“Writing songs in Spanish feels strange to me”
HAVANA TIMES — With a different style to that which is normally heard on the island, Lizzy and her band choose to sing in English, for a Cuban audience.
HT: Your background isn’t in the arts, is it?
Lizzy: No, my studies were really in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, something which doesn’t help me at all when it comes to singing. I graduated two years ago in the Department of Biology, it was an amazing field of study, and the best thing about it was that at the beginning, I got to know what was then Miel con Limon, and it was with this band that I became tied to the professional world of music.
HT: Did Miel con Limon shape your music career in any way?
L: Not a lot, the reason I decided to then create my own project was precisely because the music I wanted to make, was different to the kind of music Miel con Limon was making at that time. It wasn’t defining, but it did help me decide what I wanted to do, and that was to sing.
HT: What are your musical influences?
L: I have had many influences that I can’t just name one. I personally really like an Icelandic band who make what’s called Indie-Folk music. I think they influence my lyrics and the music I make as well.
HT: What can you tell us about your experience at the Premios?
L: It came as a complete surprise when we won an award in 2014 for the song “Love” in the Alternative Music and New Artist category, on this Cuban TV program. I also played the role of Amy Winehouse at one of the galas and that made me study her personality and everything that entails singing her music. This year, we also won the Pop category award with the song “Heaven”. At Cubadisco last year, they nominated my CD “The Beginning” for the First Album and Pop Fusion awards. That really caught our attention because for us it wasn’t an ambitious album, we had made it completely independently of course.
HT: What was the transition from one album to another in terms of your musical journey?
L: When I made “The Beginning”, I was more of a solo artist and this last album “Heaven”, isn’t Lizzy by herself anymore, but with her band “The Lizzy Sweet Project”, and furthermore, we recorded that album live and it was marked by the influences of all the musicians who took part in making it. As a result, you can really see the difference from one period to another.
HT: Who makes up your band?
L: The music producer of both my albums, the music director of the band and guitarrist is Miguel Comas. The rest of the musicians incredibly have all been the loves of my life, the bass player Alejandro Gonzalez, as well as the cello player Yanet Moreira, who is a great attraction in the band for her sweetness and talent, Leonardo Delgado is the other guitar player and also composes, Angel Luis Milet on drums, the skinniest guy with the most swing in the whole wide world, and myself. This is my band right now.
HT: How did you produce the album “Heaven”?
L: We recorded it in the fabulous and run-down EGREM studios, which is falling apart but still has good acoustics for what we were trying to achieve. We were lucky to be able to mix and master it in the US at the Key West Master Studios, with people who I would have never been able to have dreamed of connecting with on a professional level, for example the sound engineer who has worked with Paul McCartney and other great musicians.
HT: Why do you sing in English if you live in Cuba?
L: I just like English. There really isn’t any other agenda; I just like listening to music written in that language. I’ve also sung in French and to be honest, it doesn’t sound the same, even when I write in Spanish it feels a little strange, although I know that I need to try to do it.
HT: And your audience’s response to your music?
L: The Cuban public likes to hear us sing in English. There are a great number of people in Cuba who listen to music in English, which I guess is an alternative, even if it is made in Cuba.
HT: Where can we find Lizzy Sweet Project playing?
L: We play in Havana quite regularly at the Submarino Amarillo on 17th Street, in Vedado, where we play another kind of music, as the venue doesn’t have the facilities for us to play our repertoire. And otherwise, we’re at the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center, in Vedado, on 13th and I Streets, every Friday, every month.