Interview with Ronnie Von and his son Leo Von


Leo Von with his father, Ronnie Von.
Google Translation from Portuguese (automatic, unrevised).

Singer and host Ronnie Von and his son, who is also a singer and music producer, Leo Von have a great admiration for Canada. Ronnie points out that the country is a cultural reference for him, in addition to being a place that has first-rate natural beauty and that has an extremely happy people. Leo says that the country is one of the countries that most produce good bands and artists, and that he is a fan of Neil Young, Rush, Bryan Adams and others.

Father and son say they would certainly live in Canadian territory. Ronnie because he loves the cold and living in the country would be “soup in the honey” – as he himself emphasizes – and also because the culture meets what the singer believes. Leo Von, on the other hand, says that he would definitely live in Canada and that this idea has been considered by him for some time, as the country respects immigrants a lot, is very considerate of them and offers a lot of affection.

Both also talked about some particularities of their careers, despite going through different phases.

Ronnie Von has been very successful as a singer and actor since the 60s and 70s, when he was even called a prince and maintains a legion of fans to this day. He also commanded with great charisma and sympathy several variety programs on TV and is now negotiating with some broadcasters to present a new attraction.

Leo Von started his music career early, at the age of nine. At eleven he joined his first band, Revolution Kids, composed of children in love with the Beatles. Then, he followed a solo career and in 2008 he went to Europe, where he performed for a while. Upon returning to Brazil, he worked with artists such as Agnaldo Rayol, Jerry Adriani and Angela Maria. In 2015, he was very successful with the song “Only U”, which was part of the soundtrack of the soap opera “Babilônia”, on TV Globo. Then he spent a season in the United States, where he was a member of the Rico Monaco Band and other formations. On that occasion he opened the shows of famous bands in various parts of the country. Later, he also did some solo performances in bars and parties. Currently, Leo is engaged in a new project with a Brazilian radio and has also been promoting the song “Viva o que Vive em Você”, which is winning over the Brazilian public.

About the new projects, both told what is new around there. Follow the interview they gave to Brazilian Wave Canada.

What image do you have of Canada and the references about the country?

Ronnie Von – Canada is a reference not only culturally, but of natural beauty of the first magnitude. It is a beautiful place, where people are happy. I see Canada as a kind of oasis in the middle of a desert of emotions that exists in the world. I like the country a lot, although there is distance, but I have always followed documentaries, photographs, films and I have, in a way, this affectionate connection even though I have never been.

Leo Von: Canada is one of the places that has produced the most good artists. I am completely passionate about Canadian culture and my favorite artists are Neil Young, Rush – which I idolize and is one of my favorite bands -, has Bachman-Turner Overdrive, until more recently Bryan Adams. So, the image I have of Canada, in addition to the natural beauty, the organization, the respectful and progressive social structure, is of all that is best in a society. Of course, I love maple syrup! (laughs).

Wave – Canada, like Brazil, is a storehouse for great artists. Which Canadian celebrities do you admire?

Ronnie Von – One of the first names that comes to mind is Celine Dion and Michael Bublé, who is a standards singer that I like a lot. He’s a romantic singer, but if this guy sang only standards, just jazz, he would be one of the greatest musical idols on our planet. I also like Alanis Morissette and Rush a lot. In fact, I started to like this band a lot due to Leo.

Wave – Every year, Canada opens space for artists of other nationalities and promotes international festivals. Have you performed in other countries? Would you like to have this experience in the North American country?

Ronnie Von – I have performed in several countries, mainly in Europe and Latin America. However, I have never been to a musical event in Canada, I only follow from a distance. Canada has a very large participation of European colonies, mainly Portuguese, which speaks my language, and many Brazilians. In fact, Canada embraces all forms of communication as a trade and I think that is very cool. This is something that does not happen in all countries.

