Fernanda Abreu, when leaving the band Blitz for a solid solo career, he bet big on his debut album, SLA Radical Dance Disco Club, from 1990. The artist banked the doubts of the record company EMI, which was not very sure about the future for a Brazilian dance music album. “There was no (market), let’s open it. He believes it will work!”, said Fernanda to the then director of the label, Jorge Davidson.
He bet and won. From SLA, the acronym for her surname Sampaio de Lacerda Abreu, Fernanda won the radios and dancefloors in clubs, making dance music strongly flavored with peripheral Brazilian rhythms.
His shift to a solo career and to the dance floor, in addition to his 60th birthday, are celebrated with a remix disc that features interpretations by big names in Brazilian dance music. In Gui Boratto a Meme, your usual partner. In Bruno Be a Vintage Culture. The team is starred!
O Music Non Stop invited ten DJs to a tribute in the form of a collaborative interview. After all, none other than the dance floor conductors to understand and value the importance of Fernanda Abreu for Brazilian dance pop. Let’s participate in this chat between experts and pioneers of national boogie dance disco house. Come with us!
I remember when my sister bought the Sla Radical Dance Disco Club record and as soon as I heard that track I was completely hallucinated as it was exactly the kind of music I’ve always loved (soul, funk, disco and breaks). I was wondering if it was your idea of choosing the samples and its relationship with Soul to Funky Music (I say Ohio Players, Parliament Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire , James Brown….)
Fernanda Abreu – I was also always in love with disco, funk, soul and hip hop and, when I started producing the first album “SLA Radical Dance Disco Club”, I wanted to make a record with all these references. The instrument “sampler”, which came inside a keyboard/sequencer, before the AKAI, arrived at the Nas Nuvens studio when we were already mixing. That’s when I went back to EMI’s studio and, along with Sergio Mekler (who also liked these references), we spluttered by sampling Parliament, KC, Michael Jackson, Kool an the Gang, Nenem Cherry, Prince, Madonna, Novos Baianos, Caetano, Gil and etc…
How do you feel about this new generation of producers and djs taking your music and turning it into something new and seeing people who weren’t even born when the music came out enjoying it now?
Fernanda Abreu – I think it’s amazing! Since the early 90’s, unlike artists who didn’t like having their music remixed, I’ve always liked it. In these 30 years of prom, I followed this musical journey of DJs who became, in addition to track DJs, producers within studios. I’m curious to hear the musical contribution the DJ makes when he creates a remix, which is a version he feels will work on his floor.
Since you started your career, How does she see the transformation of music in the world and how does she make her repertoire selection of upcoming releases amidst these transformations?
Fernanda Abreu – The transformation was total and radical! And the biggest of all was the transition from the analog to the digital age. Everything has changed. The way to produce music (music production, studios, equipment), dissemination, dissemination, marketing and the way the consumer listens to music. As I was never one to follow patterns, I don’t stay inside little boxes when creating and producing. As for the repertoire, the artist also has to feel totally free from pressure to create.
What is the secret to continuing to love the dance floors after almost 40 years of career?
Fernanda Abreu – Love dancing!
Fernanda, I really respect your solid trajectory and wish you success with the release! Well, I can say that the funk movement in Brazil permeated my entire early life and actually shaped my musical personality. Carioca funk is clearly an integral part of your DNA as well. At what time and through what influences do you connect with him?
Fernanda Abreu – My connection with Funk Carioca goes back to 1989. Since I went to the first dance, I was totally impacted by the bass, the beat, the dance, the dancing mass and the truth of this authentic, vigorous and powerful movement.
My interest in Funk goes beyond the musical issue. I see inventiveness not only in the music, but also in the behavior, in the dynamics of the linga and the slang that reveal the daily life of the favelas and suburbs and that are also the target of marginalization and criminalization. The background of prejudice against Funk is structural racism.
The link between pop and hip hop and funk was unheard of in the country, until you decided to bring it all together in your music. How was the initial reaction of musicians around you with this mix? Did you feel resistance from people?
Fernanda Abreu – It was really a different way of making danceable pop music at that time. I started to use electronic drums, sequencers, samples and programming in studio productions. But I always enjoyed mixing with the organic sound that the musicians presented. So I believe that this mixture made the guys understand that it was possible to mix electronic beat with tambourine, 808 bass drum with samba surdo and etc…
Do you remember the turning point where Brazil left “Fernandinha da Blitz” aside to understand the new work?
Fernanda Abreu – It was definitely with the release of my first solo album, “SLA Radical Dance Disco Club”. As I arrived proposing something totally different from what I was doing at Blitz, communication was immediate. Even I was surprised how the key to the audience turned right away. An example was that, in no show I’ve done in these 30 years of solo career, I was asked to sing Blitz songs.
The opening vignette of his first solo album, replete with samples of disco classics, was the harbinger of a career full of influences of this style. Have these influences always been with you? If so, what was it like to deal with them in Blitz and the ’80s, in a rock-dominated scene?
Fernanda Abreu – Yes! I’ve always enjoyed black music since I was little because I’ve always enjoyed dancing. Nothing compares to the swing of black music. I started listening to Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Tim Maia, James Brown, samba and bossa nova through my parents. Then came Disco, then hip hop, then R&B… In the Disco era I really liked the black side of Disco, what we call Disco-Funk with artists like Cool and The Gang, Chic, Parliament, Rick James, Taste of Honey, Sister Sledge…
I would like to know 3 of your songs that you think represent you the most, and 4 that influenced you the most!
Fernanda Abreu – Difficult to choose 3. I go with “Rio 40 degrees”, “Girl Sangue Bom”, “Veneno da Lata”, “Katia Flavia”, “Baile da Pesada”, “A Noite” and “You for me”.
Of the influences it’s also difficult to choose four, but I go from “I wanna be your lover” (Prince), “Got do Be Real” (Cherryl Lynn) , “Rock with you” (Michael Jackson), “September” (Earth Wind & Fire), “Sex Machine” (James Brown), “The message” (Grandmaster Flash), “More than nothing” (Jorge Ben), Tim Maia Rational. And so on…
Fernanda, in all these years of her career, it was evident how electronic music and her willingness to experiment influence her work. We also know how much the world of remixes goes hand in hand with the universe of DJ culture. How do you perceive the relationship between this universe and your work?
Fernanda Abreu – The connection is total! Ever since my first record, in 1990, this dancefloor and dance scene and, of course, the DJs, have always been by my side. I’ve always admired the musical curiosity of DJs. Going in search of new sounds and music to play on the dancefloor. And as I’ve always enjoyed electronic beats and the use of technology in music production, this language certainly brought us closer.
How do you see the music industry you worked in back then, how do you see the role of women today and what as one of the pioneers do you think you could do to help insert and show the talent of women in the market?
Fernanda Abreu – Women are increasingly present, composing, singing, producing and playing. We are warriors and we are going to fight. That old foot in the door is necessary because the world of music is still mostly male (producers, sound engineers, illuminators, entrepreneurs, industry executives, concert agents, etc…). But as in all sectors of society, we are getting stronger and stronger! Volume 2 of the project “Fernanda Abreu 30 Anos de Baile” will be an album of remixes produced only by women.