WOW | Musical Conversation

Making big noise!

Marta Del Grandi who is popularly known as Marta Rosa, has a voice that can melt hearts. The Italian songstress has toured the world, garnering much praise for her music. Currently working at The Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, the talented artiste has many concerts lining up in Nepal. Excerpts of a musical conversation with her.

Marta Rosa is…

A creative person who needs structure and good organisation; I like freedom but I also like to live by a rhythm. I am very sociable but I often search for a place to be on my own to find my balance with the outside world.

How did your love for music come about?

I have always been sensitive to sounds, as a child I used to imitate and repeat what I heard around me— from roosters crows, sounds of church bells to cartoon voices. My family has played a big part to ignite my passion for music. When I was around six years old, during every road trip my parents taught songs to me and my sister. As a teenager, I joined a cover band and took part in a few music events, recitals and local competitions. At that point, I felt like I wanted to take my singing skills to the next level. At the age of 17, I started to take singing classes with a Western classical singer, who turned out to be a life-changing figure for me. She helped me improve my skills very quickly. Two years later, I auditioned for a semi-professional jazz programme in Milan, Italy. I got accepted and that was the start of a seven-year journey into jazz studies, which ended in 2015 with a Master degree from the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, Belgium.

How would you describe your music to the world?

A mix of pop, jazz and electronics, with influences from the 90s and inspired by the sounds of nature and animals.

In your opinion how important is it for musicians to get an academic degree?

I think it’s rather important as it gives you the skills to be independent in your musicianship. It personally helped me to work with artists and organisations around the world. However, I believe that it’s not necessary to have a music degree in order to be a professional musician. The most important element to pursue a consistent career is focus and confidence.

Who have been your greatest influences in music?

The Icelandic artists Bjork and Emiliana Torrini, the jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day and Chet Baker, and some great bands that made the history of pop music such as The Beatles, Talking Heads and The Velvet Underground.

What have been some of your most memorable performances?

I have great memories of the Italian release tour of my first album—Invertebrates in 2016.

What are some of your upcoming performances that we can look forward to?

I’ll join the festival Echoes in the Valley on March 17 at Banepa, with an experimental collaboration with musicians from the neighbourhood and Indian classical singer Chandresha Pandey. I’ll be presenting some of my new work on March 23 at Basecamp Music Festival. I’m also very excited to announce a show on April 21 at the Patan Museum Courtyard, where we will be collaborating with an amazing illustrator with live visuals. This will be a performance with a focus on wildlife conservation.

 5 things people don’t know about you

• I have a degree in political science.
• I was once a candidate for my town’s Council.
• My band’s name Marta Rosa comes from the fact that as a child I tried to convince people that my real name was Rosa.
• I grew up in a family of architects, and I’m the only one who can’t draw.
• I am the singer of the Ruslan FM jingle— It’s music, only music…

Songs that make you…

Inspired: Little bubble by Dirty Projectors

Relaxed: Jesus, etc by Wilco

Happy: If I ever feel better by Phoenix

Dance: Green garden by Laura Mvula

Forget about the world: That’s where you are by Knower