Talking with rising stars: Flavia Coelho Image

by Federico Di Puma

We love finding new and impressive vocalists and sure enough Flavia Coelho is a must-listen talent!

JAmusic: How did you start your career in music?
FC: I started when I was 14, in Brazil in various cover bands with different musicians and many different styles, from traditional Brazilian music to jazz, rock, punk, reggae. Then one day I decided to go to Paris to seriously work on my music. I needed to grow up, to become a woman and then I started writing my songs. I realized I had to leave Brazil to really understand my music.

JAmusic: So can we say that you managed to become a woman now?
FC: No I’m still a child (laughs)! I’m always a child, I haven’t really changed, but I understood my music now, and I can say it’s completely different from how it was before. Victor (her producer and keyboard player) jumps in: We met in 2010 in my recording studio in Paris, we tried at first with one or two songs and since the work was coming up nicely we decided to make an album together. So we tried to create a style that would fit her, with words in Portuguese but music with Jamaican origins, and five years and two album later we are on tour so it was a good decision for sure.

Our collaboration is very special, it was difficult for me at first because many people just wanted me to sing Brazilian music like every other girl from Brazil. But being a girl from Brazil, from the ghetto in Brazil, I’ve listened to a lot of hip hop, raggamuffin, reggae, and Victor understood my desire to put all my influences in my music. 

JAmusic: Your first album was called Bossa Muffin, is it how you define your music?
FC: Yes definitely! I was born in Rio and so I’ve listened Bossanova for all my life but I wanted to play a bit more of reggae, so we decided to keep the acoustic guitar in all my songs, to maintain alive the Bossanova feeling. So what came out was this, Bossa Muffin! And for me it was also a way to say that in music there are no limits, and that everyone can create his/hers own style.

JAmusic: Yesterday here at Rototom we’ve had Hollie Cook, and when I’ve seen her live I immediately thought about similarities between the two of you. 

FC: Yes, I love Hollie! She is a very good and talented singer, and yes it’s true we are not that different, we even have the same size and the same hairstyle (laughs). And it’s true, musically you can definitely find similarities between us. And I’m really happy her career is going great now, it’s one more woman in the reggae world, and you sometimes for girls is not that easy so I’m happy for her and I’m also happy for other girls who can look up at her.

JAmusic: In 2014 you released your second album, Mundo Meu, how did your sound change from the first to the second album?
FC: Well the second album is much more mature. With the first we were trying and searching our style, now we knew what we wanted to do, and we also decided to have some featuring this time: Patrice, Tony Allen, Speech and Woz Kaly, and they are all friends that we met on the road, it wasn’t a commercial strategy. We made this album with love and we are proud of it.

JAmusic: How was working with Tony Allen (former drummer of Fela Kuti)?
FC: Victor knew him because he recorded in his studio, but I wrote the song in my room, alone as usual, then when I showed it to Victor he immediately wanted to show it to Tony and I didn’t want at first. I mean for me this was just another Afrobeat song, I didn’t feel it was enough for a man like Tony Allen. But then he heard the song and decided he wanted to play with me, so he put his ideas and his sound in the song and for me was a great honour and a beautiful moment of my career.

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