Belgian singer Magali Luyten is not filling magazine front covers, but for number of years, she is well established with metal first league. With her amazing talent and characteristic vocal she could deserve to be called “Ronnie James Dio in skirt”. During her career she has formed projects as Beautiful Sin, Virus IV but her current focus is French band Nightmare. On the other hand, she has built up her reputation mainly because of cooperation with Dutch composer and multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen in his project Ayreon, whether it was in studio or live recently. It was a great honor to interview big fan of Sennheiser microphones not only about her Top 10 albums, but also about current activities, vocal teaching through MYRIAD VOICE, career challenges and future plans. Maggy’s intro for her Top 10 albums: “There are many other artists that inspire me but here are the albums that made me grow as a musician, as a singer…”
Soulsister – The Way To Your Heart
I was constantly listening to that tape in my Walkman. They are probably the first band I started to notice the harmony work between voices.
Billy Joel – Greatest Hits
It was a double CD. I guess I was about 14 when I heard Goodnight Saigon for the first time. I didn’t understand all of the lyrics yet, but I remember having tears in my eyes when I heard the helicopter and the big voices sing: “and we would all go down together…”
Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits
Yup, greatest hits again. :p I love their sound, the guitars, the melodies and the beautiful harmonies. Christine McVie’s and Stevie Nicks’ voices match perfectly. Then I heard Lindsey Buckingham on Big Love, wow that song! So grooving’!!! Check this out:
U2 – Rattle And Hum
I’m a huge Bono fan, too hard to pick only one album. And the winner is: The one with the most scratches on the cd!
The Cure – Pornography
I was at the peak of the teenager’s “no one understands how I feel” and “leave me alone, I love darkness” vibe. Robert Smith is a genius when it comes to creating trippy and melancholic atmospheres. The sound on this album is magical. Deep drums and bass with floating guitars and vocals.
Skunk Anansie – Stoosh
What a voice!! Probably the first time I wanted to sing along and couldn’t keep up with it! I remember that I started to practice on Twisted with my hairbrush in front of the mirror haha. A singer was born! :p
Metallica – Black Album
I never really knew about metal before Metallica… Sounds like a terrible cliché right? It’s true though.
Angra – Holy Land
“Nothing to say!” 😉 Well actually there is. I slipped into the progressive metal world and got into Dream Theater right after with Falling Into Infinity and Images and Words.
Symphony X – V
Same here, hard to choose a favorite album when you love the band so much. Saw them live during their V tour and even got to sing with Russell on stage. He’s my vocal hero.
Ark – Burn The Sun
I heard Ark for the very first time in a friends’ car and when the “coin” fell down on Heal The Waters, I knew this would become one of my all-time favorite albums. Jorn Lande has been a great vocal influence on me.
To make it in this business is not only a matter of talent, it’s about who you chose to work with and how much you keep working
First of all, tell us please about Ayreon Universe concerts. How was the three days marathon?
Such a beautiful experience! Everything about it was huge… from the stage, the screen, the crowd, to the team…. You could feel the spirit was right in every corner of the venue and all the way down to the streets of Tilburg. To share the stage with those amazing singers and musicians was a thrill!! I remember we were talking backstage about how 3 days passed like a shooting star, everyone got along really well and Arjen made sure we got all we needed to give the best performance.
What preparation did you have to go through? Especially for the songs Star of Sirrah and Intergalactic Space Crusaders.
When Star One came out, I sang all the Russell Allen’s parts a lot… as a true fan I already knew about Intergalactic Space Crusaders… so all I needed to do was to freshen it up and make sure I had the lyrics down. Star of Sirrah was another kind of challenge but Arjen really has a talent of picking the right songs for the right voices….
With whom from the amazing singers and musicians did you enjoy most of the time in the backstage?
