This is What Grammy Nominee Anitta Thinks About Being Called a “New Artist”

Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
The year 2022 was pivotal for Latines in the music industry — and especially for Brazilian artist Anitta. Last year, the Rio de Janeiro-born singer-songwriter officially crossed over into the U.S. market with the release of her debut English album Versions of Me. For the past 10 years, the trilingual star has been making waves internationally, and now she’s making history in the States as well. 
To start,Versions of Me became the first Brazilian pop album to hit 1 billion streams on Spotify. For her single “Envolver,” she won her first MTV Video Music Award, and she also picked up an American Music Award for Favorite Female Latin Artist. And, of course, she was recently nominated for Best New Artist at the 2023 Grammys.
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“It was an iconic moment,” Anitta, born Larissa de Macedo Machado, tells Refinery29 Somos over a Zoom call. 
It was literally historic. It’s the first time that a Brazilian artist has made some of these milestones in the U.S. In fact, it’s been 57 years since the last woman from Brazil was even nominated for a Grammy.
“It's hard for people to understand the difference between being Brazilian and being a Latin artist [from a Spanish-speaking country]. In Brazil, we speak Portuguese; we don't speak Spanish,” the 29-year-old says. “And the award [shows], they don't even get to us because we live in a whole other culture. We’re so inside of our own Brazilian bubble, and it's really different for us to be part of something like that. So, for me, it's so special.”    
Photo: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images.
Anitta isn’t new to awards, though. Since the pop star first started making music in 2010, she has garnered plenty (really, there’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to Anitta’s accolades). She has been nominated for awards in Brazil, Latin America, and Europe. While she has long been recognized in the global music industry, she still welcomes her nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammys — particularly because she’s now making music in a new market and for a new audience.

“I'm not doing this for money or for the competition. It's not about that. It's about doing something that my country hasn’t seen for years.”

anitta
“I definitely can see myself as a new artist for this [U.S.] market. I love that people can see me like that, too. Because, for me, I am starting from zero again,” she says. “I have more than 10 years in my career, but that is in Brazil. In this new market for me, I do consider myself as a new artist, because I had to stop and start over again and study this whole industry again. Everything is so brand new that it makes complete sense to be considered a new artist for this new market.”
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But just because Anitta is making new music in another language and for a different audience doesn’t mean she has forgotten where she comes from or that she’s running away from her culture. Among her primary goals as an artist is inserting her Brazilian-ness and putting on for her people in everything she does.
“I'm not doing this for money or for the competition. It's not about that. It's about doing something that my country hasn’t seen for years,” Anitta says. “I think that reaching it here means that we are capable and it's possible for us to get whatever we want to get.” 
And Anitta is proof that Brazilian artists can reach new heights being themselves, unapologetically. In addition to her music, Anitta has made headlines for being herself out loud and standing up for what she believes in. Whether she’s openly identifying as bisexual or being vocal about women deserving respect regardless of how we dress, she has never played shy about her identities or perspectives. Instead, she uses her platform to uplift issues and stories she cares about.
“I think when we have visibility, when we've got millions of people looking at us and listening to what we're saying, we [should] use this visibility, this spot, these numbers, and this reach to talk about things that can impact people's lives. I think it's very important,” she says.
Heading into her 30s, Anitta is embracing her journey and celebrating her wins. Her latest brand partnership with Lays’ “Stay Golden” campaign helps her do just this. 
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“I really feel like I am in this special moment right now in my career. When I was invited to join the Lays family,  I was embracing the moment. I was like, ‘OK,, you win’ to myself. I felt really special,” says Anitta, who shares that she grew up eating the brand’s assortment of potato chips. 
The Lays “Stay Golden” campaign features a remix to Anitta’s “Envolver,” which was produced by using an unlikely ingredient to “fuel the beat:” potatoes. The track was recorded in a studio that leveraged electricity created by more than 6,000 potatoes, setting a Guinness World Record.
“When I got to the shoot and I saw all those potatoes to make the energy for me, creating the power for me to sing, I felt so special. And then being part of the Guinness World Records together with Lays — it was a whole moment, to be honest,” she says. “I feel like we are the gold in ourselves. We are our own light.”

"We will always shine forever if we know the balance between working and enjoying the results, the life that you got after so much work.”

anitta
After a wildly productive year in 2022, Anitta is protecting her inner gold by prioritizing rest this year. 
“Just as important as working, as reaching all the goals that you have in your life, is also to rest and take time for yourself,” she says. “I think that's the way we will always be gold to ourselves. We will always shine forever if we know the balance between working and enjoying the results, the life that you got after so much work.”

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