SAO PAULO, Brazil When Liriel Domiciano was about to leave for her first performance on Sao Paulo's largest TV talent show, she bowed her head to pray. She had been told by the producers that she could not mention her religion, but she wanted everyone to know she was LDS. She was a convert of three years and was proud to be a member of the Church.
As she finished her prayer, she said God led her eyes to her Young Women's medallion. This was her answer. She put the medallion around her neck and wore it to every show until the end of the competition. Word spread quickly through the LDS community that one of "theirs" was winning this national talent competition.
It was on June 2, 2001, that the young lyrical soprano and Rinaldo Viana, tenor and partner in duets of Romantic classical songs, were declared winners of the Raul Gil Amateur Show, a nationally syndicated talent discovery program. They were offered a contract with Warner Music (WEA).
On this night, ratings for the show were as high as World Cup soccer. Liriel and Rinaldo were an instant success. Their first CD sold 1 million copies and has become the sixth-rated best-seller CD in Brazil's history. They earned the silver record and golden record awards. The renowned Roberto Carlos is first, but has recorded now for 40 years. Liriel is barely in her second year, and has released her second CD, which in one month sold 390,000 copies.
"I sing for the Lord, and not for money," said Liriel. "He gave me my voice, and I use it to glorify Him." When she was 3 years old her mother began to buy classical tapes, and Liriel and her sisters played day in and day out that they were famous actresses and singers. At the age of 5 she belted out with much ease arias from Beethoven and "Tristesse" by Chopin. It was evident to her family that Liriel had the finest voice of all the four girls. Sister Domiciano, Liriel's mother said, "When I could see my little girls were getting bored, I would eke out a few reals (the Brazilian dollar) and buy another tape for them to play."
The Domiciano family lives in Diadema, a poor suburb in Sao Paulo. The four girls and their parents built their small red block home with their own hands, mixing the cement and placing the blocks one-by-one to form the rooms. Money was tight and thus it took months to finish even one wall.
But they had everything that money could not buy a close family, lots of love, and a fountain of moral and spiritual teachings from parents who loved God. It was no wonder that when the family heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, the girls and their mother embraced it.
The family's priority is the Church and they have been very active from the beginning. Liriel says just one year ago, when she tried out for the television talent show, money was scarce and she budgeted very carefully to have enough money for the bus so the family could go to Church on Sunday. She and her mom made her dresses, as they could not afford to purchase them ready made. Today, as a result of her success, money is easier to obtain, but still remains second in importance to family and Church. They are very careful to pay tithing.
Liriel had several Catholic girl friends when she was 13; they all decided to become nuns.
"I wanted a life protected from drinking, smoking, and immorality, and I thought that becoming a nun would be the protection I would need," said Liriel. "When I was baptized, the Holy Ghost, the standards of the Church, and my priesthood leaders became my protection. I know that in my chosen career there are temptations. But, as I continue to surround myself with all that the gospel represents, I am protected. The gospel is my shield."
Her favorite scripture is Proverbs 31:10, 25-26, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
Liriel continues her career. She just returned from a tour of Italy and was praised at every appearance. The president of Warner (WEA), Sergio Afonso, continues to lavish praise. "Liriel is a singer, only 21 years of age and has the potential of becoming a new Bidu Sayo, "the finest lyrical soprano Brazil has ever had."
"Liriel's voice was evaluated at the School of Music of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) by Myriam Daueslberg who is a specialist in lyrical music. She said, "Liriel is extremely talented and is being polished like a fine diamond."