Q&A with Singer-Songwriter Rossana Taddei

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Rossana Taddei is a singer and songwriter of Uruguay.

Rossana Taddei is a singer and songwriter of Uruguay.

For the second straight year, Sounds from Uruguay is taking part at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival on Wednesday, March 12.

These year’s music acts include the mestizo Uruguayan rock from Cuatro Pesos de Propina, expansive punk from Hablan por la Espalda, Rossana Taddei’s eclectic and original musical style, Daniel Drexler’s pop-folk, unique poetry in songs from Ana Prada, and the blues of Señor Faraón.

In an exclusive interview for Living Out Loud, Taddei touched on several subjects, including her passion for music, musical influences, and SXSW.

Living Out Loud: How did you discover your passion for music, and when did you decide to pursue this career?
Rossana Tadei: When I was a little girl, when I was 8, that’s when I found my passion. I was already living in Switzerland by that time. I still remember going to this huge musical instruments store with my mother, and how excited I was whenever I was there. My first exposure to music came from home – people either played instruments or sang, and it was the norm. My father was an artist and my mother was a great singer. When I was 15, back in Uruguay, 2 friends and I decided to participate in the “L’air du Temps” contest. We won, and that was the beginning of my professional career.

LOL: What have been your musical influences?
RT: Having grown up in Switzerland, I was heavily influenced by music from Italy, and the great songwriters from the 70s and 80s such as Lucio Dalla, Fabrizio de Andre, as well as Italian legends like Mina. Upon arriving in Uruguay in ’81, I was also influenced by Eduardo Mateo, Alfredo Zitarrosa, Fernando Cabrera and Eduardo Darnauchans, among others. In my teens, I was influenced by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, among others…this list can be never-ending.

LOL: How would you classify your work?
RT: It’s very eclectic. I’ve been editing my work independently for a long time now, and what characterized my work is that it follows my heart. I compose about my own life, as well as poetry, such as “Sic Transit,” which is based on Uruguayan poetry. I use rhythms rooted in folklore. My main interests are in liberty and expression, but I wouldn’t go as far as labeling my work. I believe that’s a function off the business side of the industry.

LOL: How do you feel about being part of the Sounds of Uruguay portion of SXSW?
RT: I’m very excited, and very much looking forward to spreading our music in new territories. It’s a great opportunity to live our lives through the music with those who come to see us live. It’s what I enjoy the most.

LOL: What can the audience expect from your show?
RT: I don’t think the public should come expecting anything. They should just come, with open hearts, willing to listen not just with their ears. An expecting public is boring. The public is interesting when they’re active, and surrender completely. I will say, most people in attendance will be exposed to music they wouldn’t listen to normally.

LOL: What do you love the most from your native country?
RT: Uruguay has a lot of sea, and the Rochas coast is marvelous. I also love Cabo Polonio, which is a magical place with no electricity where we go to recharge and play acoustic sets. I love mate, and spending time with my friends. I also love all the wildlife and flora.

LOL: What do you do with your spare time?
RT: I don’t have much free time, and I enjoy what I do tremendously. I will say, when I’m not doing things relating to music, I like to read, swim, sew, cook, paint, and just chat with my friends.

LOL: What’s your greatest satisfaction right now?
RT: I would have to say, our new album Pescando en el Cielo. It features many guest stars from the Uruguayan music scene, and we’re very happy with it. I’m also very thankful to have met all these wonderful people. The songs were mostly written by me, and the album will also feature songs based on poetry by Humberto Megget.

LOL: What else is on your agenda for the month of March?
RT: I will be having a concert with my friend, singer/songwriter Samantha Navarro at the Tartamudo to commemorate international women’s day. On March 20, we’ll be having a concert in Barcelona and will be playing with renowned Uruguayan drummer Gustavo Etchenique, which is always a great pleasure.

Edison Millan contributed to this story.

Marvin Vasquez is a Senior Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @geo_la
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