By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With her remake of Dione Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” playing almost nightly in the Globo novela (prime-time soap opera) “Salve Jorge” and a recent confirmation to perform at Rock in Rio 2013 in September, it’s been quite a year for singer and British expatriate Jesuton who began her musical career in Rio by singing on the streets.
Originally from London, Jesuton was born as Rachel Jesuton Olaolu Amosu in 1985 and goes by her middle name which was given to her by her Nigerian father. She arrived in Rio in March 2012 with the desire gain a broader knowledge of South America, a region she had always felt drawn to explore.
She had previously spent time in Washington D.C. getting a masters degree and had traveled around Latin America to Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Peru, where she lived for two years.
Upon arriving in Rio she wanted to dedicate herself to music but didn’t know how to begin. “During that time where I was doing a lot of soul searching,” said Jesuton.
“I was walking along the street in Ipanema and I saw a guy, his name was Alfredo Buendia, he had an amazing setup. I heard his voice before I saw him.” It was Buendia who encouraged Jesuton and told her the equipment she’d need to sing on the streets. “I started and I really really loved it. There’s so much freedom in it.” said Jesuton.
“I really liked her voice and style,” Rio piano and musical theory teacher, Ana Espinola told The Rio Times. “She’s very well tuned and didn’t sound like everyone else.” Espinola became any early fan of Jesuton through videos posted online of her singing on the streets.
At the same time another Carioca, writer Glória Perez, was also discovering Jestuon’s live performances. Later when Perez was looking for an international song for her upcoming novela “Salve Jorge”, she thought of Jesuton and contacted her to cover Dione Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” for the novela soundtrack.
From there Jesuton began to be known be a broader audience in Brazil. When asked how it felt to gain popularity in a foreign country, Jesuton said, “I don’t know if it’s strange because I would say that I didn’t try to forge a musical career in London. I think sometimes people might have the idea that I was singing on the streets in various different countries around Latin America or I tried my luck in London and it didn’t work out.”
“Before coming to Brazil I’d never sung on the street before. The only place I really had a band was in Peru.”
Jesuton had grown up influenced by the big voices of music from R&B to Rock but had never pursued formal training.
“It was quite a revelation when I started really getting on stages late in my life perhaps in university days afterwards. When people said,‘Wow you’ve got a really great voice’ I was like ‘Really?’ because I was never really singing for anyone but myself.”
Another revelation came when the singer found out she would be performing on Rock in Rio’s Sunset Stage on opening night of the 2013 festival. She is paired with the L.A. based band, The Vintage Trouble, for the Rock in Rio 2013 performance.
“I’m really excited about the combination,” said Jesuton. They will play before Maria Rita and Selah Sue September 13th.
Before Rock in Rio Jesuton can been seen at shows around the city including an upcoming performance at Miranda, in Lagoa on May 31st. Her album Encontros is also available through iTunes and at stores including; Saraiva, Livraria Cultura, and Livraria Travessa.