Rafael Telles, a talented actor and singer, began his promising career in 2014, shining in a memorable musical entitled “Anos 80 – De Filho para Pai”. Since then, her artistic career has been marked by an incessant search for improvement, passing through important theater schools such as Teatro Tablado, Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim and even the People’s Improv Theater in New York.
One of the highlights of his career took place in November 2019, when Rafael starred in the exciting musical “Despertar da Primavera” by Charles Moeller and Claudio Botelho, at the then Teatro Net Rio. On that occasion, he proudly received the APTR Young Talent award , an honor bestowed upon her by none other than the renowned Fernanda Montenegro.
In the year 2022, Rafael briefly embarked for São Paulo, where he premiered another brilliant musical, entitled “Túnel do Amor”, featuring the wonderful songs of Celly Campelo. Currently, he is back in Rio de Janeiro, starring in the engaging musical “Síndroma”, where he gives voice to songs masterfully composed by Jay Vaquer, while being guided by Jane Duboc.
In addition to his remarkable performance in musicals, Rafael also stood out in plays, as in the case of “O Ateneu”, by Oberdan Júnior and Marcelo Cavalcanti, where he played essential roles, including the protagonist Barbalho. He also made notable appearances in the telenovela “Travessia”, in the core of Jade Picon, and in the series “Filhas de Eva”, giving life to the character Lucas.
Parallel to his brilliance on stage and screen, Rafael Telles is investing in building his career as a singer and composer, having already produced more than 20 original compositions. In the near future, he intends to release an EP with some of these songs, which promises to come with an amazing John Mayer-style vibe.
How was the beginning of your career as an actor/singer? What inspired you to enter the world of musical theater?
Well it all started with a stroke of fate. A casting coach called Marília Rodrigues called me to do a montage practice called “Anos 80, Um Musical de Filho Pra Pai”. I wasn’t an actor yet and a guy who would play the character “Chico” would have abandoned the play a month before it opened. Lili(mariliz) called my mother and asked if I would be interested. They knew each other because they had already worked together on a project. I immediately said “YES”. So it was a marathon of memorizing texts and learning to sing the songs in the play. At the time I only played guitar, nothing else, so it was a month of pure effort and dedication. After that play, I started my process to become a professional, until I started doing professional musical theater auditions.
You mentioned studying theater in different places, including New York. How did these experiences shape your approach to acting?
I believe that any place in the world has something to teach. In the case of New York, I spent a month studying improvising and it was crazy. Because improvising in Portuguese is already difficult, imagine in English. Even more American English full of slang, expressions being spoken very quickly. It was an amazing and extremely fun experience, even though it was a big challenge at first. The main lesson I took from all of this is the art of saying “Yes” on the scene, that is, being able to accept ideas scenically speaking. Even if you have thought of a “better” idea, you have to give it up for the good of the whole.
Receiving the Young Talent APTR award for her performance in the musical “Despertar da Primavera” must have been exciting. Can you tell us a little about that experience and how did you feel when you were awarded by Fernanda Montenegro?
The whole story is very exciting and even funny. In short, I was not told that I was nominated. Maria Siman called me to talk about the award, saying that as of the following year there would be a new APTR category called “Manoela Pinto Guimarães”. When the day of the award arrived, I had my speech ready and when the time was approaching, I saw Fernanda Montenegro talking about the award. At the time I didn’t understand anything, because if I were to compare my speech with Fernanda’s, it would be better to throw mine away.
When the speech was coming to an end, the queen says “And the first Manoela Pinto Guimarães trophy this year goes to… RAFAEL TELLES” I didn’t even know more about the speech. I was speechless, in shock, confused, mentally unbalanced. To this day I keep that memory with great affection and emotion. It was a surprise that I can tell about for the rest of my life… and what a surprise.
In “Tunel do Amor” you debuted in São Paulo. How was the experience of acting and singing in this musical? How does it differ from other projects you’ve participated in?
Look, it was pretty intense. Mainly because of the dancing. I received a huge vote of confidence from choreographer Vanessa Costa, who really believed in my potential and got me to dance. Everyone in the cast already danced a lot. I had to run back rehearsing more than 2 hours after the rehearsal ended. There were days staying until dawn cleaning and learning each step, each leg, each choreographed arm. I am very grateful to Vanessa and Marcelo Vasquez who were very patient with me. At first it was distressing, but it is interesting to point out that at the end of the rehearsal process, I already felt more developed in the area. As much as I continued to have certain difficulties, I understood that the part of memorizing the choreography was like a muscle to be worked. It’s just a matter of practice and keep practicing. Today, in the musical Síndroma,
Now on display with the musical “Síndroma”, you sing songs composed by Jay Vaquer and are prepared by Jane Duboc. What is it like to work with these renowned professionals?
Simply unique. I could say amazing, wonderful etc. But the feeling can be described by the word unique me. I already knew two of Jay’s songs and I knew who he was because he had already directed some of my friends in “Poema”, another musical he wrote. But having worked with him directly made me see just how out of the ordinary this being is. The sensitivity, creativity, musical ease, and most importantly, the unshakable character, make Jay Vaquer a professional and a person who inspires just by being around. I don’t mince words to say how fair and good our director, music director, producer, composer is. One of the reasons he is like this certainly comes from birth. And that’s where our interaction with Jane Duboc comes in, another being of light who helped me HORRORS. Anyone who has minimal knowledge of Jay’s work, knows how complex and difficult the songs are. A lot of chromaticism, a lot of interpretation, bizarre tunings and so on. Jane took my hand and said “you’re doing well, keep it up, you’ve come a long way” in moments where I was desperate. She was literally a mother to me and certainly to all of us. Apart from being an icon of music in Brazil.
With over 20 songs written, you mentioned that you are about to release an EP with some of them. Can you give us a taste of what listeners can expect from this work?
I think everything is a new challenge. I always liked having obstacles that encouraged me to grow professionally and artistically. I always try to be learning something new. Even in 2014 when I was just starting to act, I already created a desire to learn about sound design and musical direction. Very stimulated by my grandmother Regina Miranda, who also works as director and movement director.
What are your main goals and ambitions for the future of your career in theatre, music and acting?
My goals for now are clear, finish my EP, release my songs and start working on the second EP soon. Of course, I will continue auditioning and auditioning for musicals and television, which are also my great passions. Everything is talked about and encouraged, I’ve always believed that.
Finally, what advice would you give to young artists who are starting to walk the path of musical theater and the arts in general?
Understand that living just as a theater actor is almost impossible in Brazil. Daniel Herz told me that right off the bat and it changed my outlook on everything. Upon hearing that, I was immediately struck by a sense of urgency to learn new skills within the theater field itself. Being a teacher, sound designer, illuminator, composer. You don’t need to have a plan B outside of the arts. I’m not telling you to become a lawyer, doctor, engineer. Just that he always has an alternative up his sleeve for those moments when he is not doing a play as an actor. Bills always arrive at the end of the month, no matter how talented and dedicated you are. I know it might hurt a little to hear this, but I am so grateful to this great master for always keeping my feet on the ground, especially in connection with this issue.
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