Interview from Polish Radio Three

 

PR3. You look very young, it seems that time has stopped for you. How do you do this?

T. Eeeh, I don't know, I age too. If you could see my belly... Sorry. Well, I don't know, I'm not sure, really.

PR3. I'd like to thank you for your last album, it's really marvellous. What are your favourite songs on this album?

T. I love the Cappuccino Song. For me it expresses the joy of life that I feel now. And perhaps it's a song I couldn't write before, it's very happy. And I'm very happy with that one.

PR3. Tell us how you met Marco Sabiu.

T. I met Marco because I was going to sing "E Penso A Te" in English. It's a Lucio Battisti song. And after I met him I understood we could be great friends. And when you meet somebody new you almost fall in love or you hate them. And with Marco, I was like, "God, this is a real brother" and he has the same attitude towards life as I do, he's very cheery and laughing and he really has changed the direction of the music he was making, it was very dance, he wanted to do something different, so... It was a very good time for us because I wanted to change the way I wrote songs, till then I was limited to the guitar and I understood I could use different instruments.

PR3. Why did you call the album "The Cappuccino Songs"?

T. Well, he's Italian, I'm brown just like cappuccino. I like to drink cappuccino. For me, when I was a kid, the idea that I would ever be in the world where I could drink cappuccino every day, it was so romantic, so... And for me it's a very magic word, it's just the love that I have for Italy and it's a kind of attitude that I have towards life now, which is very light. And somebody asked me, "Why didn't you call the album "The Sky Is Mine"?" and I was like, I can't call it this way, I can't call an album "The Sky Is Mine", it sounds awful, pretentious and I was very sure that this title was not pretentious, it's a funny title, everyone is very curious about it, it's like a love story, really...

[they play "The Cappuccino Song"]

PR3. Your debut album was the wonderful "Ancient Heart". Tell us what it's like to be a famous teenager.

T. It's very strange because you're still a kid and there are many things that you want to do. You want to fall in love, make stupid mistakes, get drunk and you would never do because you're scared that people would criticize you and eventually I could do these things when I was older but I didn't miss it because I was very much in an adult world, I was very much on my best behaviour all the time. But I was working very hard, people recognized me and I didn't really understand but I didn't do anything fun, I didn't do many fun things.

PR3. When you begin to write a song, what comes first - music or lyrics?

T. The two at the same time. It has to feel like singing a song when it's already written. I hear a melody than I start to feel another melody that goes on top of it and then the words come. Sorry, it's a very strange process because it kind of happens at the same time.

PR3. Is it difficult to write a song like "Twist in my Sobriety"?

T. No, not really. (laughter) Sorry. No, it's hard to think, if you're gonna sit down and you're gonna think, "I'm gonna write a great song today" I think it would be a problem. But I think that if you never lose the sense that you're a kid and you're still playing I think you'll always write interesting things because it's almost like I still feel that free. I think I will always write songs, I don't know if they'll be "Twists" but they'll be all right.

PR3. Do you remember your childhood? Was it exceptional in any way?

T. I think I had a very... eeeh... early part of my childhood was very nice. I was in Germany, I was growing up in the army environment. I had a very, very strange childhood because we didn't have television, because it was in German so the kids were really free and really wild, we wouldn't watch telly, making up... eeeh, we were always in pop groups, played games, football or playing eeeh..., creating our own world. We were very free when we were young. And now I see kids, they just spend all their time playing computers, you know they don't have the same freedom. Maybe that's the world that's changed, kids aren't secure outside their home but I mean when I was a kid I felt very protected.

 

[ they play "Twist"]

PR3. When did you decide to become a musician?

T. I, I was about 16 and - not a musician because I never felt like a musician but I thought I would become a writer. I saw Suzanne Vega and I thought, "Wow, you know you could be a song writer and it would be so cool", and I remember she influenced me very much, her young age, not just the songs but the fact that she was singing them that way, she was there, she had quite a strange voice but she was very musical.

PR3. How did you meet Jennifer Warnes?

T. Ah, it was a big fun, I was very influenced by her album "Famous Blue Raincoat". When I listened to it, I knew how to record an album, how to record "Ancient Heart". "Ancient Heart" wasn't a copy of that album but it was very much influenced by "Famous Blue Raincoat". Later, she came to my concert in Los Angeles and she knew I was a big fan and I was very embarrassed, I hid behind my keyboard player [laughter] because I was so nervous, because you can't imagine when you meet the people that are important for you.

PR3. Why did you make a cover of ABBA's "The Day Before You Came", why did you choose this particular song?

T. I grew up with their music. This song haunted me, I think it was their last song and it was a song that seemed very adult, it didn't seem a pop song, there seemed to be a real melancholy in it. There isn't any point in copying the original as the original version is wonderful and you can't do it better so it's just a reinterpretation.

PR3. Tell me about "I Think Of You". For me it's one of the most important songs.

T. Really? "I Think Of You" is my favourite song, it's not by me, it's a translation of an Italian song by Lucio Battisti, it's very emotional, very melodramatic. Actually, most love songs sound pretty the same but it's about unrequited love, about somebody abandoned. And when I played it to my friends they all started crying and that was the first time I met Marco and we decided to work together.

 

Tanita was interviewed by Mariusz Owczarek (PR3)

Thanks to Krzysztof Migdalski for this transcription.

 

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