INTERVIEW: Zuzuka Poderosa. The Queen Warrior of Carioca Bass

Zuzuka Poderosa is the self-professed “Queen Warrior” of Carioca Bass. She has transformed the gritty, earth shaking, bass music of Baile Funk into a global fusion of party rap, South American rave styles, and 90s Miami Booty-Bass. With a diverse, inventive, and raucous DJ style, Zuzuka seemingly instigates the party into a hypnotic dance flow transforming the scene into a melting pot of Latin rhythm and sensuality. Based in Brooklyn, via Rio, Zuzuka has been releasing singles with producers from around the world and raps in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Her new CARIOCA BASS EP with Kush Arora on Little Owl Recordings is a true personification of the interracial music baby that Zuzuka has birthed, nurtured and grown to known as Carioca Bass.

In anticipation of her upcoming showcase at Public Assembly in Brooklyn, NY I got to chat with Zuzuka to hear all about her new EP and get a lesson in Carioca Bass.

JA: What does Carioca Bass mean to you?

Zuzuka: “Finally finding my identity from what I like and what inspires me. It is a story of where I came from. Basically having all this great different music that I really appreciate, from Brazilian music, to dance hall music, to bass music. I finally felt like my identity is to not call what I do as Baile Funk but instead define it with Carioca Bass. Real style, flow, with bass music.”

Her voice enraptures you with a passionate fire. You can hear the excitement in her tone, one that energizes your ear, and enhances your senses. It is as if she speaks Carioca Bass.

JA: I’ve heard in the past that your music has been described as an ‘interracial music baby’?” Is this a term that you like to use when describing it?

Zuzuka: Well actually that is a phrase that I made up. Basically, I believe that we are all interracial music babies. We have this great movement of artists who come from all parts of the world, who collaborate together, and then we kind of teach each other a culture. A culture where we are all teaching each other.

JA: To continue on this ‘interracial music baby’, describe the international voyage (per se) that you went on with this new EP.

Zuzuka: Lets put it this way, I had people from Canada, Malaysia, from Brazil, Texas, San Francisco. Basically, we looked up to the people who made the sounds that really wanted to work with and Kush really put it all together. They all had the same influences growing up like I did. We really had to collaborate with each other, with the bass influence, and just you know, we have the Miami Bass, Baile Funk and the bass music. You know all these artists coming together to create my inspiration for Carioca Bass.

JA: What was it like working with Kush Arora on the EP?

Zuzuka: Kush Arora is one of the best persons that I have worked with. We definitely clicked right away and we wanted to collaborate. We got into the studio very quick after meeting at a show in San Francisco. We got in the studio and built the sound that we wanted for Carioca Bass. We both understood what we wanted and we got it. He’s very professional and I loved working with him. He’s one of the best.

JA: What does living in Brooklyn bring to your musical direction?

Zuzuka: After being here for almost ten years you meet different people, and different artists, and different waves of music and the people who come in and out and what they learn and what they leave behind. I think that is all the influence that I have, but mostly what I like is the bass rave scene here in Brooklyn. It’s so alive. Over the years I’ve just absorbed it.

JA: Tell us about your show at Public Assembly:

Zuzuka: You know I never really get to play in New York anymore so there was a real special feeling I had for this one. I couldn’t wait to see all the people, and share with them the vibe and the Carioca Bass.

JA: I know that you’re up to some interesting projects beyond Carioca Bass. You’ve got a video project with “Beyond Ipanema” and you were shooting the video for “Seda” around Carnival right?

Zuzuka: Yes. Yes. The “Seda” video’s the first release from the Carioca Bass. It came out the first week of Carnival and it was great, and really fresh. I can’t wait to hear the feedback, I am really curious. The project with Ipanema is a TV show on Canal Brazil that is going to be really great. I can finally show my mother who’s back home in Brazil myself on TV. She always asks ‘What are you doing there’, ‘What are you really doing there’? And now this show gets to finally show here. You know parents, she just wants to understand and this is a great way for her to see.

You can follow and listen to Zuzuka’s muic here: