Meet Rita, Head of Orchestras at Musiversal 🎻
Hi, I’m Rita. Most of you know me as Rita from Musiversal. Others as Rita Tulha, and some as Rita Senhor…
Confused? I got you covered - why be one when you can just be yourself?
I was born in Porto in 1994. I make music as Rita Senhor and I have been running the orchestral sessions at Musiversal since September 2018.
The best part of it all? Music, everyday. 🎶
A bit about me
I am an artist at heart. I need to express in whatever form. Like most kids I was drawing and painting on the floor everyday (I still love that). I learnt to see the beauty in many things, like I remember being a child and eating dinner with my mother and I was staring at the plate, stunned by the different textures on a steak, the colors, the blood, and my mother interrupting that moment like Why are you not eating?...
I wasn’t born in a family of artists nor musicians but Music touched me when I was 5, with late 90s records. I wanted to learn the drums so bad. And piano. And anything that made sound really, but I was not granted that lesson. So a couple years went by, I’m 13 and teaching myself the drums and piano. YouTube Tutorials happened and the introvert in me was mimicking the movements on an old Casio keyboard and learning the basics of beatboxing - p, tss, k.
Everything was silent, the keyboard didn’t have a damn plug and the drums weren’t really there, but my drive was huge. I wanted to make music on my own, that was all that mattered.
2 months go by and I can do a stable 4/4 beat with my mouth and silently play chords. Finally my mother got the keyboard to work and I couldn’t believe my ears, I was playing piano.
Since then I did all my music in a very DIY setting. I perfected the piano skills, the beatboxing and I learnt producing and mixing. Singing and songwriting were always together, with deep Alicia Keys inspiration, and I started to make my own songs. From 2012 to 2017 I was called to do beatbox gigs and performing showcases. I released a fully garage-band produced EP as ARTBEAT in 2014, called Dusk, you can listen to it right here:
I did Fashion Design in college and almost dropped out. I was too high on music, I started using Logic Pro! I wanted to produce as much as possible and if you’re one of my college teachers reading this, I didn’t listen to all the lessons because I was probably mixing a song in class. I didn’t really drop out out of fear. Also because fashion can be really awesome and a massively creative world so I thought I could still do it as a job. So I finished the damn course but Music is all there ever was.
After half-assing that course, 22 year old me moves to Lisbon to finally study something I loved, Music Creation and Production. I finally understood the compressor. But seriously, it gave me the set of skills that I was missing: studio skills. Recording, setting up and all the technical stuff. I had songs and the creativity but I needed to understand the ins and outs of putting it together. So it gave me that and months later I’m doing an internship in a recording studio in Berlin. It added to those skills SO MUCH, learning is really nothing but doing.
Coming back to Porto I realized what I really wanted to do: producing. And upon arrival I booked 3 intense days of recording my first producing gig, Australian singer/songwriter Keely Denham’s EP “Blue Leaves”. The song “Leaves” actually features a Musiversal recording with the London Strings!
And just like that, it’s summer 2018. I’m fully loaded with drive, time and skills to produce music so I send emails to dozens of recording studios. I had some leads but I knew something was ringing from a far… It’s August and I received an email from the Lisbon school offering a position at “Musiverse”? I couldn’t find anything on it, like what is this company? But the job was straightforward: managing orchestral recordings sessions. I mean, I don’t know a thing about orchestras but I understand recording sessions, and it’s a job with music (typical Rita’s rationale), so I replied on a Friday and got an email in 30 minutes with an interview on Monday in Lisbon. Let’s book this train ride I thought. Let’s see what this is about, I’m curious, above all.
I met André, Musiversal’s CEO, in the office. We talked for 90 minutes. About music, skills, life and the job offer. I didn’t really think of the impression I caused, I remember mostly having fun meeting him and good prospects about the company’s vision. He said he would call in a week if I was selected for the position.
After the interview I went for a 2 week holiday in the Algarve. I was recently out of a relationship so I turned to the beach and vitamin D to heal. This sounds like a pretentious thing to share, but it’s real so I was literally laying down at the beach, beer on my side, sun kissing my face, feeling healed and light with the energy of the sea and the phone rang “Congratulations you got the job”.
A typical day in the life at Musiversal
It’s been 3 years and a half since that call so I’ll try to be quick but it’s a work that it’s constantly evolving, it’s not black and white, like music.
