful, it makes me feel at home when l sing it.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
Like l previously said, l get inspired while doing the most random tasks. If l can’t stop what l am doing then l’ll try to hopefully remember what l thought about, otherwise l will just get the piano to play or take a piece of paper to write things down. There isn’t a process that l specifically follow. Sometimes l first think of lyrics, sometimes chords or melodies. My songs are all pretty autobiographic, so l take inspiration from my own life and things l go through.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Yes of course! The majority of my songs have very powerful and positive messages about self love. Learning how to love yourself without listening to other people’s opinions is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just know that you are more than enough, that your voice matters, and that you deserve all the love and success in the world. If you are good at what you do, you don’t need anyone’s approval to pursue your dreams and live a life full of peace and happiness. No matters what others think or say.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I have learned a very harsh lesson: never share anything too soon, or not even when it’s almost done or when you think it’s done or when you literally are on the way to it so even if you already took that plane or if you are on the way to the job, the interview, the whatever. Only share it when you have already done it. So, you’ll have to wait to know it ahah
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Of course, you can find me on YouTube, Spotify, Deezer, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook.. You can also have a look at my website. Just type Filomena Croce, you’ll find a lot about me :)