We managed to interview Claudia Campagnol, a beautiful voice, a master in the jazz scene and who this year participates in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with her powerful ballad Abracadabra. The team behind the song is Emil Adler Lei – whose songs won Danish Melodi Grand Prix in 2019 and 2020, Louis Jarto, as well as Melanie Wehbe – who was behind of the Mamas song last year in Melodifestivalen.
Claudia, can you please introduce yourself? Who is Claudia Campagnol?
– I come from a very talented family, basically everyone is musician, always has been.
Music is nothing that I chose or my family has chosen. Music has chosen us.
I come from Hungary and I am also gypsy, so this whole Abracadabra thing is very close to me of course. I moved to Sweden when I was 1 and half and I moved to Denmark 8 years ago.
Who is your inspiration music wise?
– Oh, there are so many. I met Stevie Wonder, because I was doing backing vocals in his show during Copenhagen several years back. And I guess Stevie has been major influence for most musicians, especially in my genre.
I have to say when I was very small, I listened and I learned everything that Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey did.
So, these three singers were who I was copying. All of the time. So, it is not coming from the jazz scene into pop scene through Abracadabra and Melodi Grand Prix, hopefully in to Eurovision as well, hopefully. It is a natural way for me to land on something poppy again.
How did meeting Stevie Wonder inspire you as a musician who you are now?
– You know what happened was we ended up in a jam at Jazzhus Montmartre – one of the most fancy places of Copenhagen. First of, his people said after the show that well, he is too tired, he does not want to go. But all of a sudden he came out from back stage and he was shouting Lets go party. He was so funny, he took the microphone and he said: Guys, I just want to thank you and I want to say one thing and then he burped into the microphone. Then I came close to him, and asked his wife to talk a little to Stevie. Of course, honey, of course. Then she turned to Stevie and she said, whispering to his ears: So, honey, there is a little girl wants to talk to you. Is that okay. So, he said of course.
He (Stevie Wonder) grabbed my hand, we were cheek to cheek and we were talking about everything in between music and God. So, it was really huge experience.
And what happened I got home the morning 7 in the morning and I thought I really need to go to sleep, but I couldn’t. There was the song that came out of me. So, I just sat up on the piano and recorded it instantly. That is also on my debut album. the album is called I’m Strong. But the song I wrote after that meeting is All Through You.
In 2019, you debuted your first album I’m Strong. How long did it take you to bring this album out?
– It took quite a long, because I did not feel that I had perfect songs for it. I really have been writing songs for so many years. But it did not feel that I could put those songs together. So, I had to write some new songs to really feel that it is a perfect piece for the album. And I did not wanna rush. I remember many of my colleagues they particularly asked me why dont you come with an album? And I also felt that I dont wanna come with an album just by myself.
I really need professionals to stand behind me do all the work. Because there is a lot of work behind it.
It is mastered by sound engineer called Erik Zobler who was also very famous jazz and funk piano player and sound engineer for 15 years. And he lives in LA. I also wanted my favorite musicians in my album, which I got. That is the world famous drummer Vinnie Colaiuta – who is my absolute favorite. He has been playing with Madonna, Eros Ramazotti, you name it. He has been playing with everyone. And for many people not musicians these names do not really matter anything, because you never see who is behind Beyonce or who is behind Aretha Franklin. But as a musician I know. He is in the album. And also Jimmy Haslip, who also played with everyone. So, I got them in my album and I really needed it, I wanted it bad. So, I wanted my first album to be something really strong.
Claudia, almost all the songs in your album is written by you, except one – Smile. Can you please tell me what makes Smile more special that you brought it to your album?
– Both my parents were musicians. They are not playing professionally anymore, but they used to.
My mother, she started to play at her very early age as well, like me. Or me like just her. She was playing as bar pianist as for many years, so when she got pregnant, I was in her belly, and she had a contract over 8 months where she was playing 6 nights a week, I do not know how many hours, but she did with me in her belly. And Smile was one of those songs that played that almost every night.
When I was a little girl, I heard that song in my head and I started to sing it and I told to my mum, what is this song? Why do I know this song? So, she said I was playing it when you were on my belly. So, maybe you can remember it. So, that is why I chose Smile. And also a funny story is Charlie Chaplin was a gypsy. Did you know about that?
You were one of the surprise names in the competition, since we seldom see a jazz singer in Eurovision. Can you tell us how it all started?
Well, I did not know all it started, because my management, they were up for a meeting somewhere in the world, and they met the writers of Abracadabra.
Emil Lei was there. So, Emil told “I have this beautiful song and I really need great singer, I just have not found her yet”. And so my management said, hey have you met Claudia, our artist? And he had heard about me, but he had not thought of me, so that was just perfect match. He said, yes that is what we want. So, they called me up and they asked me. I heard the song and I fell in love with song. It really blew my mind. And I said yes, of course, that is how it happened.
Claudia, “Abracadabra” is an amazing song. It gives the vibes of a soundtrack or a Disney movie. Can you tell us the message behind the song?
So, basically I know a lot of people lost loved ones due to COVID-19 actually. I know a few and I know that it is heartbreaking, but I think Abracadabra what we need, we want.
We want to use Abracadabra to just get them back, get your loved ones back just one last time, so you can see them, you can cross them, you can kiss them, so you can say how much you love them before you let them go and carry them eternal love with you the rest of your life.
Is there any person you are thinking of when you are singing about this song? Because you are truly sending all the emotions to the listeners. I got goosebumps all over when I heard it for the first time.
I had very beautiful connection and relationship with my grandmother from my father’s side, who I only knew during my 6 years in my life. And she did everything for me and she gave me so much love.
My parents did as well. But there was something special about her. She was very strong gypsy woman you know, really knew how to cook, really had an attitude, but also had so much love. So, she took care of me in a way that nobody else did. So, I really miss her. And she is the one I am thinking of while I am singing the song.
If you had a magical wand, what dream of yours would you make real?
– Wow, that is really difficult question.
I think I would wish for less ego in this world. I think ego is something we use a little too much all of us.
Claudia, thank you for this beautiful interview, as well as for the beautiful voice and music. We wish you best of luck in Melodi Grand Prix and perhaps we will see you in Rotterdam 2021.
Claudia Campagnol also released her official video for Abracadabra. The video by Nicho Oppermann. As a little hint Claudia Campagnol will sing and play all by herself during her performance. The strings are played by Grammy Award Winning artist Davide Rossi, who also collaborated with great artists such as Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and so on.
Claudia, also is releasing Dance edition of her single ‘Do You Love Me’ and she hopes we can all dance during summer 2021. It will be available in all digital platforms:
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