What was it like growing up in your native Brazil?

It was amazing! I grew up on a farm in central Brazil so I was surrounded by nature all of my life. I became fascinated by animals, especially horses. I had 3 brothers and lots of cousins so had to prove my strength to them and horse riding let me do this! The weather there was hot and everything was magical. My memories are of sunsets, the beautiful moon and perfect nature.

Is self-image important to you?

How I look is important but honesty and good health are much more important. I try to choose my clothes according to my style and my moods, I’m happy with the photos used for my album. I decided to do this shoot in a classic way on Ipanema beach and it really worked. I choose the revealing dresses to break the religious image a little bit – after all, it was a religion that killed our beloved Jesus. I also felt that this image would reflect the song ‘Lua’ which says “Come back to me my lover for I am your wall, my breasts are your towers. By faith, I looked for you, I found you, I protected you and I love you”. (Words based on ‘Songs of Songs’). I am not defined by what people think about me but more by my own priorities, beliefs and what I believe God feels about me. This is how I feel comfortable, standing for what I believe. And this for a better environment on this beautiful earth, a compassion for those who need me, to inspire people with my music and to love with the true purpose our creator had in mind.

How did you learn English?

When I first came over to England on holiday, I used a dictionary to translate. I started to learn by writing songs in English and then never stopped! As I was learning like a child, I started to sing like a child. Around this time, people compared me a lot with Bjork and I can understand why. What still intrigues me is when I think back to when I wrote and composed my first song ‘Casticais’ in Brazil. I just felt that the chorus needed to be in English, so I called my wonderful cousin Tony to translate it for me. After being in London a while, I translated the same song myself again into ‘Night Night’.

What made you decide to stay and live in London?

Some time ago, I had a prophecy that I would be living in a city with a different skyline to my native Brazil and I would find my sanctuary there, this came true. Unfortunately, since that time, my family in Brazil have passed away, I have now only one brother who still lives in Brazil. I stayed in London ever since and the prophecy was right. I have lived in London since I arrived in the UK. After the cruel assassination of my beloved brother (who was kidnapped and then murdered in Brazil), I went to live in the countryside and this really helped me to deal with mourning my loss. But now I am back in London, living in Wimbledon and still very much in love with the Capital. Although, Brazil is in my heart always.

What else do you enjoy doing, apart from producing and performing?

In everyday life I still love music! But also film, nature, horses and animals in general and good food! Most of all I enjoy being in the company of friends and loved ones because without them, nothing really matters. Love and friendship keeps me going.

I also like to contribute to making a difference to peoples lives and supporting charities whenever I can. This is a broken world in places, which God is still patiently holding together with his amazing atmosphere, air to breathe and beauty all around us which we too often take for granted.

What kind of music has inspired you throughout your life?

I have been influenced by Gospel music since the age of 5, when I first began to sing in church in front of an audience. My first contact with music was in the Protestant Church, all my father’s family were Protestant and my mother’s were Catholic. It was a kind of tradition in my family for the girls to sing in the church so I started learning the Piano with my cousins. Gospel songs were really the first songs I ever learned. I used to listen to Kate Bush on the radio when I was young, I liked her child-like voice. I also listened to bands like Simon and Garfunkel, Supertramp, Enigma, Pink Floyd, Sting and U2. My other influences were Brazilian singers Cazuza, Legiao, Roberto Carlos, Tom Jobim, Caetano, Leila, Marisa, Marina, Adriana Calcanhoto and Gal along with the likes of Miles Davies, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Sade.

Are there any particular artists you would like to work with?

I would love to work with artists such as Air, Zero 7, Moby, Sigur Ros, Groove Armada, Massive Attack, Underworld, Bjork, Bent, Faithless, Royksopp and Chambao. But above all, it would be a wonderful and inspiring experience to work with Ben Watt (of Everything But The Girl) and Sade as a producer.

How would you describe your music?

Sophisticated, melodic…sometimes soulful and there’s definitely a chilled vibe to it all, with Jazz and Bossanova elements. When I sing I bring a modern, contemporary feel to the songs. I loved recording the album, the studio atmosphere was electric! I can really enjoy my songs when I’m performing them in my live shows, they come to life and I love that.

