TOP MODEL FOR FAMOUS BRANDS, BARBARA FIALHO RELEASES ALBUM WITH GREAT COLLABORATORS.
One of Victoria’s Secrets Angels, Barbara will now balance life between runways and stages.
The territorial boundary between Bahia and Minas Gerais (both states in Brazil) was almost unnoticeable for model Barbara Fialho, current modeling for Vitoria’s Secret. Her deepest roots were spread in the two Brazilian states, known as home of many talented and creative people in that country. From Bahia, state that has given the world Caetano Velloso and the Caymmi family, the heritage is the gift of singing, no matter how shy one can be. And from Minas Gerais, the heritage is a quiet, yet charismatic way of living. Daughter of a mom from Bahia and a father from Minas Gerais, Barbara brings in her genes the best features from each state.
The most sensorial things in life are those acquired during the childhood. That’s when we develop our fondest memories. In a simple house, Barbara’s main luxury was a guitar. She poetically records the sweet figure of her grandfather, who used to look after her while Barbara’s parents were working; the smell of the best bread of the world that grandpa brought her and the guitar he played until she fell asleep. Those moments are carved in her memory and that’s how the music seed was planted in her life and in her soul.
Montes Claros, where the model was born and raised, has always been very close to the whole world for Barbara, who’s ever been a dreamer. There are still many dreams today, especially about that grandfather who gave her the first notes in music. Being a model requires rhythm, aesthetic, a reason. And what’s different in music is just the projection of the voice, not only the body. The subtle line between fashion and singing has never been so thin as now, when Barbara is ready to release an album featuring some of the biggest Brazilian songs.
The fashion world is still in her life, but music has come to share some space and time. And it was among fashion shows, photoshoots and campaigns that singing became serious leisure. The anticipated album, that is almost ready and must be released in the beginning of 2017, brings songs written by famous Brazilians such as Djavan, Caetano Veloso, Tom Jobim, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil and João Nogueira. “There are a few adjustments to be made and Barbara participates in everything. She’s always been very critical and doesn’t hesitate to point out some details as if her grandfather was about to listen to the songs. She is his greatest fan, even though he’s not here anymore. Due to him, Barbara grew up listening to great Brazilian singers like Elis Regina, Nana Caymmi, Maria Bethânia, and she couldn’t leave all that influence behind while making her own album”, highlights Ricco Antony, the album producer.
Barbara started as a top model aged 15 and the guitar was her best companion. It was like being around her grandpa, his voice, his sweetness, his influence. She has always taken music as advice and as a prayer. The modeling career, that has given her the opportunity to be on the cover of the magazines Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Marie Claire and Numero, has traced a path involving Minas Gerais, Bahia and New York, where the singer Barbara Fialho currently lives.
Her album, that brings the collaboration of Brazilian singer Seu Jorge, will probably be released with a concert in Sao Paulo. While recording that Barbara’s singing adventure started in a get-together among friends, including American producer Damon Martin, Ricco says: “Baianeira – that’s how we usually call Barbara’s family history (her mother is from Bahia and her father from Minas Gerais) – is something that lives all over her. All her past is a huge piece of her present. I’m so glad she’s always had a guitar nearby, I’m so glad she decided to sing”. In her repertoire, there are songs like “Só Louco” (Dorival Caymmi), “Corcovado” (Tom Jobim) and “Tenha Pena de Mim” (written by Babaú da Mangueira and Cyro de Souza and sung by the powerful voices of Elza Soares and Aracy de Almeida). The band Sacatraca Sisinhô, led by Marcelo Miranda, accompanies Barbara. “I used to think that only Nana (Caymmi) could bring me tears while singing “Só Louco”, but Barbara can really do the same”, says the producer.
For a long time, you chose to keep your talent as a singer just for yourself. Why did you decide that? And what makes you open up about it now?
It has never been a secret that music is my great passion, since I was a child. I got my first guitar when I was just 9 and it was very special because it was a gift from my grandfather. In my opinion, he was the best musician of all and I am his biggest and most passionate fan and listener. I started working as a model when I was 15 and the guitar he gave me was always by my side. I used to buy a new guitar anywhere I went, but that one has always been my favorite. I remember a moment when I definitively decided to start singing: it was in Saint Tropez, during a photoshoot for a fashion campaign and many incidents started putting the team’s energy really down – things like lost luggage, misunderstandings, delays – and at the end of the day we all went out for dinner and there was a very bad vibe around the group. There was a man with a guitar nearby and I decided to approach him and asked if I could sing. In a few minutes, I borrowed his guitar, which was lacking one string, by the way, and played it even so. Somehow, I managed to improve people’s mood and that was very emotional, I realized the power of music and how musicians or singers can do something good for people’s lives and for their own lives. I started studying music basically every day. I worked hard on my album, it’s been four years and finally I’m ready to launch it. I feel music as something divine, that deserves respect, love, dedication and patience. I dream of doing it forever and maybe that’s why I’m calm and patient in this exercise.
