Sounds European! is proud to present an interview with one of the most talented new artists of Portugal, whose voice is a gift for the ears. He received us with a smile and a very positive vibe, and we couldn't feel more welcomed! These are our 10 questions for Fernando Daniel:
Sounds European!: We like to start our interviews talking about origins. What artists did you like to listen during your childhood? When and how did you start singing? How about professionally?
Fernando Daniel: I grew up listening to very diverse music genres, we listened to everything at home! My mother was a fan of Tony Carreira, my father liked ABBA and my sister loved Shakira, Santamaria, Excesso and other Portuguese bands which were famous at that moment. I started singing at a very young age, probably since when I was nine, ten years old. I used to sing several of the artists I mentioned, until I found my own style. Professionally, I started at the age of 16 in bars and school parties.
SE!: You are an extremely talented singer. We love your voice! What is your training routine to keep it in such a high level? Besides being a singer, you play instruments. Which, and when did you learn to play them?
FD: I'm very flattered! There is no training. Knowing the limits of my voice is the only "training" I need. I try not to make a lot of effort, with speaking too loud and also too low – some times, speaking too low is even worse, since it puts our vocal chords in a position they are not used, and it tires them over time. But of course I take basic care, such as not-too-fresh and non-carbonated drinks, the obvious things. I play the electric guitar and I can say I'm safe with the piano... I started playing the guitar when I was around 13 years old, and the piano only when I was around 17. I have never had classes on any instrument, they "called" me and whenever I had and have time, I "play" with them and end up learning something!
SE!: You participated in three music competitions. Let's start with The X Factor. You were part of duo Babel, fourth place of the second edition of the reality show. How was Babel formed? And what are the memories and lessons of your time in the competition?
FD: It was formed very quickly and without making a lot of sense. I was never quite comfortable with it, but I needed to continue in the show to be able to present myself, so I accepted – also, a lot due to respect for the other competitors, who would maybe like to be in my place and weren't given the chance... The biggest lesson I took of it is that, some times, you need to endure certain things which are demanding in order to, one day, being able to be recognized for your efforts by people, and finding your own relief.
SE!: In 2016, you were the winner of the fourth edition of The Voice Portugal. How was your relationship with your mentor, Mickael Carreira? And how did it feel to win the competition, to be the voice chosen by the audience?
FD: Our relationship was good, he is very friendly and he always made me feel free to express my own opinion. And the feeling was amazing, it was something I had been dreaming for many years!
SE!: This year, you took part of Festival da Canção with "Poema a dois", one of the most beautiful songs in competition. What led you to participate in Festival da Canção? Do you think about trying it other times? And, looking back, after several experiences in such competitions, what changes do you feel you've faced from the person you were before The X Factor to your current self?
FD: Festival da Canção has always been a strong name within Portuguese music, and I decided to take this challenge after being invited by one of the biggest composers of my country, Nuno Feist. Trying it again isn't in my objectives. Nowadays, I am a more mature, more conscious and more alert Fernando.
"Everything there is to be conquered, I want to conquer. I want to print my name in the music of Portugal" (Picture: official Facebook page)
SE!: You also compose songs. What do you aim when you are composing? What do you want people to feel when listening to your music? What kind of themes do you prefer to have in your songs? And is there any place or situation which usually stimulates you to compose?
FD: When I compose, I always try to convey something, an emotion, a feeling. I try to talk about something personal in a generalistic way, or about stories which I have seen or lived, also in a more generalistic and comprehensive way. I compose so that people can feel understood and that, in a certain way, I am there for them. I feel more inspired at night, no matter where I am – at night, my songs are "calmer", while during the morning they have more of an "up" vibe.
SE!: You are very young, you are only 21 years old. And, despite that, you are already giving huge steps in your career. When looking to the future, what do you dream of achieving as a singer? What do you imagine reaching in one or two decades?
FD: Everything there is to be conquered, I want to conquer. I want to print my name in the music of Portugal. I am willing to work whatever is needed in order for that to happen. Several hits, a lot of huge stages, festivals, composing to other artists, even – who knows! – being a jury on a TV show, haha!
SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?
FD: In a few weeks, my next single will be released, and in mid-March, my first album is finally gonna be out. It is going to portray all my history up to date, with many and several inspirations – I think people will identify themselves with it. Fans can always wait for the best of me, and this album will have it for sure.
SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Portuguese and international artists you would like to collaborate with?
FD: I love John Mayer, James Arthur, James Bay, Shawn Mendes... In Portugal, there are great musicians, and I have some influences, but I still don't know an artist who I see, listen and conclude "This is very me". In a way, that is good, because maybe I can contrast with what we have here, since there isn't "someone like me".
SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Fernando Daniel, and why?
FD: "Espera", no doubt. It was my first song and it is achieving fantastic results! I am very proud of what I have been doing and of the fans who are following me and giving me strength to go on. Without them, it wouldn't be the same – I would keep doing what I do, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much and it wouldn't be as gratifying.