Anitta Brings Brazil to Coachella With Versions of Me

The singer is crossing cultures both with her new LP and by performing at Coachella
Photo Courtesy of Imagine It Media / Warner Records

Anitta is taking over the world.

Last month, Brazil’s resident superstar became the first artist from her country to hit No. 1 on Spotify’s Global 200 chart. Today, she’s set to make her live debut at Coachella. To add to her recent successes, Anitta also released her new album, Versions of Me, earlier this week. Across most of the 15 tracks, she’s embedded Brazil’s funk carioca sound into Latin and American-influenced pop songs, which reflect the two major markets she’s broken through from Rio de Janeiro.

“I’ve been the first Brazilian to do so many things,” Anitta tells SPIN over Zoom between Coachella rehearsals. “It’s been crazy times for me. The first Brazilian to be No. 1 on Spotify’s Global chart and then the first Brazilian to be performing on the main stage of Coachella. I’m really happy. I’m like, ‘Yeah! Let’s just keep going!’ Everything is in the right position in a good way.”

Before becoming one of Brazil’s biggest stars, Anitta was born Larissa de Macedo Machado in Rio de Janeiro. She was raised in the city’s impoverished Honório Gurgel, one of the many favelas where Afro-Brazilians created the nation’s funk carioca music. It was there that Anitta combined her love of singing with the music that she grew up on, becoming a powerful female voice in a male-dominated genre.

“I like to be free,” Anitta says, her native Portuguese accent spilling into both her Spanish and English. “I like to have the freedom to be sexual if I feel like it, and to be sensual when I feel like it. Society shouldn’t expect women to behave this or that way. We should be free to be whoever we want to be without our talents being minimized because of our sexuality.”

 

 

In the past decade, the bounce of Anitta’s funk carioca drew many admirers beyond Brazil. Major Lazer enlisted her for multiple tracks, including “Sua Cara” with Pabllo Vittar, Colombian singer Maluma jumped on Anitta’s alluring “Sim Ou Não,” and Madonna teamed up with her for the steamy “Faz Gostoso.” To further establish herself as a global presence, Anitta separately cracked the Latin market through reggaeton collaborations like “Downtown” with Colombian superstar J Balvin and “Todo O Nada” with Puerto Rican singer Lunay.

“[Brazil is] a part of Latin America, but yet we’re so apart,” Anitta says. “Every time I do an interview in English, people are like, ‘It’s better now because Latin music is popping in the world. For you, it should be easier.’ I’m like, ‘I’m Brazilian, I speak Portuguese, and unfortunately the cultures don’t mix that often.’ For me, creating that exchange between cultures is super important.”

With her first album through Warner Records, Versions of Me, Anitta masterfully weaves together the cultures that she’s come across in her decade-plus career. Funk carioca runs through the reggaeton-infused “Me Gusta” featuring Cardi B and Myke Towers, just as it does on the pop-inflected “Faking Love” with Saweetie. In the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Gimme Your Number,” Anitta interpolates Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” with trap music before going pop-punk in the electrifying “Boys Don’t Cry.” Oh, and this is all while flexing her trilingual skills throughout the LP.

 

 

“I love how the album is a mixture of different rhythms, different cultures, and different languages,” Anitta says. “A lot of these songs have a bit of Brazil in their veins, culturally. That’s the intention of the album. To give a bit of my culture to other markets and through these fusions I worked on. [These songs] are different versions of who I am. I like to change all the time. We don’t have to box ourselves into one thing.”

Anitta also knows how to put on an unforgettable show. Thanks to her performances of the reggaeton romp “Envolver,” where she twerks to the ground as if doing pushups, the song went viral on TikTok with fans repeating the maneuver — then it shot to the top of Spotify’s Global 200 chart soon after. Now, Anitta’s signature move will likely reach a whole new audience as a part of her historic set at Coachella.

“I’m going to bring a lot of Brazilian culture [to Coachella],” Anitta says with a smile. “We’re going to dance a lot. We’re going to show how a Brazilian party is done. I think people are going to feel that there. I’m very excited for people to see it and get more familiar with my culture.”

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