“I don’t think the stage is a bubble or that the lives of artists are a bubble. Artists didn’t fall from Mars, you know?”, he evaluates, in the face of a debate that always intensifies on social networks when a big festival, such as Rock in Rio.
He will participate in the festival this Sunday (4th), alongside Drik Barbosa, Rael and Priscilla Alcantara. His presentation, as always happens, should be loaded with speeches, at a time when the country is politically inflamed, on the eve of the presidential election.
The rapper was one of the first names in his genre to earn a spot at events like this. Today, after “four decades of hearing that rap was a fad”, he sees rhythm at the top of the schedule. This does not mean that, for him, the festivals are balanced.
In an interview with g1, the singer reflects on the lack of space for established rhythms, such as samba. He also talks about the accumulation of work, his relationship with faith – always present in his shows – and the “story” he intends to tell in the Rock in Rio presentation.
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g1 – At Lollapalooza 2022, you put on an unobvious show, which left out some of your main hits. How is the process to choose the songs that will enter a festival show like Lolla and Rock in Rio?
emicida – What I do is think, before anything else, of a story: what story would I like to tell on that occasion. At Lollapalooza, we were expecting to see Foo Fighters, in a more rock style. There’s the thing of wanting, at each festival, to have a different artistic experience because it ends up showing that we can adapt to any universe, that we can talk to everyone. I think festivals are good for that too.
Lollapalooza made me want to do that heavier show, go up playing guitar. Now, with Rock in Rio, we are in the same spirit. Rock in Rio is an overwhelming experience. It’s a sea of people and on the Sunset stage, in particular, Zé Ricardo [curador do espaço] managed to create a community of people who are very open to the most different musical experiences possible.
Emicida during a show on the second day of Lollapalooza 2022 — Photo: Marcelo Brandt/g1
g1 – Because of the price of tickets, only an elite niche of people has access to these events, especially in Brazil today, with the economic crisis. Does that influence the design of your show?
emicida – It’s very difficult for you to stereotype who pays to go to your show, whatever the context. After two decades of playing, the shows travel through very different universes, where people may not have the same origin of life as mine, they may not have the same characteristics as mine, but they are there, thrilled and in love with my music. . I think it’s very genuine because not a few times I identified with songs that came to me and that weren’t necessarily a reproduction of my way of life.
I think that, if in some instance we manage to transcend all this and connect as a human being, it’s the most beautiful thing we can do. I value it too much.
In general, people like to hit this key, because of the ticket price, I agree with that. I think we should create mechanisms to make this more accessible and I think this is urgent. Throughout our trajectory, we have been very present in all these struggles and continue to be because the ultimate goal is for music to reach as many people, that the people who have accompanied us throughout our trajectory are not deprived of any kind. of experience.
I believe that the bridge that music makes — especially my music, especially today — doesn’t allow me to stereotype the people who listen to it. I also don’t want people to stereotype me.
g1 – Roberta Medina, who is vice president of Rock in Rio, has said in interviews that there is no politics on the stage of festivals like this. What do you think?
“People connect with our art for what we mean, for what we create artistically, but also for what we dream for ourselves and for the world.”
In this sense, I think that there is no field of our artistic production that does not touch, in some way, a political issue. I don’t think the stage is a bubble or that the lives of artists are a bubble. Artists didn’t fall from Mars, you know? The non-political position, in itself, is already a political position. I can’t travel to Palestine, take a selfie of my face and say I don’t connect with political issues. My silence also becomes a manifesto.
I personally don’t agree [com a opinião de Medina]. Thank God, people know what I mean, they know what I believe in, what I fight for. I understand that the festival also suffers from pressure from other universes and I think they try to position themselves in a more neutral way, which I also believe is legitimate, but it is not an expectation that one should have regarding artists. And I’m not even talking about the artists who agree with me. Art is art and our positioning needs to be free.
g1 – Will this Rock in Rio, due to the proximity to the election, be different in any way?
emicida – At Lollapalooza, at the beginning of the year, the energy was already like that [a edição de 2022 do festival foi marcada por manifestações políticas]. It is impossible for you to gather 100,000 people and want those 100,000 people not to exercise their civic rights. This is a citizen’s right. And it’s a wish too, a dream.
