Brazilian pop star Anitta, whose booty-grinding reggaeton hit "Envolver" claimed the top spot on Spotify last week and has become a viral dance phenomenon, says her international success shows "Latinas are reaching the top."
Anitta, 29, made history last Friday when she became the first Brazilian to reach world number one on the streaming giant.
"Envolver," whose suggestive choreography has unleashed 1.4 million imitations and tributes on video platform TikTok, also hit number five on the "Billboard Global 200" chart.
The outspoken, business-savvy singer has come a long way from the poor Rio de Janeiro neighbourhood where she grew up, first conquering Brazil – her self-titled debut album topped the country's charts in 2013 – then setting her sights on the world.
Anitta, who currently lives in the United States, now sings many of her songs in English and Spanish – "Envolver" is one of the latter – and has collaborated with international superstars including Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, Becky G and Maluma.
Taking time out from rehearsing for the upcoming Coachella festival in California, she told AFP in an email interview she has worked "like a little ant" to get where she is.
Did you expect "Envolver" to be such a hit? How does it feel?
"I feel fulfilled. Happy. You always have that hope, right? I got attached to 'Envolver' more than anyone, and I believed in it from the start. I saw it had a lot of potential."
What does being the first Brazilian to reach number one on Spotify mean for you, for Brazil, for Latin music?
"It means our culture is getting noticed. That Latinas are also reaching the top of the global scene. It's incredible."
Can you point to a moment when your international career took off? Or was it gradual?
"It was all meticulous, gradual work, like a little ant. It still is. You work years and years to make things happen little by little. A lot of water has flowed under that bridge, as we say in Brazil."
What is it like as a Brazilian singer to reach number one with a song in Spanish? Do you think you could have had the same success singing in Portuguese?
"My Brazilian fans love it when I sing in other languages. So being Brazilian and achieving success singing in other languages... it's not a problem. But clearly singing in languages like Spanish and English makes all the difference in terms of the music market. I plan to keep making songs for every part of the world. Including in Portuguese, of course."
You've been an outspoken critic of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Why do you feel it's important to voice your views? What changes would you like to see when Brazil holds elections in October?
"I think it's important to take a stand as a citizen and as an artist. I'll keep doing that no matter who's running the government. If they're not doing a good job, I'll be there giving my opinion. Right now, Brazil needs a lot of changes, starting with a new government."
What comes next?
"I haven't even stopped to think long-term. In April I release my new album ['Girl From Rio'] and sing at Coachella. I'm just focussing on that for now."
by Eugenia Logiuratto, AFP