Subscribed to Marcela’s newsletter, I received an email that she has announced her next album “Through Your Eyes” which is set to be released on the fall. Excited to hear more melancholic chamber music from Marcela, I sent her a message to her contact email asking if she wanted to be interviewed by us. Marcela got back to me sooner than I expected and accepted the offer.
“Hello Marcela and welcome! How are you feeling now that you’re on your way on releasing a second chamber music album?”
Marcela: ‘’I’m super excited! This album is really special, because I wrote each song based on a story or theme by a different person. There are 11 songs, based on 11 different people and 11 different stories.’’
“You have had this solo career for almost a few years now, what made you decide now it was time to go solo since starting your musical career in 1995?”
Marcela: ‘’I guess it wasn’t till I started working on “Unprecedented” that I felt comfortable with the idea of making a solo album. I had already written more music by that time, and I felt more comfortable doing everything myself. It’s kind of like moving from a team sport to something like tennis where you’re solely responsible for the outcome; it’s a lot more work but also much more rewarding.’’
“First, I want to talk a little bit about your solo debut ‘Unprecedented’ which was met with great reactions and reviews (even from us). Did you expect the positive feedback?”
Marcela: ‘’Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea what to expect! “Unprecedented” is so incredibly different to what I’d done before, so I was pleasantly surprised that people liked it so much. It’s an album that I wrote straight from the heart, and it was so heartwarming and beautiful to have it be received so well.’’
“After your successful IndieGogo campaign which meet and passed it’s goal by a large margin of a whopping 448% , you were able to release ‘Unprecedented’ and ‘Unprecedented – The Piano Sessions'. Did you think you weren’t going to make the goal at first? What was your reaction when you did?”
Marcela: ‘’I was hoping I would make it, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to go so well and so fast! I was just so thrilled, so thankful and happy to have all that incredible support.’’
“The title you revealed for the upcoming release is going to be called ‘Through Your Eyes’ and as you mentioned above, is based of the lyrics are written by 11 different fans, what made you decide to use them?”
Marcela: ‘’Well it all started with the “Unprecedented” crowdfunding. One of the perks I offered was called “unique song”, and it consisted of me writing a song specially for someone based on an idea that they had. ‘’
“May you tell us what is to be expected on your sophomore release other that you’re bringing back the string quartet, will it be quite similar or very different from the last?”
Marcela: ‘’Well, this next one is a bit different. It’s not with a string quartet, but with piano, cello and violin instead. So it’s kind of a middle way between “Unprecedented” and “Unprecedented – The Piano Sessions”: the piano makes the songs a bit more concise and easy to listen to, but the violin and cello add the depth and atmospheric character that I love from “Unprecedented”. I must have been writing the fourth of those nine songs, when I realized that they were turning out to be very beautiful and I was falling in love with them. So, I started asking my contributors if they wouldn’t mind I would make an album out of them; luckily, they were all thrilled with the idea!’’
“Would you say this album is an appreciation to them?”
Marcela: ‘’Yes, most definitely! It was very nice for me to work on these songs, because I was going through a rough period at the time and it was very hard for me to write about personal things. That these people would trust me with their stories, hopes and dreams, and be able to write songs about them did wonders with me.’’
“To make this album really special, you announced that your sister Diana will be a very special guest on your album, together for first time since Stream of Passion’s ‘Live in the Real World’, how did it came about that she should be part of it?”
Marcela: ‘’We don’t see each other all that often since I moved to Holland, and we’re also both super busy; but I really wanted to work with her again. So I just asked her one day, if she felt like recording some vocals for a track. She was very happy to do it, which made me very happy in return 😊 She recorded her vocals in Mexico and sent them over for me to mix them with the rest here; I had to shed a little tear of joy when I was listening to our voices together in the studio!
And most people don’t know this, but besides being a great singer and a fantastic actress, my sister is also a wonderful graphic designer. She designed the cover artwork for the album as well, I’m super happy with it!’’
“The work on the album took at least 2 ½ years since you have been very busy on the side. In the process, you've been studying on your Universal Voice Master course, in which by the way, congratulations on your passing grade and becoming a teacher! Was everything worth it in the end?”
