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“‘The Voice’ has proven my worth to me. Now I know that’s what I want for a lifetime.”

At 17, Rodrigo Lourenço is the youngest ever winner of The Voice Portugal. The musician from Castelo Branco – whose mentor was António Zambujo – won the RTP1 competition on Sunday 6 February.

He interpreted the regional song “Senhora do Almortão”. Later he surprised in a duet with Gisela João in “Louca”. Rodrigo Lourenço is very attached to traditional Portuguese music, especially fado, although he also left his record while participating in the program.

Rodrigo started playing the guitar at the age of six and from then on developed a passion for music. He studies at the Castelo Branco Conservatory and, especially after The Voice, has no doubt that music will be his life.

After winning the program, he received a contract with Universal Music Portugal, a car, and the opportunity to take the Jazz and Modern Music course at the Universidade Lusíada. Read the NiT interview.

How has your life been since Sunday?
I didn’t have time to stop for a second. [risos]. I’m super happy, I didn’t expect the result at all. In the beginning it was fourth place, which means there was a huge turnaround after the performances. There was really nothing to expect to win.

What do you think led to this turning point?
I think it was the performances. More than that, I sang a song from my area and I think that got the public to vote as well. And my performance with Gisela João, I think it’s the most viewed so far, we really managed to make it a very beautiful moment.

How was the preparation of this duet?
As we prepared for the finale, the [António] Zambujo asked me: Who would you like to sing with? I immediately spoke to Gisela. We’re both super intense, that’ll spark. I had already sent her my performance from Sleepless Dawn, she even said it live and she had already replied and thanked me. But then I invited her and when I found out I was going to be “Louca” I was super happy. It’s a song I know, super intense. Right at the first rehearsal she burst into tears when I started singing.

It’s still early and you haven’t had much time to think about it, but what are your expectations for the future?
It’s still making music, starting to work on the record with Universal… But it’s definitely going to be music, that’s what I want to do. The most difficult thing now is reconciling with the classes. I see myself suffering from this [risos]. But the teachers understand and are also here to support me.

Besides graduating from school, is it your goal to earn your living with music?
Yes, of course, ever since I’ve been on The Voice, that’s been the goal. Of course, “The Voice” reinforced this will even more. Because I also understood that a bit: whether I was really good or not. Because I’ve never been to a competition, I’m super young, I don’t have much experience. Really, The Voice came to prove my worth. Now I’m sure I’m on the right track and that’s what I want to do with my life.

For example, are you also thinking about studying music at a university? Or isn’t it something that’s in your plans?
It’s in my plans, but it’s the thing: when I finish 12th grade and already have a career, it’s best to devote myself to it. Because the compatibility of study and work is very complicated. But then I can have tutors, for example, that’s an option. But I want to study and I think it is very important to continue my studies.

Now you will work with Universal, of course it will be something long-term, but what are your expectations from it?
First I need to get in touch with Universal and understand what they want from me. Because of course that also plays with money.

With the music industry.
Right, so I don’t know what they’re trying to take from me. I know the public likes what I do, so I don’t think they’ll shy away from it. And I want to keep that: sing more to Portuguese music, fado, or something in Spanish, which I also really like. But always in this style, with a song of passion and intensity. I want to keep that on my first record.

Has Rodrigo already written or composed songs that can be used for the first album?
Yes, I wrote some things down. I don’t have much because I haven’t lived much [risos]. I’m only 17, I don’t have much to say yet. But I have some things and I think the time will come to share them.

How do you usually compose? Do you start with the melody? Or also the lyrics?
I usually start harmonizing, pick a chord progression and start singing whatever comes my way. It never is: now I am writing a letter here. No. I start playing the chords, feel what’s happening and it comes out. If things go well, I’ll show you.

There must have been a lot of feedback and reactions since Sunday. Was there anything special for you?
I have so much stuff left to see I don’t even know [risos]. But I dedicate the award to my uncle. He supported me from the beginning and was always there. When I won he got tired of crying. But The Voice has changed my life and will change even more. I also went there to get that visibility, even though I didn’t [o concurso]so that you can start your professional life.

Have you felt the effects of this visibility?
In Castelo Branco it is impossible for me to walk. I just got home from school, gosh, I got pulled over more than ten times [risos]. Also, it’s a small town, not very big. If it were in Lisbon it would be different. But here inside, it’s impossible to go unnoticed.

And at school?
Today I had a reception… There was a red carpet and a bunch of students with pyrotechnics, all the administration, the teachers, everything there. It was a wonderful welcome, I just went to class today. I was even scared, believe me, I didn’t expect it [risos].


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