Who do you make your music for?

I make my music for myself firstly and for my friends, god and my country because they all inspire me. I am very happy that my music is appreciated in so many places outside of my native Brazil.

Did you originally intend on having songs in both Portuguese and English?

My Brazilian friends and fans discovered me and I initially wrote my first album for the Brazilian market. It was only at the end of the writing process, and as a consequence of living in London, that I added songs with English influences. The English language came as a natural progression for me but I will always love singing in Portuguese.

When writing for my second album, I had been living outside of Brazil for a long time. I really wanted to do two classic Bossa’s in Portuguese as a tribute to Tom Jobin but I also wanted to use more English, as a consequence of my mood at the time of composing in the UK.

I’m happy that my Brazilian and Portuguese friends appreciate whatever language I sing in!  For me the song itself decides the language, the sound and the vibe..almost like a child growing up and choosing it’s own style and expression. But when it works – it works!

I love to communicate my feelings through music, so when I sing some Portuguese songs I almost translate them in my shows in a way that people will get the message. Although, I know that sometimes you just have to feel the music and not the words and that is the mystery of each song.

I am also very influenced by the English writer Robert Graves and I just could not stop writing in English when I arrived in the UK! Although I will always love to sing in Portuguese,  sometimes it’s the song that speaks for itself! Some songs only work in English, and others only in Portuguese, and with others I can have 2 versions like I did with Casticais/Night Night and Passaporte/Passport. For me it is all about the moment because I have been living outside Brazil for many years now so it comes naturally to me to express myself in English.

What inspires your songwriting?

Life is not all about relationships. I am also very inspired by nature and this background that God gave to us – the moon, the sea and the sun. My songs are also about love, passion, what we learn in life and the beauty of the blues. I named one of my songs ‘Beauty of the blues’, because like in the lyrics of ‘Natural High’, ‘If life is so hard, it’s beautiful too’, so I sing about love and how I embrace all the different feelings that love brings from my soul. My lyrics are very inspired by my own experiences, or those of friends and the way I view my life.

How do you feel about being described as the ‘Brazilian Sade’ and being compared to other popular artists like Bjork and Norah Jones?

I am confident that I have a unique voice that everyone can recognise and also comfortable that anything I touch becomes my style. I am often compared to Sade, Bjork, Bebel Gilberto and Norah Jones but this is taken as a compliment as I can relate to their music and I admire them all! I understand that people need to make references to define me and I’m happy that people identify me by Sade, we sing with the same attitudes to music. Our voices sound most similar when we sing lower and powerful high notes. I think you can always tell when Sade’s singing to when I’m singing. Like me, she doesn’t use vibrato in her voice and we both have melodic voices which work well with soulful ballads and also work just as well with smooth grooves and bossa.  I have noticed that Sade uses lots of air in her voice and this is part of the vocal identity she has made her own. My voice is unique but in a different way. When I’m singing, I use my natural voice which is clearer than Sade’s, I release more air to add an element to the song as and when I feel like it. I like to experiment with my vocal range a bit so I can variate the ‘Colour’ of my voice (so I call it). My voice can change it’s ‘Colour’ depending on the song. Sade’s voice remains the same ‘Colour’ always and this is how she is identified. We definately have similar tastes but different personalities. It was the influence of one of her songs “Smooth Operator”, that led me to my destiny to work with her producer, Robin Millar. I knew he would understand my voice and my music and we would inspire each other.

How does it feel to be referred to as a pioneer of the Nu Brazil movement and how does Bossanova influence you?

I am proud to be a Brazilian, we have a natural rhythm! Bossanova comes naturally to me and not in a stereo-typical way, in fact the opposite! I think I represent Brazilian’s very well because we are very open-minded people, we listen to all kinds of music these days, not just Bossanova. Previous generations of Brazilian songwriters were shaped by the style of Bossanova and proud of it but now I feel totally free to sing and to go whatever I want with my music, depending on my mood and on the moment. I have the freedom to express myself in my music and be a bit more spontaneous, because I am not trying to do anything to impress anyone or conform to a particular style. I am just doing my thing and it is all positive progression to me!
Tom Jobim inspired me a lot as he is also very open-minded, he took a lot of influence from classic Brazilian music and you can hear the jazz undertones with the Brazilian attitude in his music which I adore. The same applies to Joao Gilberto, he has something amazing and rich with his guitars and melodies that he really created something fresh which made a difference to other composers of that time, such as Vinicius De Moraes and other Brazilian greats like Sergio Mendes. They were themselves part of a movement of that time but they really are still an eternal foundation to the new generation and are always cool! They became the musical face of Brazil and my generation are the children that grew up listening to them. Their influences can be recognized in our Nu Brazil vibe.

