Brazilian musician represents the giant Canadian Godin Guitars.
By Cristiana Moretzsohn
It arose from a passion. First for the music since he was five years old, and then for a love in the United States. He finally left Brazil to recreate the musician and poet within.
Eleven years after his arrival in California, Ricardo Radik is a musician and composer with a hit album, Pêra (Pear) and another in pre-production. An independent artist who was recognized by a leading coustic-electric guitar manufacturer, Canadian Godin Guitars, who is also his sponsor.
With influences from MPB, classical music, flamenco music, jazz, soul, and life experiences that helped in the compositions, Radik enchants with a vibrant Brazilian music, “… a unique expression of the vibrancy and artistic musical beauty,” as the music critic of the Brazilian Voice found out.
How did the passion for music begin?
Radik: When I was still very young , about five years old. My mother whistled great melodies and I loved to listen to them. My father had some tapes and some vinyl recordswhich I listened to. Bossa Nova, especially Tom Jobim, Valdir Azevedo, MPB, samba, boleros and American jazz, among other things. Also I always went to my grandmother’s house in Rio, and there was direct contact with all of this and the Carnival. I was listening to a lot of music. That’s how my love for music blossomed and grew. But now I also play, sing and compose. It is a love which only increases continuously.
You are a historian who became a musician and composer. When did this “turning point” occur?
Radik: Actually, there was an exact order, but I think the music came first. My interest in history surfaced during my early teens while at school.
I decided then to take the entry exams in History and passed both the UFF and UFRJ exams. I chose UFRJ for all its history and for being considered one of the best universities in Brazil, in spite of all its problems. But before I even went to college I sang in the night. At 14 years of age I was singing songs pop and rock in national and international clubs and private parties. I sang for eight years until there was a hiatus during college, but soon resumed the music before coming to the United States, especially the guitar and composition. I am also a poet, something that developed during the academic year, then I combined music and poetry, and started writing in 1999.
What was the reason for your move from Brazil to the USA?
Radik: Love brought me here … (Laughs).
Your music has diverse influences, MPB, classical, flamenco, jazz and soul. How do you define yourself?
Radik: I try not to define. I seek to influence and am influenced by what is beautiful and exciting. The influences are often isolated. Sometimes I do not admire the personality of an artist, but I like some of their songs. Sometimes the opposite occurs. This is about what I seek as references. In terms of music that I write, it is something that happens a lot as a result of my research on top of all these references and a life experience, general or specific, which culminates in the moment of composition. And when it happens in the best way possible, I feel that I am not the composer, but only an instrument, a channel for the composition done through me. It is a transcendent spiritual experience!
A year ago you released your first album in the USA, Pêra (Pear), with performances in New York and Los Angeles. What was the impact?
Radik: The album was finished in the second half of 2010, but I did release shows in New York and Los Angeles in the first half of 2011. For a first musical work, without the help of record labels without financial support from entrepreneurs, I finally, made the race, and the result was most encouraging. The impact in New York was very good during my presentation of the release. I also had the opportunity to be interviewed on a local radio station, which was pretty cool. In Los Angeles it also was very good! The music industry is in flux and it is very difficult to measure the true impact. But my music has been played on radio in Canada, the United States and Europe. The album is distributed online and in a CD format in Japan. In Brazil it can be acquired through the newly opened iTunes online store. The harvested fruits are great and I’m in pre-production on my second album, which is also being done independently and without deadlines. At this time I would love to have financial help from the music business.
You’ll do a show in California, representing Godin Guitars – a leading manufacturer of acoustic-electric guitars in the world, located in Montreal, Canada – and presenting at one of the largest fairs in the world of music, the Namm. What are the expectations?
Radik: I actually present in the large space reserved by the organization of the NAMM Show Godin Guitars and still do not know which day. It may be on all. I try not to create expectations about anything in this life. I think it is a mistake to do this with whatever. I am only prepared to make great performances of my compositions. I feel privileged to be able to play during this event important for my sponsor, and thank the universe for this opportunity!
Godin Guitars has among its big music artists like Esperanza Spalding, Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, the Brazilian Chico Buarque, Zé Ramalho, among others. How do you feel to be a part of this select group?
Radik: I consider myself a very lucky person (laughs), to be a part of this group. But I know that I actually won this for my work which was recognized by Godin. It’s great that I had become Godin Guitars artist, even more so that the instruments which it manufactures are among the best in the market. In my opinion, they really are the best acoustic-electric guitars on the market, bar none! To stand next to the names that you mentioned is actually the realization of a dream and a great honor, even more so that it became a reality shortly after the release of my first album!
You want to stay in North America or do you aspire to be known on different continents?
Radik: I hope that I will never stop playing, singing and composing. I think things happen naturally, as they have happened so far. Of course, nothing happens without hard work and dedication. Therefore, I intend to work hard with my music, working hard in Brazil also. However, I believe it is also important to live the best life possible, always doing the right things and thinking in a positive way. We reap what we sow, and yes, I want to reach other continents. One thing I can assure you is that I really want to know Canada and play in this beautiful country only known to me by photos. The quality of life in Canada is something that always caught my attention and I hope one day to make this another dream – to play in and help bring Brazilian music to Toronto, Montreal and other Canadian cities!
A message to the Brazilians who live in Canada.
Radik: Seek knowledge, live in a healthy way, listen to great music, learn to play one instrument or more, love, fear not, help others, meditate, seek your dreams and goals without stepping on anyone and wait for me there! ! Kisses for all!