Singer-songwriter Marília Duarte continues to present her debut album, “Lado D / Lado A, Dois Lados do Amor”, through intimate and personal singles. This project was realised through a successful crowdfunding campaign, which is currently in its final phase. After revealing a reinterpretation of Marisa Monte’s “Infinito Particular”, the artist demonstrates her skill as a lyricist in the previously unreleased “Tente Entender”.
The release of this new single marks a significant moment in Marília Duarte’s career. The track has a deeply personal meaning for the artist, as it shares a journey of self-discovery after facing a diagnosis of alopecia, a condition that results in the loss of all body hair.
In this album, Marília explores various aspects of affection, including self-love. She expresses that the work is not restricted only to romantic love, with its oscillations, pains and pleasures, passions and goodbyes. The album also delves into the discovery of love inside and outside ourselves, as a point of deep connection with our own essence and wisdom.
“Side D / Side A, Two Sides of Love” is an intriguing title. Can you share the meaning behind this title and how it relates to the content of the album?
I’ve always been a whirlwind of ideas, passionate about artistic endeavour, always creating and composing many works. At the time I had many partnerships with different people and I teamed up with Rubens Allan (guitarist for artists such as Vicente Navarro, Malvavela and Lola Indigo) to arrange five tracks for this album. I came with my more refined, alternative and erudite side and he with his more Grove, Afro and urban influences. We made this combination of two opposite worlds, two sides that meet, in which the album reveals its potential, since it is in the meeting of these languages, of black and white, of popular and erudite, of alternative and mainstream that the colour, beauty, harmonies, rhythms and the whole sound reveal themselves and stand out. The name also refers to the time when, in the music industry, the A-side and B-side were expressions directly associated with vinyl records, where the B-side of the records was made up of differentiated, experimental, alternative songs, and the A-side contained the more commercial songs. “Lado D – Lado A/ Dois Lados do Amor” (Side D – Side A/ Two Sides of Love) talks about my experiences, discoveries and learning about love, and takes us back to the commercial scene as well as the authentic and alternative one, in its diversity, spontaneity, in which it moves from the “well-known, pop, usual” A-side to its opposite. On the one hand, songs that talk about romantic love and its paradigms, pains, pleasures, bitterness, encounters, pitfalls and goodbyes; on the other, the discovery of LOVE as liberation from the ego, a point of connection and encounter with oneself in a real transcendence of those who learn that solitude is not loneliness.
The single “Try to Understand” reveals a deep and personal journey. How did the experience of alopecia influence the creation of this song and, more broadly, your artistic approach to this album?
To be honest, I wrote the lyrics to this song before Alopecia. But it’s a song that makes more and more sense to me. If I can relate what the song has in common with what I’ve been learning and experiencing through my experiences with alopecia, it’s the question about the transience of life. Transience refers to the quality or state of being transitory, that is, temporary or fleeting. It is the characteristic of something that is not permanent and will eventually come to an end, transform or disappear. Just like hair and body hair. When considering the relationship between transience and alopecia, it’s important to realise that alopecia can be both transient and permanent, depending on the underlying cause. From a philosophical point of view, alopecia can be seen as an example of the transience of life and the impermanence of the human body. Alopecia invites me to move through the instances as a reminder that life is ephemeral and that all things, including health, physical form and appearance, are fleeting. It leads us to consider the changing nature of the human body and the importance of accepting the changes that occur over time. Many people have a strong connection between their identity and their physical appearance, including their hair. Alopecia can challenge these notions and lead people to explore deeper questions about who they are beyond their external appearance.
Who are you? Where did we come from? To understand this, we must first admit the Mystery. The same goes for seeking to understand the world as well as ourselves. Try to Understand takes the prism that everything is learning, transience and mystery and depends on the type of lens you use to see things, in a kind of narrative for what is revealed behind understanding, something that cannot be seen through reason, that is beyond mystery, where no words are worth saying for this mystery to be felt and understood.
Embracing diversity has always been my banner as well as finding the wisdom in self-acceptance to deal with life’s inevitable changes. Dealing with alopecia can be an opportunity to develop resilience and learn to accept how I am in my present condition, in the now. Philosophers such as the Stoics taught the importance of finding happiness within ourselves, regardless of external circumstances. Facing alopecia can lead someone to explore their inner journey in search of true happiness and self-acceptance. Alopecia also raises questions about the nature of beauty and how it is perceived by society. In this sense, I wanted to expose myself in the clips and images on the album with both my bald and hairy figures, without hiding anything, because both are me in different phases in which I invite myself to love and be loved not as I am, but as I am. This directly influenced the artistic conception of this work.
The Album’s aesthetic can lead us to question conventional beauty standards and appreciate the diversity of shapes, forms, colours, shapes, formats and appearances that exist in each of us.
Ultimately, alopecia can be seen as a reminder of the transience of life and an opportunity for philosophical reflection on themes such as identity, self-acceptance, beauty and the pursuit of happiness. It invites us to look inside ourselves and explore deep questions about the meaning of human existence.
