World Music Never Sounded So Sweet With Natalie Oliveri and Gabriela Riley's Single, "MAR"

The Chicago-bred Singer/Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Natalie Oliveri returns to BuzzMusic, this time teaming up with Gabriela Riley to pay homage to their Columbian and Brazilian roots with their soulful single, "MAR."

We've seen the talented likes of Natalie Oliveri come and go over the last few months, and we're impressed with her decision to expand her sound and offer a tribute to her heritage and background through her latest single, "MAR."

Teaming up with the stylings of Gabriela Riley for their single, "MAR," the song serenades us in the beautiful tongues of Portuguese and Spanish while offering soulful elements through their jazzy and worldly instrumentals. With a team of musical masterminds behind this song's creation, it's no wonder why we feel such texture and depth from the single without completely comprehending their languages.

"MAR" opens with serene keys and ambient electric guitar strumming at a mellow and downtempo pace. Once Natalie Oliveri and Gabriela Riley's layered and ethereal vocals appear, the song instantly transcends into a higher and warmer atmosphere through their incredibly complimentary vocal tones.

We can't help but groove away with the song's natural and organic ease, especially through the mild jazz-infused instrumentals and the two artists singing with the utmost passion. Although we're not entirely educated on the beautiful languages they serenade us in, Oliveri mentioned that the song surrounds earthly themes of nature's power and beauty.

"MAR" brings listeners into a sonic sweet-escape with help from Natalie Oliveri's warm vocals accompanied by Gabriela Riley's equally soothing tone and the song's overall peaceful instrumentals that reach deep into our hearts.

We're impressed with the shift you've made within your music through the release of your single, "MAR." What inspired you to create a song in your native tongue alongside Gabriela Riley? Natalie: I grew up with Colombian music throughout my childhood and enjoy creating music solely in Spanish from time to time. I see myself more as a songwriter than an artist these days so it's super enjoyable for me to tap into different genres of music with every season. It's hard to stay in one category which is why I started a music catalog company called Melody to Beats. It's much more enjoyable to create in a way that doesn't box me into a single style. Also, love to collaborate with other artists including Gabriela! We both wanted to create something that came from our ethnic background. Gabriela: Spanish and Portuguese possess a natural musicality. There is something very special, as the children of South American women, about singing in our mother tongues, to me it feels as if there is more raw depth that comes through when singing in our first languages, more directness in the lyrics. I do a lot of backing vocal work for others and lyric writing, mostly in Brazil, so genre-bending feels natural, I just recorded vocals for a Marcos Valle track which felt like a serendipitous way to follow up our release of "MAR" which dances around the Valle realm of Brazilian sounds. I dream in Portuguese mostly, so working with Natalie in Spanish opened my mind up to do more of my own music in the language, so I intend to keep the Portuguese ball rolling. Speaking on your lyrical content within "MAR," you mentioned that the song praises mother nature's elements and organic power. How does your lyricism pay tribute to this statement? Natalie: The theme of the lyrics actually came to me in a dream! "Respira profundamente antes de dormir, resa por los mares que dan vida, anter de dormir." Sometimes we forget about the importance of mother nature and what it gives us as humans. Air, water, etc...It's such a phenomenal thing that we can sometimes take for granted. . I've been super inspired by watching an ocean sunset whenever I get the chance. It's a moment of magic and makes me appreciate the beauty of life even more. For some reason, I felt that the song needed to be in Portuguese as well and thought, hmmm maybe a collaboration with Gabriela would be the missing piece for this song to come to life. She has a warm tone and a beautiful quality in her voice. Plus, she is a great lyricist so it was wonderful to join forces with another artist/vocalist that understands conscious metaphorical thinking amongst lyricism.

