Ida Elena is a Celtic folk singer and songwriter. She plays Alternative Folk, Contemporary Celtic, IDM/Experimental music. Ida was born in Italy and later relocated to Switzerland. In her music, she likes to combine folk with the grit of heavy metal and rock.
On October 9, 2020, Ida will play her second online concert on Show4me. The show will feature her best hits, new songs, and double as a celebration of Ida’s birthday.
We connected with Ida to talk about her unique music style, her creative process, and her approach to creating and sharing her music in the time of a global pandemic.
Ida, how did you end up with your music style – what inspired you to fuse Celtic tunes with pop and rock and be so heavily influenced both in your stage costumes and settings and your music by the Middle Ages?
I always had a thing for history and historical movies, therefore I also enjoyed listening to their epic soundtracks, such as the last of the Mohicans, the Gladiator and so on, since my childhood. My first trip to Ireland was decisive in discovering my love for the celtic tunes, and one movie in particular made me find out how intense the fusion between celtic music and – one of my favourite songs ever! I started experimenting with the traditional songs, my songwriting skills, my life experiences and the sound from my country, Italy.
Everybody listens to music on the internet today, so if it’s not possible to perform live, let’s stream!
You used to sing with the band The Dark Side of Venus, tell us about that experience, what did you learn from it about creating music and working in the industry?
The Dark Side of Venus, a rock project by my talented friend Licia Missori, was my first real rock band. I sang 4 years with them, all around Italy and I grew up a lot, the band members were like family. But I needed to express myself, to write my own songs.
You also sang with a Blackmore’s Night tribute band, how did that influence you and held you music career? What's it like to work with a tribute band? Is it easier to get booked for shows than an original band or a musician? Does it feel constricting to only perform somebody else’s music?
It helped me a lot finding my own personality, because when you have to sing exactly like someone else, there is a voice within that starts telling you, “What the hell?! This is not you! Where’s your personality?!”
It’s been a great school, which gave me the chance to perform in the best Italian folk festivals. Not to mention that thanks to a band member of my tribute band, I decided to go to Germany to watch a Blackmore’s Night concert. I took a song of mine with me and I decided to ask Albert Dannenmann, who was a fix Blackmore’s Night member, to play on it. I ended up playing with all band members at a session in a pub after their gig! [Albert] said yes to my offer, and we’re good friends and play together ever since. The song was called The Ballad of the Silver Dressed Lady, and Albert always tells the story of the beginning of our friendship.
You collabed with Albert Dannenmann of Blackmore's Night and Gaby Koss of Haggard, can you tell us more about that? How did you meet them and what did you learn from the collabs? Would you recommend up-and-coming musicians to seek out collabs and if yes, with whom?
Since Albert and I started playing together, a lot of more things came! For example, my collaboration with Gaby Koss, a very talented soprano from Germany. She noticed that I started working with Albert, through Facebook, so she wrote to me and asked me if I wanted to come to Germany and meet her in Munich. I took advantage of that and asked her to sing a song of mine, Awakening.
In 2012, you joined Cantus Lunaris and toured around Germany with them, how was that experience?
After Munich, Gaby asked Albert and me to join her medieval ensemble Cantus Lunaris. We accepted with so much pleasure: it was such an ambitious and prestigious project!
Albert and I recorded the first Cantus Lunaris album Fabula Antiqua, which was a hit in the medieval music world. We performed all around Germany and Austria for 3 years, in all kinds of festivals, including the biggest gothic event in the world, the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig. It's been an amazing experience.
Whatever happens, it’s important to look forward
Unfortunately, good things come to an end, and we parted ways at the end of 2014. Albert and I kept playing together as a duo/trio called Fairy Dream. We still perform around Europe.
Since, you’ve been a part of metal band Bare Infinity, while continuing your solo career, recording albums and releasing the uber successful Native Spirit. Is it difficult to combine these two roles? In the ideal world, would you prefer to focus on one project or several and what would they be?
It’s not hard, it’s just a matter of vision: when I write a song, I try to imagine what kind of ‘dress’ (arrangement) would be better for that. Tomas (Goldney, guitarist and founder of Bare Infinity) and I work together on both the structure and arrangement of the songs we write, so it’s always a teamwork!
Regarding Native Spirit, I could count on the supervision of my then artistic producer Fernando Alba (Maqueta Records) who distributed and produced the album too. He believed so much in the project that he decided to make an epic video clip for Native Spirit.
We worked non stop for months – to find the best idea, the best director, the best location, and the best team (a countless list of amazing people who helped a lot, on top of all my best friend Pamela Ceccarelli). The video features an epic viking battle (Valhalla Viking victory) against a poor man (Angelo Fusco) who gives all to win his fears (the video has different interpretations actually). I am the spirit of the woods, the voice in your head that tells you never to give up. And a Wolfpack (Lupimax Czech Wolves) helps me do that.
The music video has won 22 awards all over the world, including best video and best vocalist at the Los Angeles Video Music Awards. A great result!
Right now, the global pandemic is forcing many musicians to review the way they created, recorded, and performed music, as well as streams of revenue from their work. How are you coping yourself and what advice would you like to share for fellow musicians finding themselves restricted by the new reality?
I am currently working on my new album, called The Journey On, together with Tomas Goldney and Gino Hohl.
I don’t give up, that’s why I called my album The Journey On. Whatever happens, it’s important to look forward. In order to do that, I decided to keep my celtic roots alive and let myself be affected by as much pop as possible. We’ll see what happens! You will tell me when it’s out!
Do you have any tips on growing your music brand and earning on music amidst the pandemic?
Streaming, streaming, streaming! That’s the key! Whether it’s live streaming or releasing music, streaming is the key nowadays.
Everybody listens to music on the internet today, so if it's not possible to perform live, let's stream! Don’t give up! I’m waiting to see you all at my live streamed concert on Show4me. October 9 at 9 PM! Don’t miss it!
Thank you for talking to us! Everybody, check out Ida's upcoming show here and get your tickets before they sell out!
Thank you for what you do for us artists!