Transience is a fundamental part of life and is present in many aspects, including emotions, events, situations and even human life itself, which is ephemeral.
For example, human emotions are often transitory, ranging from happiness to sadness, anger to joy, and so on. Events in a person’s life, such as a job, a relationship or a phase of life, can also be transitory, meaning that they won’t last forever. Understanding transience can be important when dealing with life’s changes and challenges, as it reminds us that difficult situations won’t last forever, and that it’s important to value and appreciate the moments of joy and happiness while they last. Try to Understand can be a song that helps calm our senses when we have that tendency to hyper-rationalise everything in order to find meaning in life, and it can also be a balm for accepting life’s impermanence.
The project was crowdfunded. How was the experience of involving your fans and supporters in the process of creating the album?
In fact, the project was financed entirely by me, by Rubens, and recorded with the help of musicians who agreed to participate in partnership with us. The crowdfunding only happened later, when the project was already finalised, and was a way of covering some of the costs of investment in the studio, mixing, mastering, filming, production, etc., as well as a way of engaging fans and the general public to make the launch and promotion of the project possible. The funding experience was challenging and surprising at the same time. The frustration of not receiving the expected support from some people you trust and, at the same time, being surprised by those you least expected is an emotionally complex experience. This can be particularly relevant in contexts such as crowdfunding, where the support of friends, family and even strangers plays a crucial role in the success of a campaign. this situation can trigger various emotions, expectations and disappointments: When we start crowdfunding, it’s common to create expectations about who will be there to support our cause. Close friends, family and colleagues may seem like obvious choices to support a cause we deeply value. Frustration arises when we realise that some of the people we trusted to support us don’t contribute or show no interest in our campaign. This disappointment can be overwhelming, as it feels like a breach of trust and emotional support. On the other hand, we can be surprised by unexpected support: it’s very possible to be surprised by support coming from people you least expected. These surprises can include distant friends, acquaintances you didn’t think cared that much or even strangers who have connected with your cause. This unexpected show of support can be exciting and comforting, as it shows that your cause resonates with people you hadn’t realised. It generates reflections on relationships and values: Situations like this can lead to deep reflections on relationships and values. You may wonder about the true nature of the connections with the people who didn’t support you, as well as the meaning of the unexpected support. Frustration can be an opportunity to evaluate priorities and expectations in your personal relationships. 4 Acceptance and gratitude: As you deal with this mix of emotions, it’s important to remember that we can’t always control the actions of others. Some people may have personal reasons for not being supportive, and others may have personal reasons for doing so. Sometimes this concerns them more than it concerns you. Still, gratitude for unexpected support can help balance out frustration, reminding you that you are not alone in your cause. Learning and resilience: Ultimately, this experience can be a learning experience about the complexity of human relationships and unpredictability
As well as themes of romantic love, you mentioned exploring self-love and self-discovery on the album. Can you tell us more about this exploration and how it translates into your music?
Music has always been a loving listener to my questions, a mother, a lover, a friend, a partner… a way of letting go, overcoming, re-signifying life’s events, so that I can reintegrate them in a more loving and mature way, lulling, ordering, transcending. Through the pleasures and pains of love, we often find ourselves with loneliness associated with sadness, but with music associated with the expansion of self-knowledge and practices such as the Cantoyoga I develop, through meditation and other practices and reflections, it is possible to experience a state in which solitude is seen as a state of positive voluntary isolation in which we get in touch with our inner world, put our thoughts in order and observe the meaning of our emotions. Beyond Me, for example, is a song from this album that speaks of the need for silence in the refuge of inner solitude in order to meet the Higher Self, a term that refers to our true essence, that which is highest and purest in our being, which is beyond ourselves and is our true identity.
Every encounter reveals a farewell. In order to find ourselves, we often have to say goodbye, either to negative patterns or to old relationships. Dois Lados Do Amor (Two Sides of Love), which takes its title from the album and track 9 on the disc, speaks of this moment of awareness in a love relationship, through a request for forgiveness, from someone who confesses their past mistakes and says goodbye to the old in order to find themselves and embrace new paths and their own identity. Love is translated in various ways throughout the tracks, whether subtly, openly or transcendentally.
“Try to Understand” is a glimpse of what’s to come on the album. Can we expect thematic continuity or any surprises in musical direction on the full album?
The album has an implicit narrative, which is stitched together through the tracks. But despite having the theme of love as a backdrop, there’s no getting bored, because just as in life, this love is lived and sung through many different nuances. “Try to Understand” is an intriguing preview of an album that promises a rich and engaging narrative. The album will have a thematic continuity that revolves around love, but will explore this theme in varied and multifaceted ways, and may also showcase some surprises, such as special appearances by Léo Middea, an exponent of the Portuguese music scene, Quarteto Iapó , Celso de Almeida (drummer for Rosa Passos, winner of the Latin Grammy) and Mariana de Moraes, granddaughter of Vinícius de Moraes.
