This year marks the 15th anniversary of Brazilian singer/songwriter Céu’s self-titled debut album’s U.S. release, and she’s celebrating with her first American tour since 2016, which kicked off this Sunday at Ottawa Jazz Fest and includes a stop this coming Saturday, July 9th, at City Winery Philadelphia, which will be her first show in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection in over a decade. Céu is currently touring behind Um Gosto de Sol, a covers album of classics (both Brazilian and international) and the follow-up to 2019’s Latin Grammy award-winning Apká! I recently got a chance to chat with the musician about her recent history, her latest music, and what you can expect of her concert this Saturday.
Izzy: I hate to ask such a general question to such an established artist, but since you haven’t spent much time in the U.S. in the last few years, is there anything you think is particularly important for American fans to know about you?
Céu: For me, it’s very important to come back to America, it was during the year that I lived there that I decided, not only to be a singer, but to become a songwriter, and my whole professional career started there in a way. So, it’s great to bring my music back to the fans in North America, it’s an audience that I really care about!
Izzy: This is another big question, but it’s been 15 years since you released your first album. What have been some of the most memorable moments in your career since then?
Céu: I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to sing with Herbie Hancock, João Donato, Jorge Ben, and so many other great artists… I wrote a song for Gal Costa, for Alaíde Costa, I won Grammys and was nominated several times, and I lived and traveled all over the world thanks to my music, as a Latin American woman, singing mainly in Portuguese, having the chance to get in touch with so many artists of the new generation… well… I think it’s a fantastic path.
Izzy: You recently released Um Gosto de Sol, an album of covers. Have you had any favorite reactions to it so far?
Céu: There’s a wonderful thing about this show, which I’ve been trying to do for a long time, but just now, with Um Gosto de Sol live we’ve done it: it’s to bring the acoustic guitar, my favorite instrument, to the album and the show! So now I’m in love with our live performances, and I feel that our audience is very warm and connected with us, the shows are great. And you know, it’s not just about our work on stage, because the show happens when people are crossed by the sound…
Izzy: I know you’re a big fan of a lot of classic Brazilian and American artists, but I’m curious if there are any artists from the last few years that you find particularly inspiring or even just particularly cool?
Céu: A lot of new artists…
I like Steve Lacy, Cleo Sol, and even in pop, I like Kali Uchis, Doja Cat…
In Brazil too… love Baiana System, Luedji Luna, Duda Beat, Ana Frango Elétrico…
Izzy: On another note, I know you worked with Andreas Kisser from Sepultura on your last album. Having grown up as a hard rock and metal fan, I find that both cool and surprising. How did you get in touch with him and how was the work with him?
Céu: Andreas is a great friend of my husband, Pupillo. I always noticed how talented, generous, and eclectic he was. But one day I saw him on social media, playing an acoustic guitar, an old Brazilian classical piece… so I fell in love and we both decided to call him. It was an honor to have that giant recording on the album. Music has no labels or boundaries.
Izzy: I know you’ve been working on your music with your husband, Pupillo, for much of your career. How would you characterize your process of working together? I’m always interested in how couples make music together, which I guess can be complicated.
Céu: For us, it’s not complicated. We very much respect the fine line between personal and professional. Of course, we sometimes have problems, we disagree… but in a reflective context. But I think it’s also because he’s a type of producer who cares and listens a lot to what the artists want, you know?
Izzy: You’re currently on a U.S. tour, which I understand includes both your latest covers album and fan favorites from throughout your career, with an acoustic band by your side. What can fans expect from the live experience and vibe of the evening?
Céu: It’s a mixture of all the albums, but with the atmosphere of Um Gosto de Sol.
It’s a warm show, we’ll see how the audience will react.
I am super excited. Me and the group.
Izzy: Are there any things or places you are particularly excited to visit or revisit while in America?
Céu: It’s great to be back in Philly after all those years!
*Get your tickets here.