90th Oscars Backstage Interview Transcript: MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

SPEECH BY: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

FILM: "Remember Me" from COCO

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Q. Hello, Bobby and Kristen.  Congratulations.  This is a dream for you. 
A. Thank you.

Q. Can you talk about the significance of this win, and also you're dedicating it to your late mother, Bobby?
A. (Robert Lopez)  Well, my mother passed away in August of this year, Kathy Lopez.  She was the main force in my childhood who encouraged me to play the piano and to write music and to go for my dream.  And she pushed me as hard as she could and ‑‑
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  She told him if he didn't practice she would make him eat the piano.
A. (Robert Lopez)  So I really ‑‑ the song is about leaving the people you love, and that's what happened to me this year.  She was taken from us, and so this song became an expression of that.  It was already written.  It wasn't about her, but we sang it at her funeral and it was very helpful for me in healing.

Q. I just wanted to know, were there any specific Mexican music styles that inspired the song and a specific Mexican culture or belief that inspired the lyrics?
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  Well, we were looking at the Rancho Bolero style ‑‑
A. (Robert Lopez)  Bolero Ranchero. 
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  Bolero Ranchero style.  And we were also looking at Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante and the crooners of the '30s and '40s, specifically from Mexico, that sort of inspired the Ernesto de la Cruz version.  And ‑‑ (laughter in press room) what just happened?  We worked with Camilo Lara as a musical ‑‑ a Mexican musical consultant and he is also known as the Mexican Institute of Sound, and he took us through, basically, a college course of Mexican musicology to prepare us to work on this.

Q. Congratulations, guys.  This is getting to be a habit.  Can you talk about how it feels to win for a second time in a few years, and also for a song that resonates with countries from all over the world that honors the traditions for remembering the dead?
A. (Robert Lopez)  We didn't dare to dream that we would ever be nominated or win again.  It's very, very nice to be back.  It's four years later.  It was raining yesterday just as it was four years ago.
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  If it rains in L.A. and the Winter Olympics have happened, that's the two things that are our good luck signs now.
A. (Robert Lopez)  Guess so.  It feels great to win again.  It's wonderful, it's a great honor and a great recognition for people that have worked really hard, not just us but the people that worked on the song, Germaine Franco who arranged it and wrote many other songs in the film, and many other folks have poured their love into this thing.
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  The incredible Mexican musicians who recorded the bulk of the music down in Mexico City.  So it's a wonderful thing for us to be a very small part of.
A. (Robert Lopez)  And Mexico is not the only country that has ancestor honor celebrations.  The Philippines, as you know well, they celebrate the holiday too, China and Japan.  And I think it's something that we need a little bit more of in this country.  And we actually celebrated Day of the Dead in November and had a picture of my mother and a lot of my ‑‑ a lot of our ‑‑
A. (Kristen Anderson‑Lopez)  The grandparents.  It's a really healing, wonderful ritual that we're going to put as part of our family tradition every year.  It's a wonderful way to feel connected with the people who came before you, but not in a sad way, in a wonderful storytelling way.

Q. Congratulations.  I wondered, Robert, by any chance, do you speak Spanish?
A. (Robert Lopez)  I don't.  I'm Filipino.  My grandmother spoke Spanish.  My dad didn't.  He was born on a boat on the way from Manila, and so I never learned and it's one of the great regrets of my life.

Q. What would you like to say to those immigrants, people that look at you as an example?
A. (Robert Lopez)  I've always felt "other" in this country, even though I was raised very assimilated.  If our success can help someone pursue their dream, I know that examples play a huge role and I want to encourage every brown kid to pursue their dream just like my mom did to me. 

Q. Congratulations.  I want to know, what is the most amazing gift that this adventure gave to you as a person of Mexican culture traditions?
A. As I mentioned before, I think that from now on we will always celebrate Day of the Dead in our family, like Christmas, like Hanukkah ‑‑ like Halloween.  Day of the Dead has become part of a healing process in our family because loss is inevitable and it's a ‑‑ this year was a very hard one for us.  And it was so healing, and I want to pass that tradition on to our daughters.



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