“Sometimes, I force myself to share things in my own language in order to challenge myself. It’s something that I’ve only started doing recently, and the results were actually quite a discovery. There’s a big difference in the melodies I come up with depending on the language I write in,” says MAVICA, the enigmatic Spanish artist whose reveals an exceptional talent for raw expression and a knack for navigating the vast terrains of human emotion.
A native of Cartagena, Spain, and now residing in London, MAVICA offers a wonderful listening experience that dances the delicate line between the melancholic and the hopeful. And her first LP, “sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay),” scheduled for release in September, is indeed a subtle gem. It demonstrates skilled production and exhibits a wide diversity of catchy melodies that remain beautiful and engaging, never becoming flat or stale. The occasional use of Spanish, her mother tongue, elegantly embedded within her tracks, carries listeners away on a whimsical journey, inviting them to immerse themselves in a Spanish dreamscape that radiates an infectious lightness of being even amidst themes of solitude and heartache. As she says, “Ever since I started writing, I have always written from a very sad and nostalgic perspective. I wanted to approach this album from a totally different perspective; from a point of acceptance and positivity of the feelings I’d have.” It is this perspective shift that has caused a significant transformation, not just emotionally, but also musically.
In our conversation, she offers insights into her new release “Empty House” featuring Khazali, her thoughts on societal silence, and the role of her multi-cultural experience in her art.
photography by Claudio M.A.
The track “empty house” deals with intense themes of loneliness and the decay of friendships. Can you tell us about the personal experiences or emotions that led to the creation of this song?
I went through a ‘friend breakup’, which was really hard. Drifting away from a friend can sometimes hurt more than a romantic relationship ending. It was one of those cases where talking became useless, and the only solution, in order to heal, was to follow our own paths, and for me, to write about it. ‘Empty house’ represents the feeling you experience when you are with someone who is emotionally unavailable or in a different ”room” or “house”. In this case, the house was empty, meaning that person was far from being there, not only to support me, but also in showing up for herself.
Working with Khazali on “empty house”, how did this collaboration come about and how was the experience for you?
While I was working on the song, I was experimenting with changing the sound of my vocals, pitching them down to get a sense of emptiness and darkness. I thought it would be cool to add another layer of vocals, and Khazali and I met through some friends we have in common. The deepness in his voice was exactly what I was looking for, so I asked him to join me on the song, and he luckily said yes!
The lyric “ya no hay nada que decir” is quite moving in “empty house”. I also believe there are instances when words no longer serve their purpose. It inspires me to ponder deeper…In fact, I think that society in general could benefit from more silence. Particularly in environments such as social media, where harsh words are often carelessly thrown about, the value of silence becomes apparent. In your view, why has our society become so vocal, often to the point of being unnecessarily loud?
I feel like when it comes to society and social media, we have become so confident about always expressing our opinion without caring about the other person’s feelings, that we forget that it can be disrespectful. It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of social media, not realizing that you’re saying these things to actual people… Maybe people should take some inspiration from that lyric and choose silence more often instead of constant communication.
“… I have always written from a very sad and nostalgic perspective. I wanted to approach this album from a totally different perspective; from a point of acceptance and positivity.”
You’ve had a rapid series of releases leading up to your debut LP, with “empty house” being the fifth single in 2023. How did you manage to maintain such a pace?
I’ve been writing these songs since 2020, so for me, it feels like a very slow pace, haha. I finished the album in January, and we took the time to create all the visuals in advance. Having everything organized has helped a lot in keeping up with the release pace. I’m always writing new music, though, and already have a lot of sketches for new songs that I can’t wait to put out next.
Your debut LP is titled “sometimes a person never comes back (but that’s okay)”. Can you shed some light on the meaning behind this title?
Ever since I started writing, I have always written from a very sad and nostalgic perspective. I guess mainly because I write the most when I need to express a feeling or when I’m sad. I wanted to approach this album from a totally different perspective; from a point of acceptance and positivity of the feelings I’d have. It caused a big shift not only emotionally but musically too.
Your music explores themes of feeling lonely, personal growth, and resilience. Can you share some of your personal strategies or practices that have helped you remain resilient in difficult times?
Writing, externalizing, and sharing thoughts or feelings has always been the key for me. I recently started journaling as well, which has helped me a lot to express myself.
“I love how songs transform in meaning depending on whoever listens.”
You’ve demonstrated an impressive command of both Spanish and English in your music, seamlessly switching between languages. How do you decide which language to use in a particular song or line?
That is a hard one! I tend to write in English because ever since I was a kid, I listened to English music. Sometimes, I force myself to share things in my own language in order to challenge myself. It’s something that I’ve only started doing recently, and the results were actually quite a discovery. There’s a big difference in the melodies I come up with depending on the language I write in.
The prestigious London College of Creative Media was where the MAVICA project was born. How has your education there shaped your approach to the music industry?
The school has had a great impact on my songwriting skills. Being around and learning from my classmates who were all amazing instrumentalists and songwriters improved my own writing a lot. The very first songs I put out as MAVICA were actually created during my time there.
“It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of social media, not realizing that you’re saying these things to actual people…”
After growing up in Cartagena, Spain, what was it like transitioning to life in London? Given the stark contrast between a seaside town and a bustling city, do you ever find yourself missing Spain?
The culture, pace, and weather were definitely big transitions, and something I had to get used to. I moved here when I went to College, and connecting with other creatives there helped me find my community and settle into life here. I miss Spain sometimes, but I know that no city challenges me like London.
With the buzz and rush of London life, how do you find moments of peace?
I fly to Spain quite a lot to spend time with my family and sit by the ocean. (smiles)
“I miss Spain sometimes, but I know that no city challenges me like London.”
Many artists find particular places or spaces inspiring to their creative process. Is there a particular place where you often find inspiration?
I always write in my home studio in London or in La Manga, where I spent a lot of time growing up. The funniest thing is that I always find inspiration when I’m in a rush or I have the most stressful week. That’s when I get my favorite ideas!
Being an artist can be as much about personal expression as it is about connecting with others. What kind of impact do you hope to have on your listeners with your music?
People often DM me saying that a certain song has helped them go through a hard situation or period. Hearing that someone connects with my music in that way and seeing it helps them cope with things happening in their own lives the same way it helps me when I’m writing these songs is something really special to me. I love how songs transform in meaning depending on whoever listens. If I had to pick one key thing for listeners of my music to take away right now, it’s the main message of my new album: “sometimes a person never comes back, but that’s okay”
Thank you so much for your time!