hot Magazine, Issue 209, December 2012
Milos Karadaglic: A classical guitarist with big dreams, mad skills and a very nice suit
By Sophia Goh
Meet Milos Karadaglic, the guitarist from Montenegro who’s taking the world of classical music by storm. With two albums under his belt, Mediterráneo and Latino, a dream concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall, and a bunch of awards including the MasterCard Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at this year’s Classic BRITS, the 29-year-old is fast becoming the new face of classical guitar. Here, our telephone chat with Milos, who was calling all the way from London, just a couple of days after he played Royal Albert Hall.
Tell me about performing in Royal Albert Hall.
For a very long time, I had this vision that one day I will play in Royal Albert Hall, and that it would be full of people. To me, this is the most beautiful concert hall in the world, and a place where all my heroes, not just from classical music but all genres, had played and sang in, so to be there was very, very emotional and it was a very, very big thing. I felt incredible because I was living my dream. I took every second and every moment to enjoy and have the time of my life.
How did you start playing classical guitar?
I started playing guitar when I was eight, in Montenegro where I come from. I wanted to go to music school and play a classical instrument. To me, the only instrument that made sense was the guitar, because I had a good voice and I wanted to play the guitar with my voice – this is something that many, many people try to do. The lucky thing was that we had a guitar at home that nobody was playing, and it very quickly became my best friend. At the music school, I was introduced to classical music and classical guitar, and at the beginning I thought it was a bit boring, like every young person thinks, but then when I was shown what true classical guitar is, I completely fell in love with it. I started to practise and one step at a time I became a professional musician.
Do you also sing now?
No, because I spent so much time training to be a classical guitarist. My voice is something that I keep for myself.
You’ve put Montenegro on the map with your success. How do you feel about that?
I feel very proud of my country because it is a true gem and truly one of the most beautiful places in the whole world. Growing up there has made me the artist that I am, so through my music there is a lot of Montenegro. My people are very, very proud of what I’m doing, and their support means the world to me. The best ambassadors of any country are found through art and through things that mean the most, and I feel very privileged to be a musician and to be from Montenegro.
What are your interests outside of music?
Whenever I have free time, I like to read, go for walks in nature, go to the cinema, theatre or the opera, go for a run… everything. I like to keep life exciting.
Who are some of your idols, if any?
When I was younger, I had many idols and they ranged from the greatest classical guitarists of the past to the greatest pop stars and people like that. Then later, I discovered that to be influenced by somebody is a great thing, but ultimately you need to find a hero within yourself, and I felt that was the most important thing, so I decided to look for that idol in my guitar and in what I do with it. To share that with as many people in the world as possible has always been my biggest dream. Now I’m doing that and it makes me very happy.
How are you going to take classical guitar to the next level in terms of mainstream music?
I’m just continuing with my work and my ideas, and I’ll continue to play for a lot of people and do a lot of things, and I think by doing exactly what I’ve been doing the last couple of years, we are going to achieve it. Things are looking great. The fact that the Royal Albert Hall was almost full capacity for a classical guitar performance is something that really is almost historic. So we’ll see what happens next.
We know girls like rock stars. In your personal experience, do girls also like classical guitarists?
Yes. Because we are also guitarists and we can still be rock stars, so why not? Girls go crazy for boys who play guitars. That’s why I wanted to play guitar in the beginning.
So in your experience, it’s turned out to be true?
Of course it has. What do you think?
I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking you.
[Laughs] I think I answered your question. Yes, of course. Girls always like boys who play guitar.
What advice would you give young instrumentalists who aspire to be successful like you?
I would tell them to work hard but to always enjoy doing what they’re doing, because that’s the most important thing. When we’re working on our technique and everything that we are, practising and so on, sometimes it can be very tough because it takes up a lot of time and energy, but as soon as it becomes something that you don’t enjoy, then you shouldn’t be doing it. The most important thing with music is to keep it as something very special in your life. If it becomes special through doing it professionally, and if you feel that it is the right thing for you to do, then you should go for it. But if it is something that you just want to enjoy and leave as an escape from the realities of the world you live in, then do it that way. I just think that nothing should be forced, and my advice to young musicians is to never force themselves into anything. Just follow their gut feeling and see where that takes them.