Ibla is a Sicilian singer from Porto Empedocle, in the province of Agrigento. She took part in the latest edition of the talent show Amici di Maria De Filippi. With her song ‘Libertad’, she talks about her soul, this sound takes back to the one of the folk music of the island and includes many nuances that connect her art to her homeland. Sicilian Secrets interviewed her.
Q: Let’s start from your name. Your real name is Claudia, so why did you choose Ibla as your stage name?
A: I thought about choosing a name that represented me 100%, and that was linked to Sicily. Ibla is the goddess of spring and hell, the intersection of opposites, death and rebirth. These elements are always present in my lyrics an in me as a person.
Q: Your most recent experience was Amici di Maria De Filippi, what did it mean for you and your career?
A: Above all, it meant growth. I was already aware of myself but being in contact with professionals for three months for 12 hours a day, studying music I can say that one day at Amici is equivalent to a month out. It was a personal and artistic evolution, there you must always be ready, it’s helpful and I carry what I learnt with me even outside.
Q: How was to work with Arisa and what is her greatest teaching that you will bring with you?
A: Freedom, Arisa left me free to show all the sides of my character and my art. She has never interfered with the emotions and feelings to be conveyed through my performances, for every artist it is very important. I just was Ibla.
Q: When you were inside the school of Amici, what was the best and the most difficult moment?
A: A good moment was when I received my first jersey and sat down at Amici’s desk. Then, the jersey to be part of Serale, the final stage of the show. There was an incredible joy in the air, I saw the video of when we all took the jersey and the enthusiasm we felt was clearly visible.
There were many highs and some lows, the transition from Rudy Zerbi’s team to Arisa’s team left a mark. I didn’t expect Rudy to change his mind about me, I felt upset, but this was a positive note too.
Q: ‘Libertad’ is a song about love, tell us something about it.
A: ‘Libertad’ comes from my necessity. When I wrote that song, I was very sad, we were stuck at home without knowing what was happening outside, it was the beginning of the pandemic. I had a feeling that tormented my soul, I connected the lockdown to the closure caused by a toxic love. I needed to bring out what I had inside.
Q: What is the bond between Ibla and Sicily?
A: After Amici, when I was back home, I saw Sicily from the plane and cried. It’s a strong bond, the same one you have with your parents. For me Sicily is my mother, when I am far away, I miss the scents, the sun and the sea. We live in a paradise and I would like to take it to Italy and to the world.
Q: Is there a place in Sicily that is a source of inspiration for you?
A: I think the sea has inspired and influenced all the poets and writers of our land. When you look at it you feel so small and start thinking. We are nothing compared to the sea, it helps me to reflect. After 23 years, I still haven’t gotten used to the Valley of the Temples, when I look at it, I see the eternity. We live under a sky of poets; homeland influences and gives us a lot. If I were born in another place, I would be a different singer and songwriter.
Q: Where does the choice to sing in Spanish come from?
A: There are more than one reasons that make me love Spanish: the sound close to our folk music, for example. I sing Sicilian folk music and when I express myself in Spanish I always feel like home. In general, it all starts from my grandfather who worked for years in Santo Domingo and when I was a child, made me listen to music in this language. In music, I always try to be free without thinking about the market, art is the easiest way to do it.D: C’è un luogo della Sicilia che per te è fonte di ispirazione o al quale ti senti particolarmente legata?
Q: Before saying goodbye, what are your future plans and wishes?
A: I want to perform on the stage! People and the stage are oxygen, although I am lucky because I spent 3 months performing on TV. Then, there will be the release of my album with something inside that talks about Sicily, so I hope that even non-Sicilians can listen to it, appreciate our land and understand the commitment that I put in this project.