Having been born in New York City and raised in Rio de Janeiro by musically inclined parents with careers in the performing arts, it was only natural that I followed in their footsteps as an actress and singer/songwriter.
My first singing teacher was a classic opera singer. I would stand in the edge of her grand piano, staring out of this wide window with an awe-inspiring view of the ocean. When the high keys were struck she would say, “send that note to the horizon”. I could feel my voice flying like a bird flying over seas.
Walking the seashore one day, on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, I began singing a melody and soon realized it was inspired by the waves splashing on the sand. Since that day, when I go to the beach I take my time to sing for the waves and for the horizon. Much of my inspiration for song writing comes from observing nature, especially the movements of the sea. Now that I call New York City my home, the Hudson River replaces the seashore as my watery muse.
My teacher Eveline Hecker, taught me classic Brazilian songs from the countries most well know composers. Her gorgeous, velvet voice even landed her a job doing backing vocals for Antonio Carlos Jobim. I still love to sing bossa nova and samba, both rhythms being prominent in the culture of my home town of Rio de Janeiro, and these are the influences I've drawn on most for my performances in New York over the last few years.
At 14 years old, I began acting classes at Teatro O Tablado, a charming theater school in Rio de Janeiro providing many opportunities to work with talented actors, directors and teachers. In 2008, I got a dramatic upgrade when Judith Malina visited Brazil. Her workshop opened my eyes to the reward in working with the audience and forever changed my trajectory, instilling in me a genuine passion for the performing arts. It was then a priority for me to develop my voice and corporal expression so I could be free to perform. In the winter of 2014 I began working with The Living Theater group in New York City, as part of the cast of NO PLACE TO HIDE, written and directed by Judith Malina. Since then, New York City has felt like home, so I've stayed to plug into the huge source of creative energy pouring out of this island.
My parents are followers of Paramahansa Yogananda and Satya Sai Baba, so it was another natural inclination for me to steer towards yoga, and at 15 years old I attended my first class in Rio de Janeiro. In a modest studio in Ipanema, I fell in love with the ancient Indian practice and later that year I found myself on the mat in New York's Union Square. In November 2014 my teacher's training began, knowing I needed to go deeper into the practice if I was to fully develop my mind, body and soul to heal my self and experience freedom. Yoga has instilled in me a confidence to develop the music within me, and builds my willpower to maintain joy, happiness, peace and love everyday.
- Mariana Barcellos