Get To Know MAVICA [Interview]

Kieran Kohorst
Kinia Podsialdo

The joy of coming across a new artist is, in part, that each artist is at a different point in their development when first discovered - everyone is running their own race, and we come across artists moving at different paces and with different finish lines. While not one to rest on her laurels, emerging singer-songwriter MAVICA seems to have a head-start over her contemporaries: her early lessons in dance and ballet gifted her with an understanding of expression in the most personal and physical way possible. Her ability to access her emotions and transfer them to listeners is enhanced by the unique understanding of her own feelings and how they are best represented in art. 

Her latest single, “sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay),” reveals its depth in its title, only expanding on it in the track’s sweeping lyricism: “You took all I was and you put it on a grave / So you could finally show I was a disgrace,” she sings, somewhat-disembodied but still sorrowfully warm. The harrowing scratches of the guitar and subtle echo of a synth add texture to the track; while in totality it is a song made of pure melancholy, its resolution provides reason for optimism. As MAVICA comes to terms with the loss of a partner, she reminds herself that not every loss is to one’s detriment, and the support of her friends - who appear as background singers on the final chorus - bring much-needed perspective in a time of grief. “I had been unintentionally writing songs for two years without thinking they were connected,” MAVICA shared in a press release. “This song gave me the sudden realization that sometimes you need to let go of people to grow on your own and evolve, and also the realization that this was the concept that I had been writing about for years. Everything made sense, it was shocking. The name came to me after seeing an amazing exhibition of IDA APPLEBROOG. I came back home and I wrote the song. It didn't change much from that day.”

“sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay)” will not only appear on, but also  serve as the title track to MAVICA’s upcoming debut album, out September 8th. Though the song was the last written for the album, it gave the project “a name and a sense of concept,” she says. With much to come from the promising Spanish creative, she graciously shared more about her upbringing in Spain, finding her identity as an artist, the music on her approaching album, and more.   

SHEESH: One thing that has become a clear influence in your music is your history with dance, which dates back to your training in ballet at the age of 6. Dance directly informs your previous single “you could never do that” in the song’s music video, and it has continued with your most recent release. How do you see the interplay between music and dance in your world?

MAVICA: I always knew that they were super connected for obvious reasons. Dance moves to music and music makes you move. What I didn’t know is that I would find a connection in something that was so buried in me, something I always took for granted and never realised it would be the ultimate tool to connect with my body.

Your passion for music came after you practiced dance, and there was a shift from one focus to the other. Was there anything in particular that caused this change? What was it about music that you discovered and wanted to pursue more intensely? 

Dance was always in my life because my mum would always put me into ballet, flamenco or contemporary dance classes and I never had time to go to music lessons. I always regretted this, not starting early. Music came very late to me, in a very natural way. I made the effort to learn on my own and I buried dance as soon as I moved away from Spain. I feel like when I found that connection between this album and movement, I made peace with my inner child. 

Part of your growth and development as an artist was your time studying and actively learning the craft. While it’s not a linear path, the songs you have released so far suggest that you have a sense of what you want to express in your work and clearly have the talent to deliver on it. When did you feel like you had an identity as an artist? 

That’s funny cause I feel like I am only finding myself now with this album and the new music I am writing now. I guess you never fully find yourself as we are constantly evolving, and even though I feel like I found myself with this album, I know I am even closer to finding my identity, so I guess it’s a constant feeling that never ends.

Growing up in Spain and having released a song in Spanish, “no puedo decir que no (no regrets),” I’m interested to know more about how language impacts the work you’re making. Is there a discernible difference between you when you’re singing/writing/creating in Spanish vs. English? 

I always wrote in English because it’s what I grew up listening to and my mum would play in the car, but since the pandemic, I started to reconnect with my country and now it kind of comes out naturally or by curiosity. I had been pushing myself to write in Spanish in the new demos to see how it sounds and it’s really working.

You have a new single out today that continues to build on the sound you’re establishing across your catalog. Let’s start with the title of the track: “sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay).”  There’s a levity to the track, a general acceptance that’s felt in how you present your voice. In the lyrics you tell a tragic story that ends with the realization that losing someone is sometimes necessary for personal survival. Writing a track like this that lives in a place of deep hurt, were there any challenges when it came to putting words to your emotions?

It wasn’t a challenge at all, this song came so naturally, I wrote it and produced it in a day and I feel it’s the purest one [on] the album. It didn’t change much from the one to release apart from having my friends singing at the end.

The song arrives with a music video, where again we see the expression of dance work to tell the story you sing behind the visual. How do you feel the sentiment of the song is captured in the music video? 

I feel like it really captures the feeling of frustration and emotion that the song contains. I watched a video of the dancer Angel Garcés and I remember putting my song on top [of it] and editing it in the way my song made me feel. I showed it to him and he loved it, so we ended up telling the filmmaker Sofia Boriosi and filming it at 5 am with a super 8 camera.

You have also announced today that you will be releasing an LP later this year - congratulations! We’re all very excited to hear it. You’ve named the album after the song you shared today, “sometimes a person never comes back (and that’s okay).” You called putting together this album a “torturous process” - what made it so difficult and how did you arrive at the finished product?

The main thing was that it felt very lonely at times. I was so fixated [on] the idea that I had to finish the production on my own, that I couldn’t see further that idea. After 3 years of working on these songs, the universe sent me a signal and invited me to play SXSW, so I got the message and asked PBSR for help in order to have the album ready before going on tour. A month later the album was ready to get mixed and my anxiety levels were much lower :) 

A consistent theme in your art is how you are uplifted by those around you; in the “you could never do that” music video, you are surrounded by supportive women who join you in dance, and the final chorus of “sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay)” includes the voices of your closest friends who have empowered you to arrive to this point. How much do these personal relationships inspire your work?

So much! I love connecting to people and I feel that none of these songs would have been released without that motivation and the support from friends and other artists.

You’ve made a few festival appearances already this year, namely at Primavera Sound and O Son De Camino. What have your recent experiences on stage taught you about your music and the kind of music you want to make going forward?

That I love playing live and even more, if it’s with my band :) Connecting with people in real life is so much better than through a screen on social media.

As we look forward to the LP in September, do you have any plans in mind for yourself in the second half of the year? Anything in particular you are looking forward to?

Play the songs as much as I can and hopefully go on tour soon!! We will also have an album release show in London in September!

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