So, there is something wrong with “Brazilian Guitarist Richard Miller.” What’s with the gringo name? My father is American, my mother is Brazilian. I was born in Rio de Janeiro and lived there (and São Paulo, Puerto Rico, and a few other places) until I was 15, when I moved to U.S. My parents gave me the most American of names, not knowing that I would develop a passion for Brazilian guitar. Even worse, my middle name is Elbert, after my uncle from Tennessee. Backwards that spells treble.
I’ve considered changing my name to sound more Brazilian. Ricardo Miller, Ricardo Ribeiro (mother’s maiden name being Costa Ribeiro), Viola (my capoeira nickname), Ganesha (that’s a whole other story). I’ve pointed out to people that my uncle was Sydney Miller, quite well known in the Bossa Nova era in Rio (there is a music hall named after him — Sala Sydney Miller at the Biblioteca Nacional in Rio) and who apparently didn’t feel a need to alter his name (nor did he speak a word of English). Then there is the Brazilian crooner Dick Farney who changed his name to sound American …. For one second I thought maybe I should be in country music. But I’ve decided just to stick with what is on my birth certificate and leave it at that, and express the music that is closest to my heart.
Some people judge books by their covers and people by their names. I hope I’m judged by the sounds that come out of my guitar.