Gabriela: In the first phrase Natalie urges the listener to breathe deeply and to pray for the life-giving oceans, setting a scene of serenity, the type of holistic serenity that is most purely experienced in nature. Water is the most powerful element and it is said that the ocean is similar to the plasmic fluid of a mother's womb, space all of us had to pass through to arrive here on earth. Beginning a song with a prompt for listeners to breathe is powerful, it's the ultimate involuntary mediation, to build lyrics around this theme was very fun to do alongside a co-author. Co-writing lyrics is new to me, I love the experience. Seeing as you and Gabriela Riley teamed up with various musicians to create your single "MAR," what was your creative process like, taking the world's circumstance into account? Natalie: I started with the initial melodic idea/concept on guitar and Gabriela fine-tuned it adding her musical and lyrical skills. We actually starting working on this track about a year ago in my little Brooklyn apartment. I was looping some guitar chords and melody lines, we had a few of the vocals parts and started working out the harmonies and lyrics one piece at a time. Once we had a general idea of the verse and chorus structure, Gabriela asked her friend and Brazilian guitarist extraordinaire Guilherme Monteiro (Bebel Gilberto's guitarist) to help us finish the full structure. He added some great parts towards the end which gave us a good foundation of beautiful jazz/Brazilian style rhythms and harmonies. We then asked other musician friends from Brazil and New York. All of the guys had different musical backgrounds which we thought would be perfect in creating a nice fusion of world and chill 70's retro-soul/jazz in the mix. Everything was done remotely with each individual that took part which was the only way to do it with our circumstance during this time. Gabriela and I managed to finish the vocal parts in Chicago this past year, while the others finished their bits in Brazil and New York separately. Pretty worldly collaboration I would say! lol.

Gabriela: It was quite smooth, technology has made it easier to connect to our communities all over the world, musicians far and wide are tuned in to the necessity to continue creating despite the distance that has been imposed. As Natalie mentions, we were seated in a small Brooklyn apartment going through the natural motions of songwriting, writing as we play, tinkering with melodies and arbitrary sounds that fit into the melodies which eventually turned into thematic words to match the opening phrase's sentiments. I am spoiled by many years in Brazil, where we tended to record all at once, so to produce a track with every spread throughout different parts of the world was a huge learning curve. "Mar" makes me feel the word "Saudades" which is a Portuguese sensory word that has no English translation, it's like having a Deju Vu or fondly missing a memory yet to be made, and I think part of that is a lot of love went into the track. I listen and can see Guilherme Monteiro's fender amp glistening in the sun that poked through his Williamsburg balcony as we three played "Mar" together, though I was not present, I can see Mauro Refosco's detailed percussion setup filling his Super Legal studio as he explored our voices paired with Guilherme's guitars; the essence of Alberto Continentino's classic Brazilian bass soaking up then injecting the sounds around him from Rio de Janeiro's Lagoa into "Mar", and I can hear the rainforest of Petropolis and the metropolis, yet still tropical, the ambiance of the fiery and motivating São Paulo air. It was fantastic to branch out into this ever more common world of long-distance recording. With the rest of your discography in mind, should we anticipate more of your culture's elements and sound in your upcoming music? What can we expect to see next from you? Natalie: Yes! One of the reasons I started my new brand MTB was so I can add the old discography of Motown, Latin, Rnb, Jazz, etc... and continue to just create beautiful music without boundaries of what genre it should be in. Will definitely be doing more Spanish music for years to come. Gabriela and I are also planning to continue with creating more tracks together influenced by our South American roots. It's fun being able to mesh what we grew up listening to from our parent's background within the American culture of Hip-hop, Rock, Jazz, Soul, Funk, etc... Can definitely expect more collaborations soon in all genres. Gabriela: Definitely, in 2020 and beyond, I think it is becoming more and more important to stay connected to our roots. More singles and collaborations with the global community will be on the way. I am and will always be open to all music styles, my friend and musical life mentor, Wilson das Neves, the seasoned drummer from Rio de Janeiro, used to say "genres don't exist" it's either music or it isn't." That spoke to me because I like to wander all over the genre map, from experimental records to funk, soul, Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) and I definitely intend to keep going deeper into our shared South American sounds. I have compositions with Alberto Continentino, who plays bass on "Mar", that should be out early next year. My door is always open to new musical experiences.


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