Having a famous parent can be a gift and curse for any upcoming artist. Fortunately Maria Rita is a gifted singer herself
Elis Regina was a renowned Brazilian singer considered by many critics, musicians and commentators to have been the best Brazilian singer of all time. Her resume shows an extensive list of several successful compositions and her 1974 collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim “Ellis and Tom” is often cited as one of the greatest Bossa Nova albums of all time.
It included “Aguas De Marcos” which is sometimes considered the all time best Brazilian song. The reaction to her premature death at age 36, showed her value to the Brazilian community and was immediately noticed, with the tragedy placing the nation in shock. The funeral received tremendous support having over 15,ooo at the wake and over 100,ooo in total following the ceremony. The legacy she left behind is one that young, aspiring artists and musicians adored and hoped to equal or even surpass. Elis’ reputation is one that could overshadow any upcoming female artistes, and no doubt one such individual who has felt the pressures from this amazing woman’s musical contribution is none other than her daughter Maria Rita.
Unlike her mother, who started her career as early as age eleven, Maria began singing professionally at age twenty-four. This is despite a desire to commence as early as her mother had. She was at times belittled and unfairly treated due to her status as the child of a famous individual. “People got really aggressive when I started to sing professionally…It wasn’t the majority of the people, but that was the feeling that was there — ‘Who does she think she is?” says Rita.
Her first CD “Maria Rita” launched her career symbolically, after going platinum and becoming a worldwide hit, altogether transforming Maria into an international star. The release won the 2004 Latin Grammy for MPB (musica popular Brasileira) album and earned her a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in the General Field and Best Song in Portuguese for the irresistible catchy single ‘A Festa’ (A Party). The world hit “Segundo” resulted in more accolades being presented to Maria. She won an additional two Latin Grammy awards in 2006 for Best MPB album and Best Brazilian song and was lined up for over fifty (50) shows abroad.
With her mother’s reputation as being one of the greatest Brazilian singers of all time significantly impacting her life, Rita has respectfully avoided the songs identified with her mother. Her reason for this avoidance is two-fold. One, she waned to be judged on her own work and ability and not against a scale set by her mother’s legacy. Secondly, she did not want to use her mothers memory as a commercial ploy or gimmick.
This led to the development of her own style which possessed elements of Brazilian popular music, jazz and other music stemmed from influences from her youth such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald. Despite the double edged sword hand to her at birth she has managed to disprove critics’ bias against her in a gracefully manner that would make her mother proud. She has made her own name in the world of music, not due to, but in spite of, her legendary lineage.
Quotes provided by interview from the La Times