Anna Roig: "When you feel bad you have to know how to accompany yourself"

There are many ways to understand music, and not all of them have to be good.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 March 2023 Friday 02:45
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Anna Roig: "When you feel bad you have to know how to accompany yourself"

There are many ways to understand music, and not all of them have to be good. It can be a refuge or a pleasure, but also a sentence that ends up dragging you to the ground. Anna Roig speaks about these risks knowingly in Contributing beauty to the world, her first studio work in ten years. Surrounded by seven musicians, including two members of l'Ombre de ton chi, the singer from Sant Sadurní, who presents a new image with short, undyed hair, covers through eleven songs the period of personal change that led her to to leave the stage in 2016 to return now with a song of love for music full of sincerity.

Bringing beauty to the world is a very direct message

It is a declaration of intent, I had stayed away from the stage all this time, although not from music because I have continued teaching. The moment of deciding to leave him was hard, but I was very emotionally touched and everything that had to do with going on stage caused me a lot of rejection because I didn't want to be exposed.

How did the change come?

What restored the taste for music on stage was seeing concerts again and realizing that what those musicians were doing was bringing beauty to the world. So I thought that what I was doing was also that, and I said to myself “value your music because you have also been bringing beauty to the world”. What I want now is to thank music for allowing us to do that in a world that is so often lacking in beauty.

It all starts with a withdrawal

I began to live music in a different way, I saw that what I didn't like about going on stage was not the music, but the pressure that I had put on myself. When you make records, you're not just a singer, you're also a songwriter and the manager of a project, and although it wasn't a large-scale project, the pressure was self-imposed because you want to fill the spaces where you perform, find others, and do everything well. You also have the feeling that people expect things from you.

At the end of the tour of the last album in 2016, I had the feeling of not wanting to return, and I wondered what would happen if I didn't. I thought maybe nothing was wrong, because we are magnifying the fact of being a singer as if it were a big thing, and as if a person could only be one thing in life.

and you stopped acting

With this decision I was calm, but at the same time I wondered "Who am I, if I'm not the one who makes songs and goes on stage?". I did a lot of personal work to accept that I am much more than the Anna who goes on stage, but I wanted a time of more seclusion.

How long did this gathering last?

Until 2019, three years after the last concert with Anna Roig i l'Ombre de tu Chien. It was with the project La Tendresse with Àlex Cassanyes that I returned to the stage, yes, well surrounded by 14 musicians, with Àlex's arrangements and the French songs that I like the most. I made myself a gift to enjoy it without pressure. I also had no plans to make a new album, and the pandemic also got in the way, and personal experiences like the death of my mother. Until one day the manager came and asked me why I didn't do a sequel to La Tendresse, and I thought “why do I have to redo something I've already done?” Maybe it's time to make a record with the songs I have in my drawer.

Did you have the themes already written?

Some were made since 2017, I finished the last one a few months ago, and it is the one that has cost me the most because I dedicated it to my mother. Other songs, like Una abraçada de mare, I did in 2017 because when I stopped going on stage I strengthened my work as a music teacher, I made a lot of music for babies above all. There I saw many hugs from mothers every afternoon and I realized what these hugs mean. If a child is hurt and I am going to comfort him, no matter how much he likes me, he will not stop until his mother comes. When you get older you realize that you have to give this mother's hug to yourself, when you feel bad you have to know how to support yourself in bad times, you don't have to count on someone from outside coming. Of course you can let yourself be helped by psychologists, but you have to do the personal work yourself.

How was this work in your case?

I did psychological therapy, also energy therapy, acupuncture and change of eating habits. When I finished the project in 2016, I suffered from depression with constant anxiety, unable to leave the house and even returned to my parents' house for a while because I didn't see myself as capable of doing things on my own. I didn't think that could exist, I didn't know what anxiety was, but I gave the last two concerts having had a crisis the day before, and you go on stage and make a face that everything is going well. Luckily I had the job with the babies, it's good to take refuge in a job where you feel useful and good.

Does he have a good time with babies?

They are great, they have no artifice, they fly the feathers. If you are proposing something about music and they don't like it, maybe they will look at the radiator, because they need to explore the world, and in the class there is music but there are also things to play, people to play with. It is an acceptance that everything is fine, you make your musical proposals but the public in front of you may like what you do or not. I also apply that now that I have published the album, I make a musical proposal and I care less than before if I like it or not, I have changed the chip. I don't care if more or less people come, if we do more or less concerts.

You have prepared the live shows very well

I have done it with Jordi Casanova, who is a National Culture Award winner. He directed a play called Tocar mare where my song Una abraçada de mare plays. Jordi is a specialist in taking things from real life and putting them on stage, and he has been in favor of explaining exactly what had happened to me with this personal crisis, explaining that I never planned to go on stage again but in the end I ended up coming back We will start from this transparent idea, with a staging where the lights will have an important role, there will also be scenery, with a circular platform in the center.

L'Ombre de ton Chien will not accompany you, or not all

There is Ricard Parera and Carles Sanz, of the other two members of l'Ombre de ton chi, one lives in Brazil, Magí Batalla, while Carles Munts is no longer dedicated to music. Àlex Cassanyes is the one who has made the arrangements, it occurred to us to add a vibraphone, which is an unusual instrument, and that Andreu Vilar will play. We also wanted wind instruments, Jordi Santanach who plays sax and clarinet, Alba Careta on trumpet and Alex Cassanyes himself who plays trombone. Also Carla González on double bass.

you go well accompanied

Now if I go on stage it's to give myself gifts, to do whatever I want creatively. Sometimes I talk about it with the manager and he tells me that if I performed as a duo it would be easier to sell the show, but that's not what I want to express, I want it to have this artistic form and I allow it. Will I give fewer concerts? I do not care.

What is the difference between Aportar bellesa al Món and previous works?

There's this jazzy sound that's always been there. Before it was more pop, now it is a little less. Àlex Cassanyes has a very contemporary way of composing, and he makes music that I call very European, a jazz with many layers that could serve as a movie soundtrack. On this album there are quite broken solos, and I love that they are. Moments of composition where the notes scramble, like in Com pot ser, inspired by my mother's illness, where there is a super broken sax solo, and the winds responding to each other all mixed up, it's daring and I appreciate it a lot.

Are you happy you made the record?

I'm doing it with great enthusiasm and I feel very supported by the management people and the musicians I work with. Now what I want is to have as many opportunities as possible to make music with these people and share it. Beyond that I have no prospects for the future, I have seen that music can be done in many other ways, and just as before I wanted concerts to prosper and leave music school, now I think of how lucky I was not to leave it.