Sirenia was one of my starting bands during my younger years when I first discovered symphonic and gothic metal, my first album listening to Sirenia was “Nine Destinies and a Downfall", only to know that Monika Pedersen had long already left the band. I then listened to “The 13th Floor” which was already out, I soon quickly fell in love with the voice of then new singer Ailyn.
After following the band for 5 years, I was shocked when news emerged that Ailyn and Sirenia had parted after their partnership of 8 years, leaving a mark as the longest lead female vocalist to record with more than one album. Two years have passed since her departure, I wanted to have a quick little interview with Ailyn, wanting asking if she has any new music projects in the work and what she been up to in her life after her departure.
“Hello Ailyn, thank you for joining us, how are you?”
Ailyn: “I'm very good! Thank you for the interview.”
“Things have been a quiet in your music career, are you planning to return to the metal scene?”
Ailyn: “Yes, I've been a bit quiet lately. I went to Spain this summer to be with my sister and fix some things there. And after a bit more than a month there I came back to Norway and my sister came with me. We really needed to take this time together. But of course I'm still focus on my music career, I never stopped. I'm just a very private person when it comes to possible projects and I don't like to talk about them until they are on their way so nobody gets their hopes up, just in case.”
“Lately, I’ve been hearing a few rumors among the metal community that you’ll be returning with a solo project. Is it true?”
Ailyn: “Yes, it is true, or at least it's what I'm trying to do, but things are taking time. I'm currently working with my dear friend François-Maxime Boutault. We met some years ago when I worked with Melted Space and soon we build a nice friendship. He is a French music producer based in Paris. Having recorded or mixed albums for bands like Loudblast, Dagoba, Behemoth, Black Bomb A and Melted Space, he is also produced albums for major French pop artists like David Hallyday. Musician and songwriter, he also composes music for TV and ads via several library music labels, including Universal Publishing.
For now I'm writing lyrics and vocal melodies, while he is working on the music. We are planning on meeting soon to work on this being on the same place instead of just by phone or
“Since you confirmed the solo project is in the works, what type of music will be in mind for the project? Symphonic metal, gothic, rock, etc.?
Ailyn: “For now I can't say what kind of metal subgenre will be. We are experimenting a bit. I know some people will be disappointed about this but I'm sure it will not be symphonic metal. For obvious reasons I don't want to do the same type of music I did before.”
“That seems very understanding, until more there is more news, but for the meantime, what have you been doing to pass the time post-Sirenia?”
Ailyn: “I've been doing some collaborations and going on tour with some bands who wanted me to join them for some shows. I also have some things coming up which I can't talk about yet.”
“Sorry for bringing this up, we know that 2016 must have been a difficult year for you, your health conditions, your mother’s passing, please accept my condolences, and your sudden dismissal from Sirenia. How did you manage to overcome the difficulties?”
Ailyn: “Thank you! Yes, the last couple of years have being a bit tough for me. My health still the same as always, some days are better than others, I guess like everyone
else. I go to my heath controls as normal and I live my life as good as I can. The biggest problem about my health during the last years has being that I've been struggling with depression. I've
been a bit antisocial and didn't have the energy to be very active on my networks and show people everything is wonderful when it wasn't. But I'm feeling good and I'm very happy as things are
moving forward, so hopefully soon I can start being more active on my career.”
“And I don’t mean to bring this up as well, but a few months before the split, similar events occurred with Leaves’ Eyes, do you think that was coincidence?”
Ailyn: “Sorry, but I really don't think I can't answer that question. I'm not inside others minds, so it's impossible for me to know what was their reason.”
“Now that we have the bad out of the way, what has been your best and fondest memories when you were in Sirenia? Are you still friends with any of your former bandmates?”
Ailyn: “I got very good moments with the band, my best memories are that I had the chance of travelling around the world with friends, singing, doing what I like and meeting great people, this is what I keep, no matter what happened in the end. I'm still friend with Jonathan, actually I met him some weeks ago, it was great to see him again.”
“This year marks a decade from when you joined Sirenia and moved from Spain to Norway when you got job. Have you had any thoughts about moving back home?”
Ailyn: “Not really. I never thought about moving back to Spain. The fact I'm not in the band doesn't mean I can't live in Norway anymore. I mean, moving to Norway was my decision and it's true I did it to make things more easy for the band, but besides the band, I have made my life here and I like it. I love Norway and the way everything works here. I love my country too, but for now I'm staying.”
“Enough mentioning about Sirenia, I want to talk about a few bands you’ve recently worked with. First being Melted Space, who approached you to be a part to be on their latest album and live shows. How was it working with them?”
Ailyn: “Pierre le Pape (who is the mastermind in Melted Space) contacted me. He was composing for his album (‘The Great Lie’) and one of the characters was a Faery. He told me he liked my voice and he thought it could fit perfect for the role. So after that, he offered me to join them again for their latest album "Darkening Light". It's always great to work with them, not just with Pierre, but also with the other members, I also find it very nice singing with other girls live, harmonizing each other on the shows, I really enjoy it.”
“Another was Débler, who are also from your home country, was it exciting making metal music with your fellow Spaniard musicians?”
Ailyn: “Yes, it was very nice and I loved the time we were working together. In a way it's a lot easier when you work with people who talks your language.”
