Mercedes Mígel Carpio is Vega, singer and songwriter who became known thanks to Operación Triunfo, but who soon cut ties, created her own record label and began to fly alone. He was born in Córdoba 42 years ago, but there are four cardinal points that mark his being: Andalusia, Galicia (A Coruña is his second home), Madrid (where he lives) and Euskadi, where he has just recorded his latest album, produced by Bilbao. Kike Fuentes, with whom he has been working for 14 years.
White blackbird is Vega’s eighth studio album, a 12-song collection coming out on his own independent label, La Madriguera Records, and due out next February. His first single is Bipolar, a song in which he shares the mental disorder he suffers and with which he has wanted to put the debate on mental health on the table. He has presented it to us in The Extra Hour.
Vega has spent his entire career stripping naked through his songs, his lyrics, his music. But on November 17, he made one of the most intimate confessions: he is bipolar. He did it on his social networks, taking advantage of the publication of a topic in which he tells it, through what he does best: sing. After a pandemic that has affected us all, to a greater or lesser extent, she wanted to share her experience to help and invite reflection.
“By sharing it on social media I wanted to support why I can talk about these issues, support the song. Because talking about these issues, if they don’t touch you, is a bit delicate. So I have taken a step forward and just wanted to normalize it. Bipolar is the last song that I wrote of White blackbird And, listening to the whole album, I asked myself what was missing, what theme I wanted to tackle. And I wanted to talk about the fact that there are times when I have felt very bad. I want to say that there are times when there is no worse enemy than oneself. I want to put the issue of mental health on the table. And I do it in the first person, because all cases are different, there is not one case the same as another. Bipolar He doesn’t just talk about a case, he talks about mental health. And not to give up, what is the claim main song. We have very internalized physical pain and that physical pain needs the help of a professional. If we twist an ankle, we go to the physio. But psychic pain is highly stigmatized, as it is difficult for us at the society level to accept that hey, who has not had a peak of anxiety. Many people go through anxiety or depression. You have to know how to stop and think that you don’t have to spend it alone, you have to ask for help, normalize it, talk about it with your family and friends. Professional and personal help is very important in these processes. “
And you do it through music, which is one of the most massive cultural expressions. That helps to normalize it and that many more people feel identified with it.
“Behind art there are always crazy geniuses. It is a very hackneyed expression, but, indeed, we have always seen the genius and not the torments of the art world. They know each other, but they do not talk about it, they talk about the final work . To the song Bipolar I could have given it another title and many people would still identify with it, but I named it after Bipolar because I wanted to draw attention to the process that I have gone through and I wanted to focus on the fact that there is a mental health problem that is difficult for us to deal with. Music has that power, that empathic power to make people think, not just entertain. I’m an artist who really likes to make people think. “
How you have learned to coexist with the two. Because you say in the song that it’s your worst version, the other Vega
“For the first time Mercedes has sung Vega’s album convinced that they are the same person. There are times when my wishes and expectations as a person collide with those of the artist. Not in this project anymore.”
You speak in the song of revealing yourself against everything. That rebellion has a continuity in your lyrics and in your songs. On The Fish Queen you were a fish that swims against the current, uphill, overcoming obstacles. Now you present White blackbird, that bird that does not imitate the sounds of nature, but develops its own unique and singular trill throughout its life. What is in common between the fish and the blackbird?
“White blackbird It is not a discontinuous disk, it is a continuation, prolongation and evolution of The Fish Queen. The first time I saw a white blackbird I did not know what it was, I thought it was a dove. When I realized what it was, I started to think that it’s me in the music industry. Because I am an independent artist, a bit unusual, because I belong to a label that is monosello, monoartista, monotodo. It is taking independence to levels that can sometimes be unhealthy due to overload. I began to investigate what blackbirds were and I realized that I was that, with each album defining what my singing is, my identity as an artist, which is perfecting and evolving until the day I die and retire from the stage. It is not that I am really a white blackbird, it is that this industry, being an independent woman, and this I have never said in an interview, the industry sometimes tore my feathers to strips and those feathers were born again with white hair. I am a survivor in that sense. What The Fish Queen“
“The music industry tore my feathers into strips and those feathers have come out with gray hair”
You had a very mainstream start, but you have made a very brave path. Why is it so hard for women, for artists, to be taken seriously, to be themselves or to achieve what men achieve before.
“The industry does not differ much from other things in which we are carrying a historical weight. I think that many very positive steps have been taken, but it is very difficult, because I believe that it is an industry in general in which we are also part of it. women, as audiences and as artists. And they do not take us seriously, as in the United States, where they have a totally different policy. There are the great divas of the song, then the bands and a male soloist has it more complicated than a soloist In Spain it is a culture where the role of women continues to take a long time to reach a notable weight. And I believe that we are comfortable. We are very established that we are educating the new generations. Here I make a plea: we are going to stop carrying responsibilities on young children. Do not settle into the one that, while that generation arrives, grows and changes the message, I am very comfortable on the couch with these privileges that historically come from elsewhere. E In my case it is a rarity. To be a freelance artist with a 20 year career and who has survived. It seems that women are less credible if we do not make a certain type of music or a certain staging. I feel supported and loved by the public and the media. “
You have a tour ahead of you in the midst of a pandemic, how do you face it?
“I have a crazy desire, because One Night’s DiaryThat live album stayed there, despite being number two in sales in this country. We had to postpone the tour, then cancel it and now I really want to present Mirlo blanco and recover that essence that was left from Diario de una noche en Madrid “.
What are the themes of the album?
With A hit (second single) I wanted to give consciousness as a collective society. Bipolar to mental health. There are many themes that are not in romantic love or lack of love, there are too. Mirlo blanco is an emotional journey where people will feel a lot of empathy with what I am telling, because it is open in the channel, for good and for bad. Then this Patria, which is a song where I recover Andalusian rock. I return to my origins and I come to say that in Andalusia, with great honor, although we do not miss the celebration of the joy of living, we are a very hard-working land. Cradle of talent, a lot of talent that is working in Andalusia and outside of Andalusia. I wanted to tell my land to show its chest, that we are much more than the party and the tambourine. There are songs in Galician, a cultural plurality that enriches. Also a very special introduction, Txoria Txori. And it is that I have four cardinal points in my life. One is Galicia, another Andalusia, another is Madrid and then Euskadi, because I have been working with Kike Fuentes for 14 years and we have recorded the album in Andoain.
I am realizing that it is a very political album, you have definitions of life, coexistence, multiculturalism or identity. Very political positions taken to emotion and music.
“The political intention is not there, because there cannot be one thing that interests me less in the world than politics, even if it is politically incorrect, because I do not feel represented by anything that is in the political sphere. politics, that does not mean that I do not have my own opinion about things. I have lived in so many places, I have spent so many very long periods in the United States … that I do not understand borders, I understand people, whether they treat me well or not. when I arrive, what they contribute to me and I am to stay with the good. I am not staying with the political part, but with the cultural richness of the places where I have been and that are part of me as a person “.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.