Anitta covers Billboard magazine

Anitta opens up about international superstardom: ‘I knew that if I failed, everyone in my country would laugh at me’

The “Envolver” singer is the latest Billboard cover star

Following the success of her record-breaking hit “Envolver” and an unforgettable performance at Coachella, Anitta is opening up to Billboard about just how much she went through to get here.

The music mag visited the Brazilian superstar during her Coachella rehearsals to talk about her insane success, where she opened up about the difference between being a celebrity in her home of Rio De Janeiro, versus being internationally known.

Anitta covers Billboard magazine©Billboard

“Being an international artist is not only about being famous wherever you go, because the world is so big,” Anitta told the publication. “It’s about being able to impact culturally different areas at the same time.”

The Versions of Me artist went on to recall how her brother responded when she first told him she wanted to “go international” back in 2015.

“’Why? You will need to start from the bottom and do the s**t you were doing six years ago,’” her brother told her. “You don’t even have the energy anymore.’”

“And I told him that’s what I wanted, although I was really scared,” she confessed. “It meant I would abandon everything I had done. I knew that if I failed, everyone in my country would laugh at me. That’s what happens to everyone who tries and fails. I didn’t want to become a joke. I wanted it to happen for real.”

Anitta covers Billboard magazine©Billboard

Of course, getting here wasn’t easy, and the star’s brother wasn’t the only person to tell her that international success wasn’t going to happen.

“Many executives at labels told me that it was impossible to have an international career as a Brazilian, and they weren’t being mean — they just had never seen anyone do it recently,” Anitta said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know, there’s no “impossible” for me.’ I understood that you had to risk your whole career and you got to have balls to keep insisting. It isn’t easy or quick, especially when you’re already used to being treated as a star in a country and then you go to another market and you’re treated as a nobody.”

One of the ways Anitta learned how to reach a wider audiencer was a trip to Mexico, where she observed how real people were listening and dancing to music.

First, she asked a taxi driver to take her to “a rich people’s club, but to her surprise, she didn’t hear any reggaetón, the genre she had been told at the time was the hottest in the Latin market.

“I got another taxi and told him, ‘I want to go to the cheapest club here, where the poor people go,’” she remembers. “He looked at me confused, but that’s where I saw people perreando, and I was like, ‘OK.’”

Anitta covers Billboard magazine©Billboard

Then, she Shazamed each song that played, writing down the titles that got people “crazy and dancing.”

That attention to detail and ability to brand out is part of what makes Anitta’s success so widespread, with her latest album Versions of Me featuring songs in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. That’s why she named that album what she did, instead of her original plan, Girl From Rio, because she loves and embraces being so versatile.

“I like being a different person every day,” she said. “Today I’ll be romantic, tomorrow I’ll be nerdy, tomorrow I’ll be sad. That’s what I think it is to be Anitta: to be limitless.”

You can read the entire interview over on Billboard. 

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