Daniela Soledade may initially seem like a fresh name in Brazilian music, but the vocalist’s impact immediately strikes a chord as encountered on her bold and subtle debut album, A Moment of You (2019 Blue Line Music Records). A carefully curated set of Bossa Nova gems (while dodging the most obvious choices), Brazilian-ized standards and original songs, created in partnership with producer/guitarist Nate Najar, the album frames the luminous tone and mature interpretive powers of the singer- singing in both English and Portuguese.
Beyond the surface and sensory allure of the musical evidence on the album, a legacy-related back story lends added depth to Soledade’s unfolding musical saga- she belongs to a sparkling lineage of great Brazilian artists, ranging from her grandfather Paulo- collaborator with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, Baden Powell and other Brazilian legends- and her father Paulinho, who has worked as producer and partner with Ivan Lins and Gilberto Gil.
Growing up, the young Daniela spent time in top studios in Rio de Janeiro, observing and performing with her father, studied flute at the Music Conservatory Villa Lobos in Rio at age 14, and continuing with her music after moving to Florida at 16.
A Moment of You arrives as fruition of Soledade’s transcontinental path in music and a launching point for a promising career to come. As she explains of the album title, it comes from a lyric in Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Someone to Light Up My Life.” “I felt that the title suits the stage of life in which I found myself as I recorded this album. This is my moment to be myself, to invest in myself and to pursue my dreams.
Nate Najar- Soledade’s right-hand musical ally as guitarist/producer- forged a compatible vision for the record with the singer. They gravitated towards what Soledade calls the “intimate, quiet, beautiful moments” in Bossa Nova. Najar commented “when I think of Bossa Nova, I think of João Gilberto- this quiet and intimate aesthetic. Daniela and I both discovered that we love the same aesthetic.”
Najar also emphasizes the importance of a cohesive personality on the album. “With an album like this,” he says, “a lot of people still listen to the entire record. I want to make sure that the flow, from top to bottom, feels a certain way.”
Flow is, indeed, an operative word to describe the album in terms of sequence and musical vibe. A Moment Of You opens with the classic samba “Eu Sambo Mesmo,” moves smoothly through a bossa-flavored version of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” and on to a closing voice-guitar duet of Charles Trenet’s “I Wish You Love.” Brazilian musical heritage is well represented, from Jobim’s “Someone to Light Up My Life” to Marcos Valle’s “Safely in Your Arms,” Rosa Passos’ “Dunas,” and Los Hermanos’ “Veja Bem Meu Bem.”
A centering role on A Moment Of You goes to the Soledade family crest. Daniela notes “it's an honor to be able to include three generations of Soledade songs on my debut album. That was very special to me. I truly admire my grandfather and my father's talent and I feel very privileged to continue the family legacy.”
“Song for Baden” is her father Paulinho’s tribute to his late friend and mentor, famed guitarist Baden Powell. The song features extra lyrics by Daniela, a fluid, tasteful guitar solo cameo by her father (flown in from a studio in Rio), and famed Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca as a guest. “Sonho Desfeito” is a 1956 samba penned by her grandfather Paulo Soledade and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Daniela points out that “the fact that Antonio Carlos Jobim composed it with him makes it extra special, because it links our music and our family directly to the beginning of Bossa Nova.”
Soledade’s original contribution is the sweetly haunting tune “Ninho.” “I composed ‘Ninho’ on the guitar, with four basic chords and lyrics in Portuguese. The rhythmic style of this song is called a ‘Baião’ (a rhythmic style from the Northeast of Brazil). I played it for Nate in the studio, knowing that he would finesse the harmony and arrangement. He also asked me to add a third part to it, which we did together, adding lyrics, melody and harmony. Asking Patrick Bettison to play harmonica on it was the perfect choice.”
Soledade is now poised for her moment in the larger music scene. Reflecting on A Moment of You in its finished state, she says “I couldn't be happier about this project. I love that I have my grandfather and father's songs in there with one of my own. I love the intimate, delicate, rich sound of the recordings. I love that all of the musicians who play on it are amazing world-class musicians- the vibe, the feeling, the two languages combined, the authentic Brazilian rhythms that I grew up with...everything is perfect for me. I couldn't think of a better album to take me to the next stage of my musical life.”
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