Di Alessandro Cendron
The Belgian singer, with Italian roots, Laura Tesoro, who represented her country in the Eurovision song contest in 2016 with What’s the pressure, would really like to perform here in Italy.
As you already know, we are an Italian news agency, so the first question is definitely gonna be about Italy. What can you tell us about Italy and about the relationship with our country? Have you ever been here?
Yes, of course. My father is actually Italian, so I have Italian roots in the south of Italy in Terlizzi, in Bari. I have been there once with my dad and my mum, but it is a really long time ago. However, in 2014 after I had participated in The Voice, I went back to Italy for two weeks to study the language. I attended a school and stayed with a “guest-family”. It was really nice, I ate a lot of carbonara (she laughs). Nevertheless, you have to hear the language a lot to learn it well and I only have my dad who speaks Italian, but he can’t really speak it to me, because I don’t understand so much and enough to make a conversation. If I hear him talking Italian to other people, then I can get the context and the matter, but I miss all the details, because they also talk very fast. Of course, I still want to learn Italian and improve it, even if it is going to take me some more time and some more time in Italy, as well. But, I really love the Italian culture, the food and even the wine.
To prove that you are a very Italian girl, we should ask you a little thing: if you order pizza…
I don’t eat pineapple, I don’t do it on my pizza. Is this your question? Yes… (she laughs). I never never eat pineapple in my pizza! Never!
Perfect, so you are Italian! I am!
In an interview you said that you have “een italiaanse temperament” (“an Italian temperament”). In what, precisely?
I think in my passion for my job and also I am a very passionate person just in life: I have a really strong character and I even talk a lot with my hands. So, there is a little Italian in me, definitely!
Online there is a lot of material from your interviews for the Eurovision: almost five years have passed since that moment…
Yes, it’s crazy, it’s already five years ago. Five years are actually a really long time, but when you remind me of it, I’m like: “Yeah, it’s five years ago”, even though I don’t really realize that it’s been 5 years already. The Eurovision was like a crazy rollercoaster and it was one of the lifetime experiences that I really enjoyed. We worked really hard for it, but it was really nice to be there and work with those amazing people. Moreover, it was wonderful and an honour to represent my country in a show like that, so I am very happy that I was able to take part in that event.
If we can change the topic now, could we ask you what are the differences between your album “Limits” and your previous singles? (for example Higher or What’s the pressure…)
Well, Higher was more up-tempo dance and maybe also a little more “superficial”. I really like the album “Limits”, because there is a lot of me in the songs: in the lyrics I wrote about how I felt, and things that I have been through. I think that it is more personal than the previous singles and also it is all written in the same period of time. So, the songs are really about that specific part of my life. Instead, there was like a year in between the previous singles. Besides, as far as the singles are concerned, it was always a new project for every single song, while the album was the first time that we worked on one big project: all the songs were composed around the same time, produced by the same producers and all together in the studio where I sang all the songs in the same month. So, I think there is more like a “line”, a connection: it is one big story that I’m telling, instead of all those little stories apart.
Among all your songs there is one that is different from the others and it is “Hold on”. It is very meaningful and deep. What can you tell us about it?
I wrote this song about being in this powerless position where you see someone you love who is suffering and you literally want to take the weight of their shoulders, but you can’t. That is the reason why I really like the sentence of the song: “I wish I could take the weight of your shoulders”, because it explains what the entire song is about: I believe that there are a lot of situations that people can relate to when they hear this song and there are a lot of situations that you would like to help, but you are not able to do it. I also know that diverse people listened to this song during the lockdown and still do. Therefore, I feel like this song meant so much to a lot of people, which warms my heart, since I’m very happy to mean something with my music and to make people know that they are not the only one to feel like that. Yet, I’ve chosen to never tell details of the situation I write about, because I believe it is nice for listeners to relate to themselves and, if I give too many details, they can’t do it anymore. This is why when I write about my feelings and my real things, I am never too specific, so that everybody can relate.
Your latest single (feat. Loïc Nottet), “Strangers”, is about a couple not able to recognize themselves anymore, right? It seems that, for some reasons, there is an impossibility to communicate with each other. How do you feel while singing this song?
