Music executive André Midani, a towering figure of Brazilian music who helped propel the bossa nova movement to the world, has died in Rio de Janiero. He was 86 years old. The cause, according to published reports, was cancer.
Midani’s prolific career in music spanned more than six decades and had a tremendous influence in some of Brazil’s most fabled musicians, including Antonio Carolo Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Elis Regina. Later, in the 1990s as president of Warner International and Latin America, he also shaped the careers of artists like Maná, Luis Miguel and Alejandro Sanz, among many others.
Born in Syria but raised in France since he was three years old, MIdani began his career as a record salesman for Decca in 1952. He moved to Rio De Janiero in 1955 and fell in love with the country and its culture, eventually launching Capitol Records in Brazil under Odeon.
Early on, Midani realized there was no local music that youth in Brazil could identify with and devoted his energies to developing those musicians. After leaving Odeon, he launched his own Imperial Records in 1960, selling records door to door.
“When I met you, saw your eyes, heard the conversations, heard the songs and saw the lyrics, I felt I had to make a choice, a decision. And my decision was to design this company for you to have perhaps an easier path,” Midani told Gil and other artists in the documentary An Insider’s Story of Brazilian Music, filmed in 2015.
Midani would go on to work with virtually every Brazilian artist, promoting a wide range of genres, from tropicalia to MPB to Brazilian rock. As president of Warner Latin America, his influence extended to all genres of Latin music and he was a founding member of The Latin Recording Academy, as well as a member of its board of trustees. In 2014 he received a trustees award for his significant contributions to Latin music throughout his career.
“André Midani was a charismatic, larger-than-life human being,” said Latin Recording Academy president and CEO Gabriel Abaroa Jr. in a statement. “His legacy will live on forever through the musicians he mentored and the music he helped create.”
On twitter, multiple artists paid their respects.
“Music man André MIdani has rested,” wrote Gil. “We’ll miss the boss friend.”
O homem da música André Midani descansou. O chefe amigo vai deixar muita saudade. #EquipeGil
— Autores Desconhecidos/Dan Behr pic.twitter.com/yKD4nBxRT0
— Gilberto Gil (@gilbertogil) June 14, 2019
“Missing my Guru,” wrote Erasmo Carlos. “With him I learned the scope of my possibilities […] eternal shoulder for a friend and child forever […]”
saudades do meu Guru que foi conhecer a imensidão do Universo…aprendí com ele a situar minha arte e sentir a dimensão das minhas possibilidades…eterno ombro amigo e menino de sempre…sua sabedoria e seus ensinamentos farão falta a todos…Tenha Paz pic.twitter.com/L2aag6bGvu
— Erasmo Carlos (@ErasmoCarlosBR) June 14, 2019
“My respects and prayers for one of the most important people who organized, signed and released some of the best in Brazilian music. Thank you for giving me affection and advice every time I needed it,” wrote Vanessa da Matta.
Meu respeito e orações a um dos caras mais importantes que organizou, contratou e lançou alguns dos maiores da música brasileira! Obrigada por me dar carinho e conselhos sempre que eu pedi. #AndréMidani pic.twitter.com/JheJ2iGK3N
— Vanessa da Mata (@vanessadamata) June 14, 2019