Marcela: ‘’Definitely. I do a lot, and I’m always working so some things take some time. But I’m very grateful to have the chance of doing all these wonderful things! Graduating as one of the first Universal Voice Masters was such a huge privilege; I learned so much about my voice and improved my technique to a level I didn’t even know was possible. This method is fantastic and I’m sure it will revolutionize the world of singing as soon as the book is translated to English (right now it’s only available in Dutch).’’
“What made you decide to go back to school and become a Universal Voice Teacher?”
Marcela: ‘’I’m 100% convinced that the moment that you stop learning is the moment that you slowly start to move backwards. So when I finished the Universal Voice Master degree I knew I wanted to do the teacher course as well. It’s given me so many tools to improve my teaching, as well as made me more aware of what I can do with my own voice.’’
“What can you tell Universal Voice Institute and the ‘Universal Voice Method’, and how have they help improve your vocals, as in what abilities can you do now that previous teachers didn’t teach you?”
Marcela: ‘’The wonderful thing about Universal Voice is that it uses terminology that everyone can understand. You don’t have to know anything about anatomy of the voice (unless you want to, it’s all there in the book!), but instead you can work on your vocals based on sound parameters. These sound parameters are very obvious things that we all can easily learn and understand (volume, pitch, level breathiness, voice color, for instance); learning becomes less of a mystic thing, and more a matter of how good you can pay attention to how you sound and develop the specific sound characteristics you need to produce a certain sound.
This method also makes no discrimination and takes all vocal styles into account, so you can learn to sing on every style (pop, rock, musical, classical, metal) if you want.’’
“While the course of your studies, you've been teaching students at Metal Factory, what is Metal Factory and what do they focus on?”
Marcela: ‘’Metal Factory is a music school in Holland, that is completely focused on metal. The students learn a bunch of things like how to build a career in the music business, but also get coaching to improve their skills, work in a band, write music… All kinds of things.
With my vocal students I strive to teaching them to be very good all-round singers: so that they’re not only able to sing very well but also can do extreme vocals like grunts and screams. I think the more you know the easier it is for you to find work when you graduate.’’
“You posted a video on page giving vocal lesson to a circle of students for grunts by doing jumping jacks, care to explain how does that exercise work?”
Marcela: ‘’Ha! Well, the jumping up and down makes it easy for you to use a quick burst of air when trying to grunt, while pushing a bit so you get that raw sound. A very breathy sound is essential into doing a grunt, especially when you just started learning to make sure you don’t push too much; so jumping up and down really helps to get that going 😊 ‘’
“Any other interesting vocal tips and tricks you learned during your studies?”
Marcela: ‘’I love the lax vox method! It’s super useful to warm up, cool down and recover the voice after a day of hard vocal work. You can watch a little video I made about it on YouTube.’’
“Next to your studies, you were doing a lot of live shows, and I would like to ask about some of the highlighted live shows you performed, first the ‘Momento’ show, how did you feel performing the very last Stream of Passion show?”
Marcela: ‘’It was wonderful, but also very emotional. We’d been together for 11 years, so it was hard to make the decision to quit. On the other hand, the fact that it was all going to be over soon made the shows extra special: we had big crowds and the fans were all super enthusiastic.’’
“Do you miss Stream of Passion and how did you handle the split?”
Marcela: ‘’I was sad when we split, mostly because I was going to miss hanging out with the guys! They’re super cool and we had a lot of fun. But besides that, I have to say I don’t miss it that much. I do plan on performing some of that material in the future, maybe on a different setting like on my solo shows, so I don’t have to miss singing the song!’’
“Next, your first ever live show with Ayreon, ‘Ayreon Universe’ that you took part in back in September 2017 which was later released on DVD, and recently in Graspop. How did the preparations of this exclusive show go and how was your experience?”
Marcela: ‘’There was a huge production team to make sure everything went incredibly well, and it did! I tried my very best to not be nervous and enjoy every single moment during the Graspop show. It was the biggest show I’ve ever played, and it was so amazing! The band, the singers, the crowd... Everything was just a dream come true.’’
“And lastly with MaYaN performing at Epica's 1000th anniversary show with a very awesome line-up consisting of Nightmare, Myrkur, Ocean of Slumber, and Lacuna Coil. Did you enjoy being part of the Epica's milestone?”
