Larissa de Macedo Machado, popularly known by her artistic name – Anitta – is a well-known Brazilian singer. She started to engage herself in her music career at only seven years old, by singing at a catholic church choir in Rio de Janeiro. After posting a YouTube video in 2010, the singer was invited to sign a contract with the independent recorder “Furacão 2000” and after having plenty of success with her first single “Meiga e Abusada”, Anitta signed a contract with Warner Music Brazil in the following year. With the song “Show das Poderosas”, the girl from Rio reached the second position on the Billboard Brazil singles chart. Her first studio album, Anitta, was released in July of that same year.
Her second studio album, Ritmo Perfeito, was released on June 4, 2014. Meu Lugar, the artist’s first live album, was released on the same day and debuted at number one on iTunes Brazil, where it remained for a week. She released her third album, Bang!, in 2015, which went platinum and produced four singles. Anitta was the singer who stayed at the top of iTunes Brazil for the longest period of time in 2013, earning the title of “Artist of the Year” from the company. The artist was also named “Revelation of the Year” in music by the So Paulo Association of Art Critics (APCA). Anitta won the MTV EMA Worldwide Act Latin America award in 2015, making her the first Brazilian artist to win the award. In 2020, she released the single “Me Gusta” with Cardi B and Mike Towers, the first single from her fifth studio album, Versions of Me (2022).
Anitta continues to advance in her international career after conquering Brazil. The singer topped Spotify’s Global Top with “Envolver,” a Spanish-language track released in November. The atmosphere on social media is one of celebration for a historic performance. She is the first Brazilian artist to have a song chart at number one worldwide, as well as the first Latin woman to have a solo song chart at number one with no guest appearances from other artists. Among the congratulations, celebrations, and memes, many internet users used the occasion to reflect on the singer’s career path, which began in funk. Anitta was a dreamer who always believed in herself and said she would “get there” one day. She even showed a video in which she discusses her ambitions for her Netflix documentary series.
Besides Anitta’s contributions to the Brazilian music industry’s success, she is considered by many a feminist icon. In 2017, the singer was elected “Woman of the Year” by the Brazilian edition of GQ. After winning the award, she stated: “I’m going to keep fighting with my music. Talking about superficial things, dancing, wearing short clothes,[…] so that people understand that it’s not a short outfit, it’s not the roll, no It’s the fact that you kiss as many people as you want to kiss in one night, that will tell you if you’re smart, if you’re capable, if you’re talented, if you can sing, do it or not do it.” (free translation).
Moreover, the singer was listed by Vogue magazine as one of the 100 most creative and influential people in the world. Anitta was chosen because of her push for body positivity illustrated by the affirmative choice of exhibiting her image with no retouches in the music video of “Vai Malandra”. Dom Phillips (The Guardian) stated that the music video for “Vai Malandra” “sparked a fierce debate in Brazil, exposing the country’s social fault lines, which grapple with issues of inequality, racism, sexist abuse, and cultural appropriation.”
Even though the Latina singer has been involved in polemics, it is impossible to deny that she has been fundamental to the growth and recognition of Brazilian music and talent. Moreover, the fact that Anitta has a growing global audience, specifically in the US, becomes essential for not only her but other Brazilian performers to gain more and more listeners. Notable examples include her collaboration “Onda diferente” with Ludmilla (another Brazilian funk singer) and the worldwide famous rapper Snoop Dogg as well as the song “Sua Cara”, performed by her, along with Pabllo Vittar – a famous brazilian drag singer and performer – and Diplo. In both partnerships, Anitta made it possible for smaller artists to gain more attention from the media while collaborating with huge international names, therefore reaching more recognition outside Brazil.
Over the last years, Anitta has become more influential in the international scene, and this has become notable. In the last month, she performed at one of the biggest festivals in the world: Coachella. Billboard described her performance as star-studded and according to the report, the crowd could not take their eyes off the singer. Moreover, the artist was invited to the 2022 edition of the grand fashion event MET Gala, where she made quite an appearance with a suitable and impressive look, designed by Moschino.
Besides the fact that Anitta draws attention to the Brazilian music industry and creates more possibilities for up and coming Brazilian artists, she uses her power to raise political discussions. She often speaks up when it comes to matters such as deforestation, social injustices, and elections. By posting those issues on her social platforms, which are huge, and addressing the matters in her concerts, Anitta manages to divulge issues faced daily by Brazilians to an international audience, making it possible for others to raise awareness about such problems as well.
Of course, Anitta is not the solution for all issues, nor the sole reason Brazilian music is starting to gain traction. However, she plays a significant role in the development and popularization of Latino-Brazilian music industry. Therefore, knowing her name and acknowledging that she is an extremely relevant artist nowadays is critical, especially since a lot of critics tend to underestimate Anitta’s talent and often play her off.
Written by Olivia Lucchesi