artist you should know: brazilian rising artist, virgo virgo, shares new multilingual single, tour
June 18, 2021
This month we’ve been celebrating various artists from around the world who have the potential to change the game with their art. These range from upcoming rising stars to the “in the moment” artists that have taken over our digital spaces. It’s no surprise that when we cast our eyes over to Brazil, Virgo Virgo stood out. Her ability to seamlessly switch between five languages in her new single “Tour”, immediately got us curious and we had to sit down and find out more about this phenom from the streets of Rio de Janero.
What pronouns do you prefer being referred to?
My pronouns are she/her.
Tell about Virgo Virgo, who is she, and what has been your musical journey so far?
Virgo is how I named the dreamer in me who was born and raised in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. When I first read about astrology I discovered that Virgo was my rising sign and after studying what being a Virgo means, it all made sense to me. I’m down-to-earth, sensible and joy for me is organizing my life and my career. When I was 16 I moved out from the suburbs and went on to live downtown for college where I graduated in Languages and Literature in2019. I started taking singing and guitar lessons and, eventually, piano lessons, and my teachers started booking me for gigs. I’ve worked as an English teacher so I could pay to make music, because everything is so expensive, from the studio to the visuals. In 2016 I got an opportunity to record an EP with Maestro Ivan Paulo who was a Brazilian music genius and had worked with every Brazilian music legend in samba and MPB. So I recorded this EP, released it in 2018 January with my first video for “Close to Her”, the only song that was produced solely by me in this first EP. After releasing the EP and singing in a few concerts, I fell into a deep depression. I felt that those words I was singing and the music were not what I wanted to present to people. It was beautiful and well-made but it was too “inside a box” and I wanted to be authentic. I’ve always written autobiographical songs and decided not to put them out at first, but now that’s all I want to sing. I spent the entire 2019 year working on my next EP, “Vergine”, one hundred percent autobiographical and produced by me. “Tour” is the first single from the project.
As an independent queer artist from Brazil what has been the challenge for you?
Here in Brazil the first challenge is being an artist. Being an independent queer artist in Brazil means you probably won’t be played on the radio and there are places you won’t be able to occupy even if you’re a great artist, because if I’m part of a music festival with other ten queer artists, it becomes a “queer festival”, so only two or three of us are allowed there. It’s curious how most spaces were always filled with white, straight, cisgender people but now producers wanna talk about equality.
When I released my first video for “Close to Her”, a song dedicated to a girl and a video where I’m caressing and singing to this other black girl, some people told me that I was risking a lot by starting my career this way, openly declaring my bisexuality, and I remember thinking “Just the fact that I can do that today tells me I’ve already won.” Because I have freedom, you know.
What change would you like to see in the music industry, especially when it regards the inclusion of queer artists such as yourself?
I would like to see us in spaces that we never get to see ourselves in. I think there’s this unspoken rule that if you’re a queer artist you can only sing to queer people. And I really wish that it would change. I would like to reach a 60 year-old straight woman from Laos. I would like to play in a stadium. I would also be happy to see less stereotyped expectations of us. Especially being queer and black. We come in different shapes, different personalities, different points of view, different references and sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t. I’ve recently watched a live concert in which there was this beautiful trans woman singing with a lyrical voice and it moved me to tears. I wonder how it must be for her to fit in this classical music world. What will prevail? The fact that she’s an amazing lyrical singer or that she’s a transexual woman? So, this is the kind of question I don’t want to ask myself anymore in the future.
Your new single is “Tour”, which you recently put out the music video for, can you tell us about the song and the concept behind the video?
YES. I wrote the song in 2017 and I knew I wanted it to be in multiple languages because I wanted the song to feel like an enigma. I was thrilled by the idea that no one would get the song the first time they heard it and that would make get them intrigued. My next EP, Vergine, is all about questioning and Tour is a great metaphor for it. It’s a song about when you go through some situation in your life, and when it’s over, you know you’re not the same person you used to be before you went through that. It’s like you had something immaterial taken from you, like innocence, that you’ll never be able to get back. And it’s about embracing this new you and becoming independent. “I walk on my streets and the flames on my body keep the lights on/The sweat of my body is no longer from suffering; now, it’s motion”. Motion is all the video is about. I made the crystals wig myself in 2019 because I felt the need to express myself by making something solid with my hands. I loved the result and I decided that the adornment would be my character for the project. I had many ideas for the video and talked to many people but none of them could get the project, so I decided to do it myself. I started thinking about something that would match my personality and the wig (being in motion, being loud, being risky) and I decided that having motorbikes in the video would be perfect. For me, as an artist, it is extremely important that I supervise every atom of my work.
I wrote the script for the video by myself, customized some clothes with my friend and stylist Silas Yayo, contacted the motorbikes, and directed the video myself.
What can we expect from you in the near future and how is this different from Virgo EP?
My next EP is totally different from my first one in image and sound. I, consciously, did not want to release autobiographical songs in my first EP, it was my first work ever and I was scared of the people’s response to it. All I did my entire life was write autobiographical songs, though, and that’s very clear in this next project. I’m a rock fan and I feel like my career is going on this route. It’s hard for me to categorize but I feel like Tour is a progressive rock song. There’s a song called “Gabriel” that I’ve released that’s also part of the next EP that’s a rock song, too. And I love the guitar solo in it. But there are other songs with electronic sounds. The song that closes the EP is called “Remington”.I wrote this one during a Brazilian literature class and it’s about the value of handwriting. It’s a somber song and mostly because there’s an instrument that I used in it that was invented especially for sound effects in horror movies. There are many peculiarities like this in the EP. It’s very outside the box.
June is International Pride Month, what does this mean to you? How do you find joy at this moment?
Living in Brazil under this ultra-right, fascist government makes it hard to find true joy and happiness while being an LGBTQ+ human being. There is a lot of sad news and we don’t even have time to mourn someone’s death because, when least expected, there’s another one. I see Pride Month as a special moment to remember the ones that came before me and made it less difficult for me to be who I am today. We honor these people, we celebrate them, we keep them alive. We also get to be in spaces we don’t usually are. So it’s nice to see the faces on magazine covers and TV commercials. My hope is that it will linger through the other eleven months of the year.
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