Marcela: ‘’Yes! I really love the Epica guys, we’ve had the chance to hang out regularly one way or the other the past couple of years. Being part of this lovely show with them was fantastic; I even had the honor of joining them on a song with the violin! It was super cool 😊’’
“Now you have an upcoming show, you’re returning to perform at the FemME Metal Event with Erik van Ittersum once again. Excited to continue the solo shows?”
Marcela: ‘’Yes! I’m really looking forward to performing again with Erik, he’s such a sweet guy and such an amazing piano player! We always have a very nice time playing together. I’m also very curious to see how people will react to the new songs.’’
“If doing more shows is possible in the future, what countries or cities you would like perform at? Maybe I can help get you a show in Orlando!”
Marcela: ‘’Please! I’d love to visit as many places as possible, but being a one woman enterprise it’s not always easy 😊 ‘’
“Mentioning MaYaN, you joined the band as a official vocalist in 2017, what came about the decision for your official status?”
Marcela: ‘’I had been performing with MaYaN for a couple of years, ever since they released Antagonize. After I decided to leave the band VUUR the guys approached me to ask if I was interested in joining the band permanently. It felt like the right thing to do, since we’d already had so much fun together; and this way I also got to contribute a lot to the songwriting and the whole recording process, something I really liked! They gave me a lot of freedom to do my thing and explore my voice. I’m a happy camper!’’
“The band is currently finishing up production on their next album “Dhyana” with the world-renowned symphonic orchestra from the city of Prague, how exciting is that to be a part of it?”
Marcela: ‘’Super exciting! I just heard the final master of the album last weekend, it’s so impressive and massive! The road to the orchestra recordings was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun with the crowdfunding we had. It brought us all closer together!’’
“Isn’t it almost every musician’s dream to do a show with a symphony orchestra? Getting to play with a full and intense sound?
Marcela: ‘’It certainly is a dream of mine. It’s truly amazing how much more intense the songs get with a real orchestra.’’
“Like yourself, the band used IndieGogo to get help with financial support to record the album with an orchestra, either they can’t do it on their own or they didn't get enough resources from their labels. In your personal opinion, when it comes to crowdfunding like IndieGogo, Kickstarter, and GoGetFunding, many artists and musicians are looking towards into making these campaigns to get help from fans, and in return they get special perks. Would you say these sites are successfully useful and effective?”
Marcela: ‘’For sure; I’m a big fan of crowdfunding. I think it’s wonderful not only for the financial reasons, but also because it brings artists and their fans much closer together: the contributors really become part of the project, and you get this lovely group family because of the feeling that you achieved something together.’’
“Recently, you opened a Patreon page, what makes Patreon different from the fundraiser sites mentioned above?
Marcela: ‘’Patreon is more about continuous support. I made this page for my closest fans, who want to get in touch with me more personally; they do a monthly contribution and get access to exclusive content and exclusive ways to interact with me. So far we’ve had a lot of fun! We do stuff like they suggest songs for me to sing, I tell them about the stories behind the songs I write, and they get to hear my new material and demo songs. If you want to check it out visit http:///www.patreon.com/marcelabovio’’
“Moving on from your professional life, I want to ask some personal questions if I may. Do you come from artistic family since you are singer and a violinist, and Diana an actress?”
Marcela: ‘’Not really! There aren’t really any artists in the family. We got in touch with music initially because of my godfather; he was the director of the conservatorium in Monterrey, Mexico (where I was born), and he suggested my parents to put me and my sister in music school from a very young age. I think this really shaped our lives!’’
“Who inspired you to become a singer and what made you go into the metal genre?”
Marcela: ‘’I’ve loved singing ever since I can remember, I don’t think I was inspired by someone in particular or at least not that I can recall.
When I was in my teens I started listening to rock, heavy rock and metal; I think it was through friends that I initially came in touch with this kind of music. I then started listening to this radio show called “Distorsión”, that aired in the middle of the night on Sunday. I discovered a lot of fantastic bands there like The 3rd and the Mortal, Celestial Season, The Gathering; I loved how emotional metal was, how all kinds of feelings like extreme anger and sadness could be portrayed without making compromises. I was hooked!’’
