You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard by now of Brazilian singer, songwriter, and actress Anitta. The Rio native, born Larissa de Macedo Machado, has definitely made her presence in music known, with various songs on the Billboard charts, several award nominations, and over 38 million Instagram followers. Already a star in Brazil since the early ‘10s, it was only natural that Anitta would continue on with world domination. On April 5, she released her first tri-lingual visual album, entitled Kisses. We recently chatted with the star on everything, from the new project, fellow Latina singer Mariah Carey, and being a part of many cultures.
“Every time I release a new song people ask me when I will record in other languages,” Anitta shares. “So here it is. An album with music in different languages, to all the audiences that I connect.” Kisses contains 10 tracks, each a different “kiss” from a different facet of the artist, recorded in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish. There are collaborations with various artists, including Snoop Dogg, Ludmilla, Caetano Veloso, Alesso, Prince Royce, Swae Lee, and Becky G, who she recruited for the song, “Banana.” The result is a multilingual mix of pop, reggaeton, trap, funk, and more.
Creating a fresh mix of languages, cultures, and sounds is no sweat for Anitta, who credits her country for influencing her sound. “I’m from Brazil, a country that is a mix of so many people and cultures, just like our music,” she says. “I am very proud of being who I am. I guess being Latina, especially Brazilian, means that I have connections to many languages, many cultures, many rhythms, and that totally shapes my music and the way I live and work.” Luckily, this advantage fits in perfectly with the music scene now, which is a meld of many nations, each sharing their unique stamp on fresh, new songs and collaborating to create even more innovative art. “It’s a record that says not just about my career, but also about my life, the different Anitta’s that I ought to be to live and sing in this multiple cultures market.”
In addition to repping the unique blend of cultures that is Brazil, Anitta is also holding it down and repping for women everywhere. She is making big moves in Latin music, and specifically in reggaeton, which historically has been male-dominated, and accused of being sexist.
“I think it’s amazing,” she admits. “It’s my main goal, it’s the only way to move forward. If now people still underestimate powerful woman, with time, or just opening their eyes, it will be clear that women are as capable as men, and we are able to achieve and create as many things as men do.”
The one thing that powerful women do is support and acknowledge other powerful women. Anitta shares how Mariah Carey was a factor in her success along with the other ladies in the music industry she admires (fingers crossed for collabs!).
“I began my career singing in the church with my family,” Anitta reveals. “I grew up singing Mariah Carey because my aunts were crazy about her. Mariah taught me how to sing.” She goes on to say that musically, Mimi was there to help little Anitta grow into the star she is today. “She was the first singer I listened [to], maybe when I was one or two years old. I used to tell my mom that I would be a singer and sing everywhere. Just like Mariah. I also love and admire Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, of course.”
Less than two months after its release, Kisses has proven to be a hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart. Despite being a cool concept, recording and releasing a multi-lingual project means more to Anitta than just cool points — it’s about unity. “In this album, I sang in three different [languages], and every song has a reason to be in its specific language and featured guest,” she states. “It is an album that is made for my audience and my fans, wherever they live, whatever language they speak. Despite the language, the music, and the rhythm is universal.”