MC and singer/songwriter Criolo released his first album, Nó na Orelha (Knot in the Ear), in May 2011. It received over a dozen awards, both inside and outside of his native Brazil. In 2012 he toured internationally, and played most recently at Midem Festival, February 3 (photo). We caught up with him just before, and discovered a “pure” artist, in all the senses of the word. Enjoy!
midemblog: The music industry has been in crisis for a while now. What do you make of it? And how have you survived it?
Criolo: I’d rather say I’ve survived the crisis of life. I’ve had a 25-year career and I’m still here. I recorded my first record after 18 years as a musician. After 20 years of singing, I decided not to sing anymore. Then a friend suggested I record my songs, for myself and my family. There is an industry around music, as there is around any artistic expression. But there could be people in the industry that make it more human, more focused on feelings. Many jobs are created, many opportunities to make people visible and work. Maybe those people that walked away from that feeling created this crisis. When you think about an industry, you think about packaging things. So sometimes when you package art, you may forget that it’s a way to forget what it’s all about: human feelings, about the art in general; and maybe that’s the reason for this industry crisis.
I come from a place where people having been struggling since the late 70s/early 80s. They’ve been struggling to take dignity to their homes. Music is an expression of love, and that helps people to carry on in life.
Video: Duas de Cinco, one of Criolo’s biggest recent hits
> What do you make of new media?
You can have tools on a table. Special tools, created by man. You have tools, your hands and your mind. What ties them all together? It’s that gesture (to pick up those tools). It’s your will. Then, and only then, does something happen. Music is something divine, that carries and embraces us. It’s a powerful force, which takes mercy on our souls, our minds and our smallest acts. That’s the power of music.
What does being at Midem represent for you?
It’s worth making music without harming the dignity of your listeners. The music that moves through my body brought me here to Midem. It’s a miracle. Everyone has their own world; music brings everyone (those worlds) together. We’re here at Midem to share experiences and celebrate this meeting (of worlds). We need to celebrate the possibility of having something better for everyone, through music.
The above are extracts from an interview conducted in Cannes, by our video team. Watch this space for the full video version, coming soon!