Toronto based touring and session musician (keys), producer and composer from São Paulo, Brazil. Deeply involved in Brazilian independent music scene for more than 10 years, expertise include funk, reggae, soul, synths and a great number of Brazilian genres.
From São Paulo's intense indie music scene, João Leão acts as keyboardist and producer for more than 10 years, having participated in over 30 albums of Brazilian independent artists. João also toured with Brazilian singer Céu (Latin Grammy Award winner), a major act with whom he had the opportunity to perform at several top rated music festivals (Montreal Jazz Festival, Rock in Rio, Le Nuits de Frouviere, Lollapalloza, etc). Leão's expertise ranges from soul, funk, reggae, synth pop, rock, to a great number of Brazilian and Latin genres (Bossa Nova, Samba, Forró, Lambada, Carimbó, Cumbia, etc). João has a deep connection to classical Bossa Nova, having produced a series of tribute shows focused on two of the main figures behind the genre, João Gilberto and A.C. Jobim. Can record very original Bossa Nova and samba acoustic guitar too!
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Interview with Joao Leao
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One of my most successful bands was "Saulo Duarte e a Unidade". Saulo is a great composer, the team had tons of hours on stage and in studio over almost 10 years, we learned to produce and record together and released 3 albums.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: In some cases only the analog will give you the right feel, delivering not only the right sound but also driving your performance and creative process, but I embrace the digital and its endless possibilities too.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Groovy, mantra oriented, minimalist.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Try to let your ego out of the way and play only the essential for the music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work mostly with independent singer-songwriters with a wide range of styles.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Breaking down existing references and adapting them to the new track. Building the right sound, programming synths and making the keys work for the music and the existing groove.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I offer intelligent solutions to translate ideas and feelings into the right sound.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to approach the track as a whole with the composer/producer, discussing the feelings, the general idea of the lyrics and the aesthetics, and then deciding on my part and which instruments and sounds I will use. I prefer when I am included in the creative process from the beginning.