“I consider myself a spiritual person. I try every day, I try to do my things with love. I think each day it’s an important day to learn something…”
CéU’s success story has been phenomenal for the young artist out of São Paolo, Brazil. Her self-titled debut has sold over 180,000 copies worldwide including Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Europe with close to 100,000 copies scanned in the U.S. alone. She was the first international artist featured in the Starbucks Hear Music™ Debut series which led to unprecedented Billboard chart numbers for a Brazilian female artist — #1 on the World Music and Heatseekers charts, and #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 – the highest position reached in that category by a Brazilian since Astrud Gilberto’s “Garota de Ipanema” in the 1960’s. Her album was also the iTunes U.S. editor’s pick for “World Music Album of The Year.” If that wasn’t enough, she received a Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary World Music Album” in 2007 and a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist” in 2006. She is also riding high on a wave of international success in France, where the influential Les Inrockuptibles recognized her as one of the top 5 musical revelations of 2005, Holland, and Italy, as well as in Canada, where she was recently the fourth highest-selling artist for the Archambault chain of music shops while simultaneously holding the number 32 slot on the pop charts.
There are good reasons for the depth and complexity of CéU’s songs. She was born into a musical family in the artistically diverse city of São Paulo; her father, a locally renowned composer, arranger and musicologist, taught her at a young age to appreciate the music of Brazil’s great classical composers, including Heitor Villa-Lobos, Ernesto Nazaré and Orlando Silva. By age 15 she had decided to become a singer, and pursued music studies in lieu of a college education; trained on the violão (a nylon-stringed Brazilian guitar) and in music theory, she was performing onstage with major artists and exploring the repertoire of the marchinhas (turn-of-the-century carnival music) by her late teens. Soon after that she relocated temporarily to New York City, where she had a chance meeting with fellow Brazilian musician Antonio Pinto, who became her flat mate while he was going through some financial difficulties. She later learned that he was actually a distant cousin, and their relationship was renewed when he teamed up with lead producer Beto Villares to help her record her album. Antonio Pinto, who produced CéU’s song “Ave Cruz” is the composer of the musical score for two Oscar Nominated films, “Central Station” (1999) and “City of God” (2003.)
(na música do Brasil) “…it’s really, really rich. Brazilian rich. It’s a mixture of three big cultures: our native Indians, Africans, and Europeans, especially Portuguese. So this mixture makes Brazilian music so rich.”