Nahuel Pennisi has a life story worth knowing, the musical sounds surrounded him closely at home. He’s been singing forever. He experimented with a keyboard in a self-taught way from the age of 4, then he went on to play melodic lines on an electric bass (supported horizontally, due to its size and weight), until he reached to the guitar, which became a true extension of his hands. While he was still in secondary school, at the age of 16 he launched himself as a street musician in Buenos Aires and he never stopped playing until he became a virtuoso professional musician, thrilling people with his art.
Today, at his 29th year of age, he has already released two studio albums with Sony Music, received awards and been recognized by great artists of different genres and nationalities. He is one of those very few musicians capable of combining the academic and the popular style: he can perform in the Orfeo opera with the European orchestra Arpeggiata or sing along with artists like Abel Pintos, Teresa Parodi, Lali Espósito, Luis Salinas, Carajo, Chango Spasiuk, Diego Torres, Axel, Soledad Pastorutti, Gerónimo Rauch and international artists such as Sin Bandera, Niña Pastori, Fonseca, Ricardo Arjona, Franco De Vita and Gustavo Santaolalla.
At the beginning of 2020 Nahuel confirmed his international projection by conquering the audience of the Viña del Mar Festival and consecrating himself in the folklore category where he won two awards: Silver Gaviotas as Best Performer and Best Song with his song “Avanzar”.
About a month ago, he released his latest album, “Renacer”. Before that, singles like “Universo Paralelo”, “Compañera”, “Vuelve” and his duet “Mundo” with the Argentinian super star, Abel Pintos gave us a great taste of what we should expect! On this occasion, Nahuel spoke to SounDarts.gr about his latest album, his collaborations and fatherhood! Read everything you need to know on the exclusive interview he gave to SounDarts.gr!
Hi Nahuel and welcome to SounDarts.gr. How would you introduce yourself to the Greek audience?
Hi everybody how are you? I am Nahuel Pennisi, I am Argentine, I am a musician. For me it is an honor to greet all the people who are reading this interview, all the Greeks who are not only in their country but in different parts of the world too!
What were your first steps in music?
My relationship with music has always been self-taught. I really like to study through the records I am listening to, the radio has also taught me a lot in this career. The first steps I remember were singing with my family, with my parents, who are also musicians, I learned by listening to them. Later, through the radio, I began to have contact with Argentine folklore, with popular music and then playing on Florida Street, which is one of the most important streets in Buenos Aires.
With your very first album “Primavera” you received a nomination for a Latin Grammy award. How did you experience this sudden success in your career?
The Latin Grammy nomination for “Primavera” was something very special for me. It was something that I never imagined, that I did not expect and the truth is that I experienced many emotions on this trip, being able to play at the opening ceremony was also something wonderful. I felt that it was too much because I couldn’t stop thinking that it was my first album, the first time I presented my music for all the people and suddenly being able to be at the Grammys was a great experience, I have a lot to thank music for, all the industry for giving me that opportunity.
Did this nomination change your career or your life in general?
Without a doubt, it changed my career because I have had a lot of visibility and people actually took part of who I am because music shows me the way that I am and that is what I always try to do.
You just released your latest album “Renacer”. In what ways do you feel it’s different than your previous albums “Primavera” and “Feliz”?
I feel a lot of difference between this album “Renacer” and the previous two, especially in what has to do with the interpretations, with the content of the lyrics, with the sound and musical search. It is a very versatile album where there are different sounds, different nuances and what we worked most on precisely for this album is trying to convey the emotions of the songs.
I was also accompanied by a very important producer called Julio Reyes Copello, who is Colombian and worked with various artists such as Ricky Martin, Alejandro Sanz, and many others, so I am very happy to work with him and make this album.
Are you satisfied with the response you have received so far for “Renacer?
Yes, the truth is that I am very happy, very satisfied with the comments from the public. I really like to know what happens to them, to tell me what they are feeling with each song, I like to be informed of that because it is also a way that you can receive and interpret the emotions of others, that do not always have to be the same ones. Sometimes I write a song thinking about something but suddenly something else comes to the other person and that is what I like about albums, about presenting songs and sharing them with people.
This album still has a long way to go in this atypical year where we are with just a bit of certainty, meanwhile it is being listened to little by little but I have a lot of confidence in it and it is slowly but steadily moving forward.
Is there a song from this album that holds a special place in your heart and why?
There are many songs on the album that excite me, that occupy a special place in my life, but I’d choose one that moved me from the beginning and every time I sing it it always takes me deeper. It’s called “Lejos de casa” (“Far from home”) and it’s a song that has always been in my heart and talks about the lives of children who live on the street, those who have nowhere to be, who have nowhere to live and it talks about all that a life like that means, so that’s the song that excites me the most.
On this album you collaborated with Abel Pintos for the tinkuanthem “Mundo”. How did this collaboration occur in the first place and why did you choose to write a tinku song?
