“Mental illness has defined my last 12 years”

Mai, Maria, Maria Isabel or baby daconte. Many names serve to allude to the former contestant of Operación Triunfo and author of songs like ‘I had so much to give you’, whose title she has recycled in the book in which she confesses what was hidden behind the scenes of success: insecurity, drug abuse and Mental illness.

“The first reason for writing it was to do therapy and put my head in order: who am I, where do I come from and where am I going”, explained this composer and performer, who then saw coincidences with the autobiographical account of Angel Martin‘In case the voices come back’. “Mental illness was also a very important topic in my book, it was what had defined me for the last 12 years,” she reveals.

And if he dared to publish this work that will see the light of day by Plaza & Janés, he adds afterwards, it was “thinking that it could help more people who lack references, so that they don’t feel alone and see that there are more people suffering the same.

“I still don’t know what I have. The closest thing is borderline personality disorder, but each doctor gives me a diagnosis and even finding the medication has been a complicated process,” he confesses after having heard other possible conditions such as bipolarity.

Being the youngest of a family of six children scattered throughout the country because of her parents’ work, in the first episodes Meneses (Madrid, 1978) draws a very sensitive personality full of insecurities that she tried to alleviate with alcohol, partners and a talent for music that has worked both for him and against him to walk the edge of sanity.

“Now I have accepted myself, but it has cost me. In music I have lowered my level of demand. I no longer pursue the American dream of artists who do everything well and sing, dance, compose and are beautiful. What I offer They are songs with beautiful melodies and with a market niche that, although it is small, is mine”, he affirms.

That perfectionist character did not sit well passing a selection of 80,000 people for the second edition of Operación Triunfo, that of Manuel Carrasco, Beth and Vega, and then being the first expelled.

“I still had a pretty big trauma, although then I used to make jokes with my classmates: ‘You’ll see when I tell my grandchildren that I’ve been the opening act for the boys from Old Testament‘” he recalls.


She never gave up her efforts to dedicate herself to music, although things were not easy. “Being a blockbuster was the worst then; the rest of the industry looked down on us like we had no talent,” she laments.

They came to tell him not to bother moving his demo because after the massive boom of the first OT, “an industry pact had been established with lifelong musicians so that space would not be given to more than 7 former contestants”. “I don’t know if that story is true, but more people have told me that it was quite likely,” he says.

In his case, he managed to distance himself from OT with a new name taken from a book by Gabriel García Márquez, baby daconteand under the somewhat “marketinian” formula of a duo with who was then the guitarist of his concerts and his partner, kim fanlo.

“I give a lot of value to what Kim did and I say it in the book. He produced all the songs, with a very particular style and he is doing very well because he is a good professional. At no time do I want to take away his role in the part artistic”, he specifies.

But Menenes wanted to give his version of how the story went, also about the causes of the dissolution: “I did a duet because the circumstances at that time required it and because he was my friend. When he stopped being a friend, it stopped making sense” .

“The problem was not that we separated, but that the record company decided to continue with the name,” she adds about the real origin of the disagreements between the two and a very widespread story in which she was left as “the bad one” who had stayed with the brand at the expense of Fanlo.

Together they had reached number 1 on the Top 40 with albums like ‘I have lost shoes’ (2006) and ‘Retales de carnaval’ (2008), from which hits such as ‘En qué Estrella está’ or, above all, ‘Had so much to give you’, a subject with which he has had to reconcile.

“I came to hate him a little, because it seemed that he had only composed that song. It’s beautiful, but I don’t feel it as much as other songs, nor do I have it so close to my heart,” he acknowledges about this song of heartbreak that many have been devoted to the loss of a loved one.

Her next albums, already solo, did not have the same punch and, although she never completely disassociated herself from music, she took advantage of the time of retirement to become a mother on two occasions and silence the old impostor syndrome that often persecuted her.

“When we started to succeed with Nena Daconte, I didn’t feel it as my own. It’s as if it wasn’t happening to me. That’s why therapies are important, to give you tools and put a name to what happens to you,” explains Meneses, who next March he will return with a new album.

Hence, she insists, this book: “I didn’t want a woman to be seen complaining, but to give a lesson on how after being in a black hole, you can get out, have a happy life, even start a family and continue walking despite mental illness, getting up many times.