BME interview: Lisa Kalil nominated for the 16th Independent Music Awards
The singer Lisa Kalil was nominated for the Independent Music Awards (IMAs) in the best debut album category with her EP “Vitrais”. The event is the largest independent music award in the world and takes place on March 31 in New York City.
In addition to Lisa, six other Brazilians were nominated to compete with more than 400 artists from 94 countries in 96 categories. They are: Gabriella Grisi, Delia Fischer, Jô Nunes, Sai da Frente, Celso Salim Banda and Gustavo Ballesteros.
Graduated in 2016 by The New School University in New York, the singer obtained scholarship in courses of Jazz Vocal Performance and Culture and Media. To fulfill this dream of studying outside Brazil, Lisa needed to have fluent English and necessary arguments to convince the school administration that she needed the help.
Despite the difficulties, the artist points out that it was an incredible experience and had the pleasure of living with people of such different backgrounds. “International colleagues taught me to understand the complexity of other countries and to value my origin. So studying music outside the country was an experience of many, new and different sensibilities”, adds Lisa.
During her five years in New York, the singer has performed more than 40 concerts with international artists through the support of the Brasil Music Exchange (BME), a Brazilian music export project conducted through a partnership between Brasil, Música & Artes (BM&A) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
The creation of the disc
After graduating, Lisa returned to São Paulo and, through the virtual funding platform “Kickante”, raised money to produce her first album. The project began in May 2017, and after 40 days of campaign had already achieved R $ 30 thousand. This it 120% of the initial goal. In this way, the condition for the creation of the EP was already better than the artist imagined.
Initially, the project was to have only five songs. However, the success of the donation made the album evolve and the album was produced with five songwriting and two re-recorded songs.
The BME took advantage of the nomination to speak to Lisa, who talked about issues surrounding her career and expectation about the prize.
BME: How do you feel about being nominated for the 16th Independent Music Awards?
Lisa: Being nominated for the 16th IMA caused me many emotions. I got the news on the last day of carnival and my “beginning of the year”, suddenly, got more agitated than I could have planned. “Vitrais” is my first album, and seeing him nominated in such a respected award and with jurors that I grew up admiring brings me the feeling that I’m on the right track.
It is an honor to also be among the seven Brazilians nominated this year at the awards and represent Brazilian music to the world. As soon as I learned that there were other Brazilians at the awards, I took the initiative to create a Facebook group to communicate and build a group vision and mutual support.
BME: Of the seven nominees for the award, four are women. How do you see the female position in the music scene?
Lisa: Of course the fact that among the seven nominees, four women, is a happy coincidence. But at a time when women are exposed more and are having initiatives like the “não é não” in Brazil, or the “me too” in the Oscar party, it is very significant to show the strength of women also on the artistic fronts.
There is a female musical creativity that needs to be increasingly recognized and valued by the market, without becoming just another fad or trend of that moment. Therefore, my message to women is that they dedicate themselves to studying, researching, rehearsing, learning instruments and defending their spaces on stage.
BME: How do you think Brazilian music is seen internationally?
Lisa: In my experience as a music student at the New School in New York, I could see that the admiration for Brazilian popular music is constant between teachers and most of the students. During the course, I proposed some performances of classics such as “Tico-Tico no Fubá” and more elaborate songs like “Beatriz”, by Chico and Edu Lobo. Even singing in Portuguese, enthusiasm and curiosity were always present in the audience.
At New School I had classes on Brazilian music like “Choro Ensemble” and “Brazilian Drum Workshop”. Therefore, I still see a great space and receptivity for Brazilians to offer new musical productions.
BME: What do you think is missing for Brazilian contemporary music to be known out there in the same way as Bossa Nova?
Lisa: For me, what opened the space of hearts, minds and ears and translated the Brazilianness abroad were the innovations from Bossa Nova and classical MPB, such as sambas-songs and Tropicália.
What will make the new Brazilian music known outside the same way that was Bossa Nova are the collaborative actions and association between musicians and composers. The strength of a joint movement is much greater than the individual effort. That way, if we get together as we are doing the seven Brazilians nominated for the 16th Independent Music Awards, we will be communicating better.
BME: What do you think about the number of Brazilians nominated for the prize?
Lisa: The fact that this independent music award nominated seven Brazilians, while in the entire history of the award (15 years) there were only seven other Brazilian entries, it shows that there is space and that maybe it is the moment of the Brazilian artists in the international market.
It seems that Brazilian music appeals to all the peoples of the world. It brings characteristics of the tranquility of Rio (despite everything that is happening), of Bahian joy, of the personality of São Paulo, of Porto Alegre and of Goian magic. That is, from this mixture of regional rhythms and subtleties we can achieve new admirations, and bring together rhythms and characteristics of the entire South American region, showing that music is and will continue to be a universal expression.
BME: In your opinion, what is the importance of projects like BME for the export of Brazilian music?
Lisa: It’s critical! It is not easy to go out on the field with the face and the courage to present Brazilian music in other countries. There are numerous places where you can present yourself with interesting audiences. But if there is no one to help identify them and promote rapprochement, it becomes almost impossible to discover these opportunities. I played with musicians from Portugal, Mexico, Korea and many Americans.
That’s why a platform for exporting Brazilian music can be the key to renewing international knowledge with young Brazilian artists who are producing sensational things that are not recognized.