History of the Project I've always approached my career in music as if I was making a movie; each project tells a different part of the story, expresses a particular interest of mine, and bears the imprint of the collaborators who created the music with me. As the collaborators change, so the music changes. I started down the path that led to SUCH IS LOVE in 2003 thanks to my old friend, Alan Steele, a New York painter who is also a dealer in primitive antiquities. I hadn't seen Alan for 17 years, then one afternoon his voice popped up on my answering machine announcing that he was in town and wanted to get together for dinner. Alan grew up in Brazil, and he arrived for dinner carrying a stack of cassettes of Brazilian music, all for me. I didn't listen to the cassettes for months, though, and kept finding a million other things to do. Alan continued sending me painstakingly labeled mix tapes of the Bossa Nova greats, and I threw them all into my car, figuring I'd get around to listening to them eventually. A Dark Night on Pacific Coast Highway Several months later I was driving home late at night from a rehearsal in Malibu. The Malibu coast is like wilderness. The hills lining that stretch of Pacific Coast Highway are dark and massive, and the road curves in unexpected ways; for whatever reason, Alan's tapes crossed my mind as I wound along the road. I popped one into the player, and suddenly Nana Caymmi's voice filled my car. It was sad, earthy, and low -- it was the voice of a woman, not a skinny waif trying to sound forlorn. Cesar Camargo Marianno's piano danced around her voice, nimble and cool, but this wasn't campy piano bar music; these were Brazilian torch songs, and they were immensely powerful. The songs were in Portuguese, of course, so I couldn't understand a word, but they cast a spell on me the moment I heard them. Two songs in particular -- "Por Toda Minha Vida" and "Nosso Tempo" -- lodged themselves in my mind and began to haunt me. After listening to that first tape dozens of times I called Alan and asked, "What are these songs about?" It took him weeks to translate them for me, because he wanted to make sure he got them right. I recorded his translations on my speakerphone, learned the Portuguese phonetically, and then hired a pianist to take down the arrangements on the tape. I had to sing these songs. As always happens when I discover a new musical style, I dove head first into this world. I was particularly thrilled by a recording from 1974 called Elis and Tom, by the exquisite vocalist, Elis Regina, and the man who pretty much single-handedly invented Bossa Nova, Antonio Carlos Jobim. I loved the way the album interwove the light grooves of Bossa Nova and the more somber art song style. Then, on Christmas day of that year, I went to see Pedro Almodovar's brilliant film, Talk to Her, and during a climatic scene at a bullfight a version of "Por Toda Minha Vida," sung by Elis Regina, wafted out of the sound system in the theater! I'd only heard Nana's version of the song, and this was a fully orchestrated arrangement with Elis crumbling into tears at the end. These songs were making me crazy! Making the Music My Own I wondered what to do with this music I'd fallen in love with. Record all the songs in English with new arrangements? Who needs another American singer doing Brazilian songs? I realized that what I really wanted to do was write a series of my own songs that captured the sophistication, maturity, and experience I heard in Bossa Nova. I called my old songwriting partner, Steve Stewart, and to my surprise, he told me he was learning how to play flamenco and Bossa Nova guitar, and was deeply into the music of João Gilberto. We agreed to start writing. Steve began sending me mp3's of new, fully realized songs, and I would listen to his music while studying a list I'd compiled with the help my writer friend, Irene Borger. Irene helps me write by giving me specific instructions, and one day she said, "make a list of ten moments in your life that you want to be remembered." I
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