To see Fatiniza’s exclusive Time Out Dubai performance, watch the video above; for our interview, read on…
If you’ve spent any time at all buzzing around the local music scene in the past year, you’ll probably have at least heard of Fatiniza. The diminutive rock songstress has performed an astonishing number of gigs of late, from a set on the Floating Stage at Dubai SoundCity to last week’s Rock Nation effort.
But she hasn’t appeared out of nowhere; her recent success is the culmination of years of hard work that took her from her native Colombia all the way to the UAE.
‘I left Colombia with a travelling band in 2000,’ she explains. ‘We played gigs in hotels in Jakarta and Dubai, but the band leader had a “do what I say” attitude and we couldn’t do anything other than sing and go to our rooms and that was it. So I decided to quit.’
That spirit of musical independence comes through on many of the tracks on Confusion, her debut solo album and the focal point around which her Dubai performances have revolved over the past couple of months.
But her heritage has also resulted in a little bit of frustration, as she is inevitably likened to a certain other Colombian singer. ‘It’s difficult to get out of the Shakira shadow,’ she opines. ‘They say I look like Shakira and I sound like Shakira, and it’s good because people know me for that, but I really want to make sure the people know I’m Fatiniza. I love the woman and admire her, but my sound is very different – I play hard rock, nothing as poppy as her.’
Not just hard rock, in fact; listening to Confusion reveals other genres, including punk, ballads, classic rock and Arabic- and Latin-influenced tunes. It’s a surprising breadth of variety that coheres into a consistent sound. It’s also frequently chart-worthy, though Fatiniza admits that Dubai isn’t an easy place to break into the mainstream. ‘There’s enough talent here to turn Dubai into the next LA or New York. I’ve seen bands and musicians that have the talent to top charts worldwide, but there’s no support for them.’
Still, Fatiniza’s not going to let that hold her back. She’s planning to launch her album in Latin America after it is released in stores here, and is looking at other opportunities overseas. But we won’t lose her
just yet. ‘I love Dubai,’ she says. ‘I love the safety and the people and the city itself; I want to see what I can do from here [before I consider moving]. Even if I have to move away, I will always return.’
Confusion is available in stores in May.
Fatiniza gives us a rundown of the highlights from her debut album.
‘This is a crazy punk song, though it’s not so crazy that people won’t be able to understand it. The song’s name came from a conversation about what could be smaller than a nanosecond; in the song itself I mention the zeptosecond, the attosecond and the picosecond. I hope when people listen to the song, they say, ‘That was crazy – what did she say?’ and then look it up.’
‘This was written by a friend of mine, German Cortez, after he found out I was doing the album. He’s really into the Latin stuff, so my producer, Joshua, changed it a little to make it have the Fatiniza sound. It still
has the Latin percussion and congas in there, though.’
‘Hard to be Your Woman’
‘This is very romantic and nostalgic; it’s about not being able to be with the one you love. I just wrote the lyrics on my computer, sat down with a guitar and put a melody into it. There are songs that are born on the guitar and there are songs that are born without it, you know?’