Whether you want to learn about famous Brazilian singers or simply the country’s music scene, today’s article is a great starting point for you.
Music is a crucial part of Brazilian culture, and proof of this is the sensory overload tourists experience when walking through the streets of the country—there’s (almost always) national music playing in the surroundings.
And it goes way beyond samba. We have a number of local genres that are well worth listening to.
Also, there is a big chance you already know many famous singers from Brazil or at least some songs.
Below, I’ll list some of the most famous Brazilian singers and their top hits. Ready? Go!
19 of the Most Famous Brazilian Singers
This Brazilian pop star probably doesn’t need an introduction at this point, but here it goes anyway.
Nowadays, she has established an almost dominant position in Brazilian pop music and Latin pop.
Through the years, she collaborated with a wide range of musicians, like Maluma, Iggy Azalea, Madonna, J Balvin, Major Lazer, Rita Ora, Alesso, Luis Fonsi, and Black Eyed Peas.
Obviously, she has won many prizes and accolades, but in 2022, Anitta became the first Brazilian artist to win an MTV Video Music Award.
Further out, Anitta is an environmental activist and is actively vocal about the crimes committed against the Amazon Rainforest and the Brazilian indigenous people.
She is also vocal about being against Jair Bolsonaro and his government, former Brazilian president. The singer identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Some of her most-played songs are Envolver, Mil Veces, No Chão Novinha, Downtown, Que Vamo Hacer, Boys Don’t Cry, Modo Turbo, Mon Soleil, Sim Ou Não, Me Gusta, Contatinho, Meiga e Abusada, Faking Love, Tudo O Nada, and Girl From Rio.
Fun fact: Anitta’s real name is Larissa, a relatively popular girl’s name in Brazil. She chose Anitta as her stage name because she was inspired by the character Anita from a Brazilian drama television miniseries called The Presence of Anita. The singer thought the character was “incredible” because “[she] could be sexy without looking vulgar, girl and woman at the same time.”
2. Gilberto Gil
Born in 1942 in the state of Bahia, Gilberto Gil is by far one of the best Brazilian male singers of all time.
Gil sings MPB, which stands for popular Brazilian music (Música Popular Brasileira), and his musical style incorporates an eclectic range of influences, including rock, African music, reggae, and Brazilian genres like samba.
He was also adept at the tropicalia movement in the 1960s.
Gil is friends and has collaborated with many other iconic Brazilian singers, like Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Elis Regina, and others.
In the late 1960s, Gil and Veloso were arrested by the Brazilian military government because of their satirical lyrics. They were exiled to London, where Gil started listening to reggae and English rock.
Some of his greatest hits were A Paz, Sítio do Pica-Pau Amarelo, Refazenda, Aquele Abraço, Andar Com Fé, Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus, Esperando Na Janela, Toda Menina Baiana, Palco, and his latest hit OK, Ok, Ok.
In the early 2000s, Gil was the Minister of Culture but resigned in 2008 to go back to singing—his greatest passion.
Fun fact: Gil is the father of Preta Gil, a Brazilian actress and singer.
3. Marisa Monte
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1967, Monte is an acclaimed Brazilian female singer, producer, and composer of Brazilian popular music and samba.
I absolutely love Marisa’s voice–it’s clear, soft, and incredibly beautiful.
She has sold way over 10 million albums around the world and won many international and national awards.
Monte is also an instrumentalist and plays guitar, cavaquinho, and ukulele. She has also been a member of Tribalistas, an alternative rock and MPB supergroup with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes.
Some of her most popular hits are Bem Que Se Quis, Não é Proibido, A Sua, Beija Eu, Ainda Bem, Velha Infância, Já Sei Namorar, Amor I Love You, Vilarejo, and Feliz, Alegre e Forte.
Rolling Stone Brasil regards Marisa as the second greatest singer, with Elis Regina being the only one ahead of her.
4. Caetano Veloso
Further, Veloso sings MPB, samba, bossa nova, and folk rock and is one of the founders of the tropicalia movement in the 1960s.
In the late 1960s, Veloso and Gil were arrested by the Brazilian military government because of their satirical lyrics. They were exiled to London but returned in 1972.
He is one of the best-selling Brazilian artists and has won a number of awards.
