Niña Pastori
Biography, discography and readers' comments.

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"My voice
has changed
in recent
years, and
my way of
feeling the
music is
much more









"I think
there's a
shortage of
purity and
artists who
get carried
away by their
instead of
fashion, or
what sells"


Interview with Niña Pastori, singer:

"Nobody's my boss, not at the record company, not anywhere. My boss is the audience"

Silvia Calado Olivo. Madrid, April, 2002

Sitting on a flight case from the studio, blowing bubbles with her gum, wearing a purple leather parka, striped ribbon in her hair and hot pink shoes, she could pass for any exotic outsider. When the gum is gone and the tangle of microphones and wires begins to make sense, the would-be exotic approaches the mike and without changing pose, lets her voice flow: "Las primeras gotas, llegaba el invierno y eran testigos de aquel primer beso" ['the first drops, when winter came they witnessed our first kiss']. María transforms into Niña Pastori. And she dresses the notes in honey and velvet. She raises the intensity to tell us she's in love, precisely with the guy sitting across from her who's managing congas, bongos, cajones…Chaboli. And she feels fulfilled. Together they have fashioned 'María', a product full of feeling, personality and maturity which has already been enthusiastically received by the market. This, that and the other thing, but above all, flamenco… because her singing doesn't pull the wool over anyone's eyes, because it cannot, does not deny it's flamenco identity. And the moment will come to peel away the trappings and she will be left alone with only the music which, like the singer herself, charms and enchants.

Niña Pastori (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)

'María'... Your new record is named after you. Does this mean it has a more personalized approach than the others?

I like to title recordings according to what they contain. And to be able to express with just a few words the kind of record it is. 'María' is very much my own record, very personal, very close to my heart… Chaboli is the producer, my mother also participates and, well, there are more songs of my own than on any previous record. It's a record where my heart and soul are right there. Also I thought this was the right name because you've got both people: there's Niña Pastori who sings, and María who is the person who has struggled to make the repertoire, and to get good sound, good musicians, in other words, to achieve the final result. 'María' was the appropriate title for this record, there wasn't any other.

The unanynymous commentary is that it's a more mature record…

It's understandable that it's a more mature recording. I began very young, I made my first record when I was seventeen. And also I think I'm a performer whose growth is particularly noticed because the entire country is watching me grow up. My voice has changed in recent years, and my way of feeling the music is much more mature. It's only logical that everything has matured.

The name María Rosa García figures as composer of nearly all the songs. How do you manage this facet?

I've always used other people's songs because I began very young, although I think I tend to put my own stamp on them and people quickly forget who composed them. It becomes a Niña Pastori song. I believe that with Chaboli it was much easier because he composes, he plays several instruments…not me, I don't play anything. We start fooling around with the guitar, we develop things and it's much easier. And the fact is I love it, because whether it's expressing your own experiences or things you want to tell about, even if it's about other people or imaginary, or when you're performing, people can tell it's your own.

What inspires you when you compose?

The truth is there's a lot of love, because Chaboli and me have a very good personal relationship. We really get along well and we have a lot going. He's the most important person I have by my side at the moment, and I think the feeling is mutual. We've found a lot of support, because besides being enamoured of him, I really love him very much as a person, he's my best friend, I tell him everything, and if there's any kind of problem, he's the first one to find out. That also shows on the record, and in the lyrics, whether you want to or not, you have to talk about the person you love.

Chaboli (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)

In other words, the duo Niña Pastori-Chaboli works in the musical sense…

Well, at least I think so. And the proof is, that it has worked. I'm satisfied because I believe that our boss is the audience. Nobody's my boss, not at the record company, not anywhere. Our boss is the audience and they're the ones who really say if this is something worthwhile, or if they don't like it…You can invest as much as you want, and do whatever you like. I think it's incredible how well people have received what we really like doing and something we really identify with. I think that when an artist is really feeling what they're doing, even if they sing a really bad verse or a very ugly melody, they're going to communicate all the same, because that's how they're feeling it. I think there's a shortage of purity and feeling, artists who let themselves get carried away by their emotions instead of fashion, or what sells. I wonder what 'commercial' really means anyway. Nobody knows what's commercial. There are plenty of people who make commerical records, and they get nowhere. Just like there might be records that aren't commercial at all, and all of a sudden people take to them. I think right now there's a shortage of originality and an atmosphere where each individual can do what they really feel.

The scene is really bad. There are a lot of imitations, and people just want to copy whatever's been successful and done well. I think that's a mistake because we're killing the music. I fought from beginning to end to make the record I really wanted to make. And I didn't care. I think I've always had a well-defined style. I believe that any artist who's born with a personality of their own, no matter what they sing, you're going to recognize them by their voice or their way of expressing themselves. Fortunately my mother gave me that when I was born, but I really struggled on this record to find something different and to do what we wanted to do. We don't care if Paulina Rubio or anyone else is fashionable now.

"I really struggled on this record to find something different and to do what we wanted to do. We don't care if Paulina Rubio or anyone else is fashionable now."

The record has a little rap, a few Latino touches… what styles do really feel most at home with?

Latino stuff the least, although there are a few things. What I most identify with is a little in the style of what groups like Triana or Alameda have been doing for a long time, earthy pop-rock ballads with Andalusian sounds. And of course my flamenco voice. I'm never going to be able to deny that flamenco is what I like, and I don't want to deny it either.

How important is flamenco in Niña Pastori's career?

Flamenco is my life. Flamenco is the music I like best and I think and believe that it's the music I'm always going to like, more than any other. I like all art, but flamenco is, out of all the different kinds of music there are, the one I like best. I really like flamenco guitar, I really like flamenco dance. I think flamenco is incredible and I like it more and more every day. Although I don't think flamenco is going through a good moment right now. Pure traditional flamenco no. Flamenco is always going to be limited to a certain minority audience. And I don't think that a flamenco singer who makes a very pure record is going to sell a million copies, the way any other singer might. The flamenco we young people are doing, flamenco fusion and other kinds of music is, on the other hand doing very well now. And nowadays the recording companies don't want you unless you do a "rumbita" like they call it. You have to do what you want, but always a couple of rumbitas. Times are good for that now, but not for flamenco.

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