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NELLA

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NYC-Based Venezuelan Singer NELLA Releases Debut CD Voy on Casalimón America

Rising Star is Nominated for a Latin Grammy for “Best New Artist”

CD Created in Collaboration with GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY winner JAVIER LIMÓN

Featuring 13 Original Songs by Producer Limón (Buika, Diego el Cigala, Mariza)

First U.S. Tour Oct 10 – Nov 23 includes NYC, Boston, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco, LA

“Nella is a new voice and an important artist from the Americas” – GUSTAVO DUDAMEL

NELLA – “VOY” TOUR 2019

Nella (voz), Gilad Barakan (guitar), Paulo Stagnaro (percussion)*, Daniel Torres (bass)**

*Ivan Llanes (percussion Nov 1, 2, 3) ** Pera Krstajic (bass) Oct 29, Nov 1, 2, 3)

Oct 10

Clemson, SC

Brooks Center for the Performing Arts

Oct 12

Oct 15

Los Angeles, CA

Houston, TX

Luckman Fine Arts

Matchbox 4

Oct 21

New York, NY

Le Poisson Rouge

Oct 22

Burlington, VT

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Oct 23

Somerville, MA

The Rockwell

Oct 24

Portsmouth, NH

The Loft

Oct 29

Kennett Square, PA

Longwood Gardens

Nov 1

Asheville, NC

Diana Wortham Theatre

Nov 2

Raleigh, NC

NC State Live / Stewart Theatre

Nov 3

North Bethesda, MD

AMP by Strathmore

Nov 7

Carmel by the Sea, CA

Sunset Center, Studio 105

Nov 8

Modesto, CA

Gallo Center for the Arts

Nov 9

San Francisco, CA

SF JAZZ / Joe Henderson Lab

Nov 10

Rohnert Park, CA

Green Music Center / Schroeder Hall

Nov 12

Bremerton, WA

Admiral Theatre

Nov 14

Latin Grammy Performance

Nov 16

St. Louis, MO

Sheldon Concert Hall

Nov 18

Athens, OH

Ohio University Memorial Auditorium

Nov 20

Chicago, IL

Old Town School of Folk Music

Nov 22

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Amaturo Theater

Nov 23

Cutler Bay, FL

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Ctr

Voy, the debut album by Venezuelan singer and songwriter Nella is global Latin music for the 21st century. Created and interpreted by Latin GRAMMY “Best New Artist” nominee Nella and GRAMMY and multiple Latin GRAMMY-winning Spanish composer, producer, and guitarist Javier Limón, Voy (“On My Way”) sets the singer’s expressive voice over a clean, sparse accompaniment. This is pop with much to say, in music and words.

“I feel these songs as if I had written them myself,” says Nella about their partnership. “They often reflect exactly what was happening in my life at the time. The music is a mix of many sources and the lyrics tell stories. I want to reach people, I want to give them more than just something to dance to.”

Released on Casalimón America Records on May 31st, Voy features 13 songs, all but one with words and music by Limón. “It’s been years, since my days with Buika and Diego el Cigala, that I wrote this much. It’s a full repertoire for her,” says Limón. The song “1000 Miles,” with music by Limón, features English lyrics by Spanish writer and film director David Trueba.

The recording includes guest appearances by Spanish flamenco singer Alba Molina (the daughter of the fabled flamenco duo Lole y Manuel); string player Santiago Prieto, from Latin Grammy-winning Colombian band Monsieur Periné; and two outstanding Venezuelan musicians, cuatro phenomenon Jorge Glem, and singer and composer Ilan Chester, a Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Born Marianella Rojas in Isla Margarita, an island in the Caribbean Sea off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, Nella recalls spending hours as a child singing over recordings by powerhouse singers such as Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey. “I took singing lessons and was a bit embarrassed about my singing, so to hide it, I played the music very loud.” The ruse worked well until her voice teacher had Nella’s father listen “to the student in the next room” and he was astonished to find it was his daughter.

“I was 11, and from then on they were really supportive,” says Nella. “I was involved in anything that would come up: singing, acting, dancing, you name it. At 13, my voice started to change and without realizing, by singing to the records, imitating these divas, I was studying a lot. They were incredible teachers. I loved it. I was also into the challenges of how high I could go vocally or how well I could do certain vocal turns, and I believe that helped me develop a vocal flexibility that perhaps I wouldn’t have by just listening to Venezuelan music. Now, even when singing Venezuelan songs I don’t sound like a typical traditional singer.”

