This carioca singer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, arrived in Los Angeles in 1985. Flavia’s dad offered her a one-year trip to the U.S, which years later she found was because he wanted her to get rid of a boyfriend she had in Rio. “He succeeded, but to his surprise and chagrin, I never lived in Brazil again,” said De Mellow. Before she came to the U.S., Flavia sang with different bands (including her band), and musicians. Soon after she arrived in L.A, Flavia worked in a French restaurant in Chatsworth as a cocktail waitress and jazz singer.
Since then Flavia has played in different venues of SoCA as the Hollywood Bowl, the John Ford Amphitheater, and the House of Blues, among others. “I played with my own band, Flavia and de Mellow Men, as well with Lula Almeida & Afro-Brazil, Barry Wedgle, Nika, and Octavio Bailey in the U.S., Japan, France, and Malasia”.
Flavia is a singer and a piano player. “I have two instruments: my voice and keyboards” she adds. She came from a musical family as her grandmother Enizia was her first piano teacher, her aunt Geraldina was an opera singer, her mother played the guitar and sang popular Brazilian songs, and her father sang American jazz.
“My dad would bring me music sheets of standard jazz, so I could accompany him. While practicing, I’d sing along – thus learning many songs. Throughout the six years I lived with my aunt and uncle, we would have “serestas” every weekend. My uncle Flavio would play his twelve-string guitar and my aunt would sing beautiful Brazilian songs, accompanied by many musicians, among them renowned flute player Altamiro Carrilho”. Flavia adds “on weeknights, my cousins Karina and Luciane, my aunt, uncle, and I would sing in a university choir, performing beautiful erudite Brazilian music”.
Flavia’s musical inspirations come from different singers and composers such as Brazilians Elis Regina, Alcione, Nana Caymmi, Djavan, Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento, and Gonzaguinha. Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, and Amalia Rodrigues are international interpreters she admires. In the classical/erudite arena of piano music, Villa Lobos, Henrique Oswald, Guerra Peixe, Camargo Guarnieri, and Francisco Mignone are among her favorite Brazilian composers.
She said that the songs that give her the most pleasure to sing are her own compositions. “Inspiration for my compositions comes from different muses. Sometimes the whole song comes to me – melody and harmony at the same time. Other times it is one or the other first. I’ve even dreamt I was singing a new song with my band, and the public was going wild!”.
Flavia’s musical career is a journey that is always changing – coming and going like the waves in the ocean, the phases of the moon, the seasons in a year. One thing does not change, though: her music is always getting better.