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Samantha Hudson x Salva Muste 2
Nine Songs
Samantha Hudson

Spanish artist and performer Samantha Hudson reveals the music that transformed her into a fearless electro-diva.

Samantha Hudson's first brush with fame came aged 15 when a petition to kick her out of high school, in her home city of Palma, was signed by 27,000 people.

Her crime was an art-class project: over the school holidays she made a pop video for an original song which saw her twerking in her undies in a dark room and included the lines “I’m a maricón and I love the church / but they won’t let me in because I make a scene.” She got top marks for the project but her religious studies teacher saw the video and called in the catholic church. The right-wing parties piled in and even the minister of education denounced the video.

Back then she was known as Iván González Ranedo but took the name Samantha Hudson after the fantasy of an archetypal soccer mom from the American suburbs. Fast forward ten years and Hudson's stayed centre-stage as a figure of controversy, celebrating LGBTQ+ artistry and camp aesthetics. After performing her songs in queer clubs across Spain, she won a role in Veneno - arguably one of the best Spanish TV shows of recent years – which tells the story of transgender singer and actresss Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez (better known by the monomym La Veneno - Poisongirl"). Her outspoken views on sex, gender identity and anti-captialism contiues to grab headlines as much as her deliberately tacky aesthetics – she is the very embodiment of fuck-the-system culture.

Next month, Hudson will be in Barcelona for a special event at Primavera Pro with a figure she's often been spoken of in the same breath: Baltimore-born film director and the papal father of trash John Waters. The duo will tackle the concept of music taste - and its fickle nature. Hudson's own favourite songs are a blueprint for her artistic evolution, taking in the theatrically of great pop music as much as the sensorous joy of opera and dance.

“Mira una Moderna” by Putilatex

"When I was 10 years old and still living with my brother, he would always bring his older friends home to listen to music and talk about teenage stuff. I usually stayed in a corner, pretending that I didn't care about his young, hip girl things, but in fact, I was always listening and was gradually nurtured by the musical culture he was indirectly instilling in me.

"That's how I discovered "Mira una Moderna" by the band Putilatex. This song marked a before and after in my way of understanding music. It was the first electroclash band I had listened to and their raw lyrics full of insolence made me understand that it was possible to be a singer without singing well and they revealed a melodic universe that was far removed from mainstream conventions. It was this that inspired me to make my own songs."

“Electric Chapel” by Lady Gaga

"Lady Gaga was, if not my greatest reference point, one of the most important during my adolescence. I spent hours and hours watching her videos and googling her red carpet looks. Thanks to her I understood what performance was and I got into the spirit of the show.

"When I turned 11 my parents bought me the album Born This Way and "Electric Chapel" was on repeat in my head for many months. Before I was gay and even before I was a person, I was a Little Monster and this undoubtedly conditioned the way I perceived aesthetics and the staging."

"You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive

"Another vital song for me is "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)." I was always aware of the existence of this emblematic song from the '90s, but it wasn't until 2017 that I got really familiar with it.

"Dead or Alive introduced me to club kids and the New York rap scene, and when I researched Pete Burns' life I was completely fascinated by that striking, non-binary energy."

“Dancing Hero (Eat You Up)” by Yōko Oginome

"Pete Burns' operated lips, crimped hair and the uninhibited songs that filled his synth-heavy discography started me on synthpop that would later culminate with my discovery of "Dancing Hero (Eat You Up)" by Japanese artist Yōko Oginome.

"With this song I learned to dance like a real professional on the dancefloor. I also expanded my musical universe and became a fan of 80s City Pop. Such was my fascination that years later I did a cover version of the lyrics in Spanish with my music producer Adrià Arbona: "Hazme el Favor (vente conmigo a bailar)."

"Marcia Baïla" by Les Rita Mitsouko

"Later, the Japanese fever turned into a Mediterranean flu when I came across Italo Disco and the disco anthems from the home of the pizza and spaghetti carbonara. I soon developed a genuine interest in less conventional artists who broke away from the typical English-speaking pop template I had in my head.

"I've always liked to feel original, even if it was for pedantic reasons, and after an exhaustive research and many hours of watching videos, I came across the band Les Rita Mitsouko and their song "Marcia Baïla", an extremely surreal song with a video that was on the same level as the artistic avant-garde. Their strident choreographies were a great inspiration for my shows."

“Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

"Another artist who has influenced me a great deal has been Kate Bush. The first thing I heard by her was her anthem "Wuthering Heights" and I was immediately smitten.

"My manager, Gemma del Valle, told me about this flamboyant '70s super diva and when I saw her body language, I knew exactly what moves I needed to integrate into my shows. That Martian vibe with those dance steps worthy of a high school drama club drove me crazy, not to mention her unique and hypnotic vocal pitch! A mix of opera, pop and experimental music that hit me with the magic of theatre and stage talent."

“Habanera” from Carmen by Bizet

"And if we talk about opera, I can't not make a special mention of Bizet’s Carmen and the Habanera aria. A famous operatic aria that I have covered on more than one occasion and that irremediably connects me with one of my favourite Spanish artists: Manuela Trasobares, an icon and reference for the LGBT community in my country and possibly one of the women who has most influenced the way I speak and express myself in the media.

"In addition, the lyrics of this song helped me overcome a break-up: 'Love is a rebellious bird, when you think you have it, it avoids you and when you think you avoid it, it has you.'"

“Like it or Not” by Madonna

"In terms of lyrics, perhaps the one that has haunted me most recently is Madonna's 'Like it or Not.' I recently rediscovered Confessions on a Dancefloor and this particular track has really inspired me when dealing with the ups and downs that come with media exposure.

"The Queen of Pop has been another one of my great references and nowadays my sole purpose in life is to become the Madonna of the B movies. Her concept of spectacle, her Tuscan beauty, her eclecticism and her irrevocable passion have built 50% of the artist I am today. "

"Black Magic" by D-Devils

"Last but not least, there is the track "Black Magic" by D-Devils, a masterpiece of electronic music that always encourages me to move my body.

"With a mystical aura and a melody that feels like a sorceress is casting a spell on you, this song has defined the vibe I want to give to my next songs and has laid down the foundations for what will be my new show Liquidación Total por Cierre. It's a revisitation of rave style to the beat of dark techno that I will premiere at Sónar this June."

Day Pro Conference tickets for Primavera Pro are available for 60€; find out more at the Primavera Pro website

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