Whether it’s to help you get ahead in the workplace or travel the world, everyone has different motivations for learning English.
As part of our #ThankfulThursday campaign, Pearson English wanted to hear about the times you were most thankful you learned English. We spoke to Marielle, a singer and actress from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who has used her English skills to reach a wider audience.
“I grew up to the sound of my parents’ bossa nova and jazz records. My mom plays the piano and guitar – she wrote a lot of children’s songs for my sister and me when we were young. In my hometown of Itu, 100km northwest of Sao Paulo, the town band play in the main square for free every Sunday. Every time I come back to visit Itu, I still go there with my father.
I started writing songs in Portuguese when I was a child, but most of the songs on the radio were in English. I was inspired to learn English because I’m a curious person! I always wondered about what I was singing along to, what the bands were trying to say with their lyrics. I wanted to be able to understand my favourite songs, and also to write my own music for people. I figured out that because it is a global language, I could reach more followers by singing in English.
When I first tried to write a song in English, I wrote the song in Portuguese and tried to translate it into English, which doesn’t actually work very well. Most of the time the words don’t make sense after they are translated. Now, when I write directly in English, the biggest challenge is finding words that rhyme. When I sing in English my tone changes. My producer says that my voice is actually more enjoyable to listen to in English!
“Beside Me” was the first song I recorded in English. I wrote it about my parents’ love for each other. Every time I sing it I’m reminded that love exists. When I say “love”, I mean all kinds of love. I really love my parents and my sister. They are very present in my life, supporting me and helping me with everything. I think I am lucky to have this kind of inspiration.
To develop my English I went to live in New York for a while. To learn English you really need to speak it! It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, if you have to translate some words, or if you have to ask for people to slow their conversations. Then, listen to songs in English and read the lyrics, watch movies in English with English subtitles and read books and magazines in English. If you need or want to learn English, it has to be part of your life.”
If you’d like to hear more of Marielle’s music, she’ll be launching her first album in March, with seven songs in English and the rest in Portuguese. In the meantime, check out Marielle’s other music on her YouTube channel and website.