2021 WEHO Arts Performance Grant recipient Leopold Nunan, “The Leo From Rio Sound Machine”, is set to stage a free concert at West Hollywood Park this Sunday, September 26, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. The two-hour live multi-genre musical performance promises to be a dance music show extravaganza. The interactive pop-up concert event will showcase a full band, Dj’s, dancers, drums, special effects, drag queens, step and repeat, and special musical guests from all over the world.
Leopold Nunan is a showman vocalist, recording artist and performer originally from Brazil. Throughout his career in West Hollywood and Los Angeles, he has performed at hundreds of venues alongside artists from all walks of life. His sound mixes disco, electronic and funk and flirts with global bass, Afro beats, Brazilian favela funk and Brazilian pop.
In an interview with WEHO TIMES, Leopold Nunan speaks about his love for WeHo, his music and what we can expect this Sunday evening.
Where do you live?
I live in West Hollywood, Norma Triangle. Love my neighborhood.
What’s your history or connection with the City of West Hollywood?
I fell in love with West Hollywood the moment I stepped in this wonderful city. I felt free, embraced, and inspired. I think West Hollywood City is so ahead of its time. It’s modern to the core morally and ethically cutting edge. It’s a phenomenon of freedom and truth. Those are big words and I stand by them. So proud of this city I chose to live in. I have lived here for the last 15 years. I learned how to love this city with my mentor, the wonderful actor publicist extraordinaire, Mickey Cottrell who showed me the best of Weho. There’s the Farmer’s Market on Mondays at Plummer Park, fabulous brunches, open air workouts at Weho Park, pleasant strolls, and lots of flirting of course. Forever in my heart.
What was it like getting a Performance Grant from WeHo?
It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s an immense honor to me. I am still jumping up and down with happiness. I have never gotten an artistic grant before in my career. This is a life and career-changing opportunity that the city I live in gave me. Makes me so emotional and proud. It’s a super acknowledgement and validation to what I do. Also, it’s a crucial time, because I am about to release lots of new music that I prepared during the pandemic. The timing couldn’t be better. I am calling this concert a life event, this is how flattered I am with this chance. I will never forget this and will cherish it forever.
Are you ready for this weekend?
I feel like I have been getting ready for something like this my entire life. We are rehearsed, so on the day of, we can actually have the time of our lives performing for our community. This is going to be epic. Mark my words.
What can we expect at your pop-up show this Sunday?
Well I decided to invite all my friends to take on this show with me. We are bringing a world tour of music, dance, folklore and expression to the legendary West Hollywood Park. Come ready to dance with us, to show off your look at our red carpet, and to enjoy an açaí Bowl on us. Come to feel inspired by music and an evening of celebration. This is a gift from the City of West Hollywood, me and all my friends to you. It’s a family event, so bring the kids, the dogs, let’s share art, and feed our souls at the park. Yes, it’s free. So exiting.
What are you wearing to your show?
Oh, I love fashion, so I am having multiple costume changes. This is how extra I am [laughs]. The majority of the costumes were couture made by genius designer, M Stoltz, also from Brazil. She used all ecological handmade silk and faux feathers in my costumes. We are celebrating Pride our way, so expect lots of colors of course.
What kind of support are you getting from the City of West Hollywood?
All the support you can imagine. This started with an incredible course/grant that I got from Weho City and CCI [Center of Cultural Innovation]. I had the opportunity to learn all the details of the business of art at a remote learning program. It was the most wonderful learning and this course was also life and career changing. So grateful for the Weho City and Weho Arts. The encouragement of the city has been second to none. I am so inspired to keep going and spread my music to the world. Thank you Weho City. The wonderful John D’Amico said, ‘There is nothing greater than to hang out with an artist.’ How cool this is?
Why did you choose to do a concert with other performers and not just do a solo show?
I love to share my opportunities and I am nothing without my community. I invited for example the wonderful blind Cabo Verdean vocalist João Pires Correia to sing the Hit “La Bamba” with me. Imagine the fun we are having on rehearsals!
I extended the invitation to my life long partners in music, Robbie McDonald, the fantastic vocal group Again and Again and DJ’s like Terrence Golden and Derek Monteiro. I wanted all my friends and family with me.
Who inspires you musically?
In this show, I am singing what I wanted to sing all my life. I am honoring the work of Grace Jones, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, and more. I am also connecting with my roots and singing the hit ‘Magalena’ by Sergio Mendes. I am keeping my set close to my heart and soul.
Can you describe your musical style to us?
I have many styles. I am a front man lead band singer, so lots of blues, rock, funk. I do electronic music too; dance floor music, house music, global bass, and disco. I want to make sure you’ll be dancing with me on my shows. Very uplifting and cheerful. I want to make sure my music is always for all ages and walks of life.
Have you done any live in-person shows since the pandemic?
I had the honor of performing at the remote Gala of the incredible Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) during the pandemic. I have also done many live performances in my media platforms, singing my new and old material, but during the pandemic I Prepared three dance singles with four versions. Each song is part of an entire full length album that will be released soon. On Sunday, I am releasing my new dance anthem called ‘Feeling Like Myself Again’ already available in all platforms.
What do you enjoy about performing?
I love to sing. I have been a singer all my life. I started in theatre and singing with the nuns in a catholic School in Ipanema – Rio de Janeiro. They used to put me as a lead on the choir and I loved the feeling. That encouragement stayed with me forever. I also enjoy very much singing to dance music. I love to dance, move and pump up the crowd to the beat. Such a wonderful feeling.
What are you looking forward to the most this weekend?
I can’t wait to release my new song and video, ‘Feeling Like Myself Again’. It’s so much fun to perform this song. It’s a burst of energy. Also the West Hollywood park is my main park that I exercise with my dog, so I have been dreaming of performing there forever. It’s like a dream come true. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and community, and also being out in the park after a long pandemic.
What are you dreading the most about your show on Sunday?
I am a fearless type of performer, so no apprehension at all. We are ultra ready to take
on this challenge and I can’t wait to sing on Sunday with my crew, family and friends.
Do you have anything else you want to share with the community about your upcoming show?
This is an opportunity that was given to an immigrant, POC, LGBTQIA+, disabled and a resident of West Hollywood city artist. I was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth CMT rare inherited neurological condition when I was 20 years old. I want to put the word out about this condition. Nobody knows about it. I have a mild version of it. So yes this concert is a fight against ‘ableism’. I invite everyone to visit the CMTA.ORG and learn more about it.
How can people find you on social media?
@leopoldnunan on Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, Apple Music,
Twitter and tiktok. Also visit leopoldnunan.com