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INTERVIEW: Glenn Fernandez

Hi Glenn, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’ve been busy leading my double life as an ER doctor and as a performer, so I’m super happy to take time to talk about music. It’s such a relief!

From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover “Ave Maria Clouds'”?

This entire album was inspired by opera and the classical way of singing. One of the most famous classical pieces in the world is the song “Ave Maria.” It’s beautiful and inspiring and reaches to so many souls. I feel like the piece is a true bridge for the general population into the sometimes secretive and mysterious world of opera, and not many people know there are different versions of the song. This album and this song kind of gently guides listeners into this world.

How was the film experience?

Filming the music video was great, because it felt like I was stepping through a dimensional portal into another world. This definitely fits the spiritual and celestial themes of the album. I actually have a lot of experience on film sets, because I also work as an actor here in LA (yes, I have three jobs – singer, actor, and ER doctor). However, filming my first music video was a COMPLETELY different experience. I felt like I had more control over the meaning of the piece. Also, the location of the main shoot was so magical. It looks like an other-worldly portal between two worlds. Kind of made me feel like Sailor Pluto from the anime. (I wonder if any of your readers are going to get that reference.)

Why naming your record after this song in particular?

The record in total has four different versions of the classical song “Ave Maria.” The most famous is the one composed by Franz Schubert. This is the one that you here at Christmas time and in films. You may not know the name, but you’ve definitely heard the piece before. There is another version of the “Ave Maria” originally composed by J.S. Bach & Charles Gounod. This one is my favorite. It really feels angelic. This is the one featured in the music video “Ave Maria Clouds” which is now on YouTube at https://youtu.be/9s6N67nKy-Y. The third piece “Ave Maria Moon” was originally composed by Paolo Tosti in Italy. This version has a very mystic feel and starts off sounding almost like a Gregorian chant. Then the melody and harmony expand. The final version “Ave Maria Galaxy” is a more pop version of a piece that was composed hundreds of years ago by Caccini. It’s such an interesting mix of the baroque style and a futuristic feel. This was produced by the talented producer Kerry Xiao. I picked him for this piece because he has a very modern pop aesthetic that I knew would bring a cool sensibility into the mix.

How was the recording and writing process?

This album is meant to be a bridge from the pop world into the opera world. It’s meant to create new fans of opera who might think it’s boring or “not for them.” All of the songs were originally written by famous classical composers from Bach to Schubert to Handel, but my recording team and I tried to give it a more modern accessible sound. It shows the cool, hip, modern listener that opera has a place in their life – especially if they are in need of songs that can calm and soothe the soul.

Would you be taking other classics on this album or the rest of the songs are fully original?

All of the songs are classical music pieces. It is a great mix of well-known pieces like “Ave Maria Aurora” originally written by Franz Schubert and beautiful pieces that have been hidden away for centuries like “Ave Maria Moon.” The album can take even the most seasoned classical music fan on a journey of discovery.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

This album was inspired by a classical music concert that I performed several years ago. As I’ve mentioned before, my “day job” is that I am an emergency room doctor. For my training in emergency medicine, I went to residency at LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana. Residency was so challenging in so many ways. By its very nature, it is intellectually challenging. However, for me I feel that it was maybe more emotionally challenging than average – just because I come from the art world and I have the heart of a musician. In the medical field, I have to interact with personalities that are so different from the kind of personalities that I find in other musicians, actors and artists, so this was quite a culture shock. During those years of intense medical training, I found myself gravitating toward prayer and music as an escape from the death and strife in the ER. This inspired me to perform a concert named “Ave Maria,” and this has now turned into the album “Ave Maria.”

Any plans to hit the road?

I’m always performing. My next performance will be an opera concert at the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. It will be an evening celebrating operatic music. I love historic buildings and interesting architecture, so I hope I get to explore the mansion a bit before the performance. To find out more about my upcoming performances please do “like” my Facebook page www.facebook.com/GlennFernandezTenor. I’m always updating that page with upcoming performance dates.

What else is happening next in Glenn Fernandez’s world?

I’m always trying to be artistically adventurous in my three careers. For singing, I have several performances in plan which not only include concerts but also musicals and opera. For acting, I’m actually developing a TV series with a production company. We are trying to create a show, starring me, about an opera singing ER doctor. For my medical career, I just keep on trucking and doing my work in the ER. I actually have an ER shift later tonight, so wish me luck…or “break a leg.”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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