by Sherif Awad
Hello www.MeetingVenus.com, I am Lua de Morais… My father is a poet/writer, and my stepfather was a musician (he passed when I was twelve). I remember singing since I have memory; my mother has photos of me singing on TV at the early age of two… I think I was born with the “artist bug” or “virus”, ha, ha, ha! Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to be a singer, actress, dancer, writer…I am a dreamer. I knew I’d do one, some, or all of those.
And so, I was born & raised in a cult; they called themselves a missionary group (known as “The Children of God” or “The Family International”). As a child, until I was old enough to make my own decisions, I wasn’t’ allowed to watch TV, listen to radio, or go to regular school, (I was homeschooled), so there wasn’t that many “role models” to look up to artistic wise… But I do remember watching a few movies like “The sound of music” which might be to this day one of my favorite movie, Shirley Temple movies too, etc… I didn’t have that much contact with the “outside world”, neither was it allowed, but I can say that what I did get to watch it terms of movies and musicals, were an inspiration to me as a child and to this day. We could watch some movies that were “approved” for us, mostly musicals, & that was the highlight of the week for me! I remember loving “Singing in the Rain”, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, “Shangri-La”…or maybe I just remember the ones with singing and dancing! (Ha, ha, ha!) I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up…though I could tell anyone, as my future couldn’t be so “vain” and “superficial”, or so they would tell us…or we could be punished.
The life of an artist is a life that is all about studying, learning, because being in constant contact with creativity is all about learning and experimenting, and that never ends. I’m always looking for new things to learn, finding new ways of doing the things I know how to do, and vice-versa. When you’re a creative, you are in constant movement & growth, you never stop and I know I’ll be a student till the day I die. I went to college to study performing arts at the age of 32! Yes, I was that old… Once I had my “freedom” (from the cult I grew up in and from my ex-husband – with this I just mean he preferred me as a house wife instead of an professional actress or singer-,) when I finally felt I had “a life” of my own, with two kids, divorced, when I was finally supporting myself through my art (performing professionally almost every day, two or three times a night some times), and the opportunity came by, I didn’t let it pass! I didn’t’ care my classmates were ten or twelve years younger, because when you want something, you don’t see obstacles, you just go get it! But since I was homeschooled & didn’t have much to prove for my education, and it wasn’t’ easy, I always felt in disadvantage from everyone else. But I didn’t let that stop me, I studied, I passed the High School exam with good grades, went to college for four years and what not, and today I’m so proud to say I have a Professional and Bachelors degree as an Actress and Performing Artist, (even if I had to wait until I was 35!) I’m still active as a student taking online courses to become the most complete artist I can. I take weekly singing classes and I hope to do this till the day I die, I’m constantly trying to learn more guitar & piano for example, so I can accompany myself and become a better performer, etc., I love to take acting classes whenever I get a chance, along with scrip writing courses, etc. There is so much to learn & the more you do it, the more you realize how much more you still have to learn, it’s like if learning created the need and hunger for more…so, don’t ever let life circumstances stop you from reaching your dreams! EVER. AGE DOES NOT MATTER.
-I’m learning to enjoy the process of life as a creator, because that’s what life is really about. We may think we know what we want or where we are going, it’s always good to have a plan, to have dreams, goals, etc., and as long as we are doing all we can to achieve them, we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. We can’t control exterior factors, we can just try to be the best we can & trust destiny, the universe, god, life, luck, or whatever we believe in. As long as we try, we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Sitting around and waiting for things to come to us, won’t take us anywhere, at least won’t make us grow & become the best we can become. I’d love for the world to hear my songs, I’d love to write a book or a film, or musicals that will touch peoples lives & make a difference as so many beautiful films, songs, plays, etc., have touched mine. I want to make a difference it this world & that’s why I chose this path, but I know that as long as I’m fighting to keep myself creative & giving to others what makes me the happiest, I know I’ll be fulfilling what life is really about. As long as I try to change things I can change for the better, as long as my sample teaches even if only my children something positive for their lives, I’m accomplishing my purpose. As long as I’m creating from the heart & sharing that to the world, I’m more than content, because life in itself is a gift. If anything comes by doing what I know I must do, it’s just an “extra”, and of course it will be rewarding go reach worldwide recognition, while I’m alive, or not, but that can’t be the final goal.
-There are always challenges in being a professional female, but with time I’ve learned to look at it as something positive to learn from. When I was younger, there was a lot more fear, and I lived really sad deceptions, but everything I experienced has only strengthened me, and today I’m lucky enough to choose who I want to work with and I just don’t put up with bullshit! Once we, as females realize that WE have the power, it’s game over!
