Daniela Mercury

Daniela Mercury
Daniela Mercury

Daniela Marcury at São João do Pelourinho in 2009.
Background information
Birth name Daniela Mercuri de Almeida
Also known as Daniela Mercury
Born July 28, 1965 (1965-07-28) (age 46)
Origin Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Genres Latin pop, Axé, Samba-reggae, MPB
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1989–present
Labels Estúdio Eldorado
Epic Records
Sony Music
Associated acts Companhia Clic
Website DanielaMercury.art.br

Daniela Mercury (born Daniela Mercuri de Almeida on July 28, 1965), is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian axé, samba-reggae and MPB singer, songwriter and record producer. Since her breakthrough, Mercury has become one of the best known Brazilian female singers, selling over 20 million albums worldwide.[1] She is also the Brazilian female performer with most #1 hits in the country, with 14.[citation needed]


Early life

Daniela Mercuri de Almeida was born on July 28, 1965,[2] in the Portuguese Hospital in Salvador, Bahia.[3] Her mother is Liliana Mercuri, a social worker[4] of Italian ancestry,[5] and her father is António Fernando de Abreu Ferreira de Almeida, a Portuguese-born[5] industrial mechanic.[4] Mercury grew up in a middle class household in the Brotas neighborhood of Salvador with her four siblings: Tom, Cristiana, Vânia (who would also become a singer, billed as Vânia Abreu), and Marcos.[2][5] A trouble-maker as a child, Mercury was nicknamed "drip-fire".[6] She attended both the Ana Néri School and the Colégio Baiano.[6]

When Mercury was eight years old, she began taking dance lessons,[5] particularly learning classical ballet, jazz and African dances.[7] At age 13, influenced by the work of Elis Regina, she decided to become a singer.[5][8] Her repertoire consisted of bossa nova as well as the music of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Chico Buarque.[5] To the unease of her parents, she started singing in local bars, beginning in 1980.[5] She made her trio elétrico debut soon afterward, during the 1981 carnival.[5] Mercury's zeal for dance eventually led her to the Federal University of Bahia, where she enrolled in the Dance School in 1984[5] A year later she married the electronic engineer Zalther Póvoas[9] and became a mother, giving birth to Gabriel Almeida Póvoas.[5] A year after that, she welcomed into the world another child, daughter Giovana Almeida Póvoas.[5]


Early career (1984-1990)

From 1986 to 1988, Mercury was the lead singer for the band Cheiro de Amor.[10] Mercury continued to pursue a career in music and, by 1988, was a backup singer for Gilberto Gil.[5][8] In 1989, recorded her first two albums as the lead singer of pop band Companhia Clic.[10] Their songs "Pega que Oh!" and "Ilha das Bananas" became minor hits in Bahia radio stations. As the 1990s began, Mercury decided to pursue a solo career.[10]

Rise to fame (1991-1993)

Mercury's self-titled debut album was released in 1991 through independent record company Eldorado. The lead single of the album, "Swing da Cor", which features Olodum, became a number-one hit in Brazil,[10] and the album was soon known as Swing da Cor. Another song from the album, "Menino do Pelô", which also features Olodum, became Mercury's second top-ten hit in Brazil, charting at number four. On the following year, Mercury shut off from the record company and, ever since, produces her own albums to negotiate the distribution of them later with the labels that are interested.

In 1992, Mercury became an independent artist, which means she would start to produce her own albums and sell them to record companies (since then, she has founded a production company called Canto da Cidade and Páginas do Mar, a publishing house). That same year, O Canto da Cidade was released through Sony. The title track became a number-one hit in Brazil for months. The album gave Mercury the distinction of being the first singer to sell more than two million copies in Brazil.[11] The singles "Batuque", "O Mais Belo dos Belos" and "Você Não Entende Nada" all became number-one hits, while "Só pra te Mostrar", which features Herbert Vianna, was a top-ten hit.

Artistic development (1994-2000)

In 1994, Música de Rua was released through Sony. The album was received with lukewarm reviews, with some critics complaining about the similarities between this album and its predecessor. Nevertheless, the album was very well received by the public, selling more than one million copies and producing the hits "Música de Rua", "O Reggae e o Mar" (both number-one hits), "Por Amor ao Ilê" (a top-ten hit) and "A Rosa" (top-twenty). This was Mercury's first album to produce singles which have failed to chart.

