Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

From a musical family and a new generation of Brazilian singers, Luciana Mello discusses her career and latest CD


Luciana Mello 4

Daughter of long-time Samba singer Jair Rodrigues and sister of one Brazilian Popular Music’s new generation of talent, songwriter/producer/singer Jair Oliveira, Luciana Mello began her career at only five years old. Before her latest CD, she had already released five CDs: Luciana Rodrigues (1995), Assim que Se Faz (2000), Olha pra Mim (2002), L.M.(2004) and Nêga (2007). And with the release of her CD 6º Solo (not coincidentally her sixth solo CD) she is one of the great singers of Brazilian Popular Music. Below is an interview in which she discusses her musical influences and inspirations that led to her latest CD. At the bottom of the post check out videos taken from her 2000 and 2004 CDs as well as the song “Áfrico” off of her latest release. 

Who are some your musical preferences, both national and international?

I have many preferences, but they’re not preferences, in truth I have many influences. There are many, many artists. As I listen to music all day, I live music, in fact all the people I listen to end up influencing me in some way, but I like Djavan, Ed Motta, Michael Jackson, Jair Rodrigues, Jair Oliveira, Wilson Simonal, Emilio Santiago, Clara Nunes…There are so many people that don’t think there’s enough time to name them all. These are some people I like, that influenced me in some way or another in life. And there are people also people from the new generation, like my partners, Wilson Simoninha, Pedro Mariano (1). These are people who influence us too.

 

Which of your songs is your favorite?

Ah, a favorite I don’t have, because thanks to God I’ve managed to record songs that I like, enjoy, because I think it ends up being the interpreter also… at least I’m like this, I end up opting to record songs that I believe in. As I am not initially, primarily a songwriter that only sings my songs, when I’m choosing a song, I always choose songs that I could have made up or that I identify with, that I like, that I like the lyrics, which has to do with me. So it’s difficult to name one song that I like most. But of course there are songs that people identify with me more, for example, that were more successful like “Simples Desejo” which is a song that has very up, very cool lyrics, that many people love, including that is was a track for a commercial at the time of Mother’s Day, there’s “Assim que Faz”, but I don’t have a favorite, but I hope that many people (do) have (one).

What steps do you recommend to those who want to pursue a music career?

Take it seriously. Study hard. And take your career seriously. Take music seriously. Because I see a lot of people today who don’t take art seriously. I think you (should) prepare yourself, take it seriously, work (and) be persistent. I’ve heard many things that I didn’t want (to hear), many people that want to take you down in some way, discouraging you. But believe in yourself, go back and prepare yourself for everything.

Work

Cover of Luciana’s 6th CD, 6º Solo
 

Talk about your new album, 6º Solo. What musical influences did you bring to this album?

It’s that mixture of sounds and there are those influences that I told you too. They are new people, for example, Sérgio Santos, who is the composer of “Áfrico”, is a composer that I didn’t know that Claudio Lins sent to me, he said, “Look Lu, listen to this song here that’s is very cool” and I ended up knowing all the work of Sérgio Santos, that’s wonderful, that’s beautiful and ended influencing me in a certain way and I recorded his “Áfrico”. Otávio de Moraes is also a guy who influenced me a lot, that really helped me in this process of making 6º Solo, understanding me, what I wanted in the CD. My brother (Jair Oliveira), of course, is always a mentor. So there are all these musical influences that helped me a lot to make this record. Because sometimes the artist has many ideas, many things, so the producers are the ones responsible for always writing what we say so much.

How did the necessity of making the CD come up?

I think it comes from the soul. You start to have a lot of things that you want to do. And in my case, I was wanting to make a new album, because after taking a break from working you feel the need…It’s another phase, because the record of an artist is his phase. I was living a phase that was different from (the CD) Nêga, (which was) made in 2007. I wanted to transform that into music, transform it so that people see this other phase in my music, in my work.

 
What inspires you to compose?


I think really the day to day. I rarely do lyrics. I do more melodies, so they’re things are my feelings, my everyday life, the things I hear, and finally, studying piano suddenly something comes out, some phrase that I think is cool and then I’m playing on top of that.


Luciana with brother Jair Oliveira (L) and father Jair Rodrigues

How do you interpret a song?

This is a sensibility, a gift also. Interpreting a song is everything. Sensitivity, how you feel that song. When you read a text, you interpret the text. So, interpreting a song, for me, is how I conceive the text of that song, with the melody, the harmony, my arrangement, how I conceive the arrangement of the song too. Sometimes when I ask for an arranger to make the music I give him all of the freedom in the world so that he feels the song too. I always say that the song speaks louder than me. For example, when I’m going to interpret a song, I’ll understand the music first, so that it tells me how it wants to be interpreted.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? Is it now?

 
Luciana with newborn

I live much in the present, you spoke very well, the now is really very striking. I don’t live much in the past, that thing of “Whoever lives in the past is a museum,” but I think the past is extremely important because it is what makes me (what I am) today. I am very proud of my past, everything that I did, I think everything we do is a learning experience, even our mistakes. I made mistakes a lot in the past, also, who doesn’t make mistakes, right? So even in our mistakes we have to catch and transform and, wow! We start to improve here…we’re improving. So I think the present is very striking, but of course there are many really good things that happen that mark you. For example, I was remembering the Rock In Rio 2001 with my band O Surto. I was releasing the CD Assim Que Se Faz, (which was) made shortly after a very painful process, with many things, it was a time that many people said that it wouldn’t happen, that it wasn’t (the thing) to do and I believed it, me and my family and suddenly I was at Rock In Rio doing a show for 40,000 people, a bunch of people singing the song, so it was something that, caramba, look at this!

It was a very exciting time, just like various other times. When I launched Nêga (CD), it was the day my niece was born. So while I was singing, she was being born. Now 6º Solo is a disc for my daughter, my life changed completely, it’s also the first record of many new things in my life.
My disc is for her, she was the inspiration, it was because of her, this whole change in my life was because of her. I’ve become a calmer person, a more conscious person, a more down to earth person and a person who know more of what she wants, precisely because there is a person that depends on me, there is a person whose future I think of, so it’s striking.

Video of “Áfrico”

 

Video of “Só vale com você”

 

Video of “Simples Desejo”

1. Djavan, Jair Rodrigues, Wilson Simonal, Clara Nunes and Emilio Santiago are all singers of Brazilian Popular Music and/or Samba that began their careers in the 1960s or 1970s. Djavan, Jair Rodrigues and Emilio Santiago remain active today while Nunes and Simonal have both passed away. Ed Motta, Jair Oliveira, Wilson Simoninha and Pedro Mariano are singer/musicians from the current era of MPB artists all mixing popular Brazilian rhythms with American Soul production styles. They are all related to legends of Brazilian music. Motta is the nephew of late Brazilian Soul singer Tim Maia, Oliveira is the son of Jair Rodrigues, Wilson Simoninha is the son of the late Wilson Simonal and Pedro Mariano is the son of another legendary singer, the late Elis Regina. 

Source: FNAC Blog

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