Singer, Songwriter, Music Researcher & all that Jazz

The first time I dealt with “fine art” here, I spoke about the importance of curatorship for any project. Today I would like to deal with a related theme, or rather, the next step: what to do with those projects that have been curated by you and were sent to some call, but which were not selected.

The situation is not pleasant at all. Any process of submitting an artistic project to any selection is a very laborious task, both from an intellectual and emotional point of view. There are always forms to fill out, documents to send, audio samples or videos to edit… It is exhausting and takes a lot of your time. When we finally get to the end of the process, and after gathering everything we have been asked to do and double-checking that all the links work and that the spelling is correct, there is a lot of relief involved.

I am not certain “relief” is the best word in this case. Perhaps “mission accomplished” best describes the feeling of triumphantly hitting the “send” button. But life goes on and there are always other tasks awaiting, So you go on minding your own business, until that moment arrives: suddenly, you realize that the next edition of that festival you submitted for months ago is about to happen, and the chances you will part of the lineup are, well, zero.

It is a difficult moment and it takes time to get over it. The good news is that the more time passes and the number of wins also increases, the more easily you see the small defeats as less important parts of the game. You also learn that the important thing is to keep playing the game.

Okay, so you have learned your lesson and you want to stay in the game. Good! This is where I can help you with a lesson I learned from customizing and recycling my clothes: no piece of clothing is useless. The half-forgotten piece in the back of your closet only needs repurposing. Believe me, it always works!

You know that dress that one day gave you so much joy? It can turn into a skirt and bring you even more happiness in the future! Same goes for that now-forgotten pair of pants that might turn into your favorite shorts next summer. T-shirts? They are a world in themselves! Cloth leftovers, sequins, embroidery, anything goes to make Tee look just like you.

In the same way, maybe that project that has not been accepted in a selection (yet), would become simply irresistible with a few small changes here and there. It all starts by re-reading your project again. As good as it might be, there will always be room for some change.

Perhaps the main objectives are not very clear and you can go into further details. Sometimes the problem is just the opposite: too many details. In this case, you need to better condense your ideas and get straight to the point. Another item that always deserves a review is the target audience: is it clear who your project is for? Updating your budget may also be a good idea. Are the costs the same? In the case of tours. extra attention with food and transportation.

As you can see, even without changing its main objectives or compromising its artistic integrity, the possibilities of adapting the same project to different calls are many, and the gain in terms of time is enormous. Upgrading both your wardrobe and your career can be easier (and faster) than you think.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Last week I told you about the celebrations for the tenth anniversary of my first album, including a new single release, Jules & Jim and live congratulations on the date and very kind words from the host of my favourite radio show called Jazz Livre (“Free Jazz”).

The host, Sidney Ferreira, described me as “a tremendously jazzy singer and songwriter”. Is not it beautiful? I was so happy! It meant the world to me, beacuse the curation of the Jazz Livre is simply amazing. This compliment, along with homemade popcorn and a glass of champagne, and wow, what a Tuesday night!

The thrill do not stop there, oh no! The next task I took on, also brought tears to my eyes.

In order to apply for a scholarship, I needed to update my CV. By the way, how long has it been, since you updated yours? In my case, I would say it has been ages and the reason is simple: I do not tend to think about those lines that are supposed to chronologically order the highlights of my existence.

I am not bragging about it at all. In fact, I really admire people who can keep their resumes updated. It is quite a healthy practice and can teach you valuable lessons, if you think about it. Certainly, a few pages are not capable of defining a person, but if your resume cannot be seen as the complete script of your life, it can at least have the importance of, say, a well-written movie synopsis.

After all, those few lines are the first, quicker impression you can get from the oeuvre, and in a world where the average attention span hovers around three seconds, a well-written resume may be the tie-breaker between grabbing the attention of your reader or being left out.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to think about how your synopsis is going. Is it fun? Dramatic? Affirmative? Does it point in any direction or is it more like a set of intertwined experiences forming a circular pattern? What would you change about it, and what information would gain more prominence in a new edition of it?

After tackling the long-postponed task and finally updating my resume, I can say that the payoff is immense. You realize that you have done much more interesting things than you recall, and surprising yourself is an incredible feeling.

So, if you, like me, are a little slow when it comes to updating your CV, maybe this is a good time to roll up your sleeves and get yourself prepared for future harvests.

Be seeing you,

G. F.

Do you remember what you were doing exactly ten years ago? I do.

It was hot summer night in Rio, and it was the date of the release of my first solo album (Geisa Fernandes, 2013).