“I also do like to point out that I believe you’re one of the few singers I know in the metal genre who can pull whistle tones, how much practice did it take you to achieve such register?”
Ailyn: “Not much, really. The whistle tone comes very easy to me. I started using it on my singing when I was about 11 years old. Some people lose it when they grow older,
but luckily for me, I still can do it without thinking much about it.”
“Onto a few personal questions if you don’t mind me asking, as someone who also have a history with diabetes in the family, what advice can you give to one another to take care of yourself and avoid any of it’s health complications?
Ailyn: “Well, I know it's very obvious, but the best I can say is that when you live with diabetes you really need to take care of yourself. Even if you think you are fine, you shouldn't push it. After having diabetes for 29 years now, I got some health complications because when I was younger I didn't care enough, I thought everything was fine and nothing wrong will happen to me. Also we didn't have all the information about the illness as we do now. One of the problems with diabetes is that when you don't take it serious enough many times you just learn how important it is to take care of yourself when it's actually too late. I mean, it is never late to start caring about it, but it's very important even if you can have a completely normal life that you learn how to control you diabetes and not let the diabetes control you. So as a person who got some of this health complications for not taking good care of my health when I should, this is the advice I can give.”
“Have they ever stopped you from doing what you love? How do continue to motivate yourself?”
Ailyn: “No, my health issues actually gave me the strength to fight harder to do what I want to do with my life. Since I was very young and started singing, all I could hear
from everyone was ‘oh dear, you CAN'T be a singer because you are ill’. Sadly, we live in a world where there's a lot of discrimination, where people might think that just the ones being
healthy can fight for their dreams or wherever they want. But guess what? There's millions of people who suffers from many different illnesses in the world and not because we are ill, we have
locked ourselves in our houses and give up all our dreams. I remember when I was younger in Spain, every time I tried to find a job, I always had to hide the fact that I have diabetes because no
one wanted to hire someone who has any kind of disease. But back in 2007 when I was a contestant on the Spanish X-Factor, I decided I wouldn't hide it anymore. So now every time someone tries to
decide for me or tell me I can't sing because I have diabetes, the only thing they achieve is to make me fight harder.”
“Very inspiring story, thank you for sharing that! But other than singing, do you have any hobbies or artistic passions other than singing? What would you have been if you weren’t a singer?”
Ailyn: “I do love reading. I can do it for hours and hours when I have the chance. I like to do it before going to bed, it makes me relax and sleep better. But sometimes I have the problem of over reading during the night and find out that it's almost morning and I still didn't have any sleep. I also like to design my own stage clothes. If I weren't a singer probably I would like to be a designer.”
“And as an artist, they tend to us stage names for personal reasons. Is Ailyn your nickname or an alias you came up? As someone who’s also Spanish, we do tend to have birth names that tend to be long! Haha!”
Ailyn: “Ailyn is my stage name. Everyone calls me Ailyn, there's almost no one calling me by my real name anymore. I think it's just my family calling me Pilar or Pili, as for them it's very strange to call me Ailyn. In fact, it is quite confusing when I'm out and someone calls me Pilar, sometimes it takes me a bit to realize "mmm Pilar??? Hey that's me!!". On my ID-card, my name shows as "Pilar Giménez García". But in the church, I was baptized as "Pilar Maria del Carmen Mónica Giménez García". I know, it's brutal, so now you can laugh if you want.”
“Who inspired you to become a singer, and what made you decide you feel like you suited more of the metal/rock genre than in pop as you worked in previously?”
Ailyn: “Actually my inspiration to become a singer was Mariah Carey. I started to listen her music when I was 11 years old, and I felt in love with her singing. Actually it’s
thanks to her that I find out I could use whistle register. I really don't know when it happened exactly. But I think it was the first time I heard X Japan, I don't know how old I was, but I
remember I thought I like the style so much. Then a bit after that, I heard about bands like Kamelot, Nightwish and many others and it was when my taste for music drastically
“A fun little question, are you a fan of anime and video games? Your bio mentioned you were in a group called Charm which mostly covered anime songs and J-music, and you also did a Spanish cover of ‘Passion’ from Kingdom Hearts II that is viral on YouTube.”
Ailyn: “Yes, I am, I like both. Before, I used to listen to a lot of Japanese music but my favorite was always videogame music. I have other covers from videogames like ‘Suteki Da Ne’ (both Spanish and Japanese versions) from Final Fantasy X, ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ from Metal Gear Solid, ‘Kokoro’ from Xenosaga and others. I have many old covers hidden on my computer and it's quite funny when for some reason I get to hear some of them.”
“Solo or in another band, if touring became possible, what countries or cities you like to go that you couldn’t go previously?”
Ailyn: “I want to go everywhere!!! I want to visit all the countries I had visit before and someday I wish I'll be able to go on tour to Japan. I have many countries on my wish list, some of them I've been able to visit before, but Japan remains as one of my dreams.”
“We have reached the end of our interview, is there anything you like to say to your fans and our readers?”
Ailyn: ''Thank you for the interview, I really enjoyed it! I just want to thank everyone for all the support I get everyday. It really cheers me up to know there's so many of you waiting for news about my musical career which I hope soon I'll be able to announce something.''
“Muchas gracias Ailyn for taking your time and consideration for this interview!”
Ailyn: ''Gracias a tí!''