Singer and music producer from Rio Grande do Sul Kristal Werner delves into the nuances of platonic love in her most recent release, “Cachaça de Gengibre”. In this engaging track, which fuses R&B and Neo Soul with touches of Brazilianness, Kristal weaves a fantasy narrative based on an imaginary romance. Known for her ethereal voice and unique vocal arrangements, the artist, graduated in Popular Music from UFRGS, stands out not only for her musical ability, but also as a producer, pioneering a predominantly male space. The single is released by Peneira Musical, a label committed to promoting LGBTQIAP+, black, 50+ and peripheral talents, founded by Elisa Fernandes in 2020, in Rio de Janeiro.
“Ginger Cachaça” has an engaging story behind it. How do you transform personal experiences into music and how does this process influence your connection with your audience?
Music is the way I best know how to express myself and communicate what I feel. Since I was little, I’ve been writing and singing to relieve the pressure inside. I composed a song for the first time when I was 13, and I started writing (lyrics, poetry, sentences) when I was about 11. I recognize that the most effective way to connect with the public is by telling the truth, telling real stories, because it is It’s easier to touch at the right point to convey feeling, which makes it easier for the public to accept and connect with the work. I also make up stories, but it’s not what satisfies me the most.
You work not only as a performer, but also as a composer and music producer. How do you balance these roles and how does your academic background in Popular Music at UFRGS contribute to your musical approach?
I identify more as a composer than as a performer. I believe that, no matter how much I sing from a young age, Kristal , the composer, is the main character. Composing is inevitable and interpretation is the consequence. Training in Popular Music allowed me to meet people who, today, I consider my family, in addition to exchanging experiences and discovering my path within music. It was during the course that I discovered Kristal producer, that I understood that I was capable and that I needed to have this autonomy. It’s great to be able to convert, into sound, an idea that’s inside my head, without depending 100% on other people. This makes the process much easier. Furthermore, during my academic training, I learned to look for my sound identity. I say that I learned to look, because I don’t believe that I will only find it once, this process lasts forever. I learned to search, because I understood that this search is internal, not external. I often found myself trying to do what others expected, in exchange for admiration, but this admiration only came after I understood that my sound could only be within me.
The single “AMIGS2” conveys a light and relaxed message about sapphic relationships. How can music be a tool to explore and express diversity and inclusion in society?
Music, in addition to creative expression, has always been a tool for political and cultural expression. Years ago, there wasn’t as much talk about diversity and inclusion, in addition to other important issues, as we do today. Music is a very important tool for fighting reactionary and oppressive governments, like the last one we had. We need to talk about sexuality, about gender, about inclusion, about race and ancestry, about everything that makes us human, so that the next generations know their rights and the possibilities of being, which were not presented to us before. The more representatives of diversity and culture we have in the spotlight, the greater the chance of keeping our rights preserved.
“Cachaça de Gengibre” presents a mix of R&B and Neo Soul with nuances of Brazilianness. How do you approach the fusion of different musical styles to create your unique sonic identity?
As I mentioned previously, I look for what exists within me. Of course, everything that exists in here had to come in at some point, but I also don’t always eat the same thing, the same kind. I end up mixing what suits the moment, with the feeling I want to convey. The sound of my work changes a lot depending on the song, precisely because I don’t stick to just one thing. I try to communicate what I want in the best way, without fear.
You also released the EP “AURORA” in 2021. How does this project differ from your previous releases and what can listeners expect to explore in this work?
The EP “AURORA” was my second release as a solo artist. Before him, like Kristal Werner, I had only released the single “Acorda”. I also released other singles, by the duo AKAIRÚ, a project with my best friend and music producer, Duda Raupp. The big difference between the EP and the single “Acorda” is the narrative. The single is very political and addresses the problems in the Brazilian Education system. The EP tells part of my story, it talks about my history with depression, so they are very different works in that aspect. Regarding the sound, “AURORA” mixes organic and electronic elements. It’s the work that I have the most affection for, of all the ones I’ve already launched. It’s a work that really touches the emotions of those who connect with it. I received many moving messages of thanks from people who connected with the narrative and visualized their own story within “AURORA”.
The video for “Cachaça de Gingibre” brings a visual narrative that mixes reality and fantasy. How do you see the relationship between music and image in the transmission of stories?
I tend to think about everything at the same time. Visualizing scenarios and narrative is part of my composition process. I don’t usually think about things separately, but rather about the work as a whole. This is something that helps me a lot in the process. There are things that we say in the lyrics of a song, that people will only understand when they correlate it with the image. There are many ways of communicating and transmitting a message, and when we manage to unite two or more, it makes it easier to understand who can receive them and expands the dissemination of the message, from the moment it is also delivered to people who are not -listeners, for example. Not to mention that it is much more attractive to the general public.
Peneira Musical, where its launch takes place, aims to promote the art of LGBTQIAP+, black, 50+ and peripheral people. How do you see the role of the music industry in promoting diversity and representation?
The music industry is very broad. There are the people who are in charge of the means of communication, production and dissemination of work in the market, and the people who fight daily to support themselves. The Musical Sieve is one of those that fight every day. It’s a dream of a black, lesbian woman who came from the outskirts. It’s a fight that, despite being on the agenda of the industry in general, is still not a cause that everyone embraces. We can see this from the moment that Ludmilla, one of the greatest singers in the country, had to refuse the invitation for the Multishow Award, as she was invited to sing in all editions, but was not nominated for the main categories of the award. We are still on the agenda, but we are not the cause of those who hold power within the industry. It has always been like this, and we will continue in this fight. Sieve Musical not only promotes diversity, it is diversity, it is the representation of a very important and precious part of the population, and I am very grateful to be part of this.
In addition to your musical journey, you mentioned your desire to stand out as a music producer. What challenges and opportunities do you see in this space, still predominantly occupied by cis men?
Being a music producer is part of my journey. It’s a daily challenge, because you have to not only build, but also recover a lot in the process. Self-confidence is one of them. White cis men have been doing whatever they want from the beginning. Anyone who studied at a private school can close their eyes and remember that white classmate who played and sang badly and everyone applauded. Those white colleagues who formed a really bad band and everyone praised them, shouted, asked for an autograph. The process starts from a much more distant point for me, and even more so for people who are within other categories, such as black people, indigenous people, trans people. It’s very complex, there are many layers. In this pyramid, I am just below cis white men, and it is much more difficult. None of them trust me, it’s clear. You can feel it. They give space and encourage, because they have to, but we know when it’s true or not. We know that when it comes to recommending someone they trust for a job, they will recommend someone else. This is not something that will make me give up, no, it just makes me thirstier and more willing to be better at my job.
How do you deal with the emotions and feelings that arise when revisiting personal experiences when creating music? Is there a specific process you follow?
I let them arrive, I pay attention, I talk to them. It’s a privilege to be able to look inside and be able to understand where these feelings come from and what they are, to get in touch with who I once was, to forgive myself. Having time is a huge privilege that few people have, so it’s something I try to make the most of. When I have time to look inside and still turn this process into art, it’s the pinnacle. There are days when I feel really low, when I don’t feel like doing anything other than listening to my thoughts. When that happens, I know the result is music.
Looking ahead, what are your next musical projects and what can fans expect from Kristal Werner in the coming months?
In the coming months, I intend to continue releasing singles, collaborations and also playing more shows. Still in 2024, I will start producing my first album. I want it to be powerful and meaningful work, which really stands out. I will do everything to make this happen.
Follow Kristal Werner on Instagram