How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The album "Original"is an artistic statement about the inclusive nature of Brazilian music and jazz. The basic idea was the creation of songs that would expand the Brazilian spirit of our band into other music traditions and translate it into an effective jazz idiom. "Original" is a cross over product with half of the songs in Brazilian Portuguese and half of the songs in English.
What aspect of the creative process, from concept to market, do you personally find to be the most rewarding?
The fact that we did not need to place any particular labels on our sound, we simply created art. It came straight from the heart of people who played it, produced it to the heart of the people who will listen and enjoyed it. We were never worried about commercial standards because I think that the music industry is already imposing on the audience too many rules and the products are losing originality. This album is there to break the rules, it is samba, bossa nova, it is jazz, it is afoxe', it is world music or anything that you want to find in it!
Of your touring and gigs so far in your career, do any stand out as being particularly memorable or defining moments?
There are many memorable shows that we played. However, the most memorable moment in each one of them is the smile on people's faces when we perform, when we see them dancing and interacting with us. For instance the other day I had one guy coming to talk to me after Nobresil performance and he told me: "I really didn't understand jazz before, but after I heard you singing I think I love it, because I had so much fun!"In that moment I knew that I had opened communication…
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
That my love for music has kept me strong and saved me in many ways. I never gave up, even in the most difficult moments. When I started to tour in Europe I was only 15 and it was a learning experience. When you are so young you take things for granted and you have a total different idea of success. Success now for me means playing the music that I love with the musicians that I love.
Who would you say has been the single biggest influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
As a vocalist I was influenced by so many artists that the list would be too long for this interview. I listen to all genres of music and I am so inspired by so many singers and instrumentalists. However, as a performer I will always be fascinated by Michael Jackson. I had the honor to see him live and no other artist had more impact than him on stage, he was a showmen's showman and I miss him so much.
What would be the most important piece of advice you’d impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
Keep learning from everybody else but don't imitate others. Stay truthful to your own self and offer your talent to the world. Also always keep in mind that nobody will ever take care of your business better than you do.