Born in Bahia, Brazil, Mila Santana unites her strong voice with a composition full of feelings in "O Seu Lugar", her newest release that is out now on all platforms. We caught up with Mila this week to learn more about this rising Brazilian artist.
How did your relationship with music begin?
Music has been with me since I was very young, at the age of four I sang in church choirs and, before I was 18, I participated in several TV shows and freshman contests, including Ídolos (the Brazilian version of American Idol) in 2009 and 2012. However, music was still a side activity for me, a hobby. I studied Biological Sciences and intended to pursue this area, until, in 2014, I was contacted by an international producer and we started working together. It was during this period that I started to become a professional singer and to turn music into my main activity. Since then I have done a bit of everything: radio, advertising, opening shows for Cirque du Soleil, and currently I work mainly on cruise ships doing shows. Music has allowed me to visit 28 countries and have great experiences.
How do you classify your music?
As an independent artist, I like to be very fluid. My main influences are soul and neo-soul, besides movements like bossa nova and MPB. I bring inspiration from names like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Erykah Bady and try to channel all this energy into my compositions.
What are your biggest challenges as an independent artist?
There are so many... I think the first difficulty we face is financial. Developing a song or an album is expensive for an independent artist, so we often need to count on the support and availability of people who believe in our work. I am extremely lucky to have the help of other musician friends who are always encouraging and helping me.
In addition, we need to be our own managers and take care of everything: the administrative part, the post-production, the digital marketing, the relationship with the public. There are many stages in which we need to pay attention so that our material, which was prepared with so much dedication, has a better chance of reaching a large audience.
For me, as I work traveling, the production phase is also a separate challenge: my studio is portable and travels with me, so I usually do the recordings on board the ship or at my house in Italy, while the musicians stay in a different part of Brazil. We gather all the material, analyze it, re-record it if necessary, and then proceed to the finalization phase. Everything is done remotely and can take a long time.
What was your inspiration for "O Seu Lugar"?
This song was composed right at the beginning of the pandemic. I had just arrived in Brazil and my husband, who is also an artist and was in Germany, was going to meet me there. But the borders closed and we were left with the anguish of distance. It is common that we have to stay away for some time when we are doing tours, but this time it was different because we didn't know how long the situation would take, it was a "forced distance". I tried to calm myself down and express these feelings in music. I wanted to convey the love and longing, as well as portray the moment the world was facing and how important we realized the importance of caring for each other. It was like an outburst from my heart.
What are your plans for the near future?
I have been reading a lot of the materials available on the iMusician website and they are helping me to understand more about how each platform works and to create a stronger and more efficient release strategy. Besides 'Your Place', I have six other songs that I am working on. My idea is to release them gradually and, at the end of the year, release an EP with all of them together.
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