Anitta Explains How Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Cardi B Influenced Her New Album 'KISSES' (Exclusive)
By Elisa Osegueda
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Anitta is going worldwide.
The 26-year-old crossover singer released her highly anticipated new album, KISSES, on Friday. The trilingual project features 10 songs, each representing unique aspects of the Brazilian beauty.
“This album, I mean, I think it's the most risky [thing] I’ve ever done in my career,” Anitta told ET ahead of the release of her album. “I'm mixing the three languages that I speak, which is Spanish, Portuguese and English.”
“The idea of the album is to show the 10 personalities that I have inside of me. I'm a very complex person. I have different people inside me but it's still me,” she continued. “I wanted to show everyone that I can be...romantic one day, I can be sexy the other day, I can be crazy, I can be serious, I can be boss, I can be feminist, and I still don't lose my way to be, you know?”
A variety of women inspired this dance-pop album, including Mariah Carey, who Anitta says is her ultimate idol.
“I grew up listening to Mariah Carey. She's my number one. She taught me how to sing, she was the first person I ever listened to in my life,” she confessed. “My aunts are crazy about Mariah, so she was the first singer I listened to when I was, I don't know, one or two years old maybe. I was always crazy about music.”
“[I think of] Mariah Carey when I sing romantic [songs], she gets me inspired,” she continued. “And when I want to be strong, I think of Beyonce, for sure. When I want to be sexy with a [masculine] attitude, I think about Rihanna. When I want to have this teenage but funny way to be, I think about Ariana Grande. And, when I want to [channel] my sarcastic [side], I think about Cardi B, I love her so much. Each woman has something to show us, to teach us, so that's what I do.”
The album, whose concept was developed with the help of creative director Giovanni Bianco, features collaborations with Becky G, Ludmilla, Snoop Dogg, Papatinho, DJ Luian, Mambo Kingz, Swae Lee, Chris Marshall, Alesso, Prince Royce and Caetano Veloso.
Anitta says it was Bianco who helped name the album.
“He has worked with all the divas that I love -- Madonna, Rihanna, he also worked with Kim Kardashian...and with some brands that I love like Prada, Versace, so many [others] in the fashion world,” Anitta explained. “He actually had the idea of the kisses because I said we're trying to find something, [a concept] that can be different [things] but be the same thing. So, he got this idea of the kisses.”
KISSES has been in the works for a year now and each track was carefully crafted with a purpose.
“All of the songs are really really good. None of the songs are just to fill the album, just to be there, just to play one more song,” Anitta shared. “All of them are kind of really great. I like ‘Poquito’ with Swae Lee, I like ‘Banana’ with Becky G and I like the one with Snoop Dogg a lot too. I think people are going to like those three songs.”
The “Bola Rebola” singer says teaming up with Becky G was important to her.
“I definitely wanted women from the Latin world to be with me on this album,” she said. “I think it's important to [support] women... And to show everybody that when we are together, we are powerful, we are stronger, and [Becky] has the same thoughts in her mind, so that's why I invited her. I really like her. She's pretty, she has the attitude, and she's funny.”
Anitta says the goal with this album is to share Brazilian music and its rich culture to the masses, not about having number one hits.
“I used to think that success was being the number one, being everywhere, being the star and nowadays, I think that success is to make big things happen,” she said. “I feel so honored that I'm bringing part of the culture of my country to other countries, you know, like the funk music. It makes me feel so grateful, so happy, and even if it's not my song, I don't care if it's mine or another person from Brazil.”
“Actually, I told my people that my goal with this album is not to have a number one hit, I'm not kidding. I'm not concerned at all to have a number one song or a top 10 or top 50 or top whatever,” she continued. “This is not the thing I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about giving a message to people.”