Rising Stars: Fabiana Passoni
SMALL NOTE: This blog was originally composed shortly after the jazz world lost a major icon in the industry in Dave Brubeck. Although he will be forever remembered for the 1962 Time Out album and the standards of “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo Ala Turk”, his quartet sessions from the 1950’s into the 1960’s that spanned several albums will always have a special place in the minds of many jazz fans and collectors alike. Plus, he also had the chance to demonstrate to a PBS audience in the 2000 Ken Burns series about “Jazz”. He will forever be missed.
Two time breast cancer survivor and mother of triplets Fabiana Passoni comes through with some nice paced songs and great ballads.
From her first album E Minha Vez (It’s My Turn), comes the title track and other nice selections including Serenata and Samba Do Soho. What also attracted me to this artist was in 2012 she did some remakes of once popular songs from 1975 and 1979, respectively.
First was multiple webplays of Lovin’ You (done originally by Minnie Riperton), then a few months later came one of the late Michael Jackson’s slow ballads in Rock With You. Unlike the first song, the second song features a lot of cool yet steady beats. She also released her sophomore album Naturalmente Brasil in May 2011.
Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I sent along an email interview and she was very kind enough to reply back. Here is what she had to say about her career thus far and what she hopes to accomplish with her third album to be released to the public on January 15, 2013 titled “Dim the Lights”.
Image found at brasilmais.com
1. How did you get your start in music? Who were your favorite inspirations growing up?
“My dad was a composer of country music and I was brought up in the middle of the music scene. By the time I turned 6 I was singing his compositions. He gave me those initial lessons about interpretation and performing in front of an audience. So I had quite a few Brazilian country singers that I can relate to. But it was really in my teenager years when I discovered the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and other great jazz artists and that really helped me identify the musical path that I wanted.”
2. What things made your decision easier to live in the United States? Which Brazilian artists do you follow today?
“Once I met all those wonderful American singers the thought of coming to the USA was planted in my head. Back in Brazil I could only survive by singing the type of music that weren’t really what I wanted to be singing. So I began to have a mental fight thinking how can I deliver my best if what I am singing is not (truly) in my heart? That’s how I ended up in NY trying to achieve my dream of singing what I feel.
I follow Sergio Mendes, Elis Regina, Djavan, Joao Bosco among so many other great Brazilian artists.”
3. Being a breast cancer survivor, what message would you like to convey for those women struggling with this disease–and what role does your songs play in this regard?
“My advice is that the struggle is with treatment is not forever and that you can SURVIVE. I am not saying it is easy so you have to find your inner strengths and never give up! You can do it and I am living proof of it.
My second album, Naturalmente Brasil was about finding myself as a songwriter and my compositions were written in middle of chemotherapy treatment. The most important song in that album is called “Natural” where I explain how the healing powers of water helped give me strength with mental battle with cancer. Once you have your mental health to combat this disease it gets easier.
I like to think that my music takes you to a cozy, warm, fun place. I hope all my fans and listeners feel that experience listening to my style.”
4. Speaking of your songs, my favorite is the single remake of “Lovin’ You.” What can fans expect from the third album in comparison to the first that you did in 2007?
“Oh boy! Since my first CD so many things have happened to me. I certainly think that I have matured musically. I believe all the struggles that I’ve been through made me a stronger person and also helped shape the musical essence of me. This upcoming EP is all in English but with my Brazilian identity strong in the rhythms.”
5. Your favorite Christmas memory growing up.
“Well, this may sound a little weird for a girl from Brazil but it would have to be dancing and singing with my family in the living room to songs from Ray Conniff albums!”
6. Any hobbies outside of music and being a mom?
“Exercising. I love to work out and I am a certified Spinning and Turbo Kickboxing instructor. Every year I attend a World Fitness Convention that focuses on new techniques for instructors. It’s 3 full days of classes. This year I did 4 spinning classes in just one day!”
7. Finally, I realize 2016 is still a long time–but what do you think about Rio pulling off a great Summer Olympics in showcasing Brazil to the rest of the world?
“I think it’s great and believe me I know Brazil is very excited about it! While we may appear a little disorganized and behind schedule, Brazilian ‘jeitinho’ (translated to having the knack) will win out and everything will be done in time! We are just not (as) organized as the other people.
We also will gain a lot of experience by hosting soccer’s FIFA World Cup in 2014. There is one thing I can guarantee. If people were complaining about the vuvuzelas during the last World Cup then they better be prepared in 2014. Brazilians will bring entire percussion schools (fyi, for those who follow the February festivities of Carnaval, it is merely a Brazilian term for dance troupes, not traditional schools as in places to learn) to the stadiums for the matches.”
At the very least, Fabiana definitely provides a true breath of warm air when the winter winds get very harsh and cold. Plus, she has a really adorable smile. With her next album entirely in English, it should be a fun listen.