Today’s Track of the Day comes from Ecuadorian-born ‘Maria Usbeck’. We talk to the artist about the new single ‘Uno Des Tus Ojos’ and working with Caroline Polachek
Today’s BOOM! Track of the Day comes from the stunning Ecuadorian-born, Brooklyn-based musical talent Maria Usbeck. Her new single “Uno De Tus Ojos” is taken from her new debut album ‘Amparo’ – due to be released on May 27 via Labrador in Europe, Cascine in North America and Rallye in Japan.
The album was written and recorded from an assortment of locations, from Costa Rica to her home of Brooklyn, over a course of 3 years and was produced by Caroline Polachek (well know as Beyoncé’s producer and a member of Chairlift).
To date Esbeck’s releases have been mainly in the english tongue. However, her new album sets the tone of ‘home’ and the artist therefore re-shuffled things slightly by recording in her native language of Spanish and immersing her Ecuadorian roots. ‘Amparo’ takes its title from Usbeck’s middle name and her mother’s name, and translates roughly as “to guide, protect, and embrace.”
‘Uno Des Tus Ojos’ is today’s GIGsoup Track of the Day and we recently caught up with the musical talent to find out a little more about her background….
“Uno De Tus Ojos” is your new single. What was your inspiration behind the song?
The inspiration behind the song really came from this one place I visited in the south of Spain. Vejer De La Frontera, I was supposed to only be there for 2 days but my friends and I liked it so much we decided to stay longer. It’s a town that is located on top of a hill, every building is painted white and it’s history much like a lot of the parts of the south of Spain ranges from the occupation of the Moors to then later becoming a primarily catholic place. There is a convent in this town of clustered nuns and so these elements and my personal upbringing with Catholicism all came to play when writing Uno De Tus Ojos.
With your previous material in English why did you choose to switch to Spanish?
Writing in Spanish was something I had wanted to do for a very long time. To be able to sing in my native language, express myself in the language that comes the most naturally for me. I traveled to Spanish speaking countries to be able to fully embrace it once again, to hear it 24/7 to dream in it.
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You moved to Brooklyn at just 17 from Ecuador. What drove you to make the move?
The primary reason was to study, I decided to move to the US at 17 to attend art school there. Quickly I began composing music and formed my previous band many years later.
Musically do your influences derive from experiences you have had in America or elsewhere?
I would say that my musical influences are truly worldly. Growing up I listened to what was popular in South America, this ranges from Salsa, Merengue, Pasillos, Andean music etc. When I was a teenager I started to pick up on European music a lot, Brit Pop, Techno, Dance. Much later I got very much into 80’s Pop and New wave. And in the last 8 years it’s really truly been quite diverse. My favorite latest record I bought is by this African Cuban inspired group called Amara Touré.
You had the amazing opportunity to work with the likes of Caroline Polachek on your new material, how was that experience and how did that come about?
I’ve known Caroline for quite a few years now and so naturally she had hear that I was working on a solo record and she wanted to hear my demos. I sent her the first 4 songs I had done and she immediately responded that she would love to possibly co-produce the album. I was psyched to work with her and so upon finishing all the demos I returned to New York and we spent 2 months in the studio bringing this album to life. It was an amazing experience, not only did I get to work with a good friend but also someone whose work I truly admire. Learned so much from this as far as production goes and also little things about her musical upbringing such as her days of bongo shredding in Belgium. She is quite good!
Musically how would you describe your sound in 10 words to new fans?
Amaro is an album that combines nature, language, latin instrumentation and a touch of 80’s nostalgia.
What has been your best highlight to date and what is your next milestone?
I’m loving how well fans are responding to my transition between Selebrities my former pop band and this new project. How they are understanding and embracing the music being in Spanish and indigenous languages.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Any exciting ventures you would like to share?
Well I’m going on tour for a minute with Yumi Zouma, to the West Coast. Then playing locally in New York and possibly Europe in the fall. Also I’ve begun to work on a single that I hope to be releasing very soon as well.