In 1996, Feijão com Arroz was released through Sony. This album was much more well-received by the critics than its predecessor. It is Mercury's most well rated album at Allmusic, with four and a half stars. As of today, Feijão com Arroz is Mercury's second best selling album, behind only O Canto da Cidade. It produced the hits "À Primeira Vista", "Nobre Vagabundo", "Rapunzel" (all number-one hits), "Minas com Bahia" (which features Samuel Rosa from Skank and was a top-twenty hit) and "Feijão de Corda" (a top-ten hit).

In 1998, Mercury's first live album, Elétrica was released through Sony. It sold almost half a million copies and produced the top-ten hit "Trio Metal", which charted at number eight.

Experimentation with electronica (2000-2004)

Mercury performing in the concert Solidariedade Brasil-Noruega on October 7, 2003 in Teatro Nacional, Brasília

In 2000, Mercury released her fifth studio album, Sol da Liberdade, through BMG. The album sold almost a million copies and produced two number-one singles ("Ilê Pérola Negra" and a cover of Antonio Marcus' "Como Vai Você"). The album, which was produced by Suba, was innovative in Mercury's career for its fusion with electronic music sounds.

The following year, Mercury released Sou de Qualquer Lugar through BMG. The album sold half of its predecessor, but was able to produce the number-one single "Mutante", a cover of Rita Lee. In this album, Mercury also experimented with electronic sounds.

In April 2003, Mercuy's second live album, Eletrodoméstico – MTV Live, was released through BMG. It was recorded on January 23 and 24 of that same year at the Castro Alves Theater in Salvador for MTV Brasil. It was also released in the DVD format, Mercury's first. Among the artists who performed with the singer were Dulce Pontes, Rosario Flores, Jovanotti, Carlinhos Brown and Olodum. The sales were very inferior to Mercury's previous and it only produced one top twenty hit ("Meu Plano").

In 2004, Carnaval Eletrônico was released through BMG. For the recording of this album, Mercury invited DJs and producers of electronic music in Brazil, as well as Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown, and Lenine. It is a commemorative disc celebrating the five years of her having formed TrioTechno, the first trio elétrico of electronic music in Bahian Carnaval. The disc received a Latin Grammy nomination for best pop album of the year and Mercury was nominated for a TIM Award for best female pop/rock vocalist. Internet users voted Carnaval Eletrônico the best pop album of the year online in one of Brazil’s most important weekly magazines Revista Isto É.

Back to basics (2005-2007)

In 2005, Clássica was released through Som Livre on both CD and DVD. Recorded from a concert Mercury gave the year before at São Paulo's Casa de Espetáculo, the album is a sampler of bossa nova, jazz, and some of her biggest MPB hits. The record signaled a new phase for Mercury, who chose independence from record companies to gain full control of her work. Mercury was in London, during the July 7 bombings.[12]

That same year, Mercury's eighth studio album, Balé Mulato, was released, but through EMI. The album was very well received by the critics, with some even saying it was Mercury's best album since Feijão com Arroz (1996). It was not, however, very well received by the public, with none of the singles being able to chart on the top-ten; a large part due to lack of record company support. The next year, the Latin Grammy Award-winning live version of Balé Mulato, was released. Daniela Mercury has completed her newest release, Canibália. Canibalia was launched in October 2009.

Reinventing Popular Culture in the 21st century through Artistic Cannibalism (2010- Present)

Though Canibália was launched in Argentina, Brazil and Portugal in 2009 it is in 2010 that Mercury revs up the ideology of Canibália. Having presented Canibália to over 7,000,000 spectators, by 2011 Mercury sets the bar high releasing Canibália internationally with a major mission:

Canibália, Daniela Mercury’s latest endeavor, reaches into the future by traveling through the continuum of two significant upheavals that marked Brazilian culture forever: The Brazilian Modernist Movement spawned by the Oswaldo Andrade’s 1928 Manifesto Antropófago, the 1968 Tropicalia Movement launched by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso’s recording Tropicália: ou Panis et Circensis. Given Daniela Mercury's well known penchant to continuously innovate, it comes as no surprise that she, like her predecessors, would promulgate yet another phase of a passionate and intelligently articulated reinvention of Brazilian popular culture – Canibália. Despite the implied contradictions, Canibália encompasses elements from indigenous, traditional and modern culture as well as the domestic and international musical scenes. Canibália debuts on the 14 tracks of Mercury’s new release entitled–Canibália- an intrinsic Brazilian collection of Pop, Samba, Samba-Bossa, Samba-Reggae, Merengue, Axe and Salsa with a definitive Electronic base that permeates throughout. The Canibália continuum shall include a series of sound recordings by the Artist and her peers, visual art exhibits, DVD’s and film.