She moved to Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, in 2007, at age 17. And in 2011 she enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, majoring in performance, composition and production. She began singing in a trio that performed folk music from Latin America with jazz and pop influences (“It was part of the process of rediscovering myself,” says Nella. “Once you leave your country, your roots start knocking at your door”). And it was also around this time that she discovered the work of Afro-Spanish singer Buika, rooted in copla and flamenco.

“After all the vocal acrobatics I had learned, I found the importance of interpretation, of how to say a lyric,” says Nella. “I fell in love with flamenco and with that honesty between cantaor and audience. It is something I had not found in any other genre.”

It was also in Boston that an a cappella performance by Nella of a Venezuelan song, “La Negra Atilia” caught Limón´s ear. “I had heard her before and thought she was really good and very versatile, but that night I heard an original way of phrasing,” recalls Limón. “She has something special, and it’s all hers.”

Limón, who has worked with several top singers including Estrella Morente and Mariza, says “Nella has an Andalusian way of phrasing that is beautiful and very natural. In fact, many people assume she is from Andalusia. When she sang the title track in Everybody Knows, the Asghar Farhadi movie with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, many people thought she was from Córdoba or Granada.”

Her fans now include Latin pop superstars such as Alejandro Sanz and flamenco luminaries such as Miguel Poveda.

In Voy, Nella sings love stories such as “Fin de Fiesta” (Party’s End), an early choice and a song Limón “got from a dusty notebook and sang to me accompanying himself on the guitar,” recalls Nella. “As soon as I heard it, I said ‘This one! This one! That’s a song we must do together’.”

Other favorites include “Los Nacidos” (The Born Ones) and “Me Llaman Nella” (They Call Me Nella), her autobiographical song — written by Limón.

“We were in Colombia and I remember we needed one more track,” recalls Nella. “So we have breakfast, we talk, he goes to his room, I go to mine, and a few minutes later I get a message: ‘I got it’ And he reads me the refrain ‘I am Nella, the one with the broken voice’ And I say ‘Excuse me?!’ We get together and he sings “Above the Margarita sea, the moon almost full ...’ and I tell him ‘Javier you’ve never been to Margarita!’ And he says ‘I know, but you talk so much about Margarita, you even carry it literally under your skin, so you helped me create a story.’”

Meanwhile, the emotional “Volveré A Mi Tierra” (I Will Go Back To My Country) was written by Limón as a response to news from Venezuela. “He sent me a text and I burst into tears and told him we need to put music to it,” she says. “And as soon as I had it, I sent the mockup of the song to friends around the world and that’s how we ended up with the video, with images of Venezuelans all over the world, lip-syncing the lyrics.”

“I try to not get into politics,” says Nella. “Because what we are suffering now transcends politics. I don’t care which side you are on, we are all affected by the situation. One of the things that moves me the most is when after a concert people come up to me and say things like ‘Nella, I felt I was in La Guaira, at the beach, with my grandmother, having a coffee while she read me a story.’ There is no better response than that.”

For her first North American tour, reflecting the spare sound of the recording, Nella will be accompanied by a trio of guitar (Gilad Barakan), bass (Daniel Torres) and percussion (Paulo Stagnaro). As for the repertoire, she plans to include not only the songs from Voy but also “some Venezuelan jewels,” such as “La Negra Atilia,” (“A song that has been a talisman for me,” she says) and classics by the legendary singer and songwriter Simón Díaz, such as “Tonada de Luna Llena” (Song of the Full Moon).

“Yes, I have a lot of songs in a drawer,” says Nella.” “But right now I am very comfortable with Javier’s writing and to have someone like him writing for you is a luxury. Most important, I feel them as my own.”

VIDEO LINKS:

“Volveré a Mi Tierra” https://youtu.be/H0Z-e9QiziQ

“Voy” https://youtu.be/wGYdmpVVOrQ

“Te Diran” https://youtu.be/lpjg-WeEjK8

“Me Llaman Nella” https://youtu.be/6xL3R_LIGkk

NELLA: Voy

Release Date: May 31, 2019

Casalimón America Records (catalog no: 21)

INSTAGRAM: @nellarojasm @casalimonmusic