Paula Lima (1970- ) is a singer and songwriter from Brazil, a diva of Sao Paulo.
To an American her music seems like a sort of laid-back, smooth Brazilian jazz, sometimes with a bit of funk. In Brazil her sort of music is called MPB: Musica Popular Brasileira. It is a sort of updated bossa nova that the well-off of the cities in the south listen to. It is rooted in samba music but it brings in elements of rock, soul and especially jazz from North America.
What she likes in American music are people like Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones and Earth, Wind & Fire.
She has been singing since she was three. Growing up she remembers watching Pele on black-and-white television and her father playing Martinho de Vila, El Cubanito and even Glen Miller. She learned piano from ages 7 to 17 and sang at school festivals. She knew music was her road in life.
She grew up on samba. It is the music that is deep in her heart. But she has been affected by American soul and funk too.
The music she loves that has shaped her own music:
- Ella Fitzgerald: “Every time I listen to her voice it is like the first time”. Listen to “Deed I Do”.
- Elza Soares: “The grand Brazilian diva”.
- Ed Motta: “No one can play like him”.
- Gilberto Gil: “He is the professor”. Listen to “Palco”.
- Band Black Rio: They helped to make soul music what it is today in Brazil. Their music is rich, their taste unequalled.
- Jorge Ben Jor: “A master of masters”. His music is pure, deep, beautiful – an experience. Listen to his stuff from the 1960s and 1970s.
Because she is Brazilian she can take American music and put it together in ways an American would never think of, such as turning Glen Miller into soul music.
In the 1990s she sang for several bands, most notably Unidade Bop. She also sang on two songs on Jorge Ben Jor’s “23″ and even sang on a disc of rap songs.
In the 2000s she has been coming out with discs of her own:
- 2006: Sinceramente
- 2003: Paula Lima
- 2003: Diva Paulista (Europe only, no new songs)
- 2001: É isso aí
On the Internet you can find her on iTunes, YouTube and her own website, which is in Portuguese only, but the words do not get in the way of the music.
Check her out on YouTube and watch her sing.
As I write this she is on the road in Brazil with her band. While her music is sold overseas in Japan, America and Europe, she has never gone abroad to sing.
She is from Sao Paulo, which she loves. She sees it as a much more serious city than Rio. She is happily married but has no children: she is too busy!