by Stacey Zering
Q: Being a professional musician is a difficult path in life to take. What made you decide to embark on that journey?
A: I usually say that we don’t choose music, but music choose us. A musician has deep inside a passion that drives him into doing what he loves. As a composer I also had a will to bring some love to people through my music and also bring something new and fresh for peoples ears. All that combined drove me to face the world of difficulties and challenges of a journey that took me out of the middle of Brazil and to make it here in New York where I live today.
Q: What are the personal challenges you have gone through as a musician, and how did you overcome them?
A: I think of two major challenges in a musician life that we learn to overcome or deal with it in a daily basis. One is the financial stability and the other is believing in yourself. New York is a place that makes you work so hard to survive that it is almost like a gym for overcoming obstacles. This city made me endure, believe in myself and find many talents I had to use in my benefit. Today, other than playing and composing I also teach piano, guitar, drums and believe it or not dance too ! But that is another story.
Q: What are the qualities of drumming that attract you the most?
A: First of all drums are fun. I think what I like most about being a drummer is that drummers have to be masters of the form and keep their ears open all times wile playing. For me that is really important once it boosts arranging and composing abilities. Other than that I think that having a great sense of rhythm is the first skill a great musician must have.
Q: In terms of musical style, where do you see fitting? It can be more than one.
A: Well, that’s a tricky question for me. Since I started my professional life I chose to study and practice a variety of styles so I could become a contemporary musician, with capacity of creating something fresh and being able to play in different style situations. Of course my Brazilian roots are very strong in my core, specially music from my state Minas Gerais, but I’ve always been in jazz, funk, Latin and big band stages. I can say that this EP I am releasing now is a fusion of contemporary jazz and the music of my state in Brazil, Minas Gerais.
Q: What was the first slice of music that ignited your imagination?
A: I grew up on the music of Milton Nascimento, Caetano Velozo and classical music influenced by my mother that used to sing in a church choir. I remember learning by ear part of the Ode to Joy in the piano in a very young age.
Q: Tell me your artistic influences and how they affected you. What did you learn from them?
A: I have so many influences in the most diverse styles. I can name a few of the most important ones that really came out in my latest compositions such as: Toninho Horta, Toninho Horta, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and others. Milton and Toninho are from the Clube da Esquina movement in Brazil in the ’70s and deeply influenced me through my whole life affecting everything I do in special harmony and melody wise. Wayne is my favorite sax player and one of my favorite jazz composers as well and his solo Ideas and sound influenced me profoundly. Tony Williams is my favorite drummer of all time, and through listening and transcribing his playing I got a lot of his ideas into my playing.
Q: Can you describe how you have evolved creatively throughout the years?
A: In general I think creativity was always there in a way. I try to keep my mind young and playful so I can always access that creativity. I think that the musical tools that I acquired through the years, in the drums, piano and music theory, made possible to access that creativity and put it out in the form of music.
Q: Do you feel being a musician is a job or a hobby? Or both. Please explain.
A: For me being a musician is Being. Being a musician is being free to express myself and get more skilled developing the biggest passion in my life and make a living through this process. It is also sharing love, culture and knowledge with people. Is much more than a job or hobby and that is also why should be always be respected by society as an important role.
Q: Are there any artists you dream of collaborating with? Which ones and why?
A: I have many artists that I dream of collaborating and some of them I already had worked with such as Toninho Horta and Darcy James Argue. Their music deeply influenced me. Also with the great Jazz masters for sure. One thing that really instigates me is collaborating with amazing musicians of my generation that are creating the music of this time we live in, and that’s why New York is the place to be. I can name a few such as Rafal Sarnecki, Helio Alves, Chico Pinheiro, Alex Cummings, Lucas Pino, Panagiotis Andreou and many other brilliant minds that makes the New York jazz scene what it is