Brazil native Rodrigo Amarante’s just-out “Drama” — his second solo album ever — is half in English and half in Portuguese, reflecting his diverse background and discography.
Amarante has had a full career in his 25-plus years as a professional musician — it has taken him from Brazil to Los Angeles, and lots of places in between.
Amarante collaborated with psych-folk artist Devendra Banhart; formed supergroup Little Joy, with The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti; and started Los Hermanos (The Brothers), a popular Brazilian rock band in the late-1990s.
“Drama” testifies to Amarante's different interests, ambitions and milestones.
“Tuyo,” is a Spanish-language song he wrote for the Netflix series “Narcos,” about Colombia’s drug cartels.
“I just had a script and then had to write a song for it, which is something I actually always wanted to do, you know, serve someone else's purpose and try to expand or to understand why that story is being told and what I can do to expand it,” he said. “And so, that was in the eye of the public an important moment.”
But some of the album’s songs are more personal, like “Tango.”
He says it celebrates the people he wants to be surrounded by — who come from all walks of life.
Like the couple featured in the song’s black-and-white video, who dance a slow tango.
Amarante called it a “lucky moment” when he encountered the couple — the two have been together for years, and they run a dance studio in Los Angeles called the Tango Room.
“Since I've discovered the Tango Room, I go back there and over there, it's a mix. Every color, every race, every age. It's really great.”
Amarante, who had some early success, says he sometimes gets asked if it bothers him that he’ll always be remembered for past achievements.
But he takes it in stride.
“Even though I've been doing this for a little while, I'm the ever-emerging artist,” he said. “I have a white beard, but I'm still featured in the up-and-coming section.”
Maybe that’s not such a bad place to be in.
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio player above.