Interview with Jacomo Bairos from Nu Deco

Written by Divine Magazine

Nu Deco Ensemble is a Miami-based, contemporary hybrid orchestra (called “a chamber orchestra for the 21st century by The New York Times) whose work has included collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Tune-Yards, PJ Morton, Macy Gray, Jacob Collier, Ben Folds and others.

The Ensemble has reimagined versions of tracks by artists including Daft Punk, Outkast and classic rock artists as well as new music from some of today’s most exciting living composers. Nu Deco was founded by conductor Jacomo Bairos (who has led orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco and St. Louis Symphonies) and composer/arranger/producer Sam Hyken (a composer commissioned by orchestras and artists including Angelique Kidjo, Bad Bunny, Tank and the Bangas, and many others) — two of classical music’s most in-demand and adventurous figures.

Since its inception in 2015, Nu Deco Ensemble has exploded onto Miami’s eclectic musical scene, captivating audiences in both traditional concert venues and alternative local venues, and fusing innovative, genre-bending orchestral performances and collaborations with the highest levels of musical artistry — leading Billboard to call their music “sonically spellbinding.” The Ensemble released a self-titled debut album in 2019, and Humans vs Robots – An Orchestral Tribute to Daft Punk in 2020. Nu Deco is reimagining what an orchestra can achieve today. It is a flexible and innovative hybrid orchestra that celebrates living composers, reimagines all genres of music, provides education programs for Miami’s young people, and collaborates with a wide range of diverse musical guests, composers, choreographers, dancers, and mixed media artists.

Getting to know Jacomo

If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be and your superhero name?

Iron Man! The do it yourself and never give up attitude he has, plus his ability to take things in his environment and make the best of them. I love that he isn’t afraid to admit who he is, and he also wears the coolest shades!

What would be a good theme song for your life?

Going the Distance by Bill Conti, originally from the movie “Rocky”. We played this at Nu Deco some years ago, and I feel like it represents the underdog I feel is inside me, and all of us at Nu Deco. I have felt like an underdog all my life, and I do love the edge that gives me. No one is going to give you anything, you need to go all the way, the full distance to get where you are trying to go. There are no shortcuts, no way to skirt the path you are on, and if you can persevere through it all, push through all the challenges, you will ultimately, even if it takes your whole life, get to where you want to go. 

Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions?

I Meditate daily and always have my mala beads underneath my outfits, even when I’m conducting on stage. They are a source of calm and peace before the storm of performance, and always are close to my heart. These practices and beads keep me centered in a bust world.

If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t worry. Everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to because it has to happen that way. Every experience, feeling and emotion is meant to come to you to help guide, teach and evolve you into the person you are meant to be. Failure is not failure. Setbacks aren’t Setbacks. Good and Bad days happen to all of us. However, it is the experience of having all of these situations happen to us, gaining wisdom from them, and holding deep awareness for our lives, which will guide you to your most successful place you are meant to arrive at. Even though there is no arrival, just an endless journey and quest to be you.

What historical Figure would you love to see in 21st century life?

Mozart!! What a rebel he was, and I could only imagine what masterpieces he would create now, with all these amazing instruments, technology and musical styles at his disposal. Classical music was the dance music of his day, the preferred entertainment by all. Knowing what the 21st century holds, I can only believe he would have created some epic and inspirational music for the world to enjoy. IN FACT…I do believe Mozart has been reborn and lives inside the body of Jacob Collier.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

An enormous thank you! We had no idea our dream of what we thought an orchestra could be would be as accepted and followed as it has been. We definitely felt we were on to something in the very beginning, however, the dedication and support of our fans in Miami, and now around the world through our online growth these last 1 and 1/2 years, has given us so much inspiration, joy and pride. We make music for others. We strive to elevate the experience with everyone we interact with. To have our fans, collaborators, the musicians of the group and our board and staff be so supportive, truly make all the work and effort so incredible worth it.

What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career?

Working with Kids or a TV show host. Or maybe a Kids TV show host! I love to entertain, and when I was younger, I would always get up in front of the marching band and would dance (quite horribly!!) for the crowds in the stands! However, I have also felt a kinship with young people and have loved performing education concerts for literally hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, as well as nurturing tomorrow’s youth through music, wellness and mindfulness practices at Nu Deco. Kids, and young people in general feed my soul. They are full of joy and love for what they want in life.  Hmm… now you got me thinking 😉

What led you to become a music artist and what advice can you give to others aspiring to make a hit? In your opinion, how do artists in this industry stay on top of the game when faced with so much competition? What’s the secret to making yourself noticed?

My love of music performance in orchestra and the joy I felt when I played with other musicians at an early age. For me, this should be your guidepost, the love of what you do, the love for creating, and the love for sharing your inner-light and passion with the world. The minute you try and make a hit, you won’t. My advice is to not do something to get something. Do something because you love it. Learn everything you can about who and what artists are out there, expand your listening constantly, stay open to what you hear and always try to discover something new. Challenge yourself daily. When you try to be ahead of someone (everyone is where they are, you’re never ahead or behind anyone, you just are where you are) or any perceived competition, and try to get noticed, this space isn’t authentic. The secret is to know yourself (to the best you can, you will always learn and grow) make art at the highest possible levels of quality and simply let the chips fall where they may. Being an artist is a lifestyle, and the more authentic to yourself you can ultimately be, the more authentic your audience will find you.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

Too many to list!! Just a couple

Quincy Jones, Esa-Pekka Salonen , Jacob Collier , Wyclef Jean , Joshua Bell , Cory Henry , Robert Spano , Snarky Puppy & John Adams

What is the best advice you’ve been given? If you could pass on a nugget of wisdom to the next musical generation, what would it be?

Chase the music not the career. Be yourself, there is an audience out there for everyone. Hone in, invest in, search for, and express your truest most authentic self as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ever lean into that, and do not give up on your dreams. The only guaranteed way to not “make it” (understand your definition of making it!) in music, is to give up. If you don’t give up on your passion, you will find a voice somewhere, the trick is to enjoy that process, its ups and downs, along the way.

© 2021 – 2022, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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