How did you develop your vocal technique, and how do you continue to refine it?
First and foremost listening to music since I can remember. The early exposure to Jazz Vocalists, Motown singers, Bossa Nova and R&B did have a major influence in the way I wanted to sing.
I started receiving vocal lessons when I was 12 for about a year, but took it more seriously at 17. Since then, I have been attending music schools and training with different vocal coaches. Currently I train with 2 different vocal coaches to gain different techniques and skills.
Can you describe your daily or weekly vocal practice routine?
Every morning I do my vocal warm up in the shower lol I use exercises I practised in class, an app or a youtube video. It is just 10 minutes but it does help a lot.
On top of that I have one hour vocal class per week with one of the vocal coaches I am training with.
What role does improvisation play in your performance and how have you honed this skill?
I still feel very intimidated by it, and I always perform what I have rehearsed beforehand. Depending on the show and the repertoire I may try changes on melody or scat. This is something I am focused on working with one of my coaches.
How do you approach interpreting a song and making it your own?
I need to feel the song musically, lyrically and/or vocally. It is very important for me to connect with a song, especially when it’s not mine. Interpreting a song and making it my own is a personal and creative journey. It depends on the song and the emotions that it brings to me and my own understanding of what the song actually means to me. I often experiment with phrasing, or vocal dynamics, or with body language to add to the interpretation and the sentiment of the song
Are there any specific vocal exercises or warm-ups that you feel are essential before performing?
I do 10/15 min of warm up exercises with a straw first, then lip trills, sirens and “puffy cheeks”. Those are my essentials. Depending on my fatigue, health, time, vocal strain etc I will then focus on specific exercises following my coach's advice.
What type of microphone do you prefer for live performances and why?
I have been using the Sennheiser e945 for the past few years and I love the sound.
Do you have any essential equipment or tools that you use in the studio for recording?
Not really. I always bring my propolis spray, water and fruits.
Other than that, the best I can ask in the studio is to have a great chemistry with the producer, musicians and/or the sound engineer, whomever I am working with. That is essential
How do you protect your voice, especially during intensive touring or recording sessions?
Rest! Sleep 9h if I can, no alcohol, loads of hydration, steaming, and loads of relaxation
Do you have a specific in-ear monitor brand or model you prefer when performing live?
I don’t normally perform with in-ear monitor so no preference there
When collaborating with a band, how do you balance your voice with the instruments to achieve the best sound quality?
Balancing volumes and having a good understanding of what my vocals should be doing. The singer and the band should not be competing, but rather blend with each other. I have never found musicians that will challenge that. I have always worked with incredible professionals who are super caring and protective with the singer (whether it was me or someone else as a lead singer).
Who were your biggest jazz and soul influences growing up?
Sarah Vaughan, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Take 6, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, were artists that were played on repeat at home when I was a child.
How do you stay inspired and motivated to create new music?
This might sound a bit cliché but my motivation and inspiration come from a genuine passion and love for music. It's a lifelong love affair, and I'm constantly amazed at how it evolves and shapes my creativity.
Working with other musicians, producers, and songwriters allows me to bounce ideas off each other and see my music from different perspectives. It's amazing how a shared creative process can fuel inspiration.
Listening to music that I love and have always listened to and new material is super inspiring.
And also everyday life, experiences, belief system, connections… Creating music has to be an organic process for me
Are there any albums or performances that have been pivotal in shaping your musical direction?
Babyface’s "Unplugged" album, Stevie Wonder's "Natural Wonder" and Manhattan Transfer's "Brasil"… I was obsessed
TLC and Aaliyah’s first two albums especially due to their sound, lyrics, their looks and style and choreos in their videos and performances.
Erykah Badu’s "Baduizm" and "Live" albums and Jill Scott "Who's Jill Scott"were super inspiring.
The Soundtracks of Space Jam, Bad Boys, The Preacher’s Wife, Waiting to Exhale, Men In Black and Dangerous Minds were always on repeat.
And then I would always listen to D'Angelo, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, A Tribe Called Quest, En Vogue, 2Pac, Mos Def, Common, Queen Latifah…
How does the cultural and historical context of jazz and soul music influence your own creations?
The cultural and historical context of Jazz and Soul music holds a profound influence on my musical journey. While I come from Spain and I don't incorporate much of the Spanish musical heritage directly into my music, I have always been deeply drawn to the powerful narratives and musical expressions rooted in African American culture.
Growing up in a family that strongly advocates for social justice and equality, I've witnessed the transformative power of music in addressing these vital issues. Jazz and Soul, with their historical ties to the African American experience, have been powerful vehicles for storytelling, resilience, and commentary on social injustices. These genres have inspired me to infuse my own music with a similar sense of purpose and emotional depth.
I believe that music is a medium through which I can share my own perspective on social challenges, personal experiences, and emotions. While my Spanish upbringing provides a unique backdrop, the emotional resonance and cultural significance of Jazz and Soul resonate deeply with my creative process.
Do you find inspiration outside of music? If so, where?
For sure, in everyday life, my friends, politics and social justice, experiences, meeting new people, travelling, dancing, family connections, love, joy, challenges, nature…
Collaboration and Learning:
How do you choose musicians to collaborate with, and what qualities do you value most in a musical partner?
Having similar musical influences is very important but the key element is without a doubt to have a good chemistry, connection and vibration with them, and feel that we are in the right place doing what we love together.
Have you taken formal vocal lessons, and how have they impacted your style and technique?
Yes, since I was 17. They have greatly helped with confidence and technique. Style I think is quite personal but the technique I am still learning, continuing the journey everyday.
What advice would you give to budding jazz/soul singers just starting their journey?
Embrace your uniqueness and find your own voice within these genres. Study the classics but don't be afraid to innovate. Practice consistently, perform live as much as possible, and collaborate with other musicians. Stay true to your passion and keep learning and growing as an artist
Performance and Audience:
How do you emotionally connect with a song to deliver an authentic performance, and in turn, connect with your audience?
I draw from personal experiences and feelings to relate to the song's message. I may even give my own meaning to the song to make it more relatable if I am performing a cover. It depends on the gig and the crowd but I usually maintain eye contact with those who are visibly more engaged. If I am playing my own repertoire I share personal stories that relate to the songs, tell jokes (sometimes real bad ones lol), involve the crowd with call and responses and sing along. It always depends on the energy and mood in the room as well.
Can you describe a moment on stage when you felt a deep connection with the music and the audience, and how it influenced your performance?
Back in April and May I launched my debut album in different cities and in all the shows many people in the audience were family and friends who knew my journey. They created a beautiful energy and connection throughout all of the performances.
However, the most incredible moment was at the very beginning of the shows. The musicians started playing and jamming to open up… I then walked on stage… The cheering and embrace from the audience was breath-taking. They created an amazing vibe. It filled me with a rush of positive energy. I felt an immediate connection with the crowd. Their support and enthusiasm added so much passion to the performance, and that was infectious also to the band who were such a joy to play with, such great musicians, even more so, such amazing souls. The connection with them is unexplainable. The chemistry throughout all of the shows was the key to deeply loving every single minute of those performances, and that was again fed back to the audience. It was an amazing experience filled with beautiful energy. I would do it over and over again. Those moments of deep connection with musicians and audience are precious
La negra is an artist originally from Vigo (Spain), and based in London. Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, Gospel and Funk are her main influences that she captures in her music and dance style. As a singer and songwriter La Negra belongs to a family of musicians that got her in touch with Motown classics, vocal groups and Bossa-Nova, and very soon she started admiring Rap which became her source of inspiration to write her first poems, and later on songs. Jazzy and 90s Soulful sounds had become her trademark. Be ready to feel captivated by her powerful messages and seduced by her silky voice