As you said, it is about a relationship which is not in a positive place and there is no communication anymore, which I think is very important in a relationship. We didn’t really mean to write about it, though. We actually just started singing and we first made a demo with only the melody, singing random words. After that, we started writing the lyrics, listened to the random words we were saying and heard “Strangers”, which was a very cool word, we thought. Only then, we began with the lyrics. The feeling we get from the song is totally fitted with the idea of not being able to communicate and being in a tight situation you would like to fix. It is not like “I am in a bad relationship”, but it is a feeling that maybe everybody had already: you perceive that it is not working and you want to repair it, but you do not really know how. I do not like this feeling, even if I like writing about it, as it is very important.
What about your tour calendar? It has been released for November, right?
We actually had to postpone the calendar two times already and this is the third time that I released the date, but you know… third time’s a charm, so hopefully this time it will work out. I really hope that I can get on stage and perform again. I miss so much vibing with my band, with the audience and the fans. I really want to do that again and make everybody forget
about everything and just have fun. I hope we can do it in the summer already, but for the tour it was safer to put it in October or November, but just to be sure we do not have to postpone it again. We thought it was safer to postpone later in the year, especially since the tour is indoor. However, I hope that in the summer we can do open-air concerts, maybe like in small groups of people. I really miss those good vibes!
Did the pandemic affect you somehow, maybe in the way you see life or music?
A lot of things changed last year, since suddenly I could not give concerts anymore and I could not do any writing session, because I always write with different people in the studio, which is not possible right now. So, a lot of things fell apart, but I’m really the kind of person who always stays positive and wants to make the best of it. I’m just trying not to waste 2020 and work on other things, make myself useful. The pandemic gave me a different perspective of life: you start appreciating some things more, because you suddenly realize that there are certain things that you can’t take for granted, like being able to perform for a lot of people. You find out it is a special thing and now I know how much I love it and want to get on stage and perform for people again. I really did not like 2020, but I appreciated that it gave me a different perspective and made me realize how much I love what I do.
The Voice is a significant part of your life: you made your debut in that program in 2014. What did you learn from that experience?
Of course, it was a long time ago. I was very nervous, but I learned a lot about how to be on the stage, how to perform for a live audience and for an important stage like that, how to take the cameras during the exhibition and also how to perform for people watching the program at home. It was a very interesting experience and adventure! I believe that I could not have done the Eurovision without participating in The Voice, since the Eurovision is a tv-show too: there are a lot of people there, but there are also millions of people watching it at home and therefore the cameras are also very important. It is like a combination of performing for a live audience and also making a tv-show. This is what I learned in The Voice and I am still very happy that I got that skill, because it is a relevant part of my job.
Now, you are participating in “The Voice”, but in another role: what can you tell us about the “Comeback stage”?
Well, we recorded the “blind auditions” last winter, but then everything got postponed because of the pandemic, which is why it is on tv only now. However, we are already preparing for the live shows now, as they are the only part we have not recorded yet, because they are live, of course. They are taking place in May, therefore we are fully preparing and rehearsing, picking songs and getting ready for those big shows. So, I am really excited about it and curious about how my team is going to do it.
And, what is the difference from being a “normal coach”, apart from pushing the button and turning around?
Yeah, the fact is that I am able to give a second chance to people who maybe were too nervous for their auditions. Even after, if they get into a team of one of the coaches, but then get eliminated in the knockouts or in the battles, I can still “steal” them. Thus, at the end I will have three talents for the live shows, I am very excited about that. Nevertheless, from the live shows I will be at the same level of the other coaches, even though before I was like a “little rebel” who stole candidates. It was very cool to give people a second chance.
We started this conversation talking about Italy, may we end it the same way, like a circle? Of course, I love Italy!
Of course, now there is the pandemic and therefore it is difficult to move from one country to another. However, would you like to come to Italy to give some concerts?
For sure, I would love to! But people always ask like: “Would you come and give a concert here?” and I would love to, but it does not really work like that. I do not really choose where I will perform. It is necessary that people there “book” me to play in their country. If they would ever ask me, I would love to go there, of course (and then I would eat carbonara the whole weekend, she laughs). I would really love to: if I will ever get the chance, I promise, I will play in Italy life!