Historical Context: Manifesto Antropófago [Cannibalist Manifesto]

Jose Oswald de Andrade Souza (1890 –October 1954) was a Brazilian poet and a controversial thinker. Born in Sao Paulo, Andrade was one of the founders of the Brazilian Modernist movement and a member of the Group of Five, including Mário de Andrade, Anita Malfatti, Tarsila do Amaral Oswald de Andrade]. Andrade is recognized by his nationalist, Manifesto Antropofago [Cannibalist Manifesto], published in 1928. The manifesto argues that based on the premise that the history of Brazil has, as its greatest strength, the power to cannibalize others and simultaneously plays with the idea of cannibalism as a modern primitivism; like a presumed tribal rite. Cannibalism then, becomes a way for Brazil to reaffirm itself against the cultural domination of Post Colonial Europe. The iconic phrase of the manifesto “Tupi or not Tupi” is as much a celebration of the Tupinamba, a documented tribe of cannibals, as it is an act of genius cannibalizing Shakespeare’s, “To be or not to be”.

“Canibália is an embrace, a swallow of Tropicália, the Clube da Esquina and everything that has since been created in the arts in Brazil since the – ‘Semana de 22’ [‘Semana de Arte Moderna de 1922 ’-The Week of Modern Art] – I yearn for the liberty that comes from this anthropophagic movement, of the Cannibalist Manifesto by Oswald de Andrade and its practice by Mario [de Andrade), who spoke that these mixtures reinforce our [Brazilian] identity” – Daniela Mercury

Personal life

In 1984, at 19, Mercury got married to electronic engineer Zalther Portela Laborda Póvoas, her high school boyfriend.[6][13] The next year, on September 3, 1985, she gave birth to their first child, Gabriel (who is also a singer and songwriter). The following year, she gave birth to a girl named Giovanna (who is now a dancer in Mercury's ensemble). In 1996, Mercury and Póvoas divorced.[11] That same year, she was pointed by the sensationalist media as the reason for the split between Chico Buarque and Marieta Severo. In an interview to Istoé magazine, Mercury said that "it was a levity what they did, an irresponsibility that caused an uproar in my life and in the lives of both of them".[14]


At late 2005, Mercury, a devout Catholic, was uninvited from a Christmas concert in the Vatican City due to her endorsement of a Ministry of Health campaign encouraging young people to use condoms.[15] Church officials feared she would use the occasion to promote the use of condoms.[16]

In 2006, Mercury openly opposed to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's reelection. This has drawn criticism from other artists, such as Zeca Baleiro, which accused her of being favored by the late Antônio Carlos Magalhães, a controversial oligarch from Bahia (which she denied vehemently). Later that same year, in an interview to Folha de S. Paulo, Mercury declared she was against reelections in general. She also said to have voted in Lula four times and that she was disappointed "by his first term (...), shocked with all these scandals". However, she said to hope that "Brazil will now have the four years of Lula that we hoped it would be in the first term."[17]


Mercury has performed at a large number of charitable events. She is the second Brazilian honored as an ambassador for UNICEF (Renato Aragão was the first). She is also an ambassador for UNAIDS and UNESCO. She has performed at Rede Globo's annual charity Criança Esperança for fifteen consecutive years (1992–2007). She also represents various non-profit organizations including Caravana da Musica which has spawned her own Instituto Sol da Liberdade.


See: Daniela Mercury discography


Year Video Album
1991 "Swing da Cor" (featuring Olodum) Daniela Mercury
1992 "O Canto da Cidade" O Canto da Cidade
"O Mais Belo dos Belos"
1993 "Você Não Entende Nada"
"Só Pra te Mostrar" (featuring Herbert Vianna)
1994 "Música de Rua" Música de Rua
"O Reggae e o Mar"
1997 "Nobre Vagabundo" Feijão com Arroz
"Feijão de Corda"
1998 "Trio Metal" Elétrica - Ao Vivo
2000 "Ilê Pérola Negra" Sol da Liberdade
"Santa Helena"
2001 "Beat Lamento" Sou de Qualquer Lugar
2002 "Mutante"
2003 "Dona da Banca" MTV Ao Vivo - Eletrodoméstico
"Meu Plano"
2004 "Maimbê Dandá" (featuring Carlinhos Brown) Carnaval Eletrônico
2005 "Aeromoça" Clássica
"Sua Estupidez"
"Topo do Mundo" Balé Mulato
"Levada Brasileira"
2006 "Quero a Felicidade" (featuring Jammil e Uma Noites) Balé Mulato - Ao Vivo
"Toneladas de Amor"
2009 "Oyá Por Nós" (featuring Margareth Menezes) Canibália
2010 "É Carnaval" Canibália: Ritmos do Brasil


External links

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