Singer Songwriter Katia Moraes
By Phil Reser
Latin LoveSeptember 2015
By Phil Reser
Singer songwriter Katia Moraes has performed and recorded with Brazilian acts like Sergio Mendes, Airto Moreira, Oscar Castro-Neves, Rita Lee and Latin Grammy nominee Alex Acuña.
She began her singing career in her native Rio de Janeiro in the 1980s with her energetic band O Espirito da Coisa.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1990, she begin performing with Pure Samba, 22-piece Orchestra Feijoada Completa, Samba Society, Bloco Nove, Viver Brasil Dance Company, Folk Ballet of Brasil and many more.
She released her first lead vocal CD in 1996, “Ten Feet and the Sun” in the United States with the Brasil Nuts band.
Later, she became well known for her recorded albums and performances with her Brazilian band, Sambaguru, which was part of the musical score for the film “Woman on Top.”
Her other music collaborations have included Brazilian Hearts, Pure Samba, Samba Society, Bloco Nove, and the Viver Brasil Dance Company.
Her voice has been featured in the musical scores of films like “Everyday,” “The Last Word,” “Arrested Development” and the cult Japanese animation “Cowboy Bebop.” She and Brazilian Hearts are part of the entertainment at the upcoming annual Chico World Music Festival, which is free on Sept. 12 on the campus at Chico State University.
ENJOY: What actually happens inside you, when you give
out those incredible vocals and communicate to an audience?
KÁTIA: I believe, I follow my intuition. I face the stage as an
extension of life. “Welcome. Pretend you are in my living room,” I tell
the audience sometimes. And I feel it is. I believe movement helps
me to embody a song, an idea. Yes, it makes my voice shaky, but frees
my soul. I’ve been singing with Los Angeles based Viver Brasil Dance
Company since 2007, and I have a great deal of pleasure enhancing
their performance with sound.
ENJOY: Who and what do you see as the most valuable music influences on your growth as an artist and human being?
KÁTIA: Ah, so many wonderful inspiring people in Brazil and around the world. My first impression with music was Rita Pavone. Later on, my big time inspiration was singer Elis Regina. I feel inspired by artists who make me feel equal, who remind me that we are all here in the same boat. Of course, that changes depending on what you’re going through in life, or how much you’ve learned about your craft. As a teenager I loved Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Bob Marley. Later on, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Gabriel and Prince.
ENJOY: Describe your past recorded music. Are you planning a solo album?
KÁTIA: I recorded two albums in Brazil with a theatrical-rock band in the 1980s called O Espírito da Coisa. Here in the U.S., I recorded/ performed with my band Sambaguru for 14 years. I’ve been rehearsing my way into a solo artist since the band stop working together in 2010. The first sign was an EP produced by Irish producer/engineer Lynne Earls. I just watched a documentary about George Harrison where he mentioned the time it took to gather himself after the Beatles broke up. I was always surrounded by guys taking over the process of recording, and now I have to take the wheel and drive. I’m feeling stronger about my new compositions with different partners, so I believe a plan is under way.
ENJOY: How would you describe the power of music?
KÁTIA: I’ll answer using a quote from a singer I like. In 2012, I created a show called “Brazilian Heart, a Celebration” to pay homage to Brazilian artists. The first one to be celebrated was Elis Regina, my all-time idol. In 2013, it was Clara Nunes – a samba icon, and last year I paid homage to Maria Bethânia, who continues to bring poetry/ literature to the stage every time she performs. She says: “Music is like perfume.” Think about it…the notes enter your soul through your senses and bring you to a place where sometimes you did not have any idea existed. It moves you to joy or to pieces. It makes you dance, cry, think, ponder, laugh, wonder. It touches your senses, our common ground. From there we evolve, we progress, and inspire through action.
ENJOY: Do you think that an artist should be socially responsible?
KÁTIA: Yes. It’s strange to me when I take a stand about some social/ political issue and someone makes a face, or mentioned an artist is not supposed to do that. On May 30, I performed at Aratani Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and told the audience that I’m a Mahatma Gandhi follower, a pacifist. Before I flew to L.A. in 1990 I spent a month in El Salvador. That country was in the middle of a civil war, and I spent a night inside of a closet in the Brazilian embassy praying that a bomb wouldn’t fall on our heads. I believe no one deserves the horrors of a war.
Saturday, September 12, Chico State University
chicoworldmusicfestival.com • katiamoraes.com