Luiz Paulo Bello Simas was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948 in the neighborhood of Tijuca, in the north zone of Rio, into a typical middle class family. His father worked in a bank, and his mother, who later became a math teacher, was a homemaker. He was still an infant when his family moved to Leme, in Rio's south zone, then to Copacabana, where he started piano lessons at the age of four. He practiced on his great grandmother's old Pleyel. They moved again to Rio's north zone, and then back to the south zone to settle in the neighborhood of Ipanema. His grandfather, a dentist who was a pioneer in the use of dental implants in Brazil, bought a large apartment with the help of money he had won in a lottery.
At this time Luiz used to listen to a varied cocktail of genres on the radio: samba-canções by Miltinho, Caubi Peixoto and Ângela Maria, samba-de-breques by Moreira da Silva, and a variety of styles by other Brazilian singers. He also enjoyed listening to a collection of LPs that his father had given to him, and which included favorite classic pieces such as Carmen's Habanera, Samson and Delilah, Madame Butterfly's aria, and so on. He practiced Chopin and Bach at the piano, and attended the Escola Nacional de Música, where he graduated in Music Theory when he was eleven years old. Once in a while his grandparents took him to the opera at Theatro Municipal.
Music wasn't Luiz's only interest. He and his brother José Roberto enrolled in one of Rio's large catholic schools for boys, Colégio Santo Inácio in Botafogo. There he spent his mornings studying, swimming in the pool, playing soccer (he was a terrible player), ping-pong (he was a champ), and having fun with his many friends. After school he would stop at the vendor on the sidewalk to eat some Eskibon ice-cream and then take the trolley on a one-hour trip back home.