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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.
The inspiration for our music was humanity, in fact, like every human being, each song is so different from the other. For instance "Obrigada" (in the English version "Thank You") is a danceable and uplifting song, almost like a Brazilian gospel in afoxe' rhythm.
"Linda" is a refined bossa nova dedicated to all women and their beauty, "Canto da Terra" is a heartbreaking ballad from the point of view of Mother Earth… in a few words there is a special energy about all those songs. As a songwriter I simply "felt" that energy and brought it to the studio. Moreover, the collaboration with two other talented composers like Leo Nobre and Patrick Lockwood gave me the chance to exchange those feelings and develop them in several directions.

Our Brazilian bass player Leo Nobre is also the musical director of the band Nobresil. In the past he toured and recorded with super stars like Sergio Mendes, Shakira and Dori Caymmi among others. Being a great multi instrumentalist he played on this cd the bass, the guitar, the kalimba, the prophet synthesizer and sang background vocals. In the tune "Gosto de Você"he also sang a passionate (yet hilariuos) duet with me about people who are the complete opposite from each other but can't live without each other. Leo produced and arranged the whole album in a wonderful way. We were a great team because he was just as daring as I was. His ideas were outside of the box and this album became an exciting musical adventure. It took us two years of hard work because we wanted to offer a quality product and to go beyond what everybody else is doing on the Brazilian music market.

The title "Original" not only indicates the fact that we have 8 original songs on the CD (plus two very original arrangements of classics), it also suggests that everyone is an"original" human being with a unique voice, I am just a messenger.

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.

On the personal level my uncle Lucio was a great supporter of my career because he was an artist and he deeply understood where I was coming from. He passed away a few years ago, but he left his beautiful paintings to posterity, one of them called "Nativity" which became the cover of our CD "Original". Therefore when you buy our physical album you do not only buy good music, you also receive an authentic work of art from one of the most respected Italian painters!

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.

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