Singing was always been a major part of life for Fabiana Passoni. This Brazilian-American singer was born in Poços de Caldas, Brazil, and first began singing at age 6. Her father was a composer and singing and writing songs was just part of life in her home.
By Sean Chaffin
“My father sang for me a song he composed called ‘Mulher Delicada’ (Delicate Woman),” she says. “We would sit on the couch and he would compose other songs and I would sing along with him.
He taught me the art of interpretation and how to play to an audience. He was responsible for shaping my early musical career.”
A Life in Music
A career in music seemed a natural fit for Fabiana. After early success singing Sertaneja, Samba and rock, she ran a successful music school. But her love of Bossa Nova and jazz soon led her to the U.S. to fulfill her dream of singing on an even bigger stage.
That came with some adjustments.
“The biggest adjustment was the language since I spoke very little English,” she says. “The other adjustment was that I ended up singing the same type of music that I left in Brazil – Samba, Sertaneja, and Axé. I took advantage of an opportunity to record and moved to Los Angeles.”
Several albums followed, and she lists a couple of her major inspirations as Ella Fitzgerald and Leny Andrade. She loves the music of the 60s and 70s and grew up listening to 80s pop.
Some of those sounds went into her first album, ‘É Minha Vez’, which was released in 2007. Those inspiring sounds have led to some great covers of other artists – complete with a Brazilian twist.
“I decided with my first album that I would include at least one song from those eras on each album that I recorded,” she says.
“Sometimes I pick the song, sometimes they are suggested by musicians or my producer. It’s a collaborative effort working the song in a Brazilian way.”
That includes even songs like ‘Darlin’ by the Beach Boys and ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles.
Many listeners to The Sounds of Brazil have come to especially enjoy the Fabiana Passoni remake of ‘Loving You’, originally recorded by Minnie Riperton in 1975 but also covered by Shanice in the 1990s.
Fabiana’s sultry voice and unique arrangements make her a favorite among Latin jazz and Bossa Nova fans.
A medical scare would soon keep her even more focused on music.
Everything seemed to be going so smoothly in 2007-08. ‘É Minha Vez’ had been released and earned nice reviews. She had just received an offer to tour Japan. Things were going so well – and then came terrible news
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008,” she says. “I went from elation to the other extreme in seconds.”
But Fabiana was determined not to let the disease slow her down. During chemotherapy she wrote many of the tracks that would appear on her Naturalmente Brasil album, which was released in 2011.
“Music helped me confront the disease and win the battle,” she says. “Two years later I was pregnant with triplets and discovered another lump. More surgeries and radiation followed, and I have now been cancer-free for eight years.”
In a long and successful musical career, Fabiana Passoni has released several EPs and singles, been a regular in the Top 20 Smooth Jazz charts, and co-starred in the musical “Loving the Silent Tears.”
While she’s fulfilled most of her musical goals, this Brazilian-American still loves recording and singing. Another EP is planned for late-2019 and include a few covers and some of her own songs. She’s also working on a Sertaneja album composed of 12 songs written with her father, to be recorded and released initially in Brazil and available online.
When not at the mic, Fabiana Passoni spends time with family (the triplets are now 8 years old) and has cut back on touring but still performs a couple gigs a month. Cancer may have slowed her down briefly, but certainly didn’t hold her back.
“Cancer taught me how to fight for what I want,” she says. “My dreams of continuing my career never faltered even among the setbacks.”
For more information on Fabiana Passoni, click here.