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Born Larissa de Macedo Machado on March 30, 1993, and brought up in the impoverished favela neighborhood of Honório Gurgel in Rio de Janeiro, she began singing in church as a child and learned to dance before getting into baile funk as a teenager. She took her stage name from the central character in the TV mini-series Presença de Anita (Anita's Presence), based on the 1948 proto-Lolita novel by Mário Donato. When she was 17, one of her YouTube videos was discovered by funk Svengali and super-producer DJ Batutinha, who invited her to audition for him and subsequently signed her to his label, releasing her first single, "Eu Vou Ficar" (I'll Stay). In 2012, she was bought out of her contract by entrepreneur Kamilla Fialho, who became her manager (the two would later go on to become embroiled in a long-running multi-million-dollar legal dispute; she was later co-managed by her brother Renan Machado). On the strength of her single "Meiga e Abusada" (Sweet and Abused), Anitta was signed by Warner Music, which released her eponymous debut album in 2013.
The Anitta LP combined the sinuous rhythms of her funk roots with a modern, American-inspired electro-pop/R&B sound to great success. Her debut single for the label, "Show das Poderosas" (Powerful Girls' Show), became Brazil's most-watched YouTube video ever (130 million views) and that year's number three song on Brazilian radio. The album was certified platinum by Pro-Música Brasil, the country's official music industry trade organization.
The albums Ritmo Perfeito (Perfect Rhythm, 2014) and Bang (2015) followed in swift succession, the latter went to number two on Brazil's album charts and sold more than 300,000 copies, and a string of popular singles and wildly popular videos featuring a succession of well-known guest artists boosted her visibility. With her sweet, silky voice, sexy image, self-created choreography, and high-profile social media presence, she quickly became a national celebrity, but had yet bigger plans.
Anitta's first step toward an international career came in 2016, when she was selected to perform at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in her home city alongside countrymen Caetono Veloso and Gilberto Gil. She also issued the single "Sim ou Não"/"Sí o No" featuring Maluma; it achieved triple diamond and gold certification.
In 2017, she was a featured collaborator on rapper Iggy Azalea's "Switch"; it was her first English-language performance. The remainder of the year was marked by a series of singles including the hit "Paradinha," Is That for Me" with Alesso, and the multi-platinum "Downtown" with J Balvin. 2018 began with another J Balvin collaboration in "Machika," a charting single that also featured Jeon. Throughout that year, she kept up a steady stream of singles including the Silva collaboration "Fica Tudo Bem" and the solo hit "Medicina," as well as the EP Solo that included tracks recorded and released between September and December. All told, Anitta released eight singles, three were certified gold and four were certified platinum or multi-platinum, while her videos registered hundreds of millions of views.
All of this helped lay the groundwork for her fourth album, Kisses. Released in 2019, it marked the artist's first tri-lingual album with tracks sung in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. The diamond-certified set featured a diverse roster of guests from Snoop Dogg, Mambo Kingz, and DJ Luian to Prince Royce, Alesso, and Veloso, and took home a Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Music Album. That year, she signed a global management deal with Brandon Silverstein's S10 Entertainment. Anitta also appeared on the track "Faz Gostoso" on Madonna's Madame X long-player.
The front half of 2020 found Anitta collaborating with Major Lazer ("Make It Hot"), Ozuna ("Muito Calor"), and Psirico ("Jogacao"), as well as appearing on several episodes of the Brazilian telenovela Amor de Mãe. In September 2020, she released the single and video for "Me Gusta" featuring Cardi B and Myke Towers. The first pre-release single from a forthcoming album, the track went to number five on the Hot Latin Songs chart and became her first entry on the Hot 100. She placed the single "Furiosoa" on the soundtrack to F9, and issued "Girl from Rio," an autobiographical song that liberally sampled Tom Jobim's and Vinicius de Moraes' classic "Girl from Ipanema." It charted, as did remixes with Da Baby and DJ Snakehips. In November, she issued the single "Envolver." After registering well inside the top half of Hot 100, the song broke a string of records, including one for most streamed song in a single day, and the first song ever to place inside the Top 50 of all Latin countries on a streaming service. That year she took home the MTV Millennial Awards Brazil for Best Musical Artist.
In 2022, Anitta played the voice role of Letícia dos Anjos in the animated film Hitpig alongside Peter Dinklage, Lily Singh, and Rainn Wilson. In April she issued the long-awaited Versions of Me, led by the single "Gata" (feat. Chencho Corleone), that wed neoperreo and carioca funk. The tri-lingual set opened with more than six million streams on its first day. It also earned nearly 112 million on-demand song streams in the U.S. in April, and entered the Heatseekers chart at number two. Anitta played both weekends of the Coachella festival as a headliner and continued her prolific run with "Lobby," a collaboration with Missy Elliott, and an EP À Procura da Anitta Perfeita. Her first outing of 2023 was the hard-hitting summer jam "Funk Rave." ~ John D. Buchanan