Bossa Nova great, Sergio Mendes has recently sat down with the Chicago Sun-Times to discuss his career; both past and present and what the future may entail.

He discusses his first visit to Chicago:

“Oh, it was so cold, it was in the middle of February, in either 1965 or 1964, I’ll never forget it. For a guy from Rio like me, Chicago really made an impression.”

It was during this visit that he also met Lani Hall, who would become a part of his “Brasil 66” group:

“I loved the concept of having two lead female vocalists; it set us apart from other groups. Then I decided that along with recording Brazilian songs, we also would arrange well-known songs by Burt Bacharach, the Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel, and put them into a Brazilian groove. So I owe a lot to Chicago and have lots of great memories about my experiences here.”

Sergio-Mendes

Sergio Mendes

In recent years the artist from Rio has enjoyed a renaissance with the successful releases of albums such Encanto (2008), numerous collaborations with modern artists and even an Oscar nomination for his song on the original soundtrack of the movie “Rio”.

“I feel I’ve been really blessed and really lucky to still be around,” he said. “For me, every day is a new experience. I think I’ve lasted so long because I’m very curious. I’ve always liked trying different things.”

Up next on his checklist is to complete his latest tour, release his next studio album and finish work on the soundtrack for “Rio 2”.

I’ve never produced the music for a movie before, so I’m really excited about this project,” he said. “The director [Carlos Saldanha, who also helmed ‘Rio’] is a Brazilian, so of course we hit it off.”

In regards to his next studio album Sergio Mendes had this to say:

“It’s melodies that have made Brazilian music so important — for the last 50 years, and for me, I hope, many more years to come.”