For some musicians, there’s nothing a PR, however canny, can ever do to change their public image. Luckily, for the duration of her 23-year career, Sandy Leah Lima hasn’t really had to try. The vocalist, who came of age in the spotlight during the 1990s as half of the huge Brazilian pop star duo Sandy e Junior, simply allowed her solo career to develop in a natural and unpretentious way, no outlandish Miley Cyrus overhaul necessary.
After parting musical ways with her brother in 2007, Sandy’s first solo effort, 2010’s Manuscrito (Manuscript) traded the romantic singles and ballads that were the hallmark of the later releases of her previous project for a more introspective, delicate and acoustically-flavoured light rock sound on singles such as ‘Pés Cansados’ (‘Tired Feet’) and ‘Quem Eu Sou’ (‘Who I Am’).
This year’s album, Sim, shifts gears, with strains of late-Beatles song construction and early 1970s chord structures on songs like ‘Escolho Você’ (‘I Choose You’) and ‘Ningúem é Perfeito’ (‘Nobody’s Perfect’), while other tracks like ‘Saudade’ (‘Longing’) show Sandy’s vocal range over complex piano work. And though most of the record is held back by an overly conservative approach to production, an exception to that cautious style comes in the unexpectedly moving title track: its powerful and inventive string and drum lines add an effective counterpoint to Sandy’s lofty singing, providing the record with a surprise stratospheric lift.
Charged emotional potency isn’t Sandy’s bread-and-butter, though, so cuteness will have to cut it at her upcoming show. Because even after a heavily mocked 2011 Devassa beer campaign half-heartedly tried to paint Brazil’s sweetheart in a sexy light, the woman named after the good girl lead from the 1978 film Grease continues to satisfy her long-time fans with her unshakeable sweetness.