Anané Vega talks creativity, running a label, and her philosophy of expression

From modeling to singing, to stepping out and becoming an acclaimed DJ in her own right, Anané’s body of musical work is as impressive as it is diverse. From house to soul to her own ‘afro-tech’ sound, Anané is a performer who can reduce crowds to putty in her hands with a few well-chosen beats.

Ahead of her set on the Groove Odyssey main stage, we caught up with Anané to find out what she’s been doing recently, and what projects she has on the horizon…

Anané! How’re things?
Things are great, thank you. It is so important to try to stay positive in life; through all the ups and downs, we have this one life to live, so make every moment count by giving love and receiving it as well.

You were born in Cape Verde before your family relocated to the states - what was it like growing up there?
Yes, I was born in the city of Praia, on the island of Santiago. I didn’t grow up there – unfortunately my family and I left in exile when I was a little girl. Cape Verde was fighting to become an independent country from Portugal and being that my dad is Portuguese, [and]married to a Cape Verdean woman (my mom) we were threatened, and our home and car were vandalized [as] threats for us to leave. Therefore, we packed what we could and left everything behind in search of a new life.

Did it inspire you musically?
Once we settled to the USA (Rhode Island) my parents made it a point to keep our heritages and cultures alive and well in our home so music was a big part. On the weekends, we hosted “serenades” at home which were gatherings of friends and family, food, drinks and instruments, everyone singing and speaking of their time back on the islands.

Was it always DJing and music that you aspired to do or did you originally have another goal altogether?
Funny you ask that, I actually had no plans on being a DJ, as a young girl I dreamed of being a dancer, model, actress and child psychiatrist. I professionally fulfilled all of them but one.

You’ve been at the forefront of dance music now for well over a decade - what’s been your career highlight so far?
A highlight for me was performing an original piece titled “One Dream” produced by Grammy Award winner Louie Vega along with the Elements of Life band (conducted by Louie) at the opening pre-game show in 2007 for the Superbowl XLI game at Dolphin Stadium Miami for an attended audience of 75, 000 and a worldwide audience of 140 million viewers. It was truly an out of body experience, watching it today brings tears to my eyes still.

You started Nulu Music in 2009, then Nulu Electronic in 2012. Can you tell us a little bit about the philosophy behind the two labels?
Nulu is home of the Afro sound and Nulu Electronic is home to just that…an electronic sound.

The philosophy of my labels is to create a space of opportunity for artists to express themselves freely with a high level of integrity for the music. There needs to be knowledge of music, passion, skills as well loyalty and commitment to the labels. I’m interested in creating a home – a family let’s say, where we support each other. My labels are not machines looking to build a catalogue but instead to create togetherness between producers and artists where creatively and collectively we all work together.

What are the key qualities you look for in an artist?
Aside from the oblivious, which is talent, I look for loyalty: artists who are willing to grow inside the label, not just looking for a one-off opportunity to release a track. I want to develop artists, build them up, and for this reason I keep the labels selective as to who we sign and put our efforts into giving as much exposure possible and support in the current market.

Who should we look out for on Nulu Music and Nulu Electronic at the moment?
That is a hard question, as I truly believe every artist I sign has something special. At the moment, Diephuis has an amazing EP titled “Awakening” out now on Nulu Electronic, and soon we will be releasing Stefano Ranieri’s EP titled “Resurrection” which I’m feeling to be a huge bomb! On Nulu we had a wonderful EP from DJ Spax titled “A Decade Later” featuring two incredibly talented artists Kafele (singer/trumpet player) and Koku Gonza (singer/guitar player) who’ve both performed live at my Nulu Movement parties in Miami and NYC. [We also] currently […] have an inspirational release from Arnaud D. feat. Spoken word artist Kamou titled “I Power Love”. [And] I am excited about a personal project for Nulu as well, it’s an original Italian song titled “Battito Profondo” done as a duet with myself and Danny Losito (Danny Double D). There is a lot more but for now this is what’s hot on the plate.

What’s it like being married to a fellow DJ? Are you guys competitive?
Being married to a fellow DJ only means lots of inspiration, lots of respect and admiration for what we do. We each have our own labels and unique sound that always has the other curious about what we will play next. We went on to create “The Ritual with Anané & Louie Vega” which is a brand started five years ago (originally called Sunset Ritual), because we have such a diverse and immense love for music, the party has become a great success with summer residencies all over the Mediterranean. We are excited about summer 2017 as we have our residency every Tuesday night at Heart in Ibiza for July and August.

You’re heading to 51st State Festival this year - what other artists are you excited to see?
I am so looking forward to 51st State, as this will be my second year playing there. For me it’s a matter of who I have time to see, I’m usually flying in from a gig then flying out again to the next gig, so I’m happy to see any of the headliners as we know 51st State Festivals’ line up does not disappoint!

What do you love most about coming to London?
I love London for its rich history and modern culture, amazing shops and restaurants, but most of all for the many friends I’ve made there over the years, it’s always like a reunion of family and friends.

For all the 51st State ravers reading this, describe your set in three words.
Rhythmic, Sensual, Versatile