Leo Von – I have also played in several countries outside Brazil, mainly in the United States, where I lived for five years and my musical career was all there. In addition, I performed in Europe with Tony Osanah, who even was a partner of my father in the 60s, 70s in several compositions. We had the privilege of playing together at Indra, in Hamburg, where the Beatles started their careers. It was an unforgettable, exciting experience. We were also in Brussels, in some places in Germany and even in Amsterdam, playing in a square, in the street. And of course, I have a big dream of visiting Canada. On the day that I go, I will have to do the entire Moving Pictures of Rush in my presentation, to honor one of my favorite bands. If I were invited to do a show or tour in the country, I would be happy to accept it!

Wave – Brazil and Canada have some differences in relation to the climate and some customs. Despite this, would you like to live in the country of North America for a while? In what aspects would you have more difficulty?

Ronnie Von – I would have no difficulty living in Canada because Canadian culture is very much in line with what I believe in, as a civilization and as a proposal for humanity. Of course, for us Latinos, already used to the climate below the Equator, or in the middle of it, that would be a little more complex. But, as I like cold a lot, it would be “soup in honey”. I would really like! Or even take a trip, why not?

Leo Von – My wife and I considered living in the country while we were in the United States, because the American system is much more complicated for an immigrant to live. We see the affection and greater attention that Canada gives to newcomers, in addition to having a first-rate health system. The immigrant receives support from the government to integrate into the country and be able to contribute to its growth. We forget that the whole of America was built by immigrants. So, knowing this, Canada embraces the idea and has all that respect for those who arrive to help and add. I would also live in Canada, as I love that wonderful cold and snow, I breathe very well in the coldest weather and would eat maple syrup every day for breakfast.

Wave – You ran the program “Todo Seu” for 15 years on TV Gazeta de São Paulo. After his departure, rumors emerged that some broadcasters wanted to hire him. Did it really happen, were you hired or are you negotiating?

Ronnie Von – In fact, I received invitations. In fact, a very strong invitation with an extensive contract, for a program every Wednesday at 10 pm. All of this happened during the pre-pandemic and this situation ended up becoming almost an obstacle. I don’t know what the behavior of television stations will be from now on. The negotiations did not stop due to the pandemic, but after that, I want to see if the reasoning and commercial vision of the TV directors will continue in the same way.

Wave – What style of program do you like to do? Do you think about trying some new format?

Ronnie Von – The program that I like to do the most is the electronic magazine, a multidisciplinary program that you can approach practically all the things that involve you in everyday life. I believe that the purpose of electronic communication, as is the case with television, is supported on a tripod. The first is information, of course, the second is service provision and the third is entertainment, of course. But as long as it has no pornography or eschatology, it does not have blood or cheap sensationalism, because that for many Brazilian broadcasters was the master line in an attempt to steal an audience. I think this is a horror! I could do something different. Today there is the fashion of realities shows and I just don’t like those of confinement, because I think it is absurd, an inhumanity, a horrible thing and that shows the worst thing in the human being – the cizânia, the confusion. But, maybe I would do some if I was invited, as I have been.

Wave – You are a complete artist, who was very successful in the mid 60’s and also 70 as a singer, actor and presenter. Even today he is very revered by his fans. How do you evaluate and return all this affection from the public over the years? Have you ever had an unusual or even uncomfortable situation due to harassment?

Ronnie Von – At that time, I started to present a television program for youth, but with a little more content bias. It was not just the musical thing itself, but with experimental and underground music, something kind of underground, psychedelic music. And there was also a magical and mystical text. Of course I went through several situations of harassment. I aired 13 television programs, the last of which was on the air for 15 years. What happened was the following, there was a type of social behavior at the time very different from the current one. Today, compared to the beginning, when the harassment was aggressive and, after I presented this program that was on the air for 15 years, that same attitude that was at the beginning of my career came back, only in a slightly calmer way. At that time, I went through terrible situations like being undressed at the television door, even with all the security and the police around. They took off all my clothes, threw me in the gutter. Imagine me naked, crying and having no way to escape? That’s because people wanted to keep a memory, so they took my clothes, my shoes, everything, including underwear. I still have trauma from this story. There were also people who threw themselves on the top floor of the theater with a tied note, or who slept under my bed, girls who stayed in the lockers at hotels when I traveled, people with scissors at the airport to cut my hair. Anyway, I’ve been through several! And it happened to a lot of people, but people think it’s fiction. Today it still happens, but in a milder, more behaved way. The affection is the same, and I try to respond in some way, despite knowing that I am too small to return so much love. But I try, you can be sure!

Wave – You are a reference to Leo Von, you are a complete artist with a lot of experience in this universe of celebrities. What advice do you give your child so he can have a successful career?

Ronnie Von – First of all, I think he must have humility. I tell him not to be contaminated by success and power, which affect a man’s existence. I want him to be focused on his job, as he is talented. This is an activity that he can add, never share. What I really think is that in this type of mystery he needs to feel like a missionary, and imagine that both the people who follow him, and those who eventually don’t, could be with him at any time. Just don’t let yourself get puffed up, go crazy and have that kind of behavior that is so common today in celebrities. Celebrities in quotes, because it lasts very little.

Wave – Did your father’s musical career influence your professional choice? How did this happen?

Leo Von – Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe I had a strong unconscious influence, because since I was born this was the type of environment in which I was exposed. It was my father’s friends who came home, it was the bus that came to leave him on tour, in short, I always lived surrounded by a musical environment. So, this may have influenced me in a way, after all it is all very familiar to me. From a very young age, I always loved listening to music and started my career with a Beatles cover band, probably because my father was a huge fan of the group. So, in a way, it led me to pursue this dream, which even my father was against at the beginning. I was really interested in my father’s music career when I was older, aged thirteen or fourteen, and I fell in love with his discography and started researching it.

Wave – How do you define your musical style and which national and international singers were your references?

Leo Von – Today I have done a style more focused on Brazilian pop. After I returned from the United States, I signed with a Brazilian label and we started to outline a career plan more focused on Brazil. In the beginning, we made a song in English and one in Portuguese to see what would happen. And the music in Portuguese was better. So, I’m joining this wave here in Brazil, which mixes a little bit of folk pop with MPB. We joke that it is a pop MPB, within this good vibes that is happening here. But, my greatest influence and passion was the Beatles. It was from them that I learned to love music, to compose and to play instruments. In Brazil, my biggest reference is my father, mainly with the psychedelic part and the rock and roll that he did. Besides, I really like Raul Seixas and Mutantes.

Wave – You lived for a few years in the United States. How was this experience abroad important to your career as a singer and producer?

Leo Von – I think it was in the United States that I discovered myself as a person. Here in Brazil there is the question of always putting me next to my father. And there is always that thing: “Ah, Ronnie Von’s son did this and that …”. So, you never know if that highlight you have is for that reason or for some talent that you can actually offer. In the United States, I found that I didn’t need my father’s name or family name to grow up. There I lived for five years as a musician, I did several different projects as a singer, I started producing and, with that, I grew a lot. I played with Tito Puente Jr. and with Alan Parsons Project, I also opened the show for the Eletric Light Orchestra, that is, I did things that in Brazil I probably would not be able to do, with or without my father. So, this experience abroad gave me the confidence and the certainty that I do something cool.

Wave – What are the differences for you between singing and producing. What do you enjoy doing the most?

Leo Von – What I like to do most is a live show. This is my great passion, this is where I have the most resourcefulness, it is my environment. Production is something I have always done, but in an unpretentious way. Now with the quarantine, I started to take it more seriously and launched my first project as a producer, with Mr. Jam and Paulo Jeveaux. It is very nice to produce too, but I believe that live music is still where I do best.

Wave – What are your next projects?

Leo Von – I will continue what I started at the end of 2019 with my song “Viva o que Vive em Você”. This song was my first release in Portuguese, it is going very well, it started playing on the Brazilian radio Transamérica. I am also starting to format a long-term project with this radio to grow together. So, we are structuring the next steps and we have a lot of songs to record and release. At the moment, the focus is to establish myself in Brazil. However, as I am very easy with English, I intend to extend my career to countries like: Canada, United States, England and others.

Ronnie Von with his son, Leo Von.

Translated, from Portuguese, with Google Translation; (automatic; unrevised). WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE IT? SEND US YOUR COMMENTS.