One day in March, Anitta, groggy and a little hangover woke up from an early birthday celebration, and found out she was the greatest artist in the world. Her sleek, sexy song “Envolver” had just topped Spotify’s global charts – a massive, historic feat that also made her the first Brazilian artist to ever reach that place with a solo single.
“My cell phone is going crazy,” Anitta says on a Zoom call from Rio later that day, blinking a radiant smile and sounding a little breathless from all the excitement. “It says in all the newspapers, the TV news, everything. The whole country is literally stopped. “But even as a giant part of the country celebrated her achievements, Anitta had to focus. She was rehearsing for Coachella, where she will once again write history as the first Brazilian solo artist to ever perform. on the festival’s main stage – and the show will coincide with the release of her long-awaited new album, Versions of me.
The album has been on the road for more than three years and has over time developed into an ecstatic, trilingual synthesis of global sounds – fearless, funny and daring, like Anitta herself. There is sweetness in songs like “Girl From Rio”, which interpolates the classic “The Girl From Ipanema”; “Boys Don’t Cry” is a sleek electro-pop song triggered by Anita’s love for Panic! at the disco; “Gata” plays with the classic reggaeton song “Yo Tengo Una Gata” and jumps from popeton to Brazilian funk.
The featured artists on the LP span continents, from Shenseea to Khalid to Saweetie to Myke Towers, and represent the kind of worldwide exchanges that Anitta proudly celebrates. “I love mixing cultures,” she says. “I think it’s so important … [It] makes people get more into the culture of different places and learn different things. ” She says she held back tears when she was in the studio with Khalid and that she was attracted to what a strong woman Shenseea is. The project also features the late Brazilian artist Mr. Catra, who performs on the Portuguese collaboration “Que Rabão”; Anitta has said she donates the profits from the song to his family.
Versions of me is without a doubt a development from Anita’s latest album, Kiss, from 2019. Kiss experienced plenty of commercial success, landing as number four on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart, scoring a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Urban Music Album. But for Anitta, that album represents the hard-working journey to prove herself in the industry, something she has struggled to do since she first broke out in the Brazilian funk scene in the early 2010s. Though Kiss included impressive collaborations with the likes of Becky G, Ludmilla, Snopp Dogg and the Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso, it came together through Anita’s pure will and the months she spent working in overdrive to make it all work. “I did not have an international record company. I had no management. I had nothing, ”she says. “I literally made that album to search for a team to show people, ‘Hey, that’s what I’m capable of. Can you please join me? Can you please believe in my dream and my future? ‘”
Fortunately, it worked, and it made Anitta one of the biggest stars in the Latin pop world. For her next action, she’s ready to take on the rest of the planet, and she plans to do so by sharing the most uncompromising portrait of herself on Versions of me. She wanted to show all sides of her personality – and if you’re Anitta, that’s a lot. “I just feel like I’m a person with a lot of different personalities in just one person,” she says, laughing. “All my friends say they’m waiting for me to wake up and wait, like 15 minutes to find out who’s in control at that moment … If I want to be sexy, if I want to be romantic, if I will be cute or hot or sporty, it’s the same for me with music. ”
Many of the songs were inspired by her adventures – and misfortunes – in love, sex and romance. (At the moment, she reveals, she’s in an open relationship with a football player who wants to remain anonymous. “He can do what he wants, I can do what I want … It’s very healthy.”) Each Once Anitta came into the studio, ‘d searched through what was happening in her personal life and poured all her unfiltered thoughts directly into the album. “I like to write about something that is in my head at the moment, and I change boyfriends as much as I change panties. I fall in love so quickly and I forget them even faster, ”she says. “It’s very easy for me to go to town one day and be super in love and write about it. So a week later I can write about going crazy and fucking everyone. “
One of the most rude sexual and candid moments Versions of me comes on “I’d Rather Have Sex”, a song that is playful and fun. Anitta breaks out in a huge laugh as she starts talking about the pitch. “It is so me, ”she says. “I do not have time for shit. I do not have time for relationships that will not bring out the best in me. So I think this song just says in a funny way that I really would rather have sex than quarrel or waste my time. “
It’s music that reflects how refreshingly open and completely unfiltered she is, a trait that has made her such a beloved figure in Brazil that people have encouraged her to run for president. She is years away from being able to do so, but during the pandemic she began to dive deep into the country’s politics, host political workshops for her followers on Instagram and speak out against the country’s conservative leader Jair Bolsonaro. She hopes to make her fans make a difference. “I’m campaigning for young people to register to vote,” she says. “I think that’s how we want to take this damn president out of command of the country, because we do not deserve this shit.”
Anitta never struggles with words, and that’s part of what she doesVersions of me feel so liberated. “I made this album by thinking about myself,” she says. “I hate creating expectations because I’m always afraid that things will not go as I expected – so I just do not think about it. If I love it, it’s good. I do not need others to love that.”