Some of his most famous hits and my personal favorites are Sozinho, O Leãozinho, Você É Linda, Você Não Me Ensinou a Te Esquecer, Marinheiro Só, O Quereres, and Sonho Meu.
Curiously, Veloso is Maria Bethânia’s brother, an excellent Brazilian singer–it runs in the family.
In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked Veloso at number 108 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Although brought up in a religious Catholic family, Veloso is one of the few public atheist celebrities in Brazil.
5. Elis Regina
Born in the southernmost state in Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Elis Regina was a Brazilian singer of MPB, bossa nova, and jazz music.
Sadly, she had a cardiac arrest in 1982, leaving the music scene in Brazil a lot less colorful.
Elis was one of the beginners of MPB, which is a post-bossa nova music.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she helped popularize tropicalismo with Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso, becoming one of the greatest female singers in the country.
Some of this Brazilian music artist’s greatest hits are Arrastão, Águas de Março, Como Nossos Pais, Alô Alô Marciano, and O Bêbado e o Equilibrista.
Fun fact: She is the mother of singers Maria Rita and Pedro Mariano.
6. Chico Buarque de Hollanda
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1944, Buarque is among the best Brazilian singers to date and one of my favorites, too.
Although he is a writer, playwright, and poet, Buarque is best known for his music, which often includes social, economic, and cultural reflections on Brazil.
He sings mostly MPB, samba, bossa nova, and choro.
Some of his greatest singles are Apesar de Você, João e Maria, Cotidiano, Construção, O Que Será, Essa Moça Tá Diferente (I love this one), Cálice, Roda-Viva, and Samba Pra Vinícius.
He was also exiled during the dictatorship in the country and returned later to Brazil.
In 2019, Buarque was awarded the Camões Prize, the most important prize for literature in the Portuguese language. Still, he won many other prizes and awards.
7. Antonio Carlos Jobim
Natural to Rio de Janeiro, this Brazilian singer and songwriter, born in 1927, is the composer of one of the most recorded songs of all time: Garota de Ipanema.
He is referred to as the father of bossa nova, but Jobim also sang Latin jazz, samba, and MPB.
Jobim’s most famous songs are The Girl From Ipanema (also sung by Astrud Gilberto), Águas de Março, Pela Luz dos Olhos Teus, Só Tinha de Ser Com Você, A Felicidade, Wave, and Triste.
Fun fact: A crater on the planet Mercury was named in Jobim’s honor in 2015 by the International Astronomical Union.
Natural to Rio de Janeiro, Ludmilla (1995) is a Brazilian singer and songwriter who became the first Afro-Latin American female musician to reach one billion streams on Spotify.
She has a gorgeous, soft voice, and I highly recommend you listen to a few of her songs.
Ludmilla is seen as an emerging female artist in funk carioca. Still, she also explores other genres, including pop, pagode, R&B, reggaeton, axé, and afrobeat.
Some of her most streamed songs are Sintomas de Prazer, Maldivas, Bom, Cigana, No Se Ve, Insônia, and Teu Segredo.
9. Roberto Carlos
Ah, o Rei (Portuguese for the King)!
Roberto Carlos is a Brazilian singer and songwriter considered the King of Latin Music, and his songs are particularly popular around the holidays—somehow like the Latin American Mariah Carey, LOL!
Born in Espírito Santo in 1941, the icon said his music was deeply influenced by his idol Elvis Presley. He sings rock and roll, pop, MPB, soul, bossa nova, and rhythm and blues.
His most popular songs are Cama e Mesa, Detalhes, Amigo, Amada Amante, Esse Cara Sou Eu, Lady Laura, Proposta, and Como É Grande O Meu Amor Por Você (this last one is one of my all-time favorite songs! It’s incredibly romantic!).
10. Pabllo Vittar
Natural to Maranhão, Vittar (1993) is a Brazilian drag queen and singer.
Their music career started after singing Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing on a Brazilian talent show in 2014.
Now, Vittar is an incredibly popular artist in the country, singing pop, technobrega, forró, and funk carioca.
Further out, they experienced bullying during childhood for being themselves and are outspoken about the prejudice against the community.
As such, Vittar’s music is considered an “unofficial anthem for Brazil’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” and he is widely viewed as a voice for them.
