Giliard Lopes // Interview

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GILIARD LOPES // INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW BY: Emily May

Jazz musician Giliard Lopes has been impressing fans and critics alike with Caminhos, his debut album as a band leader. The album combines many different sounds, ranging from Brazilian, folk, world and jazz. Lopes was born in Brazil and was surrounded by music from an early age. Surrounded by the sounds of local music, bossa nova, samba and rock and roll, Lopes developed an eclectic musical palette, finding great joy at an early age in making music and sharing with others all across the world. He moved to Europe in 2001 and it was there that he really developed an appreciation of jazz. In 2009 he studied jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and then moved to Berlin to study composition and arrangement at the Jazz Institute Berlin. Both experiences helped him to deepen his knowledge of jazz, as well as well as his native Brazilian influences. He has performed on some of the most prestigious stages in Europe and in far away locales like Qatar and has worked extensively with major artists all over the world. Lopes has since moved to France and will go on his first European tour this year in support of the new album. You can follow Lopes and stay up-to-date with his music and upcoming tour dates via the following links. Check out his video for “Caminhos” below.

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You were born in Brazil and I read that you grew up listening to a wide variety of styles and were introduced to music through Brazilian Folklore. What were some of your favorite songs and stories growing up and who were the artists that influenced you? How do you feel that all of these influences shaped your music, as well as the musician you are today?

I remember at a very young age, standing on a stool to watch over the counter, musicians that would come and play all night at my grandmothers “boteco” (Brazilian version of a bar/tapas place). Their music was rural, festive and very inclusive, and they would bring portable instruments that would get passed around the room so everyone could sing their story. They played milongas, tangos, valses and other styles from across the border with Uruguay and Argentina.

Although I was born in a small town of the southernmost state, I feel that the plurality of the Brazilian culture was always present. For instance, I could hear from the neighbours house across the street, the rhythms and the canticles used for the invocation of orixás by the afro-religion Batuque (as we call it in the south). I always found fascinating the sense of mystery in the way they approached music and how their collective identity was deeply associated with those melodies. The radio played samba, bossa nova and rock and roll, and artists such as Radames Gnattali, Milton Nascimento, Vinicius de Moraes and Led Zeppelin were also a big influence on me back then.

At times, we would see parades where all of those different styles and cultures would blend together making a very powerful event. I think that I search for that in my music, the meeting point between different tribes. It was very beneficial as a musician, to be exposed to that environment, for its cultural variety, but above all, for its sense of community.

Were you raised in a musical family? I read that you really developed an appreciation for jazz later in Europe, but did you develop an interest in jazz at all while growing up in Brazil? Did you know then that you wanted to focus your musical interest on jazz?

I had no musicians in my family as I was growing up. My grand father, who passed away before I was born, was a saxophonist and had played his whole life with his dance band which was still around when I started playing. All musicians in that band had changed but the name was still the same and once they were playing in the town I was in and I got up on stage and sat in with them. It was a remarkable moment.

I had no connection with Jazz at that time. I was self taught and I was learning the music that was accessible to me, back in those days we would exchange records with friends and no one around me was into jazz. However, I always liked improvising music, I would take songs and reshape their structure and instinctively reharmonize the chords and lines.

You’ve been in Europe since 2001. What led you to move to Europe? What is the jazz scene like in Brazil and how do you feel that the scene in Europe is different? You have since worked with many inspiring artists from all over the world. Who have been some of your favourite artists to work with over the years?

I first went traveling to Europe on a gap year. I still had in my mind the idea of studying psychology in Brazil and the trip was supposed to be a backpacking adventure around several countries for a year or so. Then the course of everything changed and after a month in the old continent, I found myself playing a regular gig with a great band.

The Jazz scene in Brazil has developed tremendously over the years. There are festivals all over the country and the crowd seems to be growing more every time. The scene in Europe seems to me more stablished and it can be much easier for musicians to organise tours because its geography and lack of borders. One of my favourite artists that I have played with was the legendary Marcos Valle, one of the creators of Bossa Nova in Brazil and a great innovator in music to this day.

In 2009, you were invited to enhance your study of jazz at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, then moving to Berlin to study composition and arrangement at the Jazz Institute Berlin.  How did your interest in composing begin? What was it like to learn from these great institutions and how do you feel that your studies helped you as a musician and composer?

My interest in composition started soon after I got the bug for music. I would work out some chords on guitar, then record them on a K7 recorder and experiment bass lines and melodies over the tracks to see the different effects I could get.

Studying music through institutions was very helpful to structure my practice routines and work schedules. I believe that the academic world doesn't substitute the learning that takes places on the band stand but on the other hand, it allows the musician to be surrounded by very talented and experienced people as well as having lots of time to work on ones craft. I had great teachers and colleagues who became friends for life and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of those great institutions.

