This article is also available in: Português
When revisiting the 2018 Mix Brasil Festival’s trailer, whose soundtrack is a Ivana Wonder version of the song Flutua, Youtube’s algorithm programmed Renato Enoch’s cover of the same song to be automatically played in sequence. That’s when I realized how flawed these algorithms are. If they had known me better, they would have introduced me to Enoch a lot sooner.
During Flutua‘s first line, which literally sounded like music to my ears, I stopped to watch the video with attention and came to a conclusion with myself out loud: “Artist”. I checked out other covers until I got to an original song, which kept getting played on my Spotify for months.
However, some things about this artist still bothered me. Where does he live? What does he feed on? Who did he write the song for? Well, on Google I had found out that he was from Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais. I was able to find the answers to the other questions this month in the following interview:
How did the collaboration with Bemti and Ana Vilela come up?
Both came up thanks to social media and Youtube. Ana knew about my work with Youtube covers since before her hit song “Trem Bala”. We ended up talking on Instagram and met each other to record the song when she came to Belo Horizonte. With Bemti it was no different, I discovered his work on the internet and liked it a lot, I also talked to him on Instagram and we ended up becoming friends. Later we met in Belo Horizonte and also in São Paulo.
How is the repertoire chosen? Do you curate the songs or do you welcome suggestions from fans?
I have always attempted to record songs that I really liked and/or saw as an interesting possibility for change, but I also have always been aware of the public’s requests and at one time or another I recorded some of those suggestions. The project Recortes, recently released, was a set of personal character choices, since it was about songs that I really like or that have been important in my path as a performer on the internet.
As a typical Virginian (detail-oriented, organized and perfectionist), how long does it take from the decision of recording a song until releasing it online?
The detail-orientedness and the perfectionism have always been things that slowed me down when finishing something I had set myself to do (laughter). As time went on, I learned to best manage these matters and be more productive and objective, so nowadays things go much faster. The time for each song depends a lot on how the video is going to be like, the complexity level of the arrangement and the mixing. The musical production part is made in collaboration with Fillipe Glauss and, in most cases, I took care of the audiovisual part for the channel’s versions. Adding up the time needed for recording, editing, mixing, all of it took about 3 or 4 days for the simplest videos. Meanwhile, the clips took considerably longer, for both the original songs and the project Recortes’ versions. The arrangement and the audiovisual part always require more work.
Does your version reach the song’s initial performer often?
I don’t know if it reaches them often, but it has happened a few times and it is very rewarding. I received a very positive feedback from Pabllo Vittar herself on an Instagram post, saying “how beautiful” about a part of the version I recorded of “Seu Crime”. Another remarkable moment was a comment from the band “5 a Seco”, on Youtube, on my version of the song “Pra Você Dar o Nome”, not only because the comment was incredible, but also because I admire them a lot. There has also been a retweet on the Caetano Veloso’s Twitter account, who is one of my greatest idols – and I like to believe that he really watched and liked my version of the song “Todo Homem”, by Zeca Veloso (but you never know, right? hahaha).
The song “A Cruz” is a manifesto for the minorities, where did the inspiration come from?
“A cruz” is a very personal composition to me, one that I wrote about 4 years ago in a moment when I needed to pour some feelings out and the only way I found to do that was through music. It’s a song about feeling out of place, about the pain of not being welcomed and accepted, of having your existence denied, hidden and diminished. In a certain moment I realized that these lyrics went beyond my own experience and were able to symbolize many others, hence why I decided to make a video that contemplated people from different groups as long as they identified with the message. It ended up going beyond LGBTQ+ people and also went through black people’s realities, besides people with disabilities.
Will we get more news about LGBT empowerment?
There are still a lot of things to come and I’m saving some ideas for my original album, which is still being recorded. Surely this message will be present in the work, because it is something that moves me and I can’t disassociate it from my art, especially during these troubled and worrying political and social times, where the attempts to censor the freedom of expression are ever more recurring. But, naturally, the work and the compositions end up going far beyond this matter and into an individual level.
What is it like to live off music in 2019 in a polarized country? What is the appropriate method to improve the current cultural scene?
Living off music is hard, I feel that there is a large devaluation of culture and that it has significantly worsened in the last year. I see a huge potential in the current Brazilian art scene, but many of these new artists, not only from the musical scene, but also from the theater scene, rely on incentive laws, projects and edicts that are becoming increasingly scarce. Streaming platforms, like Spotify, have created possibilities to get to know a lot of new things without much effort. I’m sure that if people tried looking for what is outside of the mainstream, they would discover incredible works that haven’t yet been able to reach a larger audience.
It is inevitable to wonder about the story behind the song “Só in English“. Can you tell us a bit more about this romance? Does the person who inspired the song know that it was written for them? If yes, what was their reaction?
“Só in english” was something I wrote really unpretentiously after a series of romantic disappointments and incompatibilities, so I don’t remember to whom it was specifically written for, to be honest (laughter). But I know that it ended up making a lot of sense at the time (if I’m not mistaken, I wrote it in 2015), because it was a moment when I used to sing and listen to a lot of stuff in english and the question about why I liked to write a few things in english always came up. I think it had to do with a certain fear that I had of letting my feelings out, and when writing in another language I used to feel less exposed. This also has a lot to do with the way in which I connected. “Só in english” was kind of a humorous outburst about that, but since then a lot has changed (thank goodness).
Which Belo Horizonte’s places do you go to/recommend?
I am more of a quiet and stay-at-home kind of person, but I love a good dive bar with friends and some places of the cultural scene. In Belo Horizonte’s downtown, there are plenty of great bars to sit down and talk. Casa Híbrido also comes to mind, it is one of the places in which I performed, it has cool events and a cool audience, and there is also A Autêntica, a house focused on original songs. Still talking about the area of cultural programming, I really like the Circuito Cultural da Praça da Liberdade (Liberdade Square’s Cultural Circuit), where the are several museums around the square, which is beautiful. Besides that, Cine Belas Artes, Galpão Cine Horto, Centoequatro and A Central also tend to have a good programming. Whoever comes to Belo Horizonte, it is worth checking out these recommendations and also visiting tourist attractions such as the Praça do Papa (Pope’s Square) and the Parque Municipal (Municipal Park).
FEATURING IN “INGÊNUO”
On the last 18th, it was released a featuring with Renato Enoch and Luciana Pires on the artist Gabriel Nandes‘s single. The three of them approach, in a simple way, a homoaffective relationship, whose script is a sequence to the story created in Gabriel Nandes’ previous video, “meu @“.
Watch the video of “Ingênuo”:
This article is also available in: Português