On that very special night, several things turned out just as I wanted, several others did not. I remember many friendly faces and a long time signing dedications on the CD booklet. And above all, I remember that it was a happy night.

They say that memory is half editing room, half filming and I am sure that, if I were to try to remember every detail of my magical night, I would probably flourish a lot. You know how memory is.

For this reason, I will stick to a single, indisputable fact: The night was happy because, as my own manager, I fulfilled my part of the agreement with the venue and with the musicians and because, as an artist, I gave the best of myself., and this trait I can proudly say I have maintained over the last ten years.

That said, I would like to share with you another moment of this beautiful night that turns ten today and that occurred on my way back home: in the car full of things (and if you have already produced an event, you know what I am talking about) I thought about my to-do list for the following day. And if you have understood the lesson here, you can consider yourself a real pro.

Enough lessons, it is time to celebrate! My new single Jules and Jim hits streaming platforms tomorrow. Click here to pre-save.

And to prove you that I am really serious about celebrating every achievement, it is time for some champagne, too. Cheers!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

p.s. Times were different and that’s why there are very few video recordings of this show, but you can go back in time with me here and here.

Sunday, January 15: The Red Flower Press completes two years of existence, and the story of this blog begins, oddly enough, with a podcast.

It all starts at the end of 2020 (yes, that year…). I had dedicated practically all of my time to producing QuaranJazz, a weekly podcast of interviews with musicians from around the world. I did not know at the exactly what I wanted with the podcast,at first.

Looking back to that timet, I think that we were all kind of lost. Anyway, Quaranjazz primary goal has always been to offer my fellow musicians the opportunity to talk about their projects, which had been abruptly cut due to the pandemic.

What did musicians do during social isolation? What were your fears and hopes? How did you take your projects forward and maintain contact with your audience? Honestly, I think of QuaranJazz as a musical portrait of that year of fear and loneliness.

Fortunately those days are over, but the podcast episodes remain as a document for posterity and yet another tool for understanding a very particular phase of our recent history. I am very proud of this project, created and developed in very precarious conditions, but with a lot of determination.

The following year vaccines began to be applied and the word quarantine, finally, ceased to be used in everyday life. QuaranJazz had completed its cycle and its mission and it was time to move on to new projects. I confess that until then I had never tried a blog, and it took me a long time to find a format that worked for me, both in the frequency of posts and in terms of content.

Content was quite an issue indeed, because after the tremendously introspective experience of QuaranJazz, I wanted to be able to talk about various things related to music, from reviews to personal stories, passing through career management tips, but the biggest challenge was finding the middle ground between information and reflection.

My intention is that you can go back and reread the texts, regardless of the period in which they were written and find something you can relate to. Like good old friends, we can stop and pick up the conversation at any time and it will always make sense, it will always feel good.

This is also how I feel about singing, and maybe that is the reason why I like so much writing to you every week.

My red flower and I sincerely thank you for the company.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

It is time to get all those resolutions out of your mind and into the real world. Welcome to the first week of the year! I know it might seem kind of hard to believe that you can do things differently this time, because you have already made and broken your promises in years past. Trust me, you are not alone.

That said, follow me: Do you remember how you had to change a lot of things in your life in 2020 and try different ways to work, have fun and interact with other people? It was very difficult, but you learned to adapt to an unexpected situation and to improvise, which is always a very useful tool. For all that, I really believe it is possible to break some small patterns that can lead to big changes in the medium and long terms.

All well and good, but it often feels like the year started without us and all you want to know is how to catch up with the delay. If it sounds amiliar, maybe you can try a little trick that works for me. It is actually not even a trick, but just a procedure: I gather all my assets and see how I can organize them. Some practical examples?

In January I celebrate the tenth anniversary of my first album. so I am think of some kind of celebration (more details next week, stay tuned). A little later, in March, I celebrate the fifth anniversary of my Latin Jazz EP La Nueva Milonga, and last but certainly not least, in October it is time to celebrate the fifth annyversary of the traditional vocal jazz EP So Now.

Regardless of other projects that may (will) emerge along the way, these three personal milestones will serve as a guide to plan the main actions of the year that begins. Notice that so far I have not mentioned any new production, but only material I already own, such as recording leftovers, unreleased tracks or behind-the-scenes stories.

Now think about your own assets: how many interesting things remain unpublished or forgotten for one reason or another? What can you do with them? How many important moments do you have to celebrate with your fans?