You have performed on prestigious stages across Europe, as well as far away locales such as Qatar. What do you love most about being on stage and performing for others? Do you travel often for music? What have been some of your most memorable travels and favorite stages to play?

What I love the most about live performances is the energy exchange that takes place between the public and the band. How all of the sudden the music takes the whole room and everyone is connected through the same frequencies.

Traveling is my second passion after music, therefore I try to travel as much as possible for music and combine my two passions together. Probably the most epic travel I did, was when I went to play in the heart of the Brazilian Rain Forest. It was a very overwhelming feeling to combine the sounds of my music with the vast sounds of nature present there.

What are your thoughts on the current jazz scene/movement? It feels like jazz has had a bit of a resurgence in recent year and is drawing a younger crowd! With so many different styles of jazz being played, what is your favorite style? What do you think the future holds for jazz?

The way I see it is that there is a new cycle that has started. Jazz is played acoustic again in many places just as it used to be back in the old days, but with all the influences of what came in between. I like straight ahead jazz and I see indeed loads of young musicians all across Europe interested in the tradition. I think that experimenting is a big part of it too but it's important to connect with the basic elements of the style to understand where it comes from. As music is an ever changing art form, I believe that the future of Jazz will reflect all the reshaping we are seeing throughout the world into the sounds we hear.

You have recently settled in France. What led you to move to France and what do you find most inspiring about living there and about the jazz scene? Having been born in Brazil and lived and studied in Europe, what kinds of influences and inspirations did you bring with you? How do you feel your music has evolved over the years?

I moved to France because I love croissants. And also because I always felt at home every time I went there whether for gigs or vacation. France has a multitude of amazing musicians and has a dense musical culture that fascinates me. I think we are always searching to evolve as musicians and every place and culture that we get exposed to, adds some colours to the sounds we make.

You recently released your debut solo album Caminhos! Having been in many different bands/ensembles over the years, what led you to want to branch out on your own with this release? What was the inspiration and songwriting process behind the songs? How did writing songs for a solo release differ for you from writing music as part of a group?

Writing as part of a group requires a good amount of flexibility and some detachment from ones ideas, which is very important. I think writing for a solo release made me connect deeper with the message I wanted to bring out with my music. Caminhos was inspired in putting together an intimate blend of sounds that represented all walks of life. It was a personal feeling and I thought it would be better documented in a form of a solo album.

What’s next for you? What are your goals and plans for 2019?

So for this new year, I am in the process of organising a tour in Europe that will cover several cities in around 8 countries. It will be a quintet with Trombone and Tenor and we will be playing the music from my debut album as well as some new compositions I have been working on recently.

King Princess // Live in Philadelphia

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KING PRINCESS // LIVE AT THEATRE OF LIVING ARTS

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Carolyn Lederach

Incase you’ve been out of touch with music in 2019 thus far, King Princess is starting to take over the world. I’m sure you’ve heard “1950” making it’s rounds, so much so it’s lead to a slew of sold out shows on the ‘Pussy Is God’ Tour. Can’t wait for the world to hear the new tracks she debut tonight…

Cloe Wilder // Interview

CLOE WILDER // INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW BY: Emily May

Cloe Wilder has emerged on the scene this year as what many are describing as a breakout artist. At just 12 years old, the Florida native is being praised for her ethereal and pure voice and sad, dark songs that express a pain and sadness that should be beyond her years. With a talent for songwriting, her melancholic but relatable songs discuss topics and emotions that many people can identify with. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Halsey and The 1975, she highlights mental health issues, advocates for equality and embraces imperfection. Having done covers of WHAM’s “Last Christmas”, and more recently “Breathin” by Ariana Grande, Wilder has begun to transition into writing original songs. With plans to release more covers and original music through 2019, Wilder says this will be the year she truly starts her career and she couldn’t be more excited! I have no doubt that her popularity and fan base will continue to grow in the coming months as more people start to discover this talented artist. You can follow and stay up-to-date with Wilder, as well as stream and purchase her music via the links below. Check out her covers of “Last Christmas” and “Breathin” below.

How did you get your start in music? Did you grow up in a musical family and always know you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I have no idea why, but I was basically born an artist. I’m the only musician in my family, and everyone’s still really lost as to where all of my abilities came from. I was raised in an artistic atmosphere, though. A few of my family members do have a love for music, and have shown me a lot of my current favorite artists. My sister is in the fashion industry, and is an amazing artist. For myself, however, music has been my life since the beginning. I’ve really just continued to build off of it, and eventually find my dark and dreamy sound.

Who would you count as some of your biggest musical influences? Who are you listening to right now? Are there any particular artists that you are hoping to share the stage with or collaborate with in the future?

