Anitta: Who is The Brazilian Singer Taking Over The World?


If you haven’t heard of the name Anitta, you must have been living under a rock. For the past decade, Brazil has been witnessing the rise of a pop star like never seen before in the country, catapulting Brazilian funk music all in a while.

Anitta is the stage name of Larissa Machado, who started in the favelas in Rio de Janeiro and has been scoring tracks with Madonna, Diplo, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, and even participating on the playlist of US President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Ceremony.

If you want to get more into the meteoric rise of the Brazilian singer, we’ll go into all of her career highlights both inside and outside Brazil in the following topics, as well as give you a quick run through her major hits.

How Did Anitta’s Career Started Out?

Anitta started out singing at the age of 7, performing in the choir of a local church in her neighborhood, Honório Gurgel. By the age of 16, she tech degree in Business and started uploading videos of her singing and performing on the internet.

Anitta started putting videos of herself singing on Youtube in hopes it would eventually catch someone’s attention – Credit: Youtube | Douglas Carvalho

By 2010, she caught Renato Azevedo’s eye, the main producer of famous Carioca Funk label Furacão 2000, who offered her a record deal. She then took on the name Anitta, inspired by the main character of the Brazilian soap opera “Presença de Anita.”

The character was the quintessential “lolita” stereotype, an amalgam of innocence and sensuality, something the singer said to identify with. Her initial songs appealed a lot to that motive, contributing to her teen-sexy persona.

“Presença de Anita”s main character (played by Brazilian actress Mel Lisboa) served as inspiration for Larissa’s stage name – Credit: Pinterest | Dayane Oliveira

She then went on to record and appear in several songs with Furacão 2000, who made her a fairly-known name in Rio de Janeiro. But it wasn’t until agent Kamilla Fialho bought out her contract that Anitta’s music started crossing borders to other Brazilian states.

How Did Singer Anitta’s Career Take Off in Brazil?

After leaving Furacão 2000 and having a new team behind her, Anitta penned her first radio hit, “Meiga e Abusada.” which became the most requested song in Brazilian radio airwaves in 2013. She also released an EP and scored a track on Brazil’s main soap opera at the time, Amor à Vida.

That same year, Warner Bros offered her a new record deal, through which she released her self-titled first LP. The album also featured “Show das Poderosas,” which became an even bigger hit in Brazil than “Meiga & Abusada.”

Citing Beyoncé as one of her major influences, Anitta’s “Show das Poderosas” was one of the biggest songs in Brazil in 2013 – Credit: Youtube | Warner Music Brasil

After her debut’s thunderous success, Anitta released her sophomore album and a live album in 2014. Still, it was only in late 2015 that the Brazilian singer would release Bang!”, a song that would turn out to be a water divisor in her career.

The single “Bang!” saw Anitta working with top American industry personalities, like Giovanni Bianco, who created the album cover and art-directed its music video. The singer also started investing more heavily in her looks and production value, giving out initial hints she was aiming for pop diva stardom.

Hit single “Bang!” propeled Anitta’s fame even further, evolving her image as a pop artist – Credit: Youtube | Anitta

How Did Singer Anitta Became Famous Outside Brazil?

Still riding high from her success with “Bang!”, Anitta was then invited to perform alongside Brazilian music legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil at the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony, which helped her gain world notoriety.

With the world-famous Maracanã as background, Anitta performed with Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso during the 2016 Olympics – Credit: Youtube | Olympic

The singer then started branching out to other markets outside Brazil. In 2017, Anitta appeared singing in full English on Australian rapper Iggy Azalea’s track “Switch” and released “Paradinha,” her first song in Spanish.

By the middle of that year, she was featured on Major Lazer’s single “Sua Cara,” also co-starring Brazilian drag queen and singer Pabblo Vittar. The song was one out of the three songs Anitta had on the country’s top radio parade at the same time, showcasing how big her name had gotten.

The song was one of the biggest hits in Brazil in 2018, featuring Pabblo Vittar and Diplo in its music video – Credit: Youtube | Major Lazer Official

In September 2017, Anitta announced that she would release a single per month until the end of 2017, assembling in a project called “CheckMate.” To showcase her versatility as a singer, each of the 4 songs had different genres, them being pop (“Will I See You”), EDM (“Is That For Me”), reggaeton (“Downtown” – featuring J. Balvin), and Carioca Funk Music (“Vai Malandra“).

Downtown” and “Vai Malandra” quickly became hits, both scoring the 23rd and 18th positions in Spotify’s Top 50 Global Charts. Anitta became the first Brazilian singer to make that achievement, consolidating her fame and hype.

“Vai Malandra” was a return to Anitta’s roots in Carioca Funk, with the video being filmed inside the Rocinha favela – Credit: Youtube | Anitta

The year 2018 followed with Anitta expanding her musical territory even further. She continued venturing into different genres through feature songs with Brazilian acts Matheus & Kauan, singer Silva, another hit with J. Balvin (their 3rd collab by now), and a song with Colombian singer Greeicy.

By the end of that same year, Anitta released her second EP, the trilingual “Solo.” The project had three songs, one in Spanish, one in English, and one in Portuguese, serving as a preview of what the Brazilian singer had in store for the next year.

2019 saw the release of “Kisses,” Anitta’s 4th LP, and also first full audio-visual project. The project had a Latinpop and reggaeton flair to it, leading it to score the 4th position on the USA Pop Latin Charts, and receiving a nomination on the 20th edition of the Latin Grammy.

The album’s trailer features the singer speaking in all three languages, showcasing Anitta’s efforts to break into the international market – Credit: Youtube | philip augusto

That same year, Anitta appeared in Rita Ora’s single “R.I.P,” on Madonna’s Madam X album (on the record “Faz Gostoso”), and was featured for a second time on a Major Lazer track, on “Make It Hot.” She also scored a song on the new Charlie’s Angel movie soundtrack with “Pantera.”

As the world was put on hold-up during the COVID-19 pandemics in 2020, Anitta took the time to ready her fifth studio album, ‘A Girl From Rio,’ which she said will be her first project not to feature any songs in Brazilian Portuguese.

The album campaign started with the release ofMe Gusta,” featuring rappers Cardi B and Myke Towers. The song peaked at 91 in the Billboard Hot 100, marking Anitta’s first entry in the chart. She also performed the song on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show in September 2020.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UItqZIpaQg0
Anitta performing new single “Me Gusta” on the Cristo Redentor, as part of Jimmy Fallon’s live concert series during the pandemic – Credit: Youtube | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

On May 5th 2021, Anitta performed the title track from her upcoming album “Girl From Rio” on the Jimmy Kimmel Show:

As the Brazilian singer gets ready to release her new album in 2021, we made a special playlist featuring all of Anitta’s hit songs in and outside Brazil! So press play and get into this pop sensation!

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Cover Image: WikiCommons | Teca Lamboglia

Bruno Reguffe

What's up, everyone! I'm Bruno, and I'm a nutritionist living in Rio de Janeiro. I've been a longtime friend of Ana's, and I'm excited to help her expand on all things Brazilian with y'all, as well as sharing some of our culture and a few personal experiences while living in the country!

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