It seems as if Brazilian singing star Deborah Blando was ordained by some higher authority to be a member of flamenco-flavored group B-Tribe.
Just consider the circumstances.
“The first time I ever heard B-Tribe, I was in a clothing store in New York and this music was playing,” Blando said recently, “and I was like, ‘What’s that?’ and the clerk said ‘It’s B-Tribe.’ I asked him where he got it and he said Tower Records, so I stopped by Tower and got it, got home and listened to it for hours on end.”
The next day, she had a meeting with Lava Records president Jason Flom. He wanted to know, in addition to the Atlantic-distributed solo album she was working on with producers David Foster and Patrick Leonard, would she be interested in a project he was handling?
“He said it was B-Tribe and I about flipped,” Blando said. “I said ‘B-Tribe?! The flamenco stuff with the groove?!’ He said yeah. Then I said ‘I don’t believe it, I just bought that record yesterday.’ And he said, ‘You won’t believe this one … we want you to sing on it.’ Can you believe it?”
It’s almost too good to be true. After a meeting with B-Tribe visionary Claus Zundel at a party in Hamburg, Germany, the deal was sealed.
Blando, already a sensation in her homeland (she has had three No. 1 songs, including one that had a 13-week reign), now is on the verge of an international breakthrough.
“Suave Suave,” B-Tribe’s second album, will be released Aug. 15 and features Blando’s evocative vocal touch on such tracks as “Que Mala Vida (What a Bad Life),” “Hablando (Speaking),” and Spanish and English versions of the first single, “Nanita.” (Zundel’s synth melodies shine elsewhere, most notably on a cover version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross.”)
“I believe in fate,” Blando said. “I think you can change destiny because this is a free-will zone on Earth, but I think there’s things that happen to you to get something out of it. It’s all a learning process, really.
“When things happen like that, you have to check it out and learn from it. That’s what I did. If you don’t grab the opportunity, you won’t know what will happen.”
Born in Sicily and raised on the Brazilian island of Florianopolis, Blando is fluent in Italian, Portuguese and English. From early on, it was clear she had a future in entertainment: Her vibrant, Pisces-driven personality is suited for music, theater and (one day, she hopes) movies.
Her solo album, due early next year, is an energetic blend of Brazilian rhythms and pure pop. It also displays Blando’s expressive songwriting style.
“I have these two amazing producers working with me and some of it I’m producing myself,” she said. “This is the real deal, this isn’t doing music to achieve success. It’s doing music because it’s good. We’re doing what we feel and what we think sounds good, period.
“Success would be a consequence and it would be thrilling and beautiful, but I think the music should come first. What can I say, I’m a Pisces, I’m an artist.”
Above all else, Blando said she is doing something she loves the most and bringing it to people.
“When I write lyrics,” she said, “I’m really aware that people are going to be listening so I like to send a message, not just ‘Baby I love you tonight.’ I don’t like that shallow stuff.
“That’s why I love B-Tribe so much. This is all very deep stuff. It’s real.”
BWF (before we forget): B-Tribe’s follow-up album (“Sensual Sensual”), sans Blando, was released in February 1998.
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