Canadian born to Brazilian parents, singer, producer and beatmaker Nick Souza makes his art a declaration of love for his roots. “No One”, her new single, unites funk, R&B and pop in a danceable and climatic way at the same time. This is an MDC Music label release.
In his previous releases, Nick Souza sought references ranging from chill funk in “Baile” to Latin parties in “Perreo”. Currently traveling through Brazil in search of references and partnerships with local creators, the artist is diving into the local culture. Now, Nick turns the Brazilianness he inherited from birth into music.
Seeking to become professional in the market, Nick studied music at Western University and Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada. Accompanying Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning producer and engineer Dan Brodbeck, Souza has become a multi-skilled professional: producer, composer, mixing and mastering engineer.
Nick’s career began in his university residence, with the production of his first single and EP, “All The Way” and “Souza Szn, Vol.1” respectively, released in 2019. The album’s success took him through clubs and beyond. stages in Toronto, Hamilton and London, including at Modrn Night Club, Mod Club, Mustang Lounge and The Wave. Nick has been making a name for himself, not only as an artist, but also as an engineer, songwriter and producer with some of the hottest new names in Toronto music including Kafayé, Jonah Zed and Fleedoe.
Throughout 2020, Nick Souza participated in the Beat Series, a music competition for Portuguese-speaking people in the Toronto area. In the contest presented by MDC Media Group, Nick Souza faced off against 12 contestants for a total prize pool of $5,000 and an album recording contract. In November 2021, he released his first single on the label, “Light Show”, for which he won Best Rap/Hip-Hop Performance at the 2022 International Portuguese Music Awards. Check out the interview!
Recently released, the song “No One”, made reference to its Brazilian roots, using funk, R&b and pop for that. How did the idea for this new song come about?
The idea of mixing styles in production is something I always try to look for in my songs. It is a characteristic of mine, as I am a person who has this duality of cultures. I think the production has to reflect this to be more authentic to me. The song’s theme is a lost relationship theme, like a love song about a relationship that didn’t work out.
You are currently passing through the country in search of new partnerships, and despite being Canadian, your parents are Brazilian. How has your musical connection with Brazil been and how would you compare Brazilian and Canadian music?
This stay in Brazil is now being very important for me – not only to seek partnerships and influences, but to establish more concretely my identity as a person. I grew up with my parents always playing Brazilian music and when I spent holidays here my cousins would always show me what was on at the time, and I would take those references back to Canada – so I always had a knowledge but I was never completely immersed like now. I feel that this immersion will be very important to mature my connection with my roots. I think that Brazilian music, due to the Portuguese language, is much more expressive than Canadian music, and Brazilian rhythms are much more contagious – something that I think Brazilians only realize and value when they go out and experience other cultures. . Brazilian music touches people’s souls in a way that other styles of music simply cannot.
Unlike your previous releases, where you looked for references from chill funk to Latin parties, this time you are exploring new rhythms. What has it been like to go through this new experimentation with rhythms and which is the easiest to work with?
Experimenting with new rhythms has always been something liberating for me. I always wanted to position myself as an artist who innovates and presents styles of music in an unexpected and unique way. Because of this, I think that all experimentation is a little difficult because it is necessary to treat each genre with a very careful taste and affection so as not to lose its essence in an attempt to mix it with the other influences that I have. At this moment what inspires me most is funk, but I’ve already experimented with samba and bossa nova and I intend to work more deeply with these rhythms and several others as well.
During your academic career, you arrived at abscissas music at Western University and Fanshawe College in London Ontario and Canada. Positioning more for the phonographic market, are the recognition and professional culture of each region quite contrasting?
It is contrastable but not enough. Music is a universal language and no matter where you are from – if you speak the language of the music you can communicate with people from all over the world – no matter the culture or language. Of course styles and techniques change from region to region and style to style, but I think the biggest differences I noticed were two. The first being that in Brazil the creative process most often starts with the lyrics and the music is developed after the lyrics. In Canada we start with the song or the “beat” already in place and the artist writes the lyrics based on the emotions he or she feels when they hear the base of the beat. The second is about mixing and mastering. Gringo engineers often shy away from digital distortion to achieve a clean and “commercial” sound while Brazilians are not afraid to introduce distortion to achieve a very loud sound that hits hard. This is quite apparent in funk.
During this project, you were accompanied by Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning producer Dan Brodbeck. How was your exchange in this partnership?
Dan has always been a mentor to me in music. When I think it’s appropriate I send my unreleased tracks for him to criticize and give his opinions. He always said that it’s very important for me to incorporate elements of my cultural roots into my music for my work to become something unique that reflects who I am. He made it very clear to me that I must develop the soundtrack and musical legacy of the people who are part of several cultures at the same time. He always supports me.
Nowadays, you have become a multi-skilled artist, such as production, songwriting, mixing engineering and mastering. Would you like to know a little more about how your musical career began?
I started at home making beats and writing lyrics over the beats I made. But of course in the beginning I played my beats and soon after I played the songs of my favorite artists and their sound was much stronger, clearer and louder. Upon realizing this, I went after seeing why their work was so much better sonically than mine and then I started to study and practice mixing and mastering on the internet. My first paid job in the music industry was recording songs for other artists in a studio next to my house in Canada. I worked in a studio and artists rented the space to work with me and record their songs. That’s how I started to network and grow in the Toronto scene.
About your composition process, how does your creative process generally take place and what are the vital elements that cannot be missing from your music?
Usually I start on the piano finding tones, timbres and strings that move me. After that I start humming and improvising some melodies for my vocals that would go well with the timbres I recorded on the keyboard. When I find the melodies I want, I start to decode my murmurs and turn them into lyrics, and as I write each lyric, I develop the instrumentation as well. I do the lyrics and the beat in sync.
During your walk, you performed alongside big names, such as Kafayé, Jonah Zed and Fleedoe, well-known artists from the city of Toronto. What has been your most memorable moment in your career so far?
It’s all very new to me. I can’t think of a specific moment that stood out more than the others. The fact that I’m living my dream releasing music, playing shows, gaining new fans and supporting my peers who are following the same path is still pretty surreal to me. I can’t think of one thing that stands out above the rest. I think that moment is yet to come.
In 2020, you participated in a new experience by being part of the “Best Series”, a music contest for Portuguese speakers, where you faced 12 competitors, won $5000 and left with a recording contract for an album. How was the competition experience?
The experience was good. The competition was hotly contested and I am happy that I was chosen to win the prizes. It was a great achievement and it opened many doors for me, but with this new achievement comes many more challenges to overcome if I want to reach the point that I am envisioning and manifesting, and I am ready to face this long and difficult climb.
Another important move was the single “Light Show”, for which you received the Best Rap/Hip-Hop Performance award at the 2022 International Portuguese Music Awards. Can you talk a little more about this song?
This song for me was a way to deal with the friendships that dissipated during the pandemic. It was a very difficult time for me and this song helped me a lot to purge the sadness and loneliness I was feeling. That’s music’s first function for me right now – I use it to get rid of the feelings that are trapped inside my soul. The fact that I won an award for the song is a huge confirmation that I’m doing my job well and for the right reasons.
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