Majandra Delfino – Interview By GirlMedia
Thanks to Vallygirl for sending this in.
From: Girl Media
This interview was done in November 2001. Many things have changed for Majandra as she has put acting aside to promote her music. Her CD “This Sicks” has received positive attention from both her fans and the entertainment industry.
Interview w/ Majandra Delfino
Majandra Delfino has gained worldwide attention for her work in the award-winning movie “Traffic” and as the character Maria DeLuca on the UPN teen-alien drama, “Roswell” . While many young actresses would be relishing the Hollywood experience, taking the time away from filming to enjoy LA’s nightlife, Delfino returns home or to the studio to work on her first love, music.
On her recent self-release, “The Sicks”, Delfino showcases her darker-side, or rather, her artistic self. Her popularity as a wannabe pop singer on “Roswell” has blurred the line between Maria the character and Majandra the musician – leaving some people unable to relate to Delfino’s emotionally charged music. When asked about what she has in common with her character, Delfino told us, “Nothing, except singing.”
While there is a notable backlash for actors who turn rock stars, there’s an even worse backlash toward her for not making music the same way her popish character “Maria” does on “Roswell”. Delfino has a way of solving this problem; “I don’t share my music with anyone [in Hollywood]. I don’t go out promoting myself.” She does remind critics, though, that her start was in music and acting is rather the side-project.
At age five, Delfino was introduced to the piano, which she took to immediately. Delfino was able to construct songs as a means of self-expression because, “I kind of have that guy thing with speech and sometimes it’s very difficult to speak what I’m trying to say. With songs, I felt that that was the best way to say things”.
When she was seven, Delfino was already figuring out how to record her music to create demo tapes of her original songs. With musical aspirations on her mind, Delfino pursued a call-out in her hometown of Miami looking for several pre-teen pop singers. She had to sneak out of her house to go to the audition, where she sang a track from “The Little Mermaid”. Amazingly enough, Delfino was picked along with three other girls who were already a mix of family and friends.
From the start, the ambitious quartet “always wanted to sing our own songs” and plotted to take over the new group, officially dubbed China Doll. With the mainstreaming of alternative music, Delfino and the rest of the Dolls put up a fight with management about where the music should go, requesting that they be taken seriously as musicians and allowed to write their own songs, which strayed from the chosen Pop sound. “It really pissed us off,” Delfino stated about the management and how they disregarded the girls’ sense of artistic integrity.
A common misconception is that China Doll sang in Spanish, but in the three years the group were together they mainly sang harmony, similar to Abba. I asked where that rumor might have started Delfino told us, “We only did one song in Spanish”, and then the focus of the group started to lean toward Latin Pop. That’s when the girls called it quits.
Ex-China Doll members, Delfino and Samantha Gibb (daughter of a Bee Gee) continued to write music together. There was never a real name for the duo, as there were some parental concerns over the girls’ preferred name Nymph. “They thought it sounded too much like ‘Nympho’.” The pair had minor success; one being the opening act for a Bee Gees’ benefit concert, and then Delfino was bitten by the acting bug.
At fifteen, she headed over to Hollywood and received several roles in various movies, such as “Unglued” starring Linda Hamilton and “Zeus and Roxanne.” Delfino figured that acting was rather a fun way to help her continue her musical goals, that somehow she would use it as a milestone to being a successful music artist. “I was really naïve,” she commented.
Several years later, she landed the current part as Maria DeLuca on “Roswell”, a character that she was dismayed to learn had musical ambitions of her own, as Delfino and Deluca had two very different views on songwriting. (Think Kurt Cobain being forced to play Savage Garden.) By this time, Delfino was craving the need to be seen as a musician rather then an actress. She could be seen jotting down lyrics “everywhere…napkins, call sheets, journals, hotel pads” and then return home to her bedroom where many of her songs were constructed on her bed with her classical guitar.
Funding her demo with the money made through acting, Delfino was picked up for a demo deal with Reprise Records and one of her songs was then passed to Anthony P. Rodriguez and Art Martinez of the band Sci-Fi Lullaby. “I’d had been going through months of producers, having them send me back what they think I my songs should sound like, that were all completely opposite of what I wanted. I’d actually speak to these men on the phone, and have conversations about it and get very detailed, but I didn’t even have to talk to Art or Anthony.”
While the deal with Reprise didn’t go far, Delfino and Sci-Fi Lullaby hit it off. With their brand of Electronic-Spacepop, Rodriguez and were able to help take Delfino’s emotional-girl-singing-to-herself-on-her-bed style into a whole new realm using Pro-Tools, keyboards and drum loops.
With her musical vision finally being realized, Delfino became a frequent visitor to the Sci-Fi Lullaby studio. In 2000, she released three songs online, “Bruises”, “Siren” and “Tattoo”. Delfino’s fans, which had heard her performing pop-culture songs on “Roswell”, were not ready to hear lyrics that dealt with emotional scars and troubled relationships, especially when they mention physical violence as a form of validation. References to her music were minor in interviews; often journalists would choose not to elaborate on her chosen style that mixes the intensity of Fiona Apple with the dark soundscapes of Portishead. “I’m so happy with it [the music] that I don’t even need other people’s input,” is Delfino’s response.
In November, Delfino released her first album, “The Sicks” on Dripseed Records, a label created for her by Rodriguez. Selling the CD through her web site (and Amazon), she included a Collector’s Edition that contains a handmade booklet with lyrics and paintings for each one of her songs (now sold out). The goal, though, is to sign with a major and take her music career to the next level like Bjork and Fiona Apple, female songwriters that she admires.
Delfino may have trouble winning over the image-obsessed labels; “I don’t want to do anything if I have to compromise what I believe in musically. So if a major label wants to take me and take me on as I’m doing it already and to honestly know that I know what I’m doing because kids are buying the CD already, fine. But if they don’t then I’ll go with whoever will and if I don’t find that I’ll do it like this [independently]. ”
So far the independent choice has been working for Delfino, as “The Sicks” has been gaining attention with fans, friends and others who have come to realize what a uniquely complex artist Delfino is. There has been talk about a tour that would feature Delfino on vocals accompanied by a viola, cello and Rodriguez on computer – as well as other possibilities.
There may be speculation over who the songwriting credits belong to because of the electronic beats supplied by Sci-Fi Lullaby (Delfino does not play her guitar or piano in recording or on stage), but she is insistent that all of the songs are her own, and Rodriguez and Martinez’s involvement is only in the adaptation of her original work. With this amount of conviction, I don’t think there is anyone who would doubt her creative control.