The Most Brazilian Contemporary French Singer Songwriter
Like Charles Aznavour, French singer, songwriter and guitar-player Nicola Són was born in Paris to a musical family of Armenian descent. His childhood was rocked by the sounds of traditional instruments and dances like doudouk and kotchari but also by melodic and poetic chanson française à la Gainsbourg and Michel Legrand. As a teenager, he discovered “Lígia,” a wonderful Tom Jobim’s composition performed by João Gilberto and Stan Getz, that triggered his fascination and passion for Brazilian music. A few years later in 2003, he traveled to Rio, where bossa nova originated, to learn Portuguese and hone his knowledge of the local music. A second longer journey took him through wilder, rougher and more authentic regions like Manaus, the Amazonian, Belém, Fortaleza and Recife. The young wandering troubadour and aspiring anthropologist then discovered Brazil’s rich and diverse culture, the warmth of its people but also the harsh realities of its rampant social inequality and poverty, sharply contrasting with the pretty sights too often portrayed in fancy tourist postcards.
In 2005, while staying and establishing quarter in Rio’s bohemian Lapa district, the birthplace of Samba, Nicola met a variety of local musicians. Following in the footsteps of late French crossover pioneers Pierre Barouh and Claude Nougaro who were both deeply influenced by Brazilian musical landscape, he started adapting national standards into French and also penning his own original material. All this gave birth to his debut album, punnily titled Parioca, fusing Paris and “Carioca” (= Rio’s native). A year after its 2010 official French release, the disk was warmly received in Brazil, drawing rave reviews from the local media, at once intrigued and impressed by the young recording and performing French artist.
In 2011, Nicola returned to Rio for 6 months to record his sophomore CD Nord Destin. The project gathered a cast of top-notch local artists, including percussionists Marcos Suzano and João Hermeto, bassist Rodrigo Villa, guitarist Gabriel Improta as well as vibrant guests like legendary pianist João Donato and samba ensemble Casuarina. The album’s 2013 French release was celebrated with a sold-out show at New Morning, Paris most renowned and vanguard jazz venue.
That same year, Mister Són relocated to São Paulo, Brazil’s buoyant financial and economic urban center. Supporting his artistry and musical entrepreneurship with a day job in management consulting, he locally released his second album, gaining even more positive press and growing a solid following. Throughout 2014 and 2015, he performed in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the Parana’s area. He also started recording a new album produced by 80’s influential artistic director Paulo Lepetit, known as the catalyst of Vanguardia Paulista, São Paulo’s vanguard renaissance. Brazilian rock star Zeca Baleiro was a guest on one the tracks, “Corações ternos”, and would even later select the song to be featured on his best-of duets compilation. Concluding a prolific and glorious Brazilian trilogy with panache, Sampathique was released in 2016 and followed by a 40-date tour in France and Brazil.
2018 will be marked by Nicola Són’s US debut tour and the release of a new EP. 4² features 4 songs, all co-written in Portuguese with his dearest Brazilian friend, journalist Igor Ribeiro. Following an intriguing and audacious 4X4 concept, the tracks were recorded in 4 different Brazilian cities, each time with different local producers, Márcio Arantes in São Paulo, Daniel Montes in Rio de Janeiro, Hugo Linns in Recife and João Antunes in Belo Horizonte. 4² will be showcased in the US in May and June during a 20-date tour across 10 states and 18 cities, starting in Miami (May 16), then New York City (May 17) and ending in LA (June 16).
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US TOUR DATES
5/16 @ Lagniappe House – Miami, FL
5/17 @ Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
5/18 @ Germano’s PIATTINI – Baltimore, MD
5/19 @ Charlie’s American Cafe – Norfolk, VA
5/21 @ Juggling Gypsy – Wilmington, NC
5/23 @ Whiskey Jax Kitchen & Cocktails – Jackonville, FL
5/24 @ Boca Black Box – Boca Raton, FL
5/25 @ Soyka Restaurant – Miami, FL
5/26 @ Soyka Restaurant – Miami, FL
5/29 @ Red Light Cafe – Atlanta, GA
5/30 @ The Root Cellar @ BB King’s – Nashville, TN
5/31 @ Schwartz’s Point Jazz & Acoustic Club – Cincinnati, OH
6/1 @ Brothers Drake Meadery – Columbus, OH
6/5 @ Cliff Bell’s – Detroit, MI
6/6 @ Wilbert’s Food & Music – Cleveland, OH
6/7 @ Twins Jazz – Washington, DC
6/9 @ The Loft @ City Winery – New York, NY
6/12 @ Vibrato Jazz Grill – Los Angeles, CA
6/14 @ The Palms Playhouse – Winters, CA
6/15 @ Cafe Claude – San Francisco, CA
6/16 @ Casa Arjona – Long Beach, CA