How did the band come up? What put you together?
I started taking singing classes and my coach challenged me and asked me to take some piano lessons with Marcelo Miranda, who was recently living in New York. We had this immediate connection and he introduced me to the project Sacatraca, a beautiful band he had created. The band formation includes 10 musicians that have been friends for ages and used to join other musicians and play at night, but they were dreaming of their own project. That’s why Marcelo came up with the idea of writing their own arrangements and suggested the creation of a Samba band with the other musicians. It was like winning the lottery! The results from his idea were fantastic!
“Sacatraca Sisinhô” is the band name. Why? How was it created?
This is another “grandpa story”, always the grandpas… Marcelo Miranda’s grandfather used to tell a funny story. It said that there were 3 kinds of men: Sacatraca, Buru Buru and Sisinhô. Sacatraca is the bohemian man, the one who attends the “life school”, is always wearing lots of accessories, a man who speaks loud and loves being the center of attention. Sisinhô is the total opposite: elegant, welldressed, older, intelligent. A man of few but assertive words. Buru Buru is the Sacatraca kind who thinks he’s a Sisinhô. The name represents the combination of popular Samba, Sacatraca, with the sophistication of the arrangements created by Marcelo, which would be the Sisinhô part of it.
How is Barbara as a singer?
I love music and my life is moved by it. I feel like a child during the rehearsals and I feel complete, very very happy! Music enters into your soul, whether you want it or not. Today I have a really disciplined life, all my free time is dedicated to studying music.
When did you have the idea of recording a Samba and Bossa Nova album? Why did you choose this repertoire?
Here it comes the story of my grandpa once again. The idea came from my grandpa João Fialho’s passion. I remember him playing to me the same songs I chose for my CD. When he passed away, I felt an infinite emptiness. He was the joy of our Christmas parties because he had a gigantic repertoire of love songs and jokes. I would like to honor everything he did to me. This love I feel for him and for music has always guided me to reach the greater dream of singing Bossa Nova in a theater and tell people the history of Brazilian music through those songs. I’ve always pictured the new generations falling in love with this great art, just like it happened to me. I feel it’s my duty and I’m really into that.
For parallel projects, would you sing other styles rather than Samba and Bossa Nova? If so, which ones?
I love Jazz, Blues, Soul, but Samba and Bossa Nova are the music styles that make me float. The band that plays on my album has a Latin Jazz formation, it’s a wonderful “spice”. Jazz musicians are phenomenal because they allow themselves to play with their heart and never play a song the same way. The best blessing I had with this project was the opportunity to share the studio and live such an important experience with so talented and creative musicians.
How do you manage to balance your schedule between a CD production and the modeling career?
I study a lot, anytime, anywhere: on a plane, in my car. I always carry a small keyboard to practice some melodies. I work at the CD production in-between photoshoots and answer e-mails when we stop for lunch break. I believe that when something is divine, it will do you good. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m busy or not, I will manage and have some time for that. It’s a priority to do a great work as a model and study music with the same respect and love.
Are there chances of releasing the album internationally?
It’s been 14 years I live abroad. The CD was recorded in Los Angeles and from my team the only Brazilians are Marcelo, my backing vocal, my coach Diana Purim and I. I don’t see any barrier for that because we have the Internet which connects people in the blink of an eye. So, yes, it’s my dream to release the album all around the world.
Will you go on a tour with the band around Brazil?
I’m working on the launching show and hopefully I will have the opportunity to travel with the band and spread joy and my music through many places.
Do you believe that the singing career will occasionally be bigger than the modeling career and become your main focus?
I don’t see how to separate these two things so far. I’ve been a model for 14 years and I’m very proud of that. I left many things behind and went through many other things to reach the place I’m in now. I am very thankful for all the opportunities modeling has given me, without it I wouldn’t have travelled so much and learned so much about different cultures and people. Working as a model sometimes is being alone in unknown places and all the breaks during photoshoots or shows bring me closer to music. I believe that everything happens naturally in life if you put truth in what you do. When you listen to someone singing, you can realize that person’s intention and the respect with that song. My mission is to connect my voice to the messages sent by those songs. It is bringing joy, Samba, Bossa Nova, Jazz wherever I go and for all my life. Let’s live things at their time. Today, I can live fashion and music pretty well.