So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
It’s exceptionally rare that a Brazilian artist ever breaks the international music market. Yet at the age of 26, Rio de Janeiro superstar Anitta has not only tackled the industry in her home country, but with over 13 million YouTube subscribers and 43.6 million followers on Instagram, her star power rivals that of other pop music divas. She first topped Brazil’s albums chart with her 2013 self-titled debut; raised her profile with Major Lazer’s “Sua Cara” and J Balvin’s “Downtown”; then climbed up the U.S. Latin charts this year with her trilingual urban-pop masterwork, Kisses. Featuring songs with Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Becky G and Caetano Veloso, Kisses would go on to earn a Best Urban Album nomination at the 2019 Latin Grammys.
“I put to paper everything that would make me feel satisfied,” she mused in her Las Vegas hotel room, the day before the ceremony. “If not for that, I would be on a forever search… To be just searching and searching, that wouldn’t make me happy.”
And the more items Anitta crosses off on her bucket list, the longer it gets. Music isn’t the only endeavor she’s intent on crushing: she’s also got her eye on screens big and small. Her crew reportedly spent the latter half of 2019 shooting the second season of Vai Anitta, her Netflix docuseries, which is slated for release in 2020. “All those things that I wrote down? Things I thought that I wouldn’t get until I was thirty-something?” She says, “I’ve done them all already. Y ahora estoy realizada.”
What’s her secret to building an empire in three different languages? “I practice languages by flirting with people,” says Anitta. “It helps to date Spanish-speaking guys. Or girls. Whatever!” The singer tells us about the biggest moments of her past 10 years.
My favorite album of the 2010s was: John Mayer’s Born and Raised.
My favorite song of the 2010s was: Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.”
The artist who had the best decade was: Bruno Mars.
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: I got to sing to the world during the Olympic Games — opening for Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. Caetano is my friend now. He’s from an old time in Brazil, but in his time, he was a new guy … that [people] didn’t understand. When he sees a new artist, he’s not like, “What is this urban shit?” He’s like… “Wow, so new, so refreshing!” He admires music. And just like me, he believes that there is good and bad music everywhere and in every rhythm.
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: Hard rock.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Black Mirror.
The best new slang term of the decade was: In Portuguese, its “LACROU” — it’s the same as “killed it!”
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run Tour.
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: I met Madonna and Snoop Dogg. Actually, Snoop Dogg is a genius — he called me because he saw my Netflix series. He was like, “Wow, I love you. I’m your fan. I want to sing with you.” And I was like, “What the fuck?! Come be on my album.” And he was like, “Yes.” It was my favorite collab ever.
The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: I don’t [put] too much importance for people’s thoughts about me.
The best book I read this decade was: Ryan Holiday’s Ego Is the Enemy.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I had this dream to make our funk music popular all over the world… So I performed at the “Inusitado” concert. It’s a Brazilian music project created by Andre Midani. That was so cool to participate in — because I mixed samba with MPB (música popular brasileira), two of my favorite rhythms from Brazil. I also sang with Arlindo Cruz and Arnaldo Antunes — two huge singers in my country.
The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: That I was whitening my skin!
The best outfit I wore this decade was: I think it was [this year’s] Latin Grammy look: a Georges Hobeika dress with a big yellow ribbon bow.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: The growth and recognition of Latin urban music like [baile] funk and reggaeton.
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: To see Brazilian music get even more recognized worldwide.