The Grammys |

The Grammys |

Before Anitta released her album Versions of Me last April, she already had four albums in her catalog. But as the title suggests, Versions of Me is the project that showed Anitta has multiple layers of success — and now she’s got a GRAMMY nomination to show for it.

The Brazilian star is nominated for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs, which might seem like a long time for those who’ve been fans since Anitta’s self-titled debut album arrived in 2013. After becoming a household name in her native Brazil, then in Latin America, she finally broke through in the United States last year with the worldwide hit “Envolver”. Ten years later, Anitta almost feels reborn.

“In Brazil I’ve already been recognized, but internationally it’s amazing because I’ve just started a whole new career,” she told “I feel really special. I feel like things are happening really fast and I’m really happy about that.”

With Versions of Me, Anitta explored and embraced her cross-cultural appeal, even singing in Portuguese, Spanish and English on her 15 tracks. The album opens with “Envolver”, which mixes reggaeton music with an electronic allure; later, she put a trap twist on the Brazilian bossa nova classic “The Girl From Ipanema” in “Girl From Rio,” a tribute to her hometown of Rio de Janeiro.

These personal details helped Versions of Me resonate with a global audience, and they were amplified by Anitta’s unrelenting ability to push pop music to new places. She has incorporated elements of funk carioca (Brazilian funk music from the favelas of Rio De Janeiro where she grew up) in genre collaborations alongside stars like Cardi B, Khalid and Saweetie.

Anitta has also become widely acclaimed for her spectacular performances, from Coachella to the Latin GRAMMY Awards to the viral dance challenge “Envolver” on TikTok. Her charming transparency with her fans helps elevate women, her country, Brazil, and the LGBTQIA+ community (she publicly identified as bisexual in 2018) – in turn helping Anitta become one of the most refreshing and boldest of Latin pop in recent memory.

Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, Anitta spoke with about her first GRAMMY nomination, the viral success of “Envolver” and the sequel.

How do you feel about being nominated for Best New Artist?

I feel really special. First of all for the nomination, to be part of the GRAMMYs. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good job. I’m on the right track. But also, I felt really special to have been nominated in the Best New Artist category. I’m glad people understand that for me it’s a whole new world.

Even though I have more than 10 years of career in Brazil, for me, in these other markets, like singing in English and Spanish, it’s all new. I am a new artist in these other markets. I’m really happy that people can understand that and see it like me.

You also represent Portuguese and Spanish music in the Best New Artist category. What does it mean for you to be able to represent these languages ​​in the category?

I feel like that’s really important. My country feels very special about this. They have never seen anything like this. The last time they saw something like this was 57 years ago when Brazilian artists [Astrud Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim were nominated for Best New Artist], so they’re really happy that I’m a part of that. To represent so much for my country, I am really happy to be able to do it.

Your song “Girl From Rio” interpolates one of Jobim and Gilberto’s classic songs.

“The girl from Ipanema”! It’s crazy, it’s like a cycle. It’s incredible!

In your album Versions of Me, you sing in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Why did you decide to record music in these three languages?

Portuguese is my first language, of course. And then I started to learn English when I was still a child. I started learning Spanish after going to Spain for the first time because one of my songs in Portuguese, “Show Das Poderosas”, was playing in Madrid. So I went to Spain to sing on a radio show, and I couldn’t understand anything people were telling me, so I decided to start learning Spanish, and I loved it. And I started to sing [in that language].

I think it’s just part of my personality to love learning languages. When I was a kid, I also learned Italian, so I have songs in Italian. I really like that.

The album cover features different versions of yourself throughout your career. Why did you decide to bring together these images from your past and your present?

I think controversy is good when people talk about a topic, and they can see that it’s accurate and real, and they can get to know you a little better. I think it’s kinda fun.

I like to be open to the [plastic surgery] procedures that I performed. Being open about all things in my life. I don’t like to pretend or hide situations. I feel like I would feel stuck in some kind of prison. I feel better if people get to know me from a 360° perspective.

In the album, you explore genres like pop, R&B, trap, and reggaeton. How was the experience of working with these different genres?

I wanted to show different types of music that I like to sing. Like different versions of myself. I’m fascinated by people’s music — different countries and cultures. I love to travel and get to know the way people consume music, the way people create music. It’s really special when I can travel and get to know a new culture, and sing, and have that feeling running through my blood.

I like to play with as many places and beats and whatever I can, because I think that’s what it’s all about, when you can create music that’s more than pleasant to listen to. If you can bridge cultures and bring people together, I think that’s even more special.

How was the song “Envolver” born?

The [COVID-19 pandemic] the quarantine was over, but the doors were still closed to Brazil from America. To go to America, you had to quarantine for 15 days somewhere. I was in Punta Cana waiting for those 15 days to pass, and I decided to bring some friends of mine – artists to write songs with. It was Phantom and Lenny Tavárez. We started writing [and when] we got to “Envolver”, it was really special. We wrote it so fast. It was crazy. It was amazing.

What was the inspiration behind this song?

We wanted to talk about a woman who is always in control and not the other way around. In songs, you always see guys talking like that to women, and I wanted to bring the exact opposite – when a woman is in power.

Did you think “Envolver” would become the massive hit that it was?

We thought that – but we also think about so many songs, so it’s like, you never know. It was incredibly big. I think it wouldn’t have been so big if I hadn’t had the support of my country’s foundation, and also if I [hadn’t] does so much work in the Latin community. It became important because we were already doing a lot of things.

You have become known for your electric live performances. How important is it to also express your music through dance?

Even more so right now, with TikTok and things like that, I think people are so engaged in dancing. They want to feel involved somewhere, so that’s one of the ways people are getting into music right now. Engage with artists in more than just the music. I think dancing is a great way to do that.

You incorporate elements of Brazilian funk music in Versions of Me. How important was it for you to introduce this genre in certain songs?

I put a little. Not as much as I wanted. I think in the next albums I will do more. I try to present some [Brazilian] funk to global audiences, then I go [release] something really cultural that I really believe in.

Since I started traveling around the world, I’ve been fascinated to show people where I come from, my origins. I think funk is where I come from. It’s so different, and it has the power to be the next big thing, so I feel really special about it. I feel like people are starting to get into funk and do more Brazilian funk, and I really like being part of that change.

You announced that your next album will be a Brazilian funk album. How’s it going ?

I’m still waiting. I’m working on the album. I have most of the songs sort of ready. I’m still adjusting some things and related features. But I’ll wait for the best time to release it. I’m not going to do it in a hurry.

I’m going to put effort into it because it’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’ve always dreamed of having an album where I can really feel my culture and what I really like about funk and Brazilian music. I think I’ll wait until everything is completely perfect before I release it.

Throughout your career, you’ve proudly represented the LGBTQIA+ community, collaborating with artists such as Brazilian drag pop stars Pabllo Vittar and Gloria Groove and being open about your own sexuality. How do you feel about helping to increase this representation and visibility?

I think it’s amazing the more we can [do that], because it is still very difficult for the LGBTQIA+ community to come forward and have a space to speak and open up without prejudice. The more space we can open up for artists who are openly gay, trans or drag queens – I think the scene needs more representation, more artists. The more I can do to bring people to me, or bring visibility to new artists like this, I will. It’s really important.

After such a huge year in 2022, what can fans expect this year?

I am going to rest a little bit. I thought I was going to do this last year, but with everything that happened with “Envolver”, I ended up not resting like I wanted to, so for sure this year, I will take more time for myself.

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