Playing in 'The Voice' Band: Guitarist on the 'Overwhelming' Demands of the Show
"Its very intense, it’s a lot of work," says Rafael Moreira about learning dozens of songs in a variety of genres for the NBC singing competition.
What's harder: being in a touring band or playing in one on television? Rafael Moreira, guitarist for The Voice's band, says there are pressures and advantages to the latter.
"Its very intense and a lot of work because we have to learn the parts and there is little left to improvisation," the Brazilian-born musician tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The amount of songs we learn and the hours we put in are pretty overwhelming ... And I am a bit of perfectionist, so I really dig in."
Moreira, who has been based in Los Angeles for more than 15 years, is all too familiar with house band territory having previously performed on American Idol's "rock week" in 2009 (viewers may recall that Adam Lambert slayed Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" during that show) and on MTV's Rock the Cradle in 2008.
How does one get a regular gig like The Voice? For Moreira, it started when he played on CBS’s Rockstar: INXS and Rockstar: Supernova (also created by Voice producer Mark Burnett) where he worked with band director Paul Mirkovich, drummer Nate Morton and bassist Sasha Krivtsov. Mirkovich in turn reached out to the same musicians when it was time to shape a new band for NBC show, which premiered on Sept. 10.
"We also toured together with Kiss' Paul Stanley a few years ago, so it makes everything better," says Moreira of the relationship with his bandmates on stage.
While on CBS: Rockstar, Moreira got to rock out and have his guitar solos, but for The Voice, where many genres are played, he says, “I have to adapt to it, because for many songs we don’t need the guitar, so I need to be creative and have the common sense to add elements to those songs that they didn’t have before. ... That’s where the creative side comes in. It is a challenge, but I love challenges.”
As for his career, Moreira points out that being part of a TV show like The Voice is a great opportunity to play with talented musicians.
"I have huge respect for Christina Aguilera, I think she is one of the best singers out there and I am happy to have had that experience," Moreira says of the Voice coach, with whom he's played before. Moreira, who is also a singer, songwriter and producer, has a band called Magnetico, which released an album in 2009 called Songs About the World.
His musical ambitions were influenced by his family, especially his mother -- a music teacher who is proficient at several instruments, including the piano. At the age of 6, he started playing guitar and would find himself influenced early on by rock bands like Kiss and The Rolling Stones.
Today, Moreira can effortlessly weave between genres, taking on everything from bossa nova and jazz to country and, of course, traditional Brazilian melodies. Still, he adds, that supporting players don't have to be relegated to the shadows. Says Moreira: “I think that guitarists shouldn’t be afraid of showing who they are and voice their musicality.”