We had the good fortune of connecting with Thiago Vitorio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thiago, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born with a disease called otorrhea which caused my ears to constantly leak pus and blood. The doctors even told my mom that I would eventually experience total hearing loss. After six months old, I was healed and today I am a musician.
It all started with my father. He always wished that we had a musician in our family. So, I was enrolled in violin, drums, trumpet, bass and guitar lessons, but gave up all of them. One day when I was ten, my mom decided to bring down a little keyboard that was abandoned on top of our wardrobe. When I saw it sitting in our living room, I didn’t think twice and started messing around with it. A couple of years later, I was admitted at a local Conservatory to learn classical piano. At age 17, I got accepted at Barra Mansa Music University, graduating three years later in Music Education. In 2012 I took a 3-week course in CallArts (California Institute of Arts) where my dream about studying in America started to give birth. One year later, I had a life-changing experience: I was chosen as the arranger and performer of an international tour that took place in the U.S. We were a group of 15 young artists and we traveled from Boston to California presenting Brazilian culture through music, dance and theater. Knowing I was going to be in Boston, I sent my dream school an email, and surprisingly they replied. Even better, I was invited to audition in November of that year while they were holding applications in Brazil.
In 2014, I received the news that I had been dreaming about. I had been selected, amongst thousands of youngsters, to study music at one of the most prestigious universities in the world – Berklee College of Music. Even more, I was to receive the highest-level merit scholarship for the four-year program awarded to a foreign student. However, I still would have to find a way to pay for the remainder of my tuition, meals, airfare, etc. I remember feeling so close to my dream, yet so far since my family could not guarantee the rest. So, with the help of friends and institutions, we launched a campaign to help raise the remaining amount. The campaign was a success and in 2018, I graduated from Berklee majoring in Performance and Music Production.
I needed a lot of help to be where I am today, and for this reason I aim to build bridges and connect people to their goals. Today, I have an online course where I teach people the foundations that took me to study at one of the TOP Music schools in the world and I am also recording an album entitled “Roots.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a performer, you gotta be able to play every style of music, but I would say that Brazilian, Jazz, Pop and R&B are my specialties. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by Gilson Peranzzetta and shared the stage with legendary musicians, like Milton Nascimento, João Bosco, Toninho Horta, Tia Fuller, David Chew, Randy Gloss and many others. Right after graduating, I released an online course highlighting the most important things I learned at Berklee, “Baga Element” in which was certified and posted at the Schools Official Magazine.
in 2014 I was part of a PHD research hosted by M.I.T in which I had to give a concert wearing an EKG cap to measure how engaged the audience is with the performer. The results were simply astounding. I was more connected with the listener when I was not thinking about the music first, but feeling the environment. It turns out that I was more relaxed and the audience could feel the difference in the sound.
It has definitely not been a smooth road. The path of a creative life is always a struggle. Here are a few that any artist can relate to:
Fierce Competition: I have to admit that when I first got to Berklee, I thought of giving up multiple times, but since I received so much help to be there, it wouldn’t be fair to do so. The only escape was to overcome that competitive spirit. So, I started knocking on people’s door asking if we could share ideas with each other. This way, I realized that music is not competition, it is a community.
Pleasing others: We all have a life to live! We all have unique and distinctive purposes to fulfill, but even so, the desire to fit in, to feel accepted or to play music that will reach more people is a constant struggle for me.
To make a living while making an impact: Being able to align my purpose as a human being with my art is one of those crippling self-questions that I always ask myself and I still don’t have an answer for.
Moving to the US: Considering that I didn’t even pass the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, language was a huge barrier when I first came to America. Living far away from my family and friends in a country where I didn’t know anyone or speak the language was very tough in the beginning.
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.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County California Science Center
Some concert in Hollywood Bowl
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Yes. So many people! I would not be where I am today without the help and support of these individuals. This is the reason why I am going to divide this answer into topics, in which each one of them will be dedicated to highlight the importance of these figures in my life.
– David Chew: this man introduced me to the people who changed my life;
– Art & Social Transformation Project: to be more specific, Wainer Guimarães the CEO of this social initiative was the main responsible for my first trip to America to take a 3-week course in California Institute of Arts (CalArts) making me start to dream to come study in L.A.
– Fritsch: a family that allowed me to be able to communicate in English, by covering the expenses of an English Course in Brazil. They are still very meaningful to me.
– Bittencourts, Damasceno, Oliveiras, Rudge: when I was admitted to study at Berklee, I had a schollarship but it was not enough so with the help of these 4 families, we launched a campaign to raise the remaining amount. We got enough for a year and then, these individuals decided to be my sponsor for the 4 years at Berklee College of Music.
– Burroughs: they became my American family. I would always come to their house in Thanksgivings, Christmas and other holidays and they would always treat me like I was their own.
– Marite Anciaes: She passed away few years ago. But she was the one who translated to English all of my documents when I was applying to Berklee and in my first semester she was my English Private teacher who gave constantly feedbacks on my essays.