Even if the beginning of the year is an uncertain period for you, it is worth taking a few days to get organized and gather the assets you already have. I am sure that, just like in the story of the blue bird, you will be amazed by the amount of hidden treasures you will find in your own backyard.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

I recently mentioned here a hard decision I had to take concering fundraising. Long stor yshort: I had two projects approved for fundraising by the city, but had tremendous problems finding sponsors (although the amount of taxes destinated would return as publicity).

After the sadness phase, I adapted quite well to the idea that all the work I had done had not been in vain, because I had learned a lot and could apply for the next call, now with a better understanding of the whole process etc

Well, now comes the best part of the story: apparently the other competitors were having the same problem and on a beautiful afternoon when I was checking my e-mails, I saw more than 25 messages appear (!). They were part of a “reply to all” discussion, in which people complained quite vocally about the difficulty in fundraising.

It was a huge relief to see that I was not alone, but at the same time I was quite surprised by the high level of explicit criticism in those messages. Keeping doors open and not burning bridges is fundamental for any professional and a real question of survival for any artist who wants a healthy career, but I had the impression people were not quite aware of that.

I know that interactions in the virtual world tend to be more passionate than in the flesh and blood world, but it is always good to exercise a more diplomatic than incendiary attitude when dealing with those who can provide the means to get your projects out of the drawer. Great achievements are always the result of a lot of struggles and a lot of negotiation and such a formula, to be balanced, cannot be understood as a mere exchange of comments on a social network, in the heat of the moment.

It is necessary to pay attention not only to the content of what is said, but also to the form: ‘Is this the best way to express what I want to say?’, “Am I using non-violent communication?”, “Am I showing respect for my reader through clear, well-written sentences?”, “Am I addressing people responsibly and accordingly?” These are just a few questions to keep in mind when dealing with professional communication.

I know that artists in general and musicians in particular prefer more direct forms of communication, like the one that happens from the top of the stage, but sometimes you have to prepare the ground for the magic to happen.

Wishing you all a new cycle full of magic.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Yesterday was my birthday. I have already talked here about all the tension and the drama of having your birthday at the end of the year, but this time I would like to point out some solutions, or rather describe some lessons I have learned in this last passage of the sun through Sagittarius. What kind of lessons? The kind you can use in your career. Ready to write down some valuable tips? Follow me.

As years go by, it is clear to me that the key word is resilience. December is always a month of intense temperatures, whether it is cold or hot, depending on which half you live in on this little blue planet. For this reason, the difficulties start already in the organization. I dare say that organizing a birthday party in December is more difficult than organizing a small tour with a trio (for those who do not get the reference, organizing tours is always a lot of work).

Sounds a little sad? If you apply resilience it will sound more like consistency. A practical example? Test all possible models until you find one that works for you, just as it is necessary to test different combinations of musicians until you find the one that is ideal for your music.

The philosophy of chop wood, carry water needs time to be assimilated and, depending on your moment in life, it may even seem counterproductive, but time will teach you to realize the value of small, regular things for big results in the long term. In other words: you learn by doing, even if you do not realize it at first.

Another lesson I have learned, not necessarily linked to being born in December, is that the definition of an ideal celebration varies a lot from year to year and depends on many variables, exactly as it happens with the different projects that develop throughout a career.

Last, and certainly not least, I also learned that you always need to reserve some room for a champagne toast. And if you have a slice of cake to go with it, wow, you’re one happy, lucky birthday kid!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

When it comes to the birth of a musical genre, it is impossible to establish precise coordinates, such as date and place of birth. When talking about Bossa Nova, however, it is impossible to escape some key events.

I have written about places considered to be the birthplaces of Bossa Nova, and today I would like to celebrate the another landmark: the legendary concert at the Carnegie Hall in November 21, 1962, featuring young Brazilian stars making their US debuts.

Names such as Sérgio Mendes, João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim were introduced to an audience of three thousand listeners, among them five-stars artists, such as Tony Bennett and Miles Davis.

Despite several last-minute mishaps, including João Gilberto worried about the crease in his pants, and the sound problems that occurred during the concert, that night in 1962 a new musical genre was presented to a large opinion-forming audience and to a great vehicle, the New York Times.

Both, critics and audience, were immediately hooked by the new beat coming from Brazil, but as nothing comes from nothing, it must be said that ears and sensibilities had been prepared for that moment months in advance, by the release in April of Jazz Samba, by Getz and Charlie Byrd. The album introduced Tom Jobim in the single ‘Desafinado’ and it is a landmark in itself: it had more than a million copies sold, and achieved #1 on the chart of Billboard, paving the way for Bossa Nova outsid Brazil.

