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Marisa Monte

In the early 1980s when rock and roll exploded in Brazil Marisa de Azevedo Monte wanted to be an opera singer. At 14 she started studying lyric singing and took the entrance exam for the National Holiday School but shortly thereafter she discovered she loved Bilie Holiday and the new Brazilian rock as much as Marisa Callas. Carlos Monte, an economist, was a cultural director of the Portela Samba school in the 1970s and introduced her to the finest sambas from Rio de Janeiro.

After appearing with fellow students from the Colégio Andrews in a school production of “The Rocky Horror Show” directed by Miguel Falabella. Marisa began to sing informally in local bars. At 19 she went to live in Rome to further her studies of lyric singing and make contact with the world of opera but after a few months she decided to go back to Brazil and become a pop singer. While living in Rome she sang in little bars and one night in Venice while singing with an Italian guitar player she was heard by the producer Nelson Motta. She would meet him again on her return to Brazil and he would direct her first professional shows that were produced by Lula Buarque de Hollanda. From her first show at Rio’s Jazzmania she was hailed as a new sensation on the Brazilian musical scene.

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