“When you first move from México to the Netherlands, did you get culture shocked? How did you adapt living in a different country?
Marcela: ‘’Oh yes, it was very difficult to be honest. The people here keep much more to themselves compared to Mexican people, and they have a lot more respect for order and rules while in Mexico we’re a little bit more irreverent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think! I think we’re better and taking things a little bit easier and coping with difficult times because of this.’’
“How would you describe the metal scene in your home country of México compare to the Netherlands? And has Stream of Passion help inspire any bands in Spanish countries to bring the influence of Latin music in symphonic/progressive metal?”
Marcela: ‘’I do often get inspiring and heartwarming messages from Mexican singers that tell me I’ve inspired them, and I see it as a huge honor! The scene in The Netherlands is I think a bit more varied and richer, but that can be easily explained with the bigger number of musicians, musical education possibilities and government support for venues and youth centers.’’
“Fans often look up to their favorite artists, whether it’s performing covers of their songs or telling them stories of how much they were inspired by their music, how do you feel when people come up to you say how much you influenced them?"
Marcela: ‘’I feel very honored! I think that's every musician's dream, to be able to touch the hearts of their listeners. Something that's really important to me is to keep improving and learning all the time, so I hope that I can inspire singers to do the same thing.’’
“Do you have any other professions besides singing and teaching?
Marcela: ‘’Yes, I’m also a software developer and IT specialist!’’
“In you spare time, you like to play video games, what games are your currently playing and what has been you favorite? What other games would you also like to play?”
Marcela: ‘’I’m currently still working on Skyrim, which is HUGE; there are so many missions to do I wonder if I’ll ever finish, haha! One of the latest games I played that I absolutely loved is The Witcher 3; I really fell in love with that game! I’m also an all-time fan of the Zelda and Castlevania series.''
“What’s an interview without getting some questions from the fans? I have picked out a very few questions from fans to get the chance to have answers. First one comes from Hya from Canada and she asks if you’ll ever plan to form another band of your own?”
Marcela: ‘’I’m thinking about it. I’m not sure if it would be a band, band, but I definitely want to make a heavier album with only me on vocals. If it’s with a band, or as a project we’ll see.’’
“Another question from Hya is what are your top musical influences and have you had classical training at any point? Because your operatic vocals are amazing!”
Marcela: ‘’I think I’ve let myself be influenced by a lot of different things! So metal bands like I’ve mentioned here above: The 3rd and the mortal, Celestial Season, My Dying Bride, The Gathering, Dream Theater. But also all kinds of different music, like classical, opera, neoclassical, world music, jazz, alternative rock… I like to listen to a lot of different things, as long as they’re very emotional!
And thanks! I’ve been studying classical vocals for quite a while. While living in Mexico I studied with a fantastic teacher, the baritone Oscar Martínez, from who I learned lots. And the past couple of years working with the Universal Voice method I’ve really grown more comfortable with the style. ‘’
“Here’s one from Wissam of Lebanon in regards of Monkey, does your cat know he has a weekly Caturday special show on your page?”
Marcela: ‘’I think he knows, but he doesn’t really care 😊’’
“One is from an admirer, Aya from Michigan, asking how are you so beautiful?”
Marcela: ‘’Aw, that’s so sweet! <3 ‘’
“This is a really random one from Michi of Georgia asking would you rather have someone move all of your belongings in your house 5 inches to the left without your knowledge, or have your left leg turn into jelly every time someone mentions a grocery store?"
Marcela: ‘’Wow, that’s… weird, haha! Let’s leave my leg alone, I’d rather deal with the furniture shift 😊’’
“One more from me before we finish up, and I always ask this to artists, what are you goals and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?”
Marcela: ‘’I just wish I can keep singing and writing music for as long as I can. Performing is one of the things I love the most! So I hope I keep having the chance to perform with awesome musicians like I’ve been able to do the past few years.’’
“We have reached the end of our interview, is there anything you like to say to your fans and our readers?”
Marcela: ‘’Just thank you all once again for your support! And for taking the time to read this interview. I hope we get to see each other at a concert near you real soon! xx’’
“Thank you so much for your time and consideration for doing this interview, I'm excited to hear more music from you soon!”
Marcela: ‘’Great! I’ll keep you posted 😊’’