Joining a band after things ended up unexpectedly with their previous singer is never an easy task. Especially when everything happens in a blink of an eye. But if you’re as strong, talented and fearless as Shirley Tracanna, it’s a piece of cake for you. This merry energetic Italian-born vocalist living in the Czech Republic joined symphonic metal band Wishmasters back in 2018 and immediately stole everyone’s hearts. Throughout the following lines, she shares some of her memories from her beginnings with the band, we talk about their concept album “Afterworld”, covering songs, working as a pharmacist but also what material can we expect from Wishmasters very soon.
MG: Shirley, you joined the band shortly after the former singer decided to quit unexpectedly. You had very little time to adapt, learn the repertoire, the band was in the middle of recording their new album… There was simply a lot of pressure. It kinda reminds me of the story when Floor Jansen had to help out Nightwish and learn the setlist in 48 hours. How do you look back at this time, your hectic beginnings with Wishmasters?
Shirley: If I look back I have those memories very foggy, everything happened so fast that I don’t have clear memories… I have just some flashes from that time :
I remember the first meeting with the guys, then the long journey to Bledow where we shot the video, the fast ride to the emergency room because I cut my foot during the shooting, then the first concert where everything I was thinking about was the lyrics of the songs… I see all these memories sped up 😀
But jokes apart, it was kinda hard at the beginning, but I was excited, confused. But luckily, I found some good friends in the band that supported me.
MG: Wishmasters started as a tribute band. Can you imagine being their singer if they hadn’t transformed into a proper band with their original music? Would that concept be interesting enough for you as a vocalist?
Shirley: Well, I’m not a huge fan of tribute bands. I like covering, but not as my main activity… I wouldn’t feel like I realized myself, living the success of others. It’s a good start, a good way to practice the work with the audience, to train the instruments… but I wouldn’t feel self-realized.
MG: You’ve joined the band after their debut album. What are some of your favourite “Beatrice” songs to sing live? Did you have to make many changes to adapt the vocals to your voice?
Shirley: Beatrice is a very classical symphonic metal album. I like it very much and probably my favourite song is the waltz-like “Broken Heart” and “Suspicion” sung by our bassist Petr… It was strange at the beginning because the whole album was very low for my voice, so we had to transpose some songs to make them more comfortable for me to sing.
MG: Have you ever discussed a possibility to re-record the album with you on vocals?
Shirley: Haha, about the re-recording, I cannot say anything yet :p
MG: Your latest album “Afterworld” is an epic fantasy/sci-fi concept album based in the future and you’re the main character who tries to save the world. In this story, you have magical powers. If you were a real superhero, what would your superpowers be?
Shirley: My superpower? It would definitely be to eat and not to gain weight 😀 I’m joking, a great superpower would be teleportation, so I would see my Italian family more often and since my best-friend and keyboardist Joe lives 200km away, it would be great to appear in his living room with a bottle of wine 😀
MG: You’ve shot an epic music video for the title track in a desert in Poland. It was a very ambitious production with a complicated storyline, all the logistics and special effects. The video was shot twice, once with the old singer and the second time with you. The guys had more time to prepare, re-do everything, improve things and make the final result even more epic in general. On the contrary, you had to learn everything very quickly, including a fighting choreography. Since you were the main character, you had to shoot many different scenes, plus these harsh conditions of the desert setting… How was that experience for you?
Shirley: It was amazing. I love acting so it was a way for me to get self-realized 😀 It was indeed a little bit hectic because we had rehearsals and during snack pauses, I had to train the fight choreography. Then I jumped back again to train the songs… The choreography was something new for me, but I really enjoyed it 😊
MG: We see you defeat Ruat with Maugrath at the end of the video. We know what happens with Maugrath; he takes over the city of Emrei and heals the planet. But what about Shi? Is there a chance to see more of her character on your future releases or is this story completely finished?
Shirley: Surely the story does not finish in fact. As you can see at the very end of the “Afterworld” official video, there´s a tiny sneak peek that leads us to an open ending and I would advise looking for the details 😊
MG: Last year in March you released a new single called “Wasteland”. The song was supposed to be a part of an EP, a kind of a prologue to “Afterworld”, but you’ve been quiet about it since then. Are you still going to release the EP at some point? What are your plans?
Shirley: Previously, we wanted to publish “Wasteland” as an EP with new songs but then, we keep those songs for the third album… So I would say that “Wasteland” will be an “extended” single, composed by 7 songs: 3 versions of “Wasteland” and other exclusive versions of some older songs from “Beatrice”.
MG: Just like many other artists, you’ve used the lockdown period to record some cover songs. I loved your one-take cover of Within Temptation’s “Forgiven” especially. What are some of your favourite songs to sing at home? Is there any particular song you’d like to release a cover of but didn’t have an opportunity yet?
Shirley: Since Epica shared the three songs from their upcoming album, my neighbours have to listen to “Freedom” and “Abyss of Time” on daily basis 😀 But nobody is complaining yet. On 9th of February, I collaborated with Everton Soares from Piano Roll on the cover of “Rivers” from Epica and I really enjoyed it and hope that our listeners enjoyed it 😊 And since we have our studio, we sometimes decide to record a cover from one day to another, so yeah, we are planning other covers.
MG: You experience the covid from two rather contradictory sides – as a musician and as a pharmacist. That’s quite tricky, isn’t it? How are you dealing with the situation?
Shirley: Covid… during covid people got very rude. I noticed that they don’t like to go to the doctors and they prefer going to the pharmacy using some over the counter medications… we started to be almost like their doctors… I got all sorts of question that I’m legally not allowed to answer… we are living harsh times.
MG: Now to finish off… As already mentioned, you work as a pharmacist in Prague. Do you have any funny story when a fan came to your pharmacy? Something crazy like you had to sign their aspirin… Anything to make us smile?
Shirley: Sometimes it happens that I meet some fans, and is funny to see their reaction when they recognize me… they´re always confused and yeah, it happened that I signed an aspirin 😀 Some good fans that follow me know where I work precisely, so when they’re in Prague, they come to visit.. And that is very sweet. I love them.