Maridalia Hernández, Pura Sangre
Our footsteps sank into the worn out sidewalks of the Colonial Zone and took us to the divine micro city that mixes the eras. That sunny September morning, had brought us something better than the usual eternal summer heat in Santo Domingo.
Nicolas de Ovando, opened his doors. The Spanish architecture of the sixteenth century became a hospitable accomplice and the contemporary interior tinged modernity. One of its halls sheltered the gentle breeze and painted as the perfect place to interview the morning lady.
She appeared timely and freshness compared to those who leave good dreams. Her eyes identified a soul overflowing with poise and sympathy. The words escaped her naturally, with the simplicity of the greats. The last baroque of her life was well hidden as it was noticed in the precise expressions, but filled with feeling.
Magical and delirious was repeating with her presence the emotions of the golden 80s. A high voltage electric shock, only a voltage Juan Luis Guerra and 440 transmitted not only to Dominicans. The also founder of the quar- tet, left the scene temporally and gave us a live performance many years later. She was reliving the fury in the Caribbean and beyond the islands. The songs flew and joined in the mind... "Si tú te vas, si tú te vas, mi corazón se morirá" (If you go away, if you go away, my heart will die). What a great Merengue! We survived the heartbreak and witnessed the "Te ofrezco" (I offer you) on the OTI Festival. The public did not have to understand you to love ̈. We keep humming those cute tunes we danced to, fell in love with and with which we consoled ourselves over lost loves. Maridalia came sure to give us the enchanted minutes of her “second nature”.
You started very young, at the age of 10 in the world of mu- sic and art. Were you influenced being born into a family of artists?
Completely. Look more than choosing it, it came in my DNA, in both family branches. Both the Hernandez and the Morel family are pure bred artists. My father is an architect-engineer and pianist, although not devoted to music; he is a very talented man. Her father guided her to not be devoted to music because she is also the granddaughter of Julio Alberto Hernández, a great Dominican composer. On my mother's side I come from a family of painters Yoryi Morel, Priamo Morel, Orlando Minicucci Morel. The voice inherited from her, began to make their first incursions very young but then turned to be a homemaker, wife and mother. With this strong legacy of thoroughbred artists could hardly devote herself to the trade or financial field. From a very young age, my father as a musician, wanted me to start to study piano.
Did you have family support from the beginning?
Yes, I had the whole family support to study classical music, I completed the music career and really prepared myself to be a classical pianist. In 1981 I was about to go to Vienna to do a masters in classical piano, but I knew a great Dominican producer, Luis José Mella, he heard me sing in choruses and invited me to participate in its production of movie themes ̈ sounds for an image. My fate changed drastically and left classical studies to devote myself to popular singing.
And you life, changed...
Completely. In a sense I'm glad because in the popular song is probably where I better express my artistic temperament. I'm probably more qualified because of making formal music because people cannot ima- gine how rigorous they are. They vaccinate you against mediocrity, you get a comprehensive understanding. This has been what life and destiny have given me.
A singer is born or made?
Born. Then, with studies you cultivate your talent, you know the art of singing and controlled breathing but the instrument is brought by you. My mother tells me that when I was five or six years she heard me sing in my room while playing with dolls and told my dad to listen to me because she was impressed with that voice so refined from so small! My mother had been a great singer, but did not have her chance.
You have represented Dominican Republic in numerous events, What has it meant for you?
The peak of my career in 80s when we participated in the Festival de Viña del Mar. It has much stature because not only songs compete, but international artists as well. Our song, which was sent to the last selec- tion, arrived at the last moment but quickly became a favorite. It was customary for the best songs to be played on the radio for the public to familiarize themselves with it and ours sounded so much because from the beginning it was well liked. At the end we were in first place and the song became a romantic song especially for women. When you repre- sent your country is a big responsibility, but thank god we were victorious.
How you can put aside a «bad day» and go on stage giving the best of you?
As actors often say, you start developing a second nature and it works through you spontaneously. At those times you need an extra breath, you have the art and craft so integrated that you have to work hard and once on stage the energy exchange with the audience takes out the best of you.
What a nice feeling it is to be reciprocated by the public...
You are an element; you forget yourself completely and are in a natural flow.
Have you ever regretted choosing this profession?
Never, in any way. Since I was younger I was always a guitar in hand sin- ging in school evenings, at birthdays and I always imagined being famous in the Alonso. I’ve always been very grateful for the privilege of music. Certainly there are times you›re so exhausted you think «if I could leave this»... but it›s just a passing moment.
Have you ever missed anonymity?
No, maybe because I'm closer to the people and they do not see me as a figure. I do not mind the approach, on the contrary, I have never felt besieged. Sometimes your own people ask more of you than the public itself.
You mention that the 80s were the golden years of artists, do you think they will return?
It was a very productive decade for artists of my generation. Current times are very complicated but I am extremely positive and activist and I am clear that times of crisis bring out better things. It is difficult to guess what will become of the industry but there is a deep crisis of record sales, it is a reality, but this will open new avenues that we cannot see at the moment.
Still feeling the itch to go on stage?
Of course, sometimes I do not feel it and that worries me, but at the last minute before going on stage it always comes.
What's the best and worst of music?
Interacting with the public is the best thing, you have the privilege to be the vehicle for such beautiful emotions. The worst part of the business, is the interest, the knock down from visible and invisible enemies, because you cannot identify them and they are many.
Have you had many knock downs?
Yes, but I've also had a lot of affection. There are artists who are admired but when you also loved, you get to ask yourself, what I have done to deserve such affection and encouragement from the public, all the applause, is wonderful.
Who would you like to sing with that you have not already?
With so many people! With James Taylor, Carol King ...
Do you have an ritual when going on stage?
Yes, be quiet, review the letters and internalize the moment. I am greatly bothered by the retouching of makeup or clothes when I'm about to go on stage. At that time any gesture disturbs my peace.
What are your future projects?
I want to do some projects with our country brand and make a DVD about the music and life of my grandfather, Julio Alberto Hernández. Furthermore, I would like to make a tribute to various artists with whom I had the privilege of growing up, Luis Díaz, Juan Luis Guerra and José Mella. I was just named a member of the National Council of Culture and will assist in the design of cultural policies. And many more things that will happen next year...
What do you lose sleep over? A very strong concern
What has been your greatest success, what you feel most proud about? Artistically that triumph is the festival de Viña del Mar, the first years of the founding of 440 were wonderful. From the years as a music student with my classmates and I remember with great affection when I did the duet with Alberto Cortez, Celia Cruz and Ivan Lins. A trip to take Vienna
A dream to fulfill I would love to make a blockbuster country brand at radio city music hall for all Dominicans
A song Balada para un loco
A book The biography of Marie Antoinette by Stephan Suey
Your best song “Para querete” (to love you)
A film The Sound of Music
A hobby To read
What you hate most about human beings Betrayal, I think it’s worse than heartbreak
What you value most about human beings authenticity
A corner of the world A Broadway theater in New York
A corner in DR Jarabacoa, Pedregal by the Baiguate river
A memory The first trip to New York with 440
A moment The birth of my daughter
An obsession Many, but the smell of fried egg in the morning is asphyxiating
A person you admire Oprah Winfrey
When you were little you wanted to be? A famous singer
What music do you listen to? In the car is where music plays best, with the windows raised. I listen to all kinds of music except mine; I never listen to myself because it causes me stress.
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