That’s a difficult question… I had a great time going to the vinyl store with Hansi… spending time with the girls backstage, sharing opinions about clothing, hairstyle and make up was really fun too (not used to that with my band haha)! It’s thanks to Anneke that I decided to go for the red jacket… I also really enjoyed good conversations with Floor… she’s a wonderful singer and human being, I respect her a lot. The best quality time I had was with Jonas and his wife though. We weren’t much into going out on the second night so we decided to improvise our own “bar” in my hotel room, shared ideas, listened to music… we also share the same love for new wave….
Since 2015 your stable music base is Nightmare. Congratulations for amazing album Dead Sun. How do you judge the two years in the band and what are your future plans?
Thanks! I feel we’re really getting to know each other and become friends. We’ve achieved some good things… Now it’s time to take it to the next level with new songs. Dead Sun is a transition to the new Nightmare. We’ll enter the studio early this Summer, the album will be released in Jan. 2019. In the meantime we’ll be on the road (a.o. opening for Epica’s 1OOOth anniversary show in Tilburg, same venue as AYREON UNIVERSE also the Full Metal Cruise).
It was actually a second time you named the album using word “Sun”, whether it was dead or dark. Is it connected to your area of interest? Do you love reading & watching documentaries about space or are you, same as me and also George Carlin a sun worshipper?
I definitely am sun worshipper! To tell you the truth, Dead Sun wasn’t my idea but since everyone liked it… I thought… why not… it also happened to be the perfect title to the lyrics I wrote about what happened in Zaventem in March 2016….
With all the respect, a fan of yours has to carefully follow where you sing at the moment. You did some great work in Beautiful Sin, Virus IV and as a vocal guest on Epysode and many more. But it’s a pity, these bands don’t live long enough, even though you always make some impact in the scene. What do you think are the reasons, why we haven’t seen more albums with Beautiful Sin or Virus IV? (Personal changes, today’s music market?)
I’m glad you ask even though it’s complicated to answer shortly. Let’s say that I allowed someone to interfere with my life decisions for way too long. It’s important to learn, who to be kind and generous with. Honestly, to make it in this business is not only a matter of talent, it’s about who you chose to work with and how much you keep working. Unfortunately, you never really know before you try. I don’t regret anything though cause along the way I worked with wonderful and talented musicians.
In the meantime you work as vocal coach and voice teacher. Is this a main source of income for you next to music career, or do you also have some other job?
I used to work as a full time secretary for over 10 years, had a burn out and decided to change. It took me years to build MYRIAD VOICE and I’m constantly working to make sure it remains something real. We’re organizing Vocal Bootcamps, Workshops and I have plans outside of Belgium as well.
Keep in mind the roots of WHY you sing
What do you enjoy the most on this activity? I believe it has to be the progress of your students.
As a child, I always wanted to become a teacher. I love to see the look on their faces when they have that “ah-ha” moment, when the idea finally clicks. When they get excited because they just did something they didn’t think they were capable of.
What are by your opinion main challenges of today’s students?
To keep in mind the roots of WHY you sing.
What about you? How are you trying to advance as a singer? Are you continuously working on high notes, which Arjen challenged you with?
I have periods of hard work, where I really focus on improving my vocal technique. Usually it’s because I need to get ready for the studio or gigs, but also when I just heard some crazy vocals and I wanna make them mine. 😉
What music do you enjoy lately?
I love pretty much any kind of music as long as it’s groovy. I used to be a total prog metal fan but I’m more into 80’s hard rock/metal. I guess I was born 20 years too late. :p
What brands of microphones do you prefer?
I prefer Sennheiser.
How did you enjoy Hellfest 2016 with Nightmare? Too bad, I haven’t managed to get there yet. My first Hellfest was 2017 edition. Do you plan to visit Graspop 2018, at least as a visitor? I haven’t seen Nightmare on the festival line-up yet…
Hellfest was our very first show with the new line up. You can imagine the pressure! The audience response was great! I don’t really do festivals anymore unless I’m playing…
Thank you very much and I’m looking forward to meet you soon in person, not only to get all of my albums signed, but also to grab a beer. 😉
You’re welcome! Thank you for the interesting questions 😉