Felipe Alcântara, of the Brazilian band Os Gonzagas, had already made a name for himself and his music after his group’s appearance on the TV show Superstar. He couldn’t have expected, though, how much one little announcement would thrust him into the spotlight in Brazil: Felipe shared on a TV program that he and his girlfriend were living chastity.
Cecilia Music caught up with Felipe for an exclusive interview, where he shared about his music, his conversion – or reversion – to the faith, and his decision to live out chastity with his girlfriend and what that means. Here are the highlights from the interview:
Pope Benedict XVI says that we evangelize a culture when we value and share the best of the culture. In a way, your decision to redeem Brazilian forró music is really “swimming against the tide” in today’s times. Has it been a challenge to remain authentic?
Yes, it certainly has been, and still is a challenge. People are missing out on music with good messages in the lyrics; they’re missing out on songs that magnify the heart and lift us up. You don’t always need the deepest lyrics; a light message is enough, one that changes the mood, or makes you stop and think about the moment you’re living, or just makes you feel like dancing.
We’re even more aware of swimming against the tide when we realize that people aren’t consuming contentless music simply because there’s no alternative, but they just arrive to that music that often destroys the values based on love, family, and respect. We are aware that the work we are doing takes longer to spread, but it is perennial. So, we’re set on persisting and believing, because our mission is bigger than just playing on big stages or making money: we seek to bring the message of joy, love, peace, marriage, family, and hope wherever we go.
Everyone knows about the “revolution” in your life after you and your band appeared on the show Super Star. But not everyone knows about the revolution that took place in your encounter with God. Tell us about that.
Without a doubt, the greatest revolution in my life was my encounter with God. Despite being raised Catholic, my parents never forced me to go to church, but my grandma always taught me a lot about Church teaching. However, when I was a teenager, I kind of sloughed off the things of God, and was resisting everything the Church said. Though I never stopped believing in God and saying my prayers before bed.
Then Rafa (my now-fiancée) came into my life. We butted heads; she wanted to convince me that I was wrong and we had so many discussions. Then, in 2014, when my father died, I hit rock bottom. And from this great pain, I began to open up to God working in my life.
When I had a great conversion experience, first with Mary, and then the Eucharist, so many things happened, and I thought about giving up my music career. It was during a night of worship, I was in the back row of the church, and in a moment of deep prayer I spoke to God: “Lord, this was a difficult year for me. I lost my father. I need work so that I can help my mother, and I don’t want music anymore in my life.” Then, in that moment, the deacon who was leading music, said, “God is giving me a word now, and it is for a musician: Another opportunity will arise and it is music.” A month later we got the word that we had been selected to participate in the Superstar TV program. I began to understand how God can work.