The song that we recorded with Abel Pintos is very special, the recording happened naturally also because both Abel and I love popular music, it means a lot to us and when this possibility of tinku occurred I really wanted to record it with him. It was a way of sharing a song that conveys optimism, that conveys joy, that invites us to dance, to move our bodies and in this strange, unusual year, I believe that music has been one of the things that kept us standing, which kept us alive and was a way to close the year with high spirits, with high energy. Also “Mundo” is a song with very nice lyrics that talks about taking care of a love, it can be a partner, it can be a daughter, it can be a mother and that is the beauty of music. So I’m very happy with that and besides recording a tinku that is not only culture but also music.
Since dreaming costs nothing, are there anyother artists that you would like to collaborate with at some point in the future?
Yes, dreaming is free and when I think about who I would like to sing or share with, there are many people that I deeply admire but I’ll stick with Stevie Wonder who I think is an icon of rock and world music and I also choose Alejandro Sanz, although we already shared a meal at his house, I was left with the desire to play with him.
With another person that I would like to play is with an Argentine musician called Charly García, who I also knew but we never shared and it would be beautiful.
Do you have musical ambitions that you have not yet fulfilled?
Actually yes, there are always things that music gives me, things that music puts in front of me as a challenge, and without a doubt everything that I have proposed myself so far is more or less what music has invited me to do, but I’m sure that tomorrow there will be new challenges that I can’t even imagine now.
I would like, for example, to start producing music, to work as an artistic producer to be able to accompany other artists and collaborate, not only from the place of artist but also from the music point of view; that is a path that I would like to live and follow.
What was the most difficult decision you have had to make throughout your career so far and how did it affect you?
Without a doubt, for me, the most important decision in my life and in my career was to play on the streets. When I made that decision, a lot of things changed in my life, I felt that many doors opened for me, that I could believe more in myself, that I could feel safe, calm that I was doing something that made me happy and at the same time allowed me to work. The truth is that with that decision I have learned a lot and everything I have today I owe to that moment, having passed through the streets of Buenos Aires playing and sharing with people for more than three years.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be and why?
If I had to say something to the younger Nahuel, I would say: thank you. For that rebellion that I learned as a child, for that desire to share what I like with the public, the desire to walk and take risks, to get out of the comfort zone a little. I think I have learned a lot, sometimes I see myself 20 years ago and I was a totally different person from today, but with the same ambitions and the same dreams.
So my advice is to continue down that path, follow those ambitions that I had and continue enjoying without expecting anything in return. Just enjoy it that the rest will come at some point and I think it’s a nice way to live life.
Recently you became a dad (Congratulations! ❤️)! How did fatherhood affect your song writing and your career?
Clearly fatherhood has been the greatest gift that life has given me, I am very excited and not only today but every day of my life.
After the arrival of my son, everything has changed for me, my view has changed, the way of expressing myself, of interpreting the songs, of committing myself to things. Now everything you do, you do it for your son and the truth is that that gives me a lot of emotion and of course the biggest challenge is balancing career and family life. I keep learning and I think I can try to capture in music, lyrics and songs everything that happens to me as a father, I enjoy it a lot and I also learn from my son every day.
Do you think that social media like YouTube and Facebook have helped younger listeners around the world learn about your music?
Absolutely, I believe that social networks have helped many artists, I would say that all of us, get to share what we do, to be closer to our audiences, even to meet other artists that we did not know who they were and what they did, to connect with the world in a faster, more spontaneous way.
Today, social networks are as strong or stronger than traditional media because they have a lot of information, a lot of content and I have a lot to thank these networks for, in such a strange year as this they helped us a lot to be close to people and I value that very much and it seems to me a very important point.
How much did the coronavirus pandemic affect your plans?
This year has become very special, a historic year that will be marked for life, because the pandemic has done a lot of things not only material but also emotional, it has changed our lives. That is why I wanted name the album “Renacer” (“Reborn”), because it is not only a state that happens to me but to many people, to a large part of the world who had to reinvent themselves in their field.
Obviously, the pandemic changed my plans, it changed my feelings for this year, my goals, my projects, like it did to many, but it was also positive because I spent a long time with my family, I was able to finish the album, we were able to release it before the end of the 2020 and above all we were able to keep people company.
Actually, that also helps me as a person, it helps me a lot to share music with others, so having done it in a pandemic has more value and for that I am very grateful.
What are your next professional plans?
With regards to the plans for these times, obviously we are focused on everything that happens with the pandemic, we depend on everything that has to do with music getting back to normal, playing in theaters and being able to perform different concerts for the public, for you. But to start with, the most important plan is to present the album, to be able to work on it very well, take it to different parts of the country and the world and hoping that things will be reactivated so that it is easier and the world can once again have live music.
What is your motto in life?
(See Nahuel’s answer in the video below)
That was it! Nahuel thank you so much for this interview!
First of all I want to greet you brother and thank you for this interview, which was very rich. You have asked me very important, very beautiful questions that also make me know myself a little more and also discover myself in what I feel and what I think.
Thank you so much Nahuel! We wish you all the best for the future!
So thank you very much and a big hug.
Interview: Thodoris Kolliopoulos
Translation/transcription: Matías Mundini