All eyes will turn to Brazil on Friday when the 2016 Rio Olympics kick off with a three-hour opening ceremony featuring Brazlian superstars Anitta, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil headlining the spectacular.
To be able to perform on a global sporting event like the Olympics and to share the stage with two music icons is a dream come true for Anitta, who at age 23 has become Brazil’s latest sensation and one to watch. “I come from the ghetto. No one there probably imagined I’d get this far,” she told Billboard when we caught up with her just two days before her performance.
Besides talking Olympics, Anitta also dished on her most recent collab with Colombian singer Maluma, “Sim Ou Não.”
Being able to perform at the Olympics opening ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What does this mean for your career?
I’m very happy with this opportunity! I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was invited. The whole world will be watching, and that’s very important for me. I come from the ghetto in Brazil where we don’t have a lot of career opportunities, so I’m sure my family and people who live there never imagined that one day I’d become a singer and be able to perform at an event like the Olympics. I just can’t believe it’s happening!
Can you share details about your performance, like what you’ll be singing or wearing?
I can’t say too much about what I’ll be singing, but I’ll be sharing the stage with two of the biggest Brazilian artists. They sing samba and bossa nova, very different from my music which involves a lot of dancing and choreography, but I’ll also be singing some classical Brazilian rhythms that involve samba and bossa nova. I think it will be a very interesting mix and people will get to see a bit of what we have to offer.
The country may not be at its highest point with political turmoil, an economic recession and inner-city violence, but are Brazilians staying optimistic about hosting such an important event like this?
Yes. We have a lot of problems, but what we will show is that we have hope, happiness and strong people. We have very powerful people with a very good heart. We know how to receive everybody with a smile and we throw good parties. People will be able to celebrate, feel good and at home.
Let’s talk you and Maluma in the hot “Sim Ou Não” video. How did your collab come about?
I’ve been managing myself for some time now, and after accomplishing many goals here in Brazil, I knew it was time to make new contacts and do bigger things on an international level. So I started thinking about what my next step would be, did some research, and met with other people and artists in the industry. I also started asking people on the street what they were listening to and which artists they liked, and a lot of them mentioned Maluma, so I listened to his music and I loved it. Then, fans started making collages of us together on social media and they were asking for a collaboration between us. We followed each other on social media and he noticed I was on vacation in Orlando with my family and asked me to go with him to the Premio Lo Nuestro ceremony with him back in February. So I went with him, and that’s when we started to talk about songs and music. Later, I sent to him the song “Sim Ou Não” and asked him to sing it with me. He loved it and he wrote his part and we recorded it.
What’s next for you?
Well, right now I’m focusing on promoting this single with Maluma, and after I will continue to plan my international career and analyze how I can make it happen. Continue to empower women and show them that you can make your dreams come true.