Carla Hassett takes the listener on a wistful, introspective journey on her third album, CIRCULO, revealing expressions of sorrow, joy, grief and redemption and one that allows you to travel through time into a world of upbeat adventures. From Brazil to Chicago to Los Angeles, and back again; the sultry Brazilian-born chanteuse returns to her roots and back to the sounds that made her fall in love with music and captured her spirit forever. Sexy samba blends with the slow groove of American soul in twelve tantalizing tracks, sung in both English and Portuguese, drawing inspiration from a deeper more emotional place. Carla’s journey to introduce her audience to the passion she found in music, helped to strengthen her own resolve to face the world with gritty determination.
Whilst she matured as an artist communing between continents and cultures, Carla knew that she would find her voice; somehow old, yet new. A voice that paid homage to the creative landscape of Brazil and the soulful sounds she heard on Chicago’s pop radio stations. In her voice would be a place where all her divergent influences coexist harmoniously in one place.
“I wanted to take my audience back to the music that defined me as an artist,” says Carla. “Growing up in Chicago in a very Brazilian home where we spoke only Portuguese, I fell in love with the samba, bossa nova, and MPB that my parents played, as well as the soul and pop music on the radio; music like Bill Withers, Al Green, Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.”
The melodies on CIRCULO take a cue from the popular music she listened to as a girl. Carla remembered hearing songs that spoke to her of love and loss, while always holding onto a sliver of hope. It was a universal theme which resonated in the passionate music and culture of Brazil. A regular visitor to São Paulo, Carla moved back to the place of her birth for almost a year while working on the album. She immersed herself in the electrifying energy and culture of the city and its contemporary artists like Ceu and Curumin.
“Talking of coming full circle,” shares Carla. “When I was in São Paulo, I was living in an apartment that was in an area near to where I was born, and unbeknownst to me until later, just around the corner from where my parents met while they were in college.”
Unlike her previous album, “Quero Saber,” which featured an eclectic mix of acclaimed collaborators, Carla made CIRCULO a personal journey and claimed the music as her own. Spearheaded and produced by Léo Costa, the album makes use of Los Angeles’ impressive community of working Brazilian musicians, bringing an audible authenticity to the project. Guest producer James Gadson, the legendary drummer and vocalist (who worked with a slew of artists including Bill Withers, Martha Reeves, Randy Crawford, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, BB King, and Rose Royce), recorded Carla’s vocals on the board that he purchased from Barry Gordy; Motown’s west coast board, which was used to record the iconic artists who helped to shape the distinctive Motown sound.
“I want people to experience the joy of music, to see where that passion comes from,” says Carla. “I didn’t want to rely on anyone else to make that journey happen. This was my full-circle story, although James Gadson did make a special appearance on my cover of Bill Withers’ ‘Another Day to Run.’ Hopefully, CIRCULO warmly beckons you to listen to the album when you feel sad, so that it might fill your heart with a touch of Brazilian alegria, esperança e amor.”
Having had her voice compared to Aretha Franklin and Sade, and likened to Bebel Gilberto in her previous album, there is no denying that Carla’s music has been defined by her own experiences. With a versatile and skilled voice, Carla has toured and recorded with popular acts such as Billy Idol, REO Speedwagon, Gino Vannelli, Solomon Burke, Jon Anderson (Yes), Christopher Cross, Sergio Mendes, Mimi Betinis, Mike Patton, and others. She has lent her vocals for projects that include the feature films, Ask the Dust and Rio.
Carla regularly traverses North and South America and performs as a solo artist, as well as with a trio and full band. She teaches music at Flea’s Silverlake Conservatory of Music and continues to work as a performing and studio vocalist.