Interview: Anna Maria La Spina

Anna Maria is one half of the sibling duo La Spina, and this extremely talented and beautiful lady took some time out to chat with Beauty and Lace:

How would you define your musical sound?

My solo musical sound would fall into the pop category, however being such a broad genre, I’d probably say ‘classy pop’. Our album “Always You” would be best described as “Orchestral/Pop” as my brother’s operatic tenor voice leads it further into the classical department.

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What does the name La Spina mean?

La Spina is our Italian surname although I have been told that a while back it originated from the King of Spain – a fun story we’d like to believe. Quite literally it means ‘The Thorn’.

What is it like working so closely with your brother?

We had different roles in the making of the album therefore we weren’t together constantly until the vocals were being recorded.

While I was writing the music, co-producing and arranging, Rosario was in opera roles around the country. In the vocal recording section it was great because we’ve always had a fantastic relationship and being family we can get annoyed at each other and then five minutes later grab some lunch without any need for an apology talk.

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Who was the boss growing up? Did he pick on you?

He absolutely did. The first two things that spring to mind are the terms ‘dead-arm’ and ‘chinese burn’ – no explanation needed I’m sure. But it extends further back to when I was six months old and he was four. Mum says that he would wait until she walked out of the room before grabbing hold of my bouncinette and spinning it AND me around. After Mum heard my terrifying screams, he would do the cute look and say he didn’t know what happened. Pfftt! Big brothers!

How long have you been singing together?

Not long at all. We’ve always sung separately except for a few pop performances when we were in our late teens. I think the timing was right now as in the past we’ve both recorded other solo albums and it felt like a natural thing to do – quite unexpected really.

Where do you get your inspiration?

There are so many normal every day things that lead to inspiration. It could be as simple as seeing someone give up their seat to someone who really needs it on a bus or train ride. In this style of music I try to write songs that connect to their audience through the realness of the topic whether that be through the lyrics or allowing certain relationships within the music arrangements do that through sound and feel.

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How did you get “discovered”?

Being “discovered” is an interesting term to me. It makes things sound so easy. We were developing this idea for quite a few years. At Rosario’s launch for his CD “Puccini Romance” I was generally chatting to Daryl who used to work for the QLD Orchestra.

He had asked what I was up to and after telling him about LA SPINA he loved the idea and took it to his contact at ABC and Universal Music and from there meetings were had and we were all on the same page which was a great feeling.

How does it feel being backed by the 65-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra?

It’s a feeling like no other. I remember the first song we recorded with the MSO was ‘You & I’. I had written it with a colleague in my lounge room in London on a tiny 30cm keyboard and here it was arranged for and played by 65 amazing classical musicians. I could feel tears coming to the surface when I first saw and heard them play it. They were the perfect fit for the sound we were after.

Have your parents been a big part of your music careers?

Without a doubt, yes. Rosario and I have enormous respect for them both. Without the sacrifices made and the dedication in giving us the opportunity to learn our crafts we wouldn’t have this album today.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I love going to the movies complete with popcorn, dinner with friends and something a little different I guess – Property Development. Dad is in the Construction Industry and I work with him on a few projects. I’d love that to continue down the track with my music career as well. I just don’t think people are 1 dimensional – there are lots of things we can do and may as well do a few of them to keep things interesting.

What’s next for La Spina?

Live performances are on the agenda. Stylistically, the album lends itself to being a live performance based product. Rosario and I both love singing on stage and seeing people feel what we are singing about. It’s just beautiful.

What does being a woman mean to you?

Hmmm, I’ve never really had to think about that before, however the first word that comes to mind is ‘versatility’ – that’s what it means to me. You can have a career, be a Mother, wear a suit or pop on a gown, open a door or have one opened for you – we seem to have more options than the gentlemen. I love that!

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