I recently heard that Bossa Nova is “elitist”. Nothing could be less true. Although several aspects have been left out of the official Bossa Nova historiography (race, gender and cultural appropriation issues come to mind), the importance of gender in the construction of various aspects of Brazilian identity is undeniable.

Bossa has in its DNA the ancestral African drums and redefines them in the light of the Copacabana sun. In her different moments, she walks through the many Brazilian contradictions and transforms them into brilliant music. There is something very beautiful about Brazil, as represented by Bossa and I am proud to remember and to be part of that tradition.

Viva a Bossa Nova!

More stories on the topic? Check this one about the hit Mas Que Nada, by Jorge Benjor or this one, about The Look of Love at 50.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Lente do Amor (Lens of Love) is a song by Gilberto Gil. It is not be among his most famous compositions, so chances are you nver heard of its clever lyrics, which go more or less like this in English:

(…) Through the lens of love
I see the color of pleasure, I see the face of pain
through the lens of love
I see the boat sail through the waters of evil and good
Show the doctor, face it,
Heal your wound
Transcend through the lens of love
Chant the mantric
Pay the karmic in the deal
Transcend, through the lens of love

Pretty ingenious, right? I love the idea of celebrating what goes right in life, while “paying the karmic”. Great works acquire new meanings every time we look at them, and maybe that’s why Lente do Amor comes to my mind right at this moment when, for various reasons, I had to abandon a project.

If you also work with projects, you know how difficult it is to get any idea off paper and turn it into a decent project. After that, there is a whole phase (which always seems endless) of gathering documents and signatures, followed by anxiety until the final result .

When the result is positive, it seems that the world is conspiring in our favor, that everything will work out, etc. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Life is full of such karmic moments and it is always difficult to overcome them. Well, this is where the unsurpassable Gilberto Gil method comes in: transcend, through the lens of love.

Through the lens of love, what has been conquered becomes clearer and even the painful path of returning to zero point, which we so often have to do, seems less arduous. Through the lens of love, it is also easier to exercise forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness, so necessary to heal those wounds that no one sees.

Giving up should never be the first choice and nobody wants to be called a quitter, whether in a personal relationship or a professional task, but what to do if there is no other way out? And how to know if there really is no other way?

My tip is to stop and think about all (or at least a good number) of possible outcomes of the two actions. By better understanding the impact of giving up or continuing, it will be much easier to make a decision. It is even worth drawing or using some kind of mind map, if that kind of tool works for you.

Once your considered decision is made, my last suggestion would be: play Gil and enjoy!

Be seeing you!

G.F.


During the incredibly strange year of 2020, many people found in a hobby a most-needed moment of relief and relaxation. Homemade bread, painting, gardening, each one sought refuge in the comfort zone provided by any activity that gave the feeling of having some practical use. I chose a course on time planning, more specifically an online course on how to put together the perfect weekly schedule.

The nice young lady who presented the pre-recorded lessons made the tedious process of putting together a weekly schedule of appointments seem like a delightful experience. This is often the problem with online courses: they make everything look easy and there is no point in answering a loud “No!” when, at the end of the lesson, the instructor asks: “everything alright?”, because they will not listen.

If it worked? Yes and no. I managed to get to the fifth version, if I’m not mistaken (the idea was that each week everyone would check what had worked or not in the planning and what could be improved for the following week), but I could not stick to my planning.

Do not blame the planning. It was good one. It even left somne room for the unforeseen. In fact, there are no culprits, just life itself. There are times in our lives so crazy, that not even the best of weekly plans will be able to organize.

The end of the year is usually one of those times. By the way, a good indication that the year is coming to an end is that the stress level goes through the roof and if you do no’t want to join the year-end stress crowd, perhaps the best thing to do is to admit that your schedule will suffer repeated upheavals, including strokes of luck.

Last week, for example, I managed to get an appointment for a very busy doctor simply because I called after patients who canceled. A true stroke of luck that not even the most perfectly conceived agenda could have foreseen, but which nevertheless changes the planning of the day. But what if the surprise is not such a pleasant one?

Accepting that it will not always be possible to stick with the plan and realizing that, sometimes, it will not be possible to recalculate the route, and that you may end up losing control and even hit head-on with what you wanted, can be an important tool for maintaining your mental health, strange at it seems. And staying mentally healthy is the best gift you can give yourself, this or any other time of the year.

Be seeing you!

G.F.