I draw inspiration from several artists, but the first time I was asked this question, my immediate answer was Lana Del Rey. The first time I listened to “Video Games”, was one of the few times I had ever felt a song - I didn’t hear it, I felt it. I fell in love with her concept, and kept building off of it. This later stemmed into other artists like Billie Eilish, Halsey, and many others. At the moment, my music is being influenced by Billie Eilish, AURORA, Conan Gray, gnash, EZI, Halsey, Lykke Li, Sasha Sloan, The 1975, and too many others to list. I would love to perform with Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Halsey, or The 1975 - Their performances seem straight out of a dream, and it would be amazing to perform on the same stage as them. Their movements, their music, and everything else they do just causes an audience so much emotion, and that’s the way I want to perform.

You have some pretty great songwriting skills! What would you say is the main inspiration for your lyrics? When did you discover your talent for writing and what is your songwriting process?

Thank you! The main inspiration for my lyrics is really just my own mind. I have so many thoughts, and I overthink anything that comes across to me. I go through periods of time where everything’s dark, and that’s when some of my best lyrics are written. I’d always written, but it definitely wasn’t always complete songs. When I first was asked to record original music, I got to work with a lot of talented people. I wrote with them, and realized that songwriting was something I could really keep doing. My current songs are written in the corner of my bedroom or at my piano - I make a basic melody, and record short clips of everything on my phone. I think about what type of emotional state I’ve been in, and tend to write about that. Sometimes, it’s expressed in the form of a broken relationship, or any other sort of concept I create in my head. I play the clips over and over until I find lyrics, and then I play it through. I write everyday, so my process is something I’ve been through many times.

You have mentioned writing sad music that you say is dark but relatable. In what ways do you feel music has allowed you to express your feelings and explore the dark parts of your mind that you say you often feel trapped in? Are there any specific artists whose lyrics speak to you on a personal level?

Writing sad music is taking the parts of my mind that terrify me the most, and turning it into something artistic. Whatever I’m feeling can become a song, and it normally does. It’s really my only outlet, so I’ve just found ways to turn my thoughts (no matter how dark they may be) into music. Every artist I listen to gives me a completely different feeling. Halsey, Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, and everyone else I listen to gives me different emotions.

You did a cover in December of WHAM’s “Last Christmas”. What inspired that cover for you? It was really beautiful!

Thank you so much! "Last Christmas" really is a sad song. It has a deep meaning to it, and we knew that we could make the song sound how the words feel. Basically, we sat down at the piano, and made it sound like a song I would've made. It speaks about having your heart broken at a specific time of year, so that time will always be associated with heartbreak. All it needed was a key change, and someone with a sad soul to show what the song could be.

You recently released a cover of “breathin” by Ariana Grande. You have mentioned that when you do covers, you take the song and turn it into something that sounds more like you? What is your process for choosing covers to sing and for transforming them into your sound?

Yes … I need to connect to what I’m singing. I pick covers based off of lyrics, and whether I feel like I can bring out the emotion in the lyrics. For these covers, we sat down at the piano, and I sang with it. Eventually, we ended up with my type of darkness, and I had a connection with it.

You have mentioned always feeling a connection with the piano. When did you first start playing and what do you feel it is about the piano that resonates so strongly with you?

For my entire life, there has been a piano. My piano has lived in my house longer than I have. It was my first instrument, and it always stayed with me. I feel like the piano can always match my emotion, no matter how intricate.

You have started creating original music recently! What was your inspiration in making the transition to original music? What do you love the most about creating original music? Do you have plans to still release covers, as well?

My transition to original music was very fast and intense - I was asked to record originals with a producer, and we ended up with twelve songs mastered. It was amazing, and I got to work with some really talented people. Everyone I was working with seemed to really understand everything I was feeling, and could put it into words. I just love the whole concept of it. I will still be releasing covers consistently throughout 2019.

Have you faced any specific challenges in trying to navigate the industry and jumpstart a career in music, especially at such a young age?

I’m just starting, so I haven’t had to face a lot of challenges … but, finding the right people to work with has been difficult. I do have a lot of amazing people behind me, so I’ve been able to navigate through that. Right now, I have an insanely talented and invested team.

What are your thoughts on the current connection between music and social media? Do you feel that social media has helped you to get your music out there more easily and grow your fan base?

Social media continues to play a major role in my music, because in this generation, reaching people through anything else is nearly impossible. Talking to people that have a connection with my music is insane, because I get to do it everyday. Social media is such a wide platform, and has given me the ability to reach so many people.

What were some highlights for you of 2018 and what are your plans and goals for 2019? What’s next for you?

Just getting to actually start my career as an artist was the highlight of my year. I released my first cover, and I’ve loved being able to connect with people through it. I wrote and recorded music, and I get to keep doing that. This year, I will be consistently releasing more covers along with videos. I loved being able to twist songs into something personal to me. I will be releasing original music, with a similar dark vibe. This year is going to be the year I really begin my career, and I can’t wait to release everything.

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