We started working pre-pandemic, 3 people sharing the same table in a shared office in Lisbon, me, André and João, a Brazilian marketeer. I was contacting clients, booking studios, learning quickly about scores and orchestral recordings and João was already in the motion with today’s mission: making music production affordable and quick to realize with world-class musicians. André was thinking ahead about what we have today, the Musiversal Studio and I was running the orchestras service, the only Musiversal service at the time.
We used to go to the studios and be with the musicians in Lisbon and London. If that is 1 thing I miss about the job it’s traveling and being in person for the session, feeling the smell of an old studio, meeting the musicians, it was all part of the experience. Now we’re all remote but it actually improved the experience tremendously, both for us and the clients.
During the pandemic all sessions were operationalized remotely and we are working from home since then. The music creators wanted to express themselves during that time, our existing and new clients, so we actually grew in the orchestras' service as the team was building the Musiversal Studio.
Sometimes my typical day is opening my laptop and being connected to Prague for 4 hours for an orchestral session. That’s where the magic happens, that’s the best part of my job, seeing the clients’ music being realized and seeing their reactions. Some have cried, some have laughed, others are watching the sessions at home with their loved ones, some are in their super cool studio listening in, it’s the highlight of all my work.
Now for some quick-fire Q&A in the booth with Mr/ Mrs Anonymous Blog Author:
What are you responsible for in your department?
I am in charge of the orchestral sessions, booking the studios and musicians, managing the clients' files and expectations and mostly realizing their musical vision in the best possible way.
What are the goals for your department?
Musiversal orchestral sessions are shared sessions. It means that in the same recording session we record different scores from different people. My main goal is to guarantee that everyone booked has their most suitable session time assigned so that their best music can be recorded at the highest level without a rush.
What are your main roles & responsibilities?
Guaranteeing no flaws in the orchestral sessions. Seriously, so many things can go wrong and in a shared recording session the pressure level is peaking so my main role is to make sure it’s not felt in any way for our clients, our music producer and of course the conductor, musicians and engineers. My responsibility is making sure everyone is exceeding at their job without a doubt. And this is what I do everyday before the actual session day. Every little step, every email, every spreadsheet makes everyone’s lives easier.
What skills/ attributes do you need to excel at to be effective in your job?
Having at least basic musical theory knowledge and intermediate music production and engineering knowledge. Being a good listener to understand the clients’ vision and execute it in the best way. Assertiveness and organizational skills, 100%.
What do you enjoy about working for Musiversal?
Working for Musiversal brings me closer to what I love the most, food. I mean, Music. Not only has my musical knowledge and taste expanded like crazy since I started working here but I also get to record my own music.. I was fortunate enough to do it so I could be in the clients’ shoes and the result is unbeatable. Hearing your ideas come to life through the power of an orchestra is one of the best feelings ever and I am not even pitching the service, this is my own experience. This is a strings arrangement I recorded with the Prague Strings and I love it so much:
Working for Musiversal is working towards a better music industry, period. Not only is the team awesome and our culture open and healthy (which makes working pleasant), but everyday I know that I am making someone's musical dream come true because their music is finally being realized - and as an artist myself I know that is one of the best moments ever, even if it is your 100th song being produced.
Not only have I learned how orchestration and remote recording works, but also how to work as a team, help lead the way for the best up-and-coming music startups, and sett work-life balance decisions. It's all part of the Musiversal working experience!
Why Musiversal matters
Musiversal matters because for the first time in a long time the ego is set aside. In a creative world where artists seek a lot of the same resources, we open the very same world-class access to everyone. No one has to keep their secrets kept, it’s a community-oriented service and everyone gets to enjoy the groove of Itaiguara, the improvisation skills of Yuri Villar, the fills of Adam Alesi and the top-notch sound and creativity of Davi Mello. No music creator is fighting for the same now. Well, except when they want to book their favorite musician and they are fully booked ;)
The industry should invest because it can only grow together with Musiversal. Everyone benefits from it! The musicians don’t need to worry about the next unprecedented gig, the creators don’t need to seek a musician and negotiate fees and the music doesn’t stay on the virtual shelf, it actually gets done and released out in the world.
Life has taught me one very simple thing. Don’t stress and don’t wait. When I am free from worry, creativity and joy spark and things simply flow. And actually just wait for one thing which is to be bored, and you’ll see what your amazing caught of guard self is able to create.
And eat pizza.