Underground Sound interviews the talented reggae artist Sara Lugo. She will be playing Marley Fest 2019 at Surfside this Saturday in Malta along with other foreign and local acts.
Luc John Claude: We love your voice. Where do you get it from?
Sara Lugo: Thank you so much. God blessed me with this gift. And my parents I guess.
Having a brother playing with Jamaram must have exposed you to so many different styles!
I grew up with Jamaram, they were my big brothers and family firstly, but also mentors, idols and teachers to me. They were also my first contact in live music and opened many doors for me. Since they started their group in 2000 I didn’t miss a chance to join them for sound checks, shows, rehearsals or studio sessions. While other people my age enjoyed going to parties, I went where the music was happening whenever I could. I learnt so much by just listening to them, observing their progress, their way of working, being around them and making music with them.
Through Jamaram I also met the amazing Umberto Echo who produced and released my first two albums and almost all other releases until now.
As a German with Puerto Rican roots, how have your Caribbean origins affected your style and your outlook on life?
My Puerto Rican roots are definitely a big part of me. I’d say it mainly shows through my personality and then of course through my music. That fiery passion is what got me this far and will probably always be my source of energy. It’s what makes me passionate about things. About music, life, love.
It took me a while to learn to control this wild part in me, and actually I’m not sure if I will ever be able or want to fully control it, but I learnt how to direct that energy. Back in the days, this undirected energy could be very destructive and I must say it’s an interesting process to channel it, cos while you want to control it, it’s the unfiltered form where it’s the most creative. So it’s really about finding a good balance.
Sometimes it feels to me that the Puerto Rican part in me just makes me feel and experience life just a little more intense with this inner fire.
We heard you are a multi-linguist! How many languages do you speak?
Yes, I guess you could say so. My mom used to speak German with me and my dad would speak to me in American English. They used Spanish as their secret language, so I always heard it as a child but never understood it.
In school I chose Spanish and since I moved to France three years ago I started to pick that up also. At this point my French is somewhat decent. It will need some more time to get it all right though. After all it is a rather complex language, but it’s cool. I take it one day at a time, ça arrive.
Benefits of being an artist in Paris?
Paris is full of inspiring people, musicians, singers and just has a special kind of dynamic to it. It never sleeps, it’s always alive and vibrant. There is always so much happening, and all these stories of life are inspiring in itself.
Also, my musicians live in Paris. My booking agency Cartel Concerts and Blanka, a French producer I’m working with for my new album, are also located there. So it’s really full of advantages and possibilities on so many levels.
You have sang alongside many legends in the reggae world. We especially like your tracks with Proteje, what’s it like producing with him?
Protoje is an amazing artist. It was so easy to work with him.
I remember I received the ‘Ram Jam Riddim’ from Silly Walks and the chorus for ‘Really Like You’ struck me almost instantly. I opened a new session and recorded a layout there and then and when I was listening back to what I had just created I could just hear Protoje’s voice on the song straight. So I sent him the layout (unfortunately we couldn’t be in the studio together while recording ‘Really Like You’) and a little later he sent me his idea.
Super easy going, super down to earth person. I’m really grateful he jumped on this song with me. It really changed a lot for my career. Funny fact also, he knew from the first time he heard it that it would be a hit. I loved it from the start, but had no idea about what a hit song sounded like at that time. He was right. At this point the song already has more than 11 million plays on YouTube.
Is this your first time playing in Malta?
Yes, this is my very first time performing in Malta! I’m very exited. I love to travel and I love to explore new places and faces. So coming to Malta and being able to share my music with its lovely people and celebrating the birthday of the great Bob Marley is a real pleasure.
Excited to play Marley Fest?
Yes, yes, yes! Most definitely.
Any new releases we should keep an eye out for?
Yesss, I am working on my new album, so definitely look out for that. I can’t tell you when we will release it yet, but I can invite you to come follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and all of these social medias to make sure you get all updates about my newest releases.
Also, mark March 8th in your calendar. New song alert for this date. It’s a Oneness ting, called ‘Woman On a Mission’. Watch out and see you real soon at the Marley Fest in Malta my soldiers of LOVE.