Sergio Mendes, a vocalist, producer, composer, keyboardist and songwriter, who has also been nominated for an Oscar, appreciates his fans around the world. He describes his career success as a life full of chance moments.
Smiling, Sergio Mendes, says, “I often use the word serendipity or coincidence because I like the word. We don’t have the word in Spanish or Portuguese. The magic encounter in your life that makes your life beautiful. Mine is a series of encounters that.”
Mendes was 16 years old when he started his career as a musician in Niteroi, his hometown.
While shooting the PBS documentary “Sergio Mendes & Friends: A Celebration,” Mendes and John Scheinfeld, the famous directors who worked on the films “The US vs John Lennon”, “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” and “The Happy Days of Garry Marshall”, wandered back into town to see the humble first Mendes.
“It really touched my feelings, it was very beautiful for me when I saw the old building, the apartment where I used to live. And that’s where my journey began,” he explained.
Mendes explained that bossa nova music was first popularized by his mentor, Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1959. He said that people fall in love with the soft and sensual sound of bossa nova because it gives a fresh and romantic feeling.
Sergio Mendes adds, “It happened in Rio in the early ’60s, which is melody and feeling. So I think that’s why people all over the world love the music. So bossa nova was born.”
This Brazilian musician also explained the background of the success of his song in the world, “Mas Que Nada”. He had finished composing the song years before meeting his friend Herb Alpert and record company A&M. The two then released the song and unexpectedly, the song was a huge success in various parts of the world, including in Japan, in the Philippines and also in America.
40 years later, in 2006, Mendes re-recorded the song with the Black Eyed Peas, which also brought him close to singer will.i.am.
The documentary also features people close to Mendes including, Herb Alpert, Common, Lani Hall (vocalist for the band Brasil’66), Quincy Jones, John Legend, Gracinha Mendes (his wife of 46 years) and will.i.am.
Mendes, who is entering his 80th year, has no plans to reduce his activities. He even, after getting the full vaccine, has made his first appearance schedule after the pandemic. He will hold a show at the Hollywood Bowl on August 15th.
The documentary “Sergio Mendes & Friends: A Celebration” airs on PBS TV station during the month of June. [lj/uh]