Lilian Vieira is a Brazilian-Dutch singer who carries the power of Samba-Soul with her. Born in Brazil , a former nursing student found her calling in singing. Growing up in a musical household where there would musical get-togethers on the weekends Lilian found a particular liking to the genre Samba-Soul.
Samba Soul is the music I listened to and enjoyed when I was 8, 9, 10 years old. I grew up with Jorge Ben, Banda Black Rio and loved it very much.
In the late 80s she moved to the Netherlands with her husband and after leaving nursing school her musical career has flourished. She has gone on to to perform and work with a number of artists including legends such as Roberto Menescal. Lilian has also served as an ambassador for the IBISS (the Brazilian Institute for Innovation in Public Health) and has started her own organization called Ecotopia which seeks to establish sustainable projects in Brazil and Europe.
Lilian was kind enough to answer some of our questions:
BN: How do you compare life in Holland to that in Brazil?
LV: People in Brazil live more outside, probably because of the weather, and there is more interaction. People are really looking for contact in Brazil; make a little chat with other people on the street or supermarket for example.
BN: Where did your desire to study nursing come from? and how was the transition from being a nursing student to singer?
LV:I remember that nursing people was one of my favorite games when I was little. The transition wasn’t difficult; I always sang, also when I went to school and before I went to college. I grew up with music at home: Full house in the weekends when people from the neighborhood came to play and jam at our place. My mother sang and my father was a percussionist.
BN: Tell us about the formation of Zuco 103, and the inspiration for centering around the genre Brazilectro ?
LV: I bumped into Stefan Kruger whilst at the conservatory where I studied, and he asked me if I wanted to sing something for his band at that time: SFEQ. I found the music so weird that I decided to do it. There we laid the foundation for Zuco 103, with Stefan Schmidt on keys. All three we were always very open and curious to all styles. That is definitely what we have in common. So we went mixing and mixing and mixing and that became a cocktail with 103% of everything!
LV: I had a great time during the tours with Zuco. It was nuts! But I hate flying and every time I heard about an accident, or bad weather, or turbulence it made it very difficult for me to leave. Those moments I always wondered why I became a singer. I kept thinking that flying was very unnatural for human beings, because it is something you can’t control at all. At the other side I never refused a flight because of my fear. Or I drank, or took medicine, or pinched people around me and complain during the flight and afterwards life just went on until the next flight.
BN: What was it like working with the legendary Roberto Menescal?
LV: He is such a special man….I see this as a blessing…One of my favourite Bossa Nova songs “O Barquinho” is written by him (there is a great version with Pery Ribeiro by the way). I could never ever think that I would meet him this close, and certainly not to sing with him! He gave me a huge present when he wanted to play with Zuco.
BN: Can you tell us more about forming your organization Ecotopia? And what does it mean to you?
LV: Together with Ina, my partner in crime, we kept thinking about things we could do to create a way of life that would be cleaner, more sustainable, better, with the simple resources nature always gives us. We are very very small at this point, but we are working on it and we have a few beautiful people around us who think like this and with us.
BN: You were awarded for the United Nations MDG (Millennium Development Goal) Award for your work; what did it mean to you receiving this award?
LV: At that time I was ambassador for the Ibiss foundation in Brazil, and what I did for them was telling people what they were doing at that time over there. So for me it felt a bit awkward to be awarded and I sent this award directly to the people in the field, who risked their lives for these kids. They were the ones for me who deserved it; the people of the IBISS project Soldados nunca mais (never a soldier again).
Listen to Lilian’s single “Lounge” of her self titled album.