Born on June 29, 1986, in Madrid, with musicians in her closest family and a career that started as a girl for Disney productions, Cecilia Krull López sings one of the most heard songs nowadays. “My Life Is Going On” is the main track of the series “Casa de Papel”, with images in Portugal. But over the past few weeks and months, she’s been known among us for singing, for the same soundtrack, a version of Grândola, Vila Morena. Interview with “O Estado do Sítio”, on TSF.
Cecília, did you already know the song, Grândola, before being invited to sing it for a soundtrack for the new series at Casa de Papel?
Yes I knew her. I knew her through my parents. I can’t say we listened to her much, but I knew her.
Did you get to know the importance of music for Portugal?
Yes, I know it is synonymous, much more than a synonym, I know it is linked to the carnation revolution. It has a very important message. A very beautiful and representative message of this 1974 carnation revolution.
Did singing this song lead you to seek out other things about José Afonso’s work and work?
Well, it was all a process. First, the creator of the paper house remembered Grândola Vila Morena. He conveyed this to the person responsible for the soundtrack of Casa de Papel and many others. And it was Manel with whom I spoke and who told me about this decision to make with Grândola Vila Morena and that I was the one to sing. I have a lot of respect for what song means for Portugal and for Portuguese singers and also for the whole fado tradition. I mean, I was very happy that they invited me, invited me, but it’s a big responsibility and I wondered why they didn’t invite a Portuguese singer, since there are so many wonderful ones. But then, I’m like an official singer of the series and they wanted me to sing this one. Manuel (Manel Santisteban, the producer) and I were working, we listened to several versions of Grândola, several songs by Zeca. We listened to Amália Rodrigues and denounced our investigation.
Do you have any idea of views your version has had on YouTube?
No, on Youtube I don’t know. I don’t really care about that. On Spotify, for example, I think we’ve surpassed one million copies, but I’m honest, I don’t really care about numbers. I like the song and I sing it. I’m very happy, but this whole theme… Well, it’s like with “My life goes on” the opening song that had a bang, but I don’t know the numbers because it’s already three years old. But yes, I know that big had a big impact around the world. No exact numbers, and I prefer it that way because I get nervous.
How were the reactions when you showed the song to your closest friends?
Well my family and my closest friends who are the only people I could show the song to… Reaction was… there were tears… chicken skin… and a lot of emotion. It’s a special song and it wasn’t easy. From the outset, because of the Portuguese pronunciation, which is very different from Spanish: as “corner”, “land” … I didn’t even know how to say “land of fraternity” which in Spain we say in a different way. These are things that I will have to study to say well. But it was great to sing it and perform it. It was a gift to me.
I know that music has been in your life since you were little… And that your favorite singers are Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu… Your grandfather played the accordion, father pianist… In Grândola’s case, he just sang the song, isn’t it properly the director of the series, but doesn’t it make you confused that a song associated with a practically peaceful revolution is associated with images in which one sees above all violence, blood, death?
That’s the only contradiction. But this is something that is used a lot in the series, this contrast. The contrast between the images and what is being heard is a resource that is widely used in films and series. And I think it’s there. Part of a revolution that was peaceful, without weapons, and then it’s this contrast with the Casa de Papel which is violent, which has weapons. But I think that what prevails is really Grândola’s message. On a visual and emotional level, I think what the director wanted was a contrast.
Would you rather see your version of the song more associated with scenes of overcoming difficulties, triumph, solidarity and collective freedom?
Well, I think in the context of Alex it also has that meaning. Because, deep down, it’s talking about resistance, it’s talking about unity, about companionship. You are talking about fraternity, freedom from the point of view of this group, of this not very peaceful team, but which has become a phenomenon… In many countries and for many people who identify with them.
It seems like this is the first time the bad guys are the good guys. Or that the good ones aren’t so sweet…
Exactly, exactly, and so I think I think Alex with Grândola… Well, maybe it would be better to ask him, but I think he owes this contrast and this emotion that Grândola has.
“My Life Is Going On” is a theme track from the series “Casa de Papel”, it’s one of the most heard songs nowadays. Was that what you needed to give your career a more global scale?
Well, I wasn’t aware when I made the song what was going to happen. That there was a before and an after in my career is more than evident. Because before I was a singer from Madrid, I had some recognition because I’ve been making songs for series and films for 12 years, but the repercussion that had the my life goes on…thanks to Casa de Papel, it was worldwide and it is clear there was a before and an after… brutal. Both in my career and in my personal life because after all, I’m not an actress, I’m not a character… When I sing, it’s me. So I didn’t know this would happen. Don’t have the slightest idea. It was a dream come true, but always with my feet on the ground and making music with my heart and working. These successes can be very short-lived. So I’m very grateful. And I work daily to record this moment, to work on my record and to record new songs, for example, Grândola. Who knows if now, in the second part, in December, new things happen with music and with me. We do not know.
Do you have confirmed plans for concerts in Portugal?
I dream about it in every interview. I beg you to do it. I’m dying to go to Portugal! 2 years ago I did several concerts in Portugal. I have a great history with Portugal. My two singles after “Life is going on”, “Hard” and “Losing my Mind”, were recorded in Portugal, with Portuguese producers. Pablo Alboran, with whom I made one of the versions of Grândola (there are two versions: o Requiem, that’s me with Pablo Alboran, the other is a version of war… Because it’s the one that appears in fights), I met Pablo in Porto!
How was working with Pablo?
It was a magical experience. Because I sometimes think that people are like they sing and that’s the way it is. Do you know how he sings so beautifully? Yeah, he’s so cute anyway. It’s a simple type humble, normal, professional, calm, affectionate, it’s spectacular. It was a dream to work with him and I am very grateful to fate. Because it was fate. I met him in Porto, in Portugal! We both went to sing at the same festival on Matosinhos beach and three years later, we sang Grândola Vila Morena together in Portuguese. It’s mind-blowing.