In what ways does your spirituality influence your music?

I believe everybody has a purpose in life. I like to show my spirituality and my femininity and I express that through my music. I feel a connection with God. Jesus is my strength when I’m singing and composing and I feel an amazing love and presence with me. The first song I released was called ‘Hanime’ from the Brazilian TV show ‘Corpo Dourado’, this was sung in a mix of Tongues (Language of Angels) and Portuguese. I believe it is my destiny to sing, God wanted me to sing. I see songs as a form of prayer and also as a personal expression of feelings about relationships. Whether I’m singing the song ‘Lua’ (based on the words of King Solomon in the Bible) or ‘Night Night’, written about a relationship, to me, each song shows my faith in both love and God, he is my best friend. One day without his love is wasted.

I cannot live without celebrating the work of God’s hand. We are all God’s children and I love to celebrate life in my shows and in my work. When I perform it is to God. His love is in my DNA an without it I am nothing. I am inspired by my faith in so many ways! For example I was influenced by the way King Solomon expressed love in ‘Song of Songs’, I also wrote the song ‘Garden’ based on this. Because I am Christian it is very natural to me to be inspired by my faith. As I say, my music is all about the relationship I have with myself, with god and with who I choose to love. All of these things are God-given because we can not give what we don’t have. I am free to express my faith in a more intellectual way through my music, but also free to feel and sing like a woman. I think my music appeals to any occasion and to any taste.

Tell us about Magnetism. What made you decide to make it a double album in Poland?

Magnetism is a collection of songs which I had been writing over the last 6 years. The fact it had taken so many years to do my second album, I ended up with enough material for three albums! When it came to recording it became difficult to choose which ones to have on the album and I felt I owed it to my fans for their patience, to have a double album. So after a discussion with Sony, I gave enough to make a double album and they went for it.

What was it like to work with Robin Millar and the late Mark Smith?

I feel very privileged to have worked with Robin Millar on both of my albums. He really listens to my opinions and conceptions and as always, he makes a fantastic contribution to my music.  I was also given the gift of being able to work with the wonderful Mark Smith, who engineered and played Bass Guitar on my first album. He was just amazing, not just to have him recording me and my outstanding musicians, but to have him producing some of the songs with me. I always referred to the three of us working together as the 3 musketeers!

I feel privileged to have had Mark Smith involved in Magnetism, he produced my version of the John Martyn classic ‘Don’t wanna know’, John Martyn really influenced me in the UK and I dedicated the song in memory of John Martyn who died in the week I recorded the song. The album itself is dedicated to Mark Smith who also died just after we finished the album.

It was devastating for me and Robin…and of course everyone that knew Mark.

You have lost many people close to you over the years, how are you coping with that?

It is so sad but unfortunately a part of life we must all accept but I hope no-one dies around me for a long time, I am still mourning in my own way and their deaths influenced raw feelings in my music. It made me vulnerable but stronger aswell, like a warrior. I wrote a song that I called Warrior following the death of my second brother which I will put out someday soon. The next editions of ‘Magnetism’ will be in memory of Mark Smith,  just like my first album was in memory of my parents, my two brothers, grandmother and best friend Marcelo.

Many people across the world can relate to your music, how do you maintain this connection with them?

I feel connected with people through my music because it is an interpretation of my life and if people identify with it…then my job is done.

My music does not belong in a specific place or for a specific audience, so I am free to explore many ideas without any objection. My intention is to create different musical projects so I can explore the complexity of my style because I believe I still only show a small part of me and there is so much more which is yet to come out. I hope that I will grow with my fans together sharing life and love experiences through this amazing energy and expression we call music!