The Argentine singer Nito Mestre, one of the legends of Sui Generis, is presented this Thursday at the Grand National Theater and, the next day, in Arequipa. Here in our country, he resumes his tour, which was postponed due to the pandemic. Kind, sincere and entertaining, we talked with him via Zoom.
Do you think it’s a ‘backpack’ that the Sui Generis classics always ask for?
One sings for the public. When I go to see well-known musicians, I want them to play the songs that I know, I love the new ones, but I want to listen to the songs that I knew because there is an emotional bond and the same thing happens to me. That flashback is exciting, that’s what Paul McCartney himself told me.
Now that you mention McCartney, his childhood dream was to meet him and it came true. What dream do you now have to fulfill?
In terms of music, in the future I would like to record with Jorge Drexler, with Mateo Sujatovich, and I would like to play with Pablo Milanés, who is a fantastic voice that I admire. Getting to know Guatemala, for example, and reaching places where it was not possible due to the pandemic, such as Berlin and London. We artists have had a bad time, because they took away the opportunity to go on stage. Imagine that in 50 years of career I never went a month without going on stage and that you leave it for two years is a very rare thing. It was like having a fever. I thought that I was already retiring, it was like a rehearsal of what it is to retire despite the fact that I plan to retire when I leave the world.
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A few weeks ago, he said that J Balvin embarrassed him at the Grammy Awards.
I’m not very fond of watching award ceremonies, I do it less and less, because I think quality has been degraded in search of ostentation, and when I saw his presentation it was very poor, the dancers were fantastic, he didn’t, he didn’t do anything . And I said that I don’t understand the followers he has. It seems to me that we have fallen low, I was embarrassed especially that after him came a lot of new artists from different cultures and very professional.
If an urban genre singer asks you for a collaboration, would you think about it?
It depends on what genre he is, on what he did, on how I listened to his career, on what he wants to do and above all on something, that I don’t feel like a toad from another well, as we say here. Let him make me comfortable. I have sung with younger musicians who have made different versions, but I listen beforehand. I am not closed to doing it, despite the fact that some are more closed than me. It all depends on the quality you have, the morality within the music.
What do you mean?
It means that it has good quality, because it is like when you maintain an ethic within what you are doing. Something that tomorrow you listen to and say ‘yes, I liked doing it, it felt good’. And not say: ‘Oh I did it because it was convenient for me, because I will have more followers or because it brought me more money’. One has to sleep peacefully. When they ask me what you would say to young musicians, I answer that you have to be tenacious, persistent, study, not smoke, take drugs or anything like that. Anyone can be wrong, but it’s up to you to try not to be wrong, that’s what I call the morality of music.
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You let yourself be seduced a lot by excesses.
Yes, I’ve been through various things and had problems with alcohol for a long time, that’s why I say it knowingly. When you’re a kid and you enter the world of rock and roll, there are many temptations. Alcoholism is a disease that could be managed and later I was lucky enough to ask for help, which is the enormous advantage, and after that I applied everything in my professional life. I ask for help when I don’t know something. Then I did the same with others. That’s been almost 25 years and that’s why I can speak with criteria. La Negra Sosa (Mercedes) told me: ‘Dear Nito, if you want to be a singer, until you grow up, you have to take care of your voice. Don’t smoke and give up alcohol’, and that stuck with me. Now I speak from the point of view of an alcoholic person who has obviously not practiced for 25 years, but that does not mean that he has an anti-alcohol squad, far from it. I sit at a table and there are people who know how to drink, enjoy a wine, a pisco and I find it wonderful. I’ve gone through a stage where if I start I won’t finish, and I don’t want to do it again, but I’m not a moralist in that sense. I love that others enjoy what they have to enjoy.
How long have you been married?
I married twice with the same person. We are over 32 years old. We were like ten years, then a small interval of three and we went back to dating and getting married. How is it done? Look, even in a pandemic you have to be together all day, (I know more than one person who prayed for the pandemic to catch him in the other house) (laughs), you have to have a lot of love and respect. I got married when I was 37 years old. Two weeks after meeting her, I told her: ‘I’m going to get married with you.’ And here we are, this is my producer, Pamela Gowland. She is the great engine of everything that happens to me. Never better said than behind a man who is doing well, there is a woman who makes him do well.
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