Lourdes Hernández

The Return Of Russian Red

07/26/2019 · By María Ballesteros
Russian Red
Lourdes Hernández is still Russian Red, one of Spain’s most charismatic and genuine artists. Luckily for her, she does everything she wants and also does it well. © Taylor Thomson & Asia Cataldo

"I never left for good nor have I returned for good now. I’ve never seen things in those terms,” says Lourdes Hernández, better known as Russian Red. The Madrid-born musician who took her name from a lipstick shade, has returned to her hometown to perform at Noches del Botánico on 31 July. "I want to do a different show, it’s kind of an experiment. I've been wanting to combine different artistic disciplines on the stage for a long time. So why wait any longer?”

With four albums to her name, including I Love Your Glasses (2008) and Fuerteventura (2011), she decided to change her life and move to Los Angeles. She left music aside, transformed a desacralized church into an event venue—from weddings to creative workshops—, and got married. Of course, her fans and a certain sector of the music industry raised their eyebrows with perplexity. "In my twenties everything seemed to be good to me. I went on tour and lived my life until one day I thought it was time to move on. Although I’ve done different things, I can’t deny music’s always been with me. In the church we have an artist residency program with contemporary dance, illustration, workshops, talks, and so on, but I was missing something. That's why I'm back, to reconnect with music the way I've always wanted to.”

We are in a small private area in one of Madrid’s trendiest hotels. Lourdes just said goodbye to Zac, her husband, who is going back to Los Angeles. Her mother is patiently waiting at the lobby for today’s round of interviews to end. There is much to talk about. The return of Russian Red surprised many when the Noches del Botánico programme was announced, especially since it won’t be a typical concert but a performance combining dance, costume direction, visual art, and music, the expression of Russian Red’s will to evolve as an artist.

"I’ve been working for months on this show, which revolves around the key issues of my life. About nine years ago, I saw the Belgian company Peeping Tom at Teatros del Canal. It was a performing arts’ multidisciplinary show. It was very solid, very well put together, and it changed my perception of the performing arts. From that moment on, I’ve aspired to do something similar, but imbued with my personality. My new show is a kind of conceptual installation explaining where I’m at now.”

I've never called myself an artist, it's too big a word!”

This evolution, in which music isn’t her sole focus, shows the development of an artist who refuses to repeat herself. "I think the mature woman I've become needed to measure up to other challenges. I write songs but also design my tour and choose the band I want. I’m now in a much more interesting and enriching position. Working with new people is always advantageous.”

"In the US I’ve learned to have more mental freedom. I realized I’m very European. I’m always going on at them. Too many Americans call themselves artists. I've never called myself an artist, it's too big a word! I introduced myself as a singer or as someone who writes songs. Being an artist implies responsibilities. That’s the phase I’m in now. I’m researching myself to the max.”

The author of generational anthems such as I Love Your Glasses and I Hate You But I Love You will deliver a show reviewing the best of her four studio albums, as well as a new double somersault for the public at Noches de Botánico.