Interview: Marcela Bovio – Part Two. Anyone who looks at the social media of Marcela Bovio will find many live vocals and one-take vocals. One of the things that blew me away, and I urge people to go and check it out, is when she did the one-take vocal of Judgment Day, which is astounding. This was from the Dark Horse White Horse project.
“Thank you,” Marcela says. “I’m going to sound like I’m ancient, but I do miss a little bit the times when we didn’t have all these tools to make all these super-polished productions. I like the realness of a live performance. So, if everything is going too well, I’m not convinced. I want to hear the rough edges of that stuff.
“It just makes me very happy, so I like doing those as well. I think it really connects into humanity, doesn’t it? Into a genuineness, a soul, a warmth. Something can be polished beyond reason, and it lacks a spark; it lacks a heart. Nowadays, you can just go and get AI to do it, and it’s going to be perfect and have absolutely no soul.
In 2017, Marcela Bovio took an exam at the Universal Voice Institute in Amsterdam and passed with 93 out of 100, which is an incredible score. In January of the following year, she became a vocal teacher at Metal Factory. For people who don’t know, it’s the world’s first Heavy Metal music school.
“It is the world’s first Metal-focused vocational education, as far as I understand it,” Marcela says. “It’s like a technical college of sorts. Johan (van Stratum), also from Stream Of Passion, was invited to be involved in helping things take shape. I told him, ‘I really want to do something here. I really want to coach in this school’. That also took me on a journey to build up the skills that were necessary to be able to do that job.
“It’s so amazing because there’s so much incredible talent going through the school. In a way, the fact that we have only Metalheads, we have a very specific profile, and all people are super dedicated and very driven and very hardworking. For me, this is just the best audience to teach to because they work super hard. To be able to give someone the tools so they can express themselves to the full extent of their capabilities, I feel very grateful that I get to do that.”
The following year, Marcela Bovio faced probably the biggest challenge of her life, having been diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, by the following year, she was cleared. How did she feel at the time? Was it very much that life was totally put on hold?
“Everything was upside down,” she says. “I was physically feeling very, very bad as well before I started treatment and during. It’s very heavy, so it takes a toll on your body. I had very little energy and everything. So yeah, everything was sort of on hold. All of my focus and my energy went into getting better, and luckily, my parents came here all the way from Mexico to be with and support me.
“A lot of really lovely friends and people who I know kept track of how I was doing the whole time. I got a lot of really incredible support. So, I’m going to knock some wood so that everything is still going great. It was a very heavy period, but I can look back on it now and also appreciate all the positive things that brought me because I feel like a completely different person now than I was before.
“I feel like I can appreciate a lot of things way more and am especially very happy with the fact that I think that I care way less about things that are not worth caring about. Yeah, it’s good. It does put things into perspective, doesn’t it?”
It is inspiring. Her work ethic is so hard. Reading through some of her influences, you find Rush, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Muse. There is a great cover of Muscle Museum that has a really good arrangement.
Amongst her vocal inspirations, Marcela has a wide range from Sarah Vaughan through to Kate Bush, all these incredible female vocalists and it’s not just one genre. With the whole of the musical tastes, it seems there’s a huge variety there that has influenced and inspired her, but she certainly has her own voice as well.
“I love listening to a lot of different things and appreciating a lot of different things because it just broadens your musical vocabulary,” Marcela says. “So many great women inspired me throughout the years and, indeed, from one corner of the musical spectrum to the other. I try to take everything that I like in their songwriting. Kate Bush, my goodness…I was listening to The Dreaming yesterday again, and it’s just so crazy. So nuts. So good. I love her.”
I say my friends used to laugh when I mentioned that the album had lyrics like ‘bang goes another Kanga on the bonnet of the van’ on the title track. I was really lucky and saw Kate Bush at the Hammersmith shows around about eight or nine years ago. It was one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever been to. “So jealous,” says Marcela.
Marcela’s influences and the variety of music she loves have made her open to working with all these different people. With that in mind, what does the future hold for her?
“I’m working on some projects with other musicians,” she says. “I do have the ambition at some point, because I have been delaying it for quite a while, to start working on a solo album. I will talk about the experience that I had with the cancer diagnosis and going through the process. I’ve been thinking about it way too long. I still have to get the courage to do it because it’s really diving into some dark times. That’s probably what’s in the near future, but first, I’m going to go on holiday.”
One senses that it will be tough talking about those times, but is it going to be very cathartic? Is it going to be things that Marcela Bovio has maybe held on to that she will be letting go, putting it out there and then drawing a line under it?
“Yeah,” she confirms. “To be honest, I think that I’ve processed a lot on the emotional side. I don’t think I’ve kept everything, but it was a very defining moment in my life. So, I have a memoir of sorts. People write about their lives, don’t they? That’s what people do.”
It’s a certain chapter of her life, and it might be inspirational to other people. To help them through their particular times as well. I think it’s going to be a fascinating project to do, and I hope that goes well.
There’s a great quote that Marcela put on her website: ‘Live life to the fullest and never hesitate to go after your dreams. It really pays off.’ There’s the positivity there, and the inspiration is terrific. It seems like that is the mantra she really lives her life by.
“I do,” she says, “and to be totally honest, it is something that I have to convince myself of as well because I do hesitate. But the times where I have taken the leap and actually gone and done the things have been the happiest moments in my life. So, it’s a little reminder also to myself. Yeah, just a little nudge to yourself.”
Marcela does have a great way to look at things.