Artists with OI: Veronica Tulli
Interview and translation: Anna Rossi
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Veronica Tulli and my stage name is LuluRimmel. I live in Rome, Italy. I am a singer, songwriter and performer. And I am quite confident in saying this. But I do not hide that at least in Italy, this is quite a bold sentence. It is not that easy to do singing and performing for a living. Often it is not even considered a real job. You have to jostle and work really hard. I sing and perform in several shows of different nature, sometimes also dark and grotesque. The latter as LuluRimmel, my character: a doll that plays ukulele. I am also part of an acoustic duo with my partner Guido Maurizio Doria, called “Pancake Drawer”. In this project I have the chance to express myself more as a songwriter. We write together the lyrics and the music. And this is really the thing I love the most. I sing and play ukulele, and my partner plays the guitar.
How has OI influenced your arts and you being an artist?
I am pretty sure I would have been an artist even without OI. Because I think that arts and music is a need that each one can feel in a different way. From a social point of view, I am sure that my projects have somehow an impact in the world of disability. It is like people can read a social and cultural statement in my art. I believe that music is simply just music, and that it has itself a powerful and strong message to overcome any obstacle and barrier. I sing and play because I love doing it. I do not care so much of being an example. I believe that telling people about myself and express myself through music have a meaning for the people that are listening to me or watching me.
Tell us more about the movie “Heart of a Doll”!
The project was created during an informal meeting with some good coffee together with Antonio Di Domenico, the director of the documentary. At the beginning it was supposed to be the first episode of a series: people with different backgrounds and different physical difficulties, talking about their arts and stories. “Heart of a Doll” talks about my life, mainly the artistic side of it. And it highlights the adventures, the losses, the victories…it is all authentic. It is the story of a girl following her dream, to be a full-time artist and making a living through it. We are now showing the movie in different theaters in Italy, but we would love to show it in other countries as well.
Do you have other upcoming projects?
For the time being Guido and I are focusing on our duo “Pancake Drawer”. We are thinking about recording an album, the first one with our own unreleased tracks. This is something we do really believe in, and we cannot wait to start working on it, we would love to sing more and more often and on as many stages as possible, both in Italy and abroad.
Why did you start singing and acting?
I would refer to myself more as a performer, to be honest even in the documentary there is not that much acting. I have attended some acting classes in the past, but never at a professional level. About singing, I have been singing since I first started to talk. As a kid I was always singing, it made me happy. When I was 17, I decided to do it in a more conscious and focused way and I decided to attend singing classes. I started because I needed to find my own way to express what I was feeling inside, music always made me feel the most deep and strong feelings, so I decided to sing.
Which are the themes and topics that are closer to you?
In my songs I often talk about my dreams and my hidden places. I mostly talk about love. Actually, I believe that every song ever written is somehow a love message. I talk about simple stuff that everyone can relate to and understand. Feelings belong to everyone. I would like that by listening to one of my songs people could say “Oh yes, it has happened to me as well. I have felt like that!”
When I listen to music, there is always a song that can catch and express what I am feeling in that precise moment. It makes me feel better to know someone can feel what I also feel. To be honest there is not always a precise stated message, sometimes people just want to express what he/she is or feels.
What do you prefer between singing and acting?
When I play my character LuluRimmel the acting part is really important, but it wouldn’t mean much without the songs played with ukulele. I have fun playing this role of a doll. It’s never clear if she is really silly or if she fakes it, and laughs for no reason. It allows me to play with the first impression of people, with their prejudices about my disability which is physically quite clear and visible. When I sing and play with my duo, on the contrary, there is no character. I am myself with our songs. Acting is nice and fun. But honestly, the hardest and the best thing at the same time is being yourself without masks.
What is your most scary or dangerous work experience
There is this place called “Bottega degli Artisti” where I do perform every now and then. Every time I perform there, I end up climbing up some strange and potentially dangerous places. On a piano, on some kind of carts, on a bench, on some boxes, or a bookshelf…
Due to my short stature it is more spectacular when I am placed somewhere very high. Dressed up as a doll I keep myself still and then I greet by waving my hand to the audience when they come in, as they ask themselves if I am real or fake. Yes, this is or can be somehow dangerous. But I have fun and I am not afraid or scared.
Who is your favourite artist?
I do like many different artists for many different reasons. I do like Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, Beatles, The Cure, The Smiths, Marilyn Manson, Ghost, Slipknot and many others….What I like most is the background stories of some people or groups, their philosophy. As for the movies, I love Tarantino, all his movies and his genius.
What is your favourite piece of art?
Monet Waterlilies. I have seen them in Paris and I got emotional. I also used them as main topic of my final work at high school. I find them visionary and relaxing. The idea of Monet painting so many different versions observing the same thing or something that is always the same, but so different every time, is really fascinating to me.
What is or should be the role of artists in the society?
An artist has the privilege to leave a mark in the everyday history. The causes he/she supports and the messages that he/she spreads are heard from much more people, especially if he/she is a well-known artist. What is really perfection is when by only expressing himself/herself an artist can bring and spread a message for all, a message of equality and diversity.
I believe it is important to fight for rights for everyone even when we are not personally or directly involved by a problem or a topic. An artist with a big audience, in my opinion, has a social responsibility. He or she can influence or drive the lives of people in a positive way.
What is your secret dream?
Play in some New York club with “Pancake Drawer”. I have never been there, and I would love to have people listen to our music and our songs there.