David Scott McLean – Te Canto Colores [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Contemporary Flamenco Wanderings?

Tell us a few things about your new work ‘Te Canto Colores’. What is the story behind it?

Each song has its own unique story but I wanted the album as a whole to be a self-composed, performed, produced, and engineered endeavor using local artists that I work with regularly. The title song, “Te Canto Colores” is written in a traditional Flamenco Alegria Letra form. The lyrics are about our daughter who was born extremely premature and the beauty of that struggle that I witnessed between mother and child. My wife used to sing “De Colores” (being of Mexican Heritage) to our daughter in the hospital and I played with the idea of how the act of singing to someone can bring color into their life, and how the spectrum of life’s experiences is sometimes better expressed through music. And each tune has a story. I wrote a song about a mountain in Granada, another about how flamenco gestures tell a story and take you to a dream world, another I wrote for my friend who is no longer with us. En fin, I just wanted it to be honest and soulful.

Do you like the idea of collaborating?

Just as long as the people I’m collaborating with are cool, I love collaborating-luckily flamenco is a highly collaborative art form. I’m always doing shows with singers and dancers and percussionists. Part of the reason why I like Flamenco is that, even though you collaborate with others, you are still given plenty of opportunity to express your own voice. You aren’t tied to doing a song the same way every time because it is highly improvisational.

Is songwriting a lonely process?

I’d say song writing is a “solitary” process, not necessarily a “lonely” one. When I compose my best songs I find that I am often alone in a new place, or in the forest and I have time to just be alone without the distractions of normal life. Not to say I’m never lonely. I am sometimes.

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

That’s a hard question to answer. Writing/composing music is something I’m driven to do naturally . I’ve made up songs since I was a kid. I don’t find performing to be nearly as intuitive. I love the adrenaline of performing, but I have a certain amount of performance anxiety that can be limiting and annoying at times. The best solution for my performance anxiety, however, somewhat ironically, is to perform. So I do.

What would you change in the music industry?

Autotune— I hate it. It completely sucks the nuance out of the human voice and for some reason all kinds of artists use it. I don’t get it-maybe it’s the industry pressure to make everything sound polished and perfect. Music is an expression of the soul and whose soul amongst us is polished and perfect?

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust your inspiration. Always be a student. Don’t forget to take interest in other people’s artistic endeavors and to support other artists.

Who is your favorite guitarist?

I tend not to have favorites. But I love listening to Moraito Chico lately . He had such a natural, fun style and his rhythm was impeccably in-the-pocket and every time I saw him perform (when he was still alive) I could see how genuinely thrilled he was to be playing music.

Thank you!

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