Tony Cortes, an international musician and solo guitarist, who has also played with the Pablo Reyes, is a singer, songwriter and composer. Born and raised in Montpellier, France, he has a strong musical family background.
We at FAB, love how you summed up your musical approach with this quote…
“The music that I listen to and play is a part of the culture of Gypsies in Western Europe. It’s part of our life. It accompanies us whereever we are, whatever we do. Weddings, funerals, travels and parties-everything is accompanied by the music that we have in our blood. It passes from father to son, from generation to generation.”
Can you describe in your own words what it was like to grow up in the medieval, modern, and beautiful city of Montpellier?
Growing up in Montpellier was wonderful and very beneficial. The melting pot, as they call it. It’s very interesting to know and learn from one another and the people from of varying cultures. In addition, this city has everything. It is next to the Sea, the Montana, the River, and very special nature like the Camargue (which is near Montpellier and looks like Africa but without leaves and other colors).
So it allowed me to experience and travel before traveling abroad.
Would you consider yourself to be Mediterranean?
I was born in the Mediterranean. All my family is from France or Spain, so yes, I can consider myself Mediterranean.
Having been born into an artistic family, was it obvious from the beginning that you would become an artist as well?
First of all, to see and hear my family singing, dancing, and doing concerts with great artists made me very happy and proud. Secondly, the music was a dream for me and since I was a child I wanted to play the guitar, sing all over the world to share my music and all that I have inside.
In this case, would you say that you chose your career or did your career chose you?
It‘s a blessing from God to have music in your blood and then also to have great practical work. So it’s a little bit of both.
You started performing with your father at a very young age? How old where you?
I started at age 7, doing little concerts with my dad. But I think I played the guitar already in my mother’s womb.
Did you ever feel like you missed out on something in your childhood due to performing so early?
I think it was the luck of the draw to play music, to eat music, to think music, because it’s a form of freedom and joy that I cannot compare or buy.
How do you balance your lifestyle as an international artist, seeing as you must travel often?
Well, when I’m not on tour, I’m with my family, which is my inspiration and I’m always studying different musical horizons.
How do you spend your quality time when on vacation or at home?
For the time being, I spend it at home. I play music with my son who sings and plays his little guitar, and the girls are dancing with my wife. We like to be in the sun, go to the beach, and just enjoy nature.
You’re such a great guitarist but how would you describe your guitar and your music?
I was born with the Gypsy guitar, listening to very famous guitarists like my idol Paco de Lucia and Carlos Santana, etc. Little by little, I started mixing Gypsy music with Jazz, Gypsy with Rock, and now with Cuban music. So we can say that my guitar and my music is a form of New Gypsy Wave.
Can you explain to our readers how important is it for you to mix gypsy and modern music together?
The mixture of gypsy music and modern music is a logical one for me, as I am always getting into new sounds. I want to work similar to my cousin, Nino Baliardo (main composer of the song Djobi Djoba, former member of the Gipsy Kings) and the great flamenco guitarist Tomatito, who is also promoting my father, always looking for the evolution of the music.
We see that you’re so successful and inspiring but what is your definition of success?
For me, success is about being free and happy in every day of your life with what you have.
What is your reaction to criticism?
From my point of view, the reviews are always good to learn from. Whether they are good or bad critics – it will make you grow.
Which advice were you given toward your style of music?
I was given a very original style. One that keeps up with the gypsy roots and I added some modern freshness of today.
Is there anything you could suggest to aspiring artists interested in your genre, which might help them on their way?
You need to work on your guitar skills but above all you need to listen to a lot of music.
Your City is known for great food and great wine. Do you cook? If so what is your favorite meal to cook?
Of course we have good food and drink in Montpellier and my favorite dish is seafood paella. I love cooking it.
Has Covid-19 been a creative time for you or has it become more challenging?
It’s been a little hard because I have thought about the future of humanity, but above all creativity. I did composed a lot and I did look for other styles of music.
What makes you passionate about life?
I’m passionate about people’s happiness and creation, because it’s something that nobody can take away from you.
How has Covid-19 affected your plans for 2020 or 2021? Were there any cancellations, or any new ideas due to the circumstances?
It’s true that I’ve had a lot of cancellations, but to be positive, I think it’s bad news for a good cause. I’m starting a new project, which is not simple music but it’s a message of love and of equality for everything.
FAB and our readers want to know where we can see you perform in the future?
I plan to travel a lot in Eastern European countries to start my project and then Asia.
Thank you so much, we at FAB are so entertained by you.