On 6 August, Brazilian singer-songwriter and YouTube sensation Anitta takes to the Royal Festival Hall stage as part of Nile Rodgers’ Meltdown. But who is the Queen of Brazilian pop?
Anitta began singing, aged eight, in a church choir in the impoverished neighbourhood of Honório Gurgel in Rio de Janeiro, where she was raised by her single mother. She frequently talks about her tough upbringing. ‘I come from the ghetto. No one there probably imagined I'd get this far,’ she said in an interview with Billboard. Growing up in a favela, there was little opportunity for Anitta to learn music and instead she chose to study business at college whilst continuing her passion for singing in church.
Like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, Anitta found fame with the help of YouTube. At the age of 17, Anitta posted a video on the social media site which was spotted by Renato Azevedo, then producer of the independent record company Furacão 2000, who signed her to his label.
Anitta was born Larissa de Macedo Machado, however, she decided to take a stage name. Taking inspiration from the protagonist character in the Brazilian TV series Presença de Anita, Anitta explained in an interview with Rolling Stones that the character ‘could be romantic, sensual, intelligent, aggressive, or sexy. She could be all those women; whatever she wanted. That’s what I loved about her character’.
The music video for Indecente was filmed at Anitta’s birthday party in her house in Brazil during a one-shot live stream in 2018. Anitta took inspiration from Gwen Stefani’s Make Me Like You music video, which was recorded live backstage at the Grammy Awards.
If being a chart-topper, record-breaking social media-ruling force of nature isn’t enough, Anitta can now add a whole host of international artist collaborations – including J Balvin, Ozuna, Sofia Reyes, Rita Ora, Snoop Dogg, Becky G and Major Lazer – to her portfolio. Her latest collaboration might be the icing on the cake for Anitta as she sings with pop legend Madonna on her latest album Madame X.
‘It was really crazy,’ Anitta recalls, in an interview with Paper Mag, the ‘pinch-me’ moment she felt when she spotted international pop icon Britney Spears share a video of herself working out to Anitta’s smash hit collaboration with J Balvin and Jeon, Machika, on Instagram. Take a look for yourself.
We’ve put together a special playlist which features some of Anitta’s early tracks to her most recent collaborations with an impressive line-up of international superstars. What are you waiting for? Turn up the volume and get your twerk on.
Sadly Meltdown festival 2019 – at which Anitta performed – is now over. But throughout the year Southbank Centre presents live contemporary music gigs and performances that blur genre boundaries and showcase the best new sounds from across the globe.