The album creates a captivating and engaging musical experience for listeners, as they are taken through different nuances of love throughout the tracks. The idea of an implicit narrative unfolding throughout the songs is exciting, as it allows listeners to immerse themselves in the story and the emotional experience as the album progresses. Music is a powerful way of telling stories and conveying emotions, and when combined with a central theme like love, it can create a deep connection with the audience.
The promise of variety in approaches to love is also exciting, as it shows that the album can be dynamic and diverse in terms of musical style, moving through Afro, pop, groove, classical, alternative, classical, with orchestral arrangements, and nuances of bossa-nova-jazz. This can keep listeners engaged and interested, plus the lyrics, as each track offers a unique perspective on the theme of love. In short, with an engaging central theme, an implied narrative and a variety of nuances about love, the album promises to be an exciting musical journey that will probably surprise listeners along the way.
You mentioned that the album explores the essence of love. What do you think that essence is and how do you capture it in your music?
The essence of love for me is a deep and complex theme, which many artists try to express in different ways. For me, the essence of love is subtle. It’s becoming love, it’s loving. And it’s related to the idea of allowing oneself to feel, to experience deep emotions, but also to learn from emotions and feelings, which generates understanding and a broadening of consciousness… love often involves a series of complex emotions, such as joy, tenderness, vulnerability, passion and connection, but love with the other and the world can only be deepened as we broaden the connection with ourselves, and this also requires the refining of ideas, thinking, spiritual connection, practices and states that involve self-knowledge, emptying oneself in order to encounter oneself, the other and the world….
Capturing this essence in my music happens when, by writing lyrics, composing melodies and designing harmonies, I enable myself to better process my own emotions and feelings, allowing them to express themselves and make sense, creating bridges for listeners to identify with and do the same from their own experiences, emotions and feelings. When the words are genuine and sincere, listeners can identify and relate to the music more easily.
I believe that the way I sing, through genuine vocal expression from the heart, can also be a factor in expressing this essence of love. Capturing the essence of love in music and art is a challenge that seems to be an irresistible stimulus for every artist, which involves a combination of musical elements, creativity and authenticity. Each artist has their own unique way of approaching this universal theme, and I believe that it is this possibility of touching the truth that makes music and art so important, so rich and diverse
What is your creative process like when composing lyrics that touch on such intimate aspects of human life and emotions?
Songwriting happens to me like a creative flow that comes through a channel, like a portal that opens up and allows me to draw chords, melodies and lyrics, usually all together. Many songs I write first, others I end up making the basis of the guitar and melody first and then creating the lyrics, and sometimes the lyrics come first and then I put them to music. But the vast majority come as an avalanche, as if I’d downloaded them from heaven (laughs) through intuition and this portal of connection in which the music quickly reveals itself. But the songs always have to do with personal experiences of mine, in which I try to shed light from a particular point of view and at the same time universal and collectivising so that more people can relate, identify and understand that narrative too.
Apart from Marisa Monte, what artistic and musical influences contributed to the creation of this album and your career in general?
There are so many, both consciously and unconsciously. Because not every influence is direct or chosen for what we like. But as a result of what we’ve experienced and heard in life. The first influence is my mother, who is a singer and guitarist and always sang and played beautifully at home for us to listen to. Since childhood she would put us to sleep to the sound of beautiful beach songs by Dorival Caymmi, bossa novas by Elis, Tom, Milton Nascimento, Nana Caymmi, Chico Buarque – all these artists are great influences on me. Then when I met Rubens Allan, the producer of five albums, we listened to a lot of Djavan, Monica Salmaso, Concha Buika, Céu, Jorge Drexler, Silvia Perez Cruz, Zap Mama, Ella Fitzgerald, among other incredible artists, and I’ve always loved world music.
What are your hopes and expectations for this album? What do you want your listeners to experience and feel when listening to your music?
I hope that this album can touch people’s hearts and inspire them in some way to come face to face with themselves, accepting life’s encounters and disagreements, accepting the emotions and feelings that we all feel, be it passion, anger, desire, affection, guilt, fear, the desire to discover oneself, detachment, loneliness, solitude, etc and that they can understand that emotions become feelings, and that feelings become understanding, and that it is as important to feel as it is to think and want, and that it is through the alignment of these three forces and a higher understanding that we can meet our true essence, which is love.
How do you imagine your artistic journey after the release of this album? Are there any future projects or musical directions you want to explore?
I have a dream of touring Europe with the album, that would be a next step, a desire and a project. Since I’m the composer and producer of the album Lado D/Lado, Dois lados do Amor, I live in Brazil and Rubens Allan, the co- producer, lives in Madrid (he plays with Vicente Navarro, Lola índigo, Malvavela and other artists). So the dream of getting together for a tour would be incredible. I’m open to invitations. I believe that this work also has a lot of potential for inclusion in the festival scene, especially in mpb, bossa nova, jazz and world music. Creating new connections with different artists and also possibly orchestras, because my songs are very orchestral, it would be lovely to get together with European orchestras that want to explore the universe of Brazilian popular song. Can you imagine me singing with Concha Buika or Silvia Perez Cruz with a beautiful orchestra? It would be a dream come true!
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