Because dangers to LGBTQ+ people have grown in Brazil, Vittar’s openness about being gay has made him an icon to those living in a prejudiced environment.
Vittar’s most popular hits are Modo Turbo, Ameianoite, KO, Sua Cara, Sereia, Amor de Que, and Clima Quente.
11. Jorge Ben Jor
As a Rio de Janeiro native, Ben Jor mixes the state’s most popular genres like samba, bossa nova, and funk, but also rock and tropicália, which is why he is known as the father of samba rock.
His lyrics usually blend humor and satire with often esoteric subject matter.
Many people, including you, probably know one of his songs, or at least a remake of it: Mas que nada.
This song is one of the most-played Portuguese songs abroad, and one of its remakes became an international chart hit after being used by Nike in a global TV advertisement during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, reaching the Top 10 in several European countries.
Besides the aforementioned song, other popular hits are Oba Lá Vem Ela, Chive Chuva, O Telefone Tocou Novamente, País Tropical (wonderful Carnival song), W/Brasil, Taj Mahal, Que Maravilha, and Menina Mulher Da Pele Preta.
Native to Rio de Janeiro but raised in Rio Grande do Norte, Iza (1990) is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and dancer.
As a soul, R&B, and pop singer, she became famous for recording cover songs from Sam Smith, Rihanna, and Beyoncé.
Despite her fairly short musical career, Iza has won the Women’s Music Event Awards category Revelation and the Multishow Song of the Year with Pesadão.
Her most popular hits are Dona de Mim, Talismã, Pesadão, Brisa, Me Perdoa, Sem Filtro, Será, and Fé.
13. Ivete Sangalo
Ah, Veveta! Ivete Sangalo is not only a bright soul but also a fantastic singer-songwriter and TV host.
With great charisma and a powerful voice, this lady won 4 Latin Grammy Awards and has sold millions and millions of albums.
Born in Bahia, Sangalo started her musical career singing at school and bars but later joined the Banda Eva group as the lead singer.
A few years later, she went solo, singing axé and Latin pop, and became even more popular.
Her greatest hits are Sorte Grande, Festa, Se Eu Não te Amasse Tanto Assim, Na Base do Beijo, Quando a Chuva Passar, Não Precisa Mudar, and A Lua Que Te Dei.
Although she also sings many romantic songs, Sangalo also has some quite uplifting ones that are particularly popular during Carnival in Bahia. The energy is contagious!
Natural to Alagoas, Djavan is by far my favorite Brazilian singer-songwriter.
He sings MPB, samba, Latin dance, and soul music. One of the reasons why Djavan is so loved is because his songs are refreshing, and the lyrics are incredibly poetic.
His most famous hits also happen to be among my favorite songs, so this is a personal recommendation, especially good for those who wanna learn a bit more about popular musicians from Brazil.
Here’s my recommendations: Se…, Eu Te Devoro, Flor De Lis, Um Amor Puro, Oceano, Samurai, Nem Um Dia, Meu Bem-Querer, Álibi, Açaí, Pétala, and Sina.
15. Chitãozinho & Xororó
Believe it or not, this Brazilian sertanejo duo from Paraná started their career in 1969 and have sold over 30 million albums ever since.
The duo gained international recognition and released a Spanish album in the 90s. In the same decade, they released two songs, one with Reba McEntire and the other with Billy Ray Cyrus.
Some of their most popular songs are Galopeira, Alô, Página de Amigos, Guadalupe, Sinônimos, and Evidências, which is my favorite karaoke song!
Fun fact: Xororó is Sandy and Júnior’s father, who also sings and composes. Confession: I was absolutely crazy about them as a teen, lol.
16. Luísa Sonza
Luísa Sonza (1998) is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and actress who became famous for making cover songs on YouTube.
She sings pop music and has been actively voicing her views on women’s empowerment.
The singer, together with Anitta, protested against Oxford Languages and Google’s definitional search relating feminine gendered terms to misogynistic definitions–both tools revised or removed the definitions in question.
But in her life is not all roses. Sonza was accused of racism in 2018. The case gained repercussions in Brazilian media and was settled in 2022.
Still, some of her most popular songs are Lança Menina, A Dona Aranha, Sou Musa do Verão, Boa Menina, Campo de Morango, Chico, and Penhasco2, which