-I moved to the US a couple of years ago because I felt that where I was before (Chile), the opportunities for a songwriter, who mainly writes English songs, weren’t very promising. (Because of my upbringing, having lived in English speaking communities until the age of 19, it’s a natural thing for me to express in this language rather than my mother language -Portuguese-, which I’m the least comfortable with when it comes to writing.) In Chile, where I lived for almost 20 years, when I won a contest and was able to count with the financing of my first album, I had to translate all my songs to Spanish, -just to give you an example-. My musical style naturally isn’t very “Latin”, I’m guessing for the same reasons…also, honestly, the standard, the market, the music and acting industry in general is quite superior in the US than most parts of the world, the Entertainment Industry here is at a whole different level, & all I want for myself -and for my children-, is to be where there is a real challenge and opportunity for us as artists, because I believe that as long as we work hard and are willing to make sacrifices, we can live the life we want to live. In these times (2020), many things are on hold, but creativity never stops, and with internet there are no limits to what can be done, I’ve taken this year to write more, translate my book, take on line courses, classes and what not to always be moving forward. Once you think there’s nothing else to be done, than it’s over, as long as you know that nothing can or will stop you, you are just getting closer to reaching your dreams.
-I’m patiently waiting for time to take its course, as an actress, I try to apply to as many projects as I can (& that I might like) on line, and have been very lucky since I moved here to Los Angeles in meeting amazing professionals and participate in different films. I do find it unchallenging sometimes to do other peoples projects that don’t really speak to me, so I’ve become more and more selective & am seriously considering writing my own script and produce my own film. I would love to tell a story that will inspire people, and do a role that really moves me and that I can be proud of, I think this is the era of “do it yourself”, other than waiting for an “opportunity” implying someone else giving it to you. We have to create opportunities as well, and when we start, the universe works on our behalf and makes things happen…believe me it does.
For new projects: – I take new projects if I feel that:
1) I will learn from it and grow as an artist
2) If it’s convenient after evaluating time and what it will mean to me in every other practical aspect versus what’s being offered to me financially (or not)
3) If it’s “safe”, considering the circumstances we are in today
Many times I’ll participate in something because I believe in the ones behind it, I believe on the “cause” or simply because as creators we must support each other, if we were less selfish, we’d get so much more done & the world would be a warmer place to live in. Many times I had my peers help me with personal projects (music videos, live performances, rehearsals, producing plays, etc.,) that I feel I owe life so much for simply being able to be an artist, and am so grateful that when I know I can be of help to others project, I really try to go out of my way to help, and feel very rewarded when I do.
If only we as artists/creators (why not say humanity, right?) could see art in a more generous way, and support each other to reach our dreams; if anyone knows how hard it is to even be an artist, is us! So, I officially offer my peers my time and talents as long as I can, to help them complete their projects. I think that’s the spirit, besides, when you share beautiful things or create them together, they become even more beautiful!
-For me each song, every album, music video, poem, chapter, book, script, play, no matter how “far” they seem to go, is a unique achievement with a whole universe on it’s own. It’s hard to know really…Each one has its magic, it’s time, process, they touch people hearts differently & I know this is just the beginning…but I should honestly say, both of my children are my greatest “artistic achievement”, (besides being what I’m mostly proud of as a human), and I’ll tell you why;
They both perform with me since they were in diapers, my daughter is now in college studying music production under a talent scholarship and my son is my number 1 male singer and voice over actor when producing songs for the kids music industry, (which is today my main source of income). Both of them are great songwriters, singers, performers, musicians and actors (Sharon is 19, Lian is 17).
With that being said, I must say that the project I’m mostly proud of, because it united all the arts I love and more: writing, acting, composing, singing, dancing, producing, directing, etc., AND where I was able to work with both of my children (and other amazing artists), is “ACTITUD FEMENINA” (“FEMME ATTITUDE”), a musical play that portrays life through the eyes of seven women with totally different backgrounds, with similar dreams, that must face a same process of “auditioning” (sounds familiar? Ha, ha, ha!) Here they are with what seems to be the “opportunity of a life time” and they must give it all to reach their dreams…
My intention as the scriptwriter is to make people reflect on their own personal lives, and compare it with an audition. The play suggests that life is somehow parallel to an audition, and that we are always “auditioning” for some one, somehow…WHO ARE YOU AUDITIONING FOR? IS IT WORTH IT…?
My next project is to translate this musical to English & hopefully be able to present in the US, and other parts of the world, go on tour, etc., Who knows take it to Broadway someday…sky is the limit. Also, the play has a lot of poetry in the dialogs, AND most importantly, it unites TWO generations in one same stage (my daughter and myself!) It’s something that I’m definitely proud about and it’s worth the three and something years that it took us to put it together. (My son works with us backstage, making sure the right songs and special effects go in the right moments, etc.,) I just can’t express the pride this project means to my life as a creator/artist.
I shouldn’t announce this yet, but we are currently working on the album (soundtrack) with my music producer from Chile, René Calderón, to at least be able to share the songs with the world for now (both Spanish & English versions is the plan).
So, if I think of a project that has united the arts I most love, and my favorite people in the world, it’s definitely “ACTITUD FEMENINA”, and right next to that project, is the one I’m concluding this year with my husband, children, father and many amazing artists and poets I’ve been lucky to work with. I’m talking about the new trilingual edition of my poetry book “NUA, Voz del Silencio” (“NUA, Voice of Silence”). Both my kids made the art for the cover / back cover, my husband produced the music for the instrumental / poetry album that will be released with the digital book, my father translated it to Portuguese, I translated it to English and there is a lot of collaborations from other artists…AND, this was this book that inspired me to write the musical “ACTITUD FEMENINA”, so they go hand in hand, it’s like if the book is the mother and the play, the child (and children usually surpass their parents.)
-I’m a also mother, wife, and work for a big children’s YouTube channel in Latin America, translating and recording kids songs in the three languages I know, (“O REINO DAS CRIANÇAS” / “EL REINO INFANTIL” / “THE CHILDREN’S KINDOM”). Although it’s also “art” related, ha, ha, ha! I guess my life in general is art related…my husband is the most talented musician I know, and there is music being created all day long in our home. As a house wife, I love interior decorating, I like to fix things, recycle old furniture make them look beautiful, I love to sow (I made my own wedding dress this year), I love to cook, (I have a whole Instagram account for my kitchen creations), and that in it self is another form of art (at least my husband thinks so, ha, ha, ha!) My hobby / favorite sport is Pole, (I love Yoga too), though I haven’t been able to practice for over a year…I try to keep myself busy as much as I can and always in touch with my friends all over the world…It’s important to keep in touch with everyone you love, not only your family, friends are a very important part of life and this is a daily activity for me. Pretty much every afternoon when I take my daily walks, I call my friends and make sure they know I’m thinking about them. It takes time, but cultivating human relations is one of life’s most beautiful treasures I have from life…I hope I answered that question. Parallel to my profession as an artist, there is home and family to take care of, which are other forms of art, one way or another there can be art in EVERYTHING you do, EVEN cultivating human relations, so I must say, living life to the fullest is an expression of ART to me.
-About my lyrics and music: I don’t think much, rarely I tell myself “I’m going to write a song about such and such a subject”…(when I do for some specific reason, it can become HARD work…!) it’s usually an inspiration, it comes and goes, like a storm, or a breeze, you are either ready for it, or not, and then it’s gone. When I like a song, I usually share it with the people I trust the most and know will be honest about it; my kids are usually my most reliable sources to tell me if they think it’s a “good” song or not, (and vice versa, they ask me the same when they are the songwriters, it’s so cute!) because they can’t lie to me (neither would I lie to them, ha, ha, ha!) I know by their faces what they are thinking. My husband, being who he is, is very hard to please artistically, and VERY honest, he tells me what he thinks without filter, and usually I’ll work on something just so he might approve it, ha, ha, ha! He helps me a lot and I learn so much from all of them.
I use my YouTube channel mainly to share my music, and of course the other social media sites as Facebook, Instagram, etc. I think the era we live in today is like no other (there are good and bad sides of it of course,) but today anyone’s music can be exposed to the world and reach corners of the planet that was impossible to reach only a few years ago! So I must say we, as artists are not only VERY LUCKY now, but MUST use these tools for our means, (and to make GOOD QUALITY MUSIC, PLEASE!!!) in every possible way. There hasn’t been and probably never will be a time like this, it can be so challenging, but VERY exciting when you think about all the possibilities!
-I just share with the world what I want to share, sometimes I’ll share some aspect of my private life that I feel can help me connect with others, or that others can relate to, if I feel it will have a positive outcome, even if it’s just a chance for me to have a good laugh at myself, I might share…
But mostly, I love my privacy and to keep things to myself, both for my own protection and of my loved ones (there are many crazy, envious, and why not say, bad people out there). There is a limit for everything and only we can draw the line. I believe that respect is what this generation needs to practice the most, respect for them selves in the first place to then understand what respect for others is.
-As I mentioned before, I’m about to release a new Trilingual edition of my poetry book, along with an instrumental album produced by my husband Ariel Mann in all three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese), and as soon as that is completed I will then begin translating the musical “ACTITUD FEMENINA” to English along with producing the music album with the team. The idea of rewriting a script for a feature film about my life is also in my “to do” list for a near future, and I have a short film script idea too in mind, (and I must add I’m open to whatever life might bring my way through all that’s been going on in the world;) but no matter what, I’ll be here creating in my bedroom something to bring a smile to my face and feel I’m at least trying to share some love to whoever might get a chance to listen, see, read, or feel some day…be it a song, a poem, a script, or just an idea.
-For the new generation : I say: never give up on what keeps you up at night, what you believe in, what puts a shine in your eyes and lightens your smile…AND once you decide that THAT is what you want and are SURE it’s what you are meant to do, you work, work, WORK, and DON’T STOP until you see your dream start taking shape until they come TRUE. I believe that people who give up along the way just didn’t BELIVE hard enough. Believing in your self is KEY. (I wrote a song called “I believe in me”, it’s available on YouTube, Spotify, etc., it expresses this exact thing.)