Michal García and Jeff Anello, aka The Anello, came to the Young Post office to launch our Live@YP music video series. We caught up with them after the show to find out more about the popular duo.
If you could say one thing to your 15-year-old selves, what would it be?
Jeff: I think it’s as simple as: ‘Keep believing in yourself.’ It’s tough if you don’t have a dream, passion or goal. If you can figure out what you’re passionate about, then you just have to believe in yourself. Keep pushing. It takes time. Don’t ever complain that you’ve worked hard, even if you don’t get the results you want.
Michal: Try and find someone you think is a role model, and pick their brains to see what their schedule is like every moment of the day.
Are your role models the same now as they were when you were a teen?
M: I’ve always found a role model in Arturo Sandoval, who is a really great trumpet player from Cuba. He practised a lot and got himself out of there playing music, and he’s just a phenomenal trumpet player. Musically, he’s been a big influence.
J: There’s a few. With regards to what I’m trying to accomplish now musically, there’s Ryan Tedder – the OneRepublic lead singer.
You played at Tedx Wan Chai recently. How did that happen?
M: The organisers approached us. They liked what we did and wanted us to be part of it. We asked if we could present a talk. We did an audition – they have an audition night – and they enjoyed our performance, so they asked us to be part of the event, not just as curators playing music, but actually doing a Ted talk.
What did you talk about?
M: The perception of who we are.
J: It’s the idea that you can come from any background – it doesn’t matter who you are – you can be somebody as long as you’re empowered to be that person. Stay positive, empower other people, and that empowerment can empower other people, and so on.
M: You asked what we should tell young men. Maybe it should be: “what can we tell the parents that are holding these kids back?” Some of the most satisfying jobs are those that seem menial or “un-honourable,” like being the person who manages waste disposal systems or something. Those people can have a huge impact on the environment and how we move forward as a human race.
J: That’s why you need to be passionate about your job. If you’re a waste disposal expert and you’re not passionate about it, you’re not going to have these ideas that will affect the course of history. In our talk, we discussed Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is a well-known astrophysicist now, but he started with a passion and a dream to learn about space.
People said to him ‘you shouldn’t be doing that; you should be helping your community, but he was interested in other things.
And his interest led people to be empowered by his knowledge and ability to follow his passion.
The third song you played at Live@YP was very emotionally-charged. Tell us about your songwriting process? Is it easier to express how you’re feeling through music?
M: It’s a positive way to express emotions, because you could go and break stuff or something.
J: Most of the songs come from my personal experiences and how I’m feeling. I want to express myself and release all of these ideas and feelings. To perform in front of someone and have to share your feelings – that’s the hard part. Making music is one thing – you can be in your bedroom and be like “la-la-la I am not happy today … but to perform and connect with someone else is the hardest part. If you’re able to share that with someone … the emotions you’re feeling start to connect others with your ideas.
What skill are you proudest of?
J: It’s not music-related for me. And the skill I’m most proud of, I’m not even that good at. Being able to deal with situations even when I don’t want to deal with them. Like when you need to introduce yourself, or meet people, or talk to somebody when you don’t really feel like doing it. That ability to prioritise what’s important and deal with a situation. You might not be having a great day, or you might be scared, but to be able to be in the moment and deal with the situation – smile, talk to somebody – that’s a skill I’m most proud of. I’m not great at it yet, but it’s something I’m continually working on. If not, you lose out on a lot of opportunities. You can’t let your daily situation affect your future situation.
M: Yeah, it’s like “as an adult you have to deal with stuff, and stuff is not pleasant – but you still gotta deal with it!”
J: A simpler answer would be: confidence. Maybe even dealing with pressure.
M: Mine’s the ability to think up random cool stuff, creative thinking. I had a really cool idea to make an app that would help people to pronounce words in Chinese correctly. I don’t know how to programme it, but I know what it would do. I need a team working with me to help me bring my ideas to life.
I’m good at laughing too.