Rodrigo Moratto is onto something quite marvelous with his new electro-pop single "Whatever Whatever" which is dropping very soon. Already being touted in the UK as Brazil's answer to Justin Timberlake, the celebrity Brazilian hit-maker is on a mission to cross-over into the UK market and has been in London that past couple of months promoting his music and upcoming album "Budz In A Sound Drop".
Rodrigo wowed the audience at EQ Live in July and will be returning for another exciting set on November 21st when EQ Live moves to Bar Music Hall. I got a chance to have a coffee and a chat with the rising UK star to talk about his music, his influences and what it's like being a rising star in the UK whilst being a recognizable personality in Brazil.
If you haven't seen the music video yet, make sure you watch it on YouTube…
EQ: Hey Rodrigo – so I'm curious, you're song "Whatever Whatever" came out of nowhere and it's absolutely brilliant. I know you quite famous in Brazil, so why don't you tell me what you are doing in the UK right now…
Rodrigo Moratto: Well, I came to the UK to meet people, make friends, find a place to live, go to the Home Office and get myself sorted out in preparation to come to the UK and release "Whatever Whatever". I have a publishing deal in the UK with a company who represent people like Rihanna and Beyonce. I have a distribution deal with Universal as well. Also I came here to talk to various record labels to see if any of them have any interest in licensing the work.
So tell me about "Whatever Whatever" itself – it's such a great song.
Well I actually wrote the song originally in Portugese. When I heard the beat from a friend of mine, I listened to it and went crazy! I said "I needed that beat". I wanted to write a song about "crazy love" and that is really what the song is about. It's about a person who sees another person, man or a woman, he or she, and they simply go crazy. They get crazy, horny, will do anything to get to that person. Crazy and horny, that's what it's about. Usually when you have a relationship with anybody, when you look back, sometimes you do crazy things to get them.
Here in the UK, people will see you as a new artist, but you've been actually releasing records in Brazil for quite awhile now haven't you…
In Brazil, I'm a pop/rock artist, believe it or not. I sing pop/rock in Brazil and Portugal. I have my own company that I publish and release my music through. At one point I had twenty people working for the company. We did everything. But the pop/rock movement in Brazil has died out now. Pop is almost non-existent in my language. Portugese is not a language for pop is what people are saying. I don't agree with that – that's Brazilian mentality. So I decided to do something in English to please my audience. I wanted to try something here in the UK as well. If I have a career outside of Brazil, it's going to much more appreciated within Brazil.
How is it different performing your new English songs, versus your songs in Brazil?
It's the same. I started singing in English before Portugese. So my whole vocal studies happened in New York City. I recently had surgery on my vocal chords because I had a reflux problem due to stress of running your own company and producing your own videos! I used to be able to hit those high Mariah notes, but I'm not doing that so much anymore [laughs]. It was a very tough process.
What artists influence you when you make pop music?
Today – I love Lady Gaga. I love her. Sam Sparro. But really what influences me are the great singers from the sixties and seventies and eighties. Aretha. Stevie Wonder. 80's singers like Whitney, Prince. Lauryn Hill from the 90s. I love Grace Jones, David Bowie – the list is huge.
So tell me about making the video for "Whatever Whatever". I understand there were a few trial and turbulations along the way.
[Laughs] I could write a book about that! Well the video was shot during three days in Brazil. We had a big team working on it. 80 people! We had Miss Brazil 2008 in it! We actually were able to get her in the video from people who knew people on Facebook! [laughs] It was the end of her period of Miss Brazil. My producer did the rap part of the video. Recording the actual song was great, but shooting the video was disatrous! The owners of the place were we supposed to film had a fist fight, so we had to change locations like a day before. Everything that was rehearsed beforehand had to be changed – it was hell! It was crazy! I just shot another video for my song "What Are You Gonna Do". I didn't have as much involvement on that one, I was the executive producer, but that's it.
Tell me about "What Are You Gonna Do".
The songs talks about global warming. It's about awareness and trying to get that message across to young people in a fun way. The song makes you think and come up with your own solution to how you are going to help solve this problem and make this world a better place. The video took 27 hours non-stop. I almost died doing this video! There are going to be a lot of motion graphics in it and it will take the editors about 4 months to complete! When you talk about global warming, there is just a lot to talk about. You can't just film a video with five dancers. There is a scene in there were I supposedly commite suicide where I jump off a building. I hope that comes out great. 50% of the profits will go towards a charity called Worlds End trust which is a preservation charity for forests in Brazil.
You also have a song that I like called "RRRandom Freaknesss" – tell me about that one…
It's a song that talks about freedom. Don't let go of your freakness. We all have that "freaky" side to us that only people that are close to us know about. They know things about us that no one else does. Don't pretend to be someone you're not – you got to let that random freakness take over every once in awhile. To be a little freaky is ok, it's healthy!
How would you respond to people who are going to start comparing you to Ricky Martin?
I'm no Ricky Martin! He's much better-looking [laughs]. If people compare me to him then wow – he's a superstar and great performer. I never met Ricky, but I met Enrique Iglasias once!
So what's the grand plan – is there an album or EP coming out soon?
Yes. Michael Jackson's death really effected the music industry. I was scheduled to release the single earlier this year, but now it's coming out very soon now in the UK. The album will come out probably nearer January or February. The album will be called "Budz In A Sound Drop". It will have seventeen tracks!
Seventeen?! Why so many? That can be considered pop suicide!
I know I know I know! We may cut it down, but we have so many good songs so I don't want to save them for when I'm going to release the next album – maybe electro-pop might not be cool anymore! But I really have at least fifteen good songs. About three good ballads. I think there are about eight or nine songs as good as "Whatever Whatever". When you are a songwriter, you can go crazy writing! I had to control myself! I can write 10 songs in a day if you let me – I'm very creative that way! I love writing. Give me a beat and in thirty minutes I'll have a song for you with a harmony, a bridge – everything.
What have you noticed about life in the UK versus life in Brazil…
Well I like the UK a lot – London especially reminds me of New York. I like busy cities. The people, the archetecture are cool. I love sausage and mash! I do – I love it! The weather is different! This is a better place for me and my work. The music industry here still exists and still gives artist the opportunity. In Brazil, that isn't true anymore. Here it seems like you're in the middle of everything and it's happening – it can be very overwhelming!