Brazil has a dream of producing dignity, it gets lost in a thousand ways to achieve this dream, but it keeps moving forward. And if there is one thing that has been increasingly underlined, it is that [o presidente] Bolsonaro is the opposite of everything worthy that we can dream of in this place.
g1 – Is it possible to take stock of the damage that was generated to culture during the pandemic period?
emicida – I don’t think so yet. The euphoria of the moment we are living does not allow us to make this pragmatic analysis of how the cultural world is. Cultural world, which was heavily attacked even for what it means, for its ability to make people imagine how different the world can be.
We still haven’t done a reading of the scorched earth panorama in which we find ourselves. How many houses closed? In Brazil and in the world, institutions that were open 50, 100, 300 years ago were closed. This sort of thing is a big loss and changes the cultural character of some regions.
We will now have a season of various events. Then, let’s jump to summer and amend in carnival. Perhaps, after next year’s carnival, we can have a more accurate reading of this.
g1 – You were one of the first names in rap to be included in the schedule of major festivals and today you see the genre gaining more and more space in these events. In addition to the quality of the artists, to what do you attribute this movement?
emicida – A great collective effort.
“It’s been four decades, four generations being told, in a pejorative way, that rap was a fad. But there’s no fad that lasts four decades.”
It is a great achievement to have been part of this construction. I just think the generations that come after ours need to focus on the magic of this collective construction. This made it possible for so many rap artists to be on these stages, touring Brazil and the world. It is important that future generations focus on continuing this. If I can be a bit of an uncle now and listen, my ear is this: keep the flames lit, young people.
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g1 – Do you think that today you can say that festivals are balanced in terms of musical genres?
emicida – I think not. We just played in Belo Horizonte, at the Sarará festival, and there was something there that really moved me. Who played before us was Zeca Pagodinho. I even got emotional, I invaded the stage to see Zeca’s show. We had a lot of fun.
But look at that crazy thing: in all these years participating in so many festivals in Brazil, it was the first time I saw an artist like Zeca in the same line-up as us.
“Not having samba in the line-up of big festivals is something that frustrates me a lot. Not having samba on the lists of the best albums of the year — this happens all too often — frustrates me a lot.”
This is one of the achievements that we are still producing, achieving. I am very happy to be part of this achievement. When we declare our influences, how samba is present in our construction, how it is a way of living, how solid it is within our music, we open space for this type of meeting to happen live. And for people to think less and less about the genre, At the end of the day, what we all are is this: music workers.
Emicida at João Rock 2022 in Ribeirão Preto, SP — Photo: Érico Andrade/g1
g1 – Pastor Henrique Vieira participated in your show at Lollapalooza and, at Rock in Rio, you will sing with Priscilla Alcântara. These are two names with a strong connection to the Christian religion. You also talk a lot about faith in your songs, what role does this theme play in your production?
emicida – I was born in a very poor, very sad reality. When you are born into a reality like this, the only thing you have is to believe. I’m not talking about faith as something institutionalized, translated by religious institutions. I’m talking about the human being’s need to believe in something, and in that even atheists find themselves.
We need to believe in something, earthly or spiritual, but the human being needs to believe in something, even if it is a utopia. The function of faith, in the end, is this: to make us keep moving forward. So I like to put that stop in the music, and I think it’s cool that people put on headphones and feel that, in the music I make, they find a reason to keep going.
g1 – You are a multitasking artist: you are in music, but also on TV, in games, in fashion… Do you think that today there is a pressure for musicians to always be more than musicians? Is it easy to deal with this backlog of work?
Emicida – Calm, calm…. not.
“If I could just sit down and study my piano, I’d love to. But I understand that’s not the way the market behaves.”
This is not an invention of our time, it has only become more visible. If we go back a little bit, we see, for example, Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues being presenters of a TV show.
How many artists were already a kind of Swiss Army knife? The James Brown accompanied the bordero [planejamento financeiro] from the shows until the last day of life. The artist has always been and always will be a multitasking figure because, as I said before, we didn’t fall from Mars. We are where we are because of the amount of things we connect with.
Music ends up being like a child. You don’t take your son, let him out on the street and tell him to come back at 18. You will take care of him and all the aspects that surround him. This will direct us to be able to exhibit other places where we are also creative, also interested. And, as today our whole lives are more exposed because of social networks, people have the opportunity to see us playing video games, practicing sports and riding horses, if you are João Vicente [de Castro, ator e amigo de Emicida].