Brazilian singer Tulipa Ruiz brings her sound back to basics

The Latin Grammy award winner began her career by posting songs made in her brother’s homemade studio to Myspace

Brazilian singer Tulipa Ruiz’s style is influenced by classic Brazilian greats such as Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, and Gilberto Gil. American singer Meredith Monk was a big influence, too.

“Where I take inspiration from varies a lot,” she says. “I always have a pen and pad with me wherever I go.”

The daughter of guitarist Luis Chagas, Ruiz grew up in a musical family. She went to college in São Paulo to study multimedia and communication, and was a member of several bands and musical projects.

As Myspace grew in popularity after the turn of the millennium, Ruiz began posting songs online that she had made with the help of her brother from his homemade recording studio.

Tulipa Ruiz’s latest performance was at the São Paulo Creator Awards, where she was honored with a performing arts prize.

Ruiz worked for nearly 10 years as a journalist before she debuted her first album Efêmera, which was nominated as one of the best releases of 2010 by Brazil’s most influential newspaper, Folha de São Paulo. She was called “one of the great highlights of the new generation of Brazilian singers.”

In 2015, she won a Latin Grammy award for best contemporary Brazilian pop album for her third album, Dancê. The title, she says, came from the fact that “I am at the phase of life where I celebrate the body and the physical.” Rolling Stone named it one of the best of the year, saying Ruiz “unlocks her inner disco queen.”

Last year, Ruiz released Tu, a stripped-down album featuring just a handful of musicians. The idea was to bring her sound back to basics at a time when technology is overwhelming and people are overloading on information. “Playing the songs that way brought us closer to the backbone of each song,” she says. “And I wanted to record them like this: a guitar, a voice, and a few percussions.”

She said one of her favorite recent performances was when she was invited to play in India, a country where she always wanted to visit. It was a “really great and culturally rich experience.” She also enjoyed performing alongside the legendary Brazilian jazz and bossa-nova pianist João Donato at the famous Circo Voador auditorium in Rio de Janeiro.

Her latest performance was at the São Paulo Creator Awards, where she was honored with a performing arts prize. She rocked the stage with a four-piece band while performing her hit “I’ll Stay a Little Bit Longer.”

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