Luciana Zogbi // Interview
INTERVIEW BY: Emily May
Brazilian-Lebanese singer, songwriter and artist Luciana Zogbi first rose to fame with her cover of John Legend’s critically acclaimed song “All Of Me”, having released many covers since then on her YouTube channel TempestinWhite. The channel has over 1.9 million worldwide subscribers, offering her unique covers of songs such as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and Indina Menzel’s “Let It Go”. Zogbi has embraced social media since launching her music career, garnering a legion of fans from all over the world. In Zogbi’s words, "Social media helps artists like me transcend geographical borders and connect to communities through music, which I believe to be a universal language." She developed her passion for music through her father, a musical person himself, whom Zogbi said always encouraged her to sing and play music. She started out in musical theatre at the age of 10 before fully transitioning her focus to music. Although she is known for her covers, Zogbi has begun writing her own original music and has released two songs, “Could We Be” and “Where We Belong”. You can stay up-to-date on all upcoming tour dates and new music and can stream and purchase her music via the links below. Check out her video below for “Where We Belong”.
You grew up in a musical household, with your father singing and playing guitar. What kind of music did he play? Have the two of you ever played music together? What kinds of artists did you listen to growing up and who would you count as your musical influences?
He played mostly classic rock. I remember he used to put me to sleep as a baby with “Stairway to Heaven”. I thought it was a lullaby like “twinkle, twinkle little star” until I heard the original on the radio. We always jam together and classic rock definitely influenced me. Some of the melodies I compose are reminiscent of 80’s rock even though the final arrangement of completely different.
You started singing in musical theatre when you were 10. What kinds of productions were you in? What do you love about the theatre and is that something you are still a part of?
I absolutely love acting & theatre and it was through musical theatre that I solidified my passion for singing. The director at the time discovered that I could sing and he slowly forced me out out my shy shell to sing in front of a big audience. The productions were original creations that changed every year and involved a lot of singing and dancing. I’m not actively engaged in theatre anymore, simply because I decided to concentrate on music fully.
You have mentioned that you have been composing since you were very young but never imagined being able to do music professionally. If you weren't focused on music now, what would you have done for a career?
That’s a though question. I’d probably be working an office job. Or maybe I’d go do something crazy like move to Jamaica and open an ice-cream shop.
You rose to fame in 2014 with your cover of John Legend's "All Of Me", which has 80+ million views worldwide and have since gone on to post many other covers. How do you decide which songs you want to cover?
Sometimes I decide to cover a classic like "Zombie" by the Cranberries or "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley. These are songs that everyone knows and loves. Other times I record my own rendition of trending songs like "Despacito" - That's always a lot of fun!
You have mentioned how the internet is like a magical stage that allows you to perform to millions of people around the globe. How do you feel that the opportunities the internet has afforded you to perform to such a wide and diverse audience has changed your life? What has been the most rewarding part of this experience so far?
The internet has definitely democratized music. 20 years ago, independent artists having a large following was something unheard of. Only artists in big labels were heard by millions of people. Now, with the internet, music is accessible and anyone can upload their songs for everyone to hear. Many lives (including mine) have been changed because of this. The most rewarding part is being able to to reach and connect with people from all around the world and hear their feedback.
Aside from singing covers, you have recently begun writing your own original songs. What can you tell me about the two songs you have written, "Could We Be" and "Where We Belong"? Do you have plans to keep doing both covers and original songs?
“Could We Be” is a song about regret, unspoken words and how isolating pride can be. It’s a song about that “what if” feeling you get when you think about all the things you could have said, but you didn’t. I feel like it’s a song thats very easy to relate to... Almost everyone has things they wish they said to a person, but didn’t for whatever reason.
“Where We Belong” is a song about questioning your place in society and breaking free from the shackles of social expectations that tries puts us all into boxes depending on your age, social class, gender… etc. We’ve been sold this lie that we have free will, but we don’t realize how much of our life path is decided for us, sometimes even before we were born. We have much less agency than we think we do and this is a song about that realization.
What message do you hope to convey with your music?
My songs are characterized by introspective/existential lyrics. Every song has a different message, sometimes about love, sometimes about free will... etc. But at the end of the day, if someone hears my song and stops to think about something in a new light then mission accomplished!
I read that you love to travel and read. Where have some of your favorite travel destinations been? Where have you not yet been that you would love to travel to? What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I love to be anywhere by the sea. It relaxes me and puts me in a creative state of mind. I’d love to visit Southeast Asia someday and learn more about cultures at the other side of the globe. I like reading about philosophy. It’s become a hobby of mine and it helps a lot with creativity and ideas for lyric writing. I have too many favorite books to list lol!
You were recently in Las Vegas for the JBL Fest. How did you become involved with the festival and what were some highlights?
They have been long time supporters of mine and vice versa. So I was invited to participate in that beautiful festival. The highlight for me was meeting Quincy Jones. He’s so nice, humble and has so much experience to share. True legend!
What's next for you?
Lot's of new covers and originals coming out. Can't wait to share them!