“Learning to sing is like learning any other instrument.” – Interview with Marcela Bovio

Today’s interview is, in fact, with one of the most hard-working women in metal I know. Looking back at her musical journey in the past twelve months is proof enough; she released a phenomenal album “Dhyana” with symphonic death metal supergroup MaYaN, became one of the first Universal Voice teachers and, most recently, her second solo album “Through Your Eyes” came out. The word is about Marcela Bovio, best known as a former vocalist of progressive symphonic metal band Stream Of Passion. She’s performed with The Gentle Storm and Ayreon, the list of albums featuring her first-class vocals goes on and on, whether it is backing vocals, guest vocals or choir work. On top of that, she’s a successful solo artist, songwriter, lyricist, violin player and certified vocal coach. Naturally, it was a pleasure to go through this multitalented lady’s career milestones in her precious company. Without further ado, enjoy the following interview with the lovely Marcela about her new album, singing, metal in Mexico and more below.

MG: Hi, Marcela! Thanks for the chat, it’s much appreciated. Let’s start with your new solo album „Through Your Eyes“. It was released on December 7, and it was your fans who submitted all the ideas and concepts for the songs. Compared to your previous work, where you had a free hand at creating lyrics and atmosphere for the songs, was this easier or on the contrary – more stressful and challenging to meet someone else’s expectations?

5300355008Marcela: For some reason, having a very clear idea and concept before starting writing is something that I found very encouraging and helpful. Especially because I wanted the ideas provided by the fans to come across very clearly through the songs.

MG: For the artwork, you asked your sister Diana Bovio, who also sings on the album, to work with you. What was the process like? Did you give her some instructions, or you let her work freely on it?

Marcela: I told her the concept behind the album and gave her total freedom. She just perfectly understands me and my work! And I’m so happy with the results.

MG: Speaking of the artwork, it’s a bit different in mood and colours compared to the artwork of your debut solo album “The Unprecedented”. Does it correspond with the atmosphere of new songs? Is “Through Your Eyes” more cheerful or just as melancholic and sombre as its predecessor?

Marcela: It’s definitely much less sombre than Unprecedented; there are a lot more moments of hope and light on this album. Although there’s still a melancholic element, can’t help it 😊

MG: You often play solo shows in the Netherlands accompanied by Erik van Ittersum on piano. Do you plan on taking your new material on the road outside the Dutch soil?

Marcela: Yes, I hope I can do so! Looking into some possibilities at the moment 😊

MG: You have recently released a new album with Mayan titled “Dhyana”. It’s a very complex album with many layers. The band recorded with a symphonic orchestra for the first time, all of this possible thanks to a very successful crowd funding campaign. I have to say that I was blown away by the result. Also, the reviews coming from all around the world were pretty positive. What’s your personal highlight of “Dhyana”?

Marcela: I’m so happy with the whole album! It’s hard to choose a favourite track… For me, the biggest strength of this album is its variety: there are super extreme metal passages, as well as very quiet, tranquil moments.

MG: I think that fans know you mainly for your work with Stream Of Passion or performing with The Gentle Storm. The truth is that we can also hear your voice, lyrics and violin playing on many albums from artists such as Epica, ReVamp, Ayreon and The Gathering. Now you’re a full-time member of Mayan, you have a second solo album out, and you’ll be joining the line-up for Ayreon live shows in September 2019 again. This time, performing “Into The Electric Castle” in its entirety. That’s quite a journey! What do you consider your biggest achievement? What moment in your career are you most proud of?

Marcela: Again, it’s hard to choose because all those things have brought me great joy in one way or another. But if I must choose then I have to say releasing my first solo album is something that I’m very proud of; is something that I hesitated of doing for the longest time, so to have gone and done it and create an album that was so unconventional is something I can very happily look back to.

35975702_1789748741068666_9052739802297794560_nMG: You’re also active as a vocal coach. You’re one of the first Universal Voice Teachers, you’re part of the team at Metal Factory in Eindhoven, and you’re giving private lessons too. One thing that really caught my attention is that you’re convinced anyone can learn how to sing. Is that really so? Could you elaborate on that?

Marcela: Yes! I am convinced it’s possible. Learning to sing is like learning any other instrument: you just need to be patient, practise and do the work. That’s it. It might be a bit more difficult for some people because of shyness, but if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and work hard then you can learn 😊

MG: You left your home country Mexico a few years back and moved to The Netherlands which is a small paradise for female fronted metal bands in a way. We could say that with this move, many doors have opened for you. You have come a long way since you started with music as a kid. The list of artists you’ve worked with is endless. Do you think that all of this would have been possible if you had stayed in Mexico? What’s the situation like for young aspiring metal bands and female metal artists in Mexico compared to Holland?

Marcela: I think me moving to Holland has definitely influenced my career. I mean, I had already worked with Arjen Lucassen while I was still living in Mexico and this already opened a lot of doors, but a lot of things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t living here; like working on so many productions, it’s very uncommon for a studio to hire a singer on the other side of the world! Furthermore, I think in Mexico it’s a little bit more difficult for metal bands to make a name for themselves because, for a weird reason, in Mexico, we tend to look down to metal music from our own soil; it could be a sort of post-colonial inferiority complex…

Marcela with Anneke van Giersbergen and Floor Jansen

MG: I checked your website the other day and found a list of your favourite singers, Anneke van Giersbergen being one of them. You were supposed to be a part of her progressive metal band VUUR but left before any material was released. You worked on The Gentle Storm together, you shared the stage for Ayreon live performances a few times, and you seem to have a really close relationship. How does it feel to work so closely with someone you admire? Apart from Ayreon later this year, any chances we‘re gonna see you working together again in the future?

Marcela: For me, it was a dream come true and a huge honour to sing with Anneke. Next to Ayreon, we have no plans of working together again, but I sure hope we get the chance!

MG: I know that you’re a big fan of melancholic and atmospheric music. What’s that one song that never fails to move you emotionally?

Marcela: Many to mention! I actually made a playlist on Spotify with all my favourite melancholic tracks, check it out.

MG: I need to mention one more thing before we come to an end. Our main goal with Metal Goddesses is to support women in metal. I’d like to know if there’s any band, female metal singer or musician in particular who you feel like is terribly underrated. Would you like to give a shout-out to any of your female colleagues?

Marcela: Please do check out these three bands if you don’t know them:

Scarlet Stories: with the amazing Lisette van den Berg, my Ayreon colleague
Porselain: with my ex-Metal Factory student and wonderful vocalist Micky Huijsman
Madder Mortem: incredibly fantastic and underrated band from Norway

MG: Well, thank you very much for your time, Marcela. Any last words to your fans and our readers?

Marcela: Just once again thank you for your support! I hope to get a chance to see you on a stage near you sometime 😊

FACEBOOK: Marcela Bovio
INSTAGRAM: @marcelabovio
TWITTER: @marcelabovio

Cover photo: Emilie Garcin