Features🇵🇹 Portugal

🇵🇹 Fábia Maia: “This is the song of my life”

I sit down with FdC's Fábia Maia with an honest and thoughtful conversation about life, music and fresh starts

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to Fábia Maia, one of the participants from Festival da Canção 2021. As usual, my initial rigid list of questions got completely scrapped in favour of an honest and thoughtful conversation about life, music and astrology.

Fábia Maia will be participating in the first semi-final of Festival da Canção 2021 with the song “Dia Lindo”, due to take place on 20 February 2021.

You can watch our full interview below:

A story of fate

Fábia tells me that although she isn’t necessarily religious, she is spiritual. When hearing her stories leading up to her participation in the festival, I understand why. When at university six years ago, her roommate told her that she had a dream that she (Fábia) was on the Festival da Canção stage. The melody for the song itself also came to her in a dream one night, and she woke up to write the song in five minutes. Before she received the invite, she had been told by her team of musicians that ‘Dia Lindo’ was a special song. She didn’t believe it until the song clicked in a big way during a car journey with her girlfriend.

This is the song of my life. This is the song that changed my soul. And I didn’t see it the first time. Two days after, [RTP] called me and invited my to go to the song festival.

Fábia Maia on how ‘Dia Lindo’ became her entry

Impact of Salvador

When speaking to Portuguese artists (and Portuguese friends generally), I tend to ask them how Salvador’s win in 2017 impacted them. As a follower of Festival da Canção, I’ve noticed the show has massively changed since 2017, which is particularly reflected in the kinds of artists who have been participated in the past few years.

One thing that changed in the festival after Salvador was the freedom [RTP] gave to artists to be themselves.

Fábia reflecting on the changes RTP have made to the festival since 2017

Fábia’s response reflected this, and she noted how “genuine” artists have participated and won since then. She gave Conan Osiris (one of my personal favourites), gave this example. In a later conversation we had after I stopped recording, she noted how he reminded her of legendary queer Portuguese musician Antonio Variacoes. Since the conversation I have been listening to his music on repeat, I recommend his Anjo da guarda album.

Shifting lanes

Upon researching Fábia’s discography, I notice that she had began her career doing guitar covers of Portuguese rap songs on YouTube and then released a few hip-hop infused pop songs. This came as a surprise due to how ‘classical’ and pure ‘Dia Lindo’, her Festival da Canção 2021 entry, is. What then transpired was that Fábia had felt boxed-in by the Portuguese music industry, and ‘Dia Lindo’ and her recent EP ‘Santiago’ represent her leaving this behind and stepping into a more authentic sound.

When I made covers of rappers in Portugal, I was singing, I was not making rap. I was singing the lyrics because I really enjoyed the lyrics…people didn’t understand that I was not a rapper, but they put…a badge on my head: ‘she is a rapper, and she is going to do rap.’

Fábia on being boxed in in her early career

We later bonded on our shared love for Avril Lavigne, who was one of her earlier inspirations that made her want to make music as a child, along with Damien Rice. She even used to dress like Avril and sing her songs around the city.

After being told as an adult by industry figures that they don’t know where to ‘place’ her, she has simply started her own path. What I ultimately learned is that Fábia is a deeply thoughtful artist who is determined to make it, but only on her terms.

You can listen to Dia Lindo below:

What do you think of “Dia Lindo”? Are you rooting for Fábia? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the over the coming months.

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