We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Schucko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barbara, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in the southeast of Brazil. People have enormous hearts, an endless joie de vivre and an undeniable connection with family. I was quite a shy kid growing up. Looking from a distance it may have even seemed like I didn’t fit in that bright festive place. Music always made me feel I fit like a glove. The songs we listened to went everywhere from lively to deeply metaphorical and introspective – or both. It’s an important part of our culture that brought much pride to be born there. I even remember when I learned how to dance samba as a kid. I didn’t think about it, I just moved my feet in a way that somehow made sense with the music. Don’t think by any means that I’m an actual good dancer after that fun fact, but the point is, music was around whether you wanted it or not.
My family always supported the fact that I wanted to follow music as a career. Even though no one had ever gone through that path before, it seemed to be a common dream. It felt heartwarming to be able to buckle up and share a bumpy road with the people that I loved the most, even from afar. The scenery’s been pretty fantastic and it shaped who I am in and out of my career. Moving out of the country, learning new languages, meeting incredibly inspiring people and getting the chance to be part of their creative journey as a fellow artist or music producer, all of that came with challenges that I didn’t even think about before but I trusted they were worth it. I believe that like the dancing I learned as a kid came from being submerged in that rhythm, the trust in this whole process also comes from being submerged in a culture that somehow smiles regardless the circumstances.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I love the most about my art is the freedom to create from different points of view. That means, tackling a first spark of creativity from a place that makes sense at the moment, be it starting from words, harmony, a bass line, a few notes on a piano, a sound I heard or recorded outside. I always like to nurture that freedom to start a piece from scratch with whatever’s available, and that leads me to evolve in my own way. I still have a long way to go, but getting where I am today professionally wasn’t easy. I don’t think any outcome worth the ride will ever be easy. It’s challenging to always seek to be your best no matter what you’re doing or how important that is to your end goal professionally. The path is different to everyone and success is different to everyone at different points in life. Refreshing that seems to be key.
Building a life in a different country added a whole other level of challenge while building a career, but it also added to the value of community in my life. Asking for help, taking one small step at a time – patience. I’m still learning, so I think the most valuable lesson is to keep that in mind: we’re always learning. That’s important in every field but I think creatively, remembering that opens up a freedom from our own judgement that’s vital to the art.
I take that mindset to every project I work on now. As a composer, the latest challenge was to convey the feeling of playfulness and imagination coupled with grief on Rafaela Rocha’s short film “Flying Whispers.” Recently while producing music with the artist Marina Mia, we’ve also been finding ways to get the musical elements we have to support a story of self discovery and self love in a song that is both soothing and dark. It’s extremely fun and rewarding to put all that together! It’s an emotional process but it’s also a super joyful moment to be able to create with people and bounce ideas back and forth that end up becoming even cooler than they originally were. That might as well be the essence of the work: authenticity, excitement and collaboration.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, I could act as a tour guide, gladly! That’s a tough one to plan after a year of quarantine adventures, but let’s dream about this. I’d actually start with the spot I was taken to by one of my best friends when I first came to Los Angeles: Zuma beach and The Sunset restaurant. That should be a warm day that predicts a glass of white wine with a chance of dolphins as the sun goes down. They should also get ready to get some roller-skates going by the beach between Venice and Santa Monica taking a little break at Urth Cafe. A walk around Echo Park and the arts district downtown would also be in that list with some live music at
Apotheke LA. I wouldn’t leave out the option to go to some museums around the city, go on a hike or actually take a couple of days to go backpacking near the top of San Bernardino peak to get some absolutely beautiful views and just enjoy the silence. Finally, I’d also take a day for Six Flags, because hey, life is short. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ll dedicate this one to the people that have supported and mentored me pouring love and knowledge all over the place. My family and my partner for cheering and believing in me every second of the day, friends and fellow artists that help me learn every step of the way, and mentors who taught me to seek authenticity over anything else. My shout out goes to Ryan Kelly, Miki Tsutsumi, LB Dorsey, Prince Charles Alexander, Sebastian Krys, Paula Bast, Vinicius Cavalieri, Rafaela Rocha. Those people at some point in my professional development helped me seek a deeper understanding of the technicalities of music creation and the community around it, they gave me incredible opportunities to learn and encouraged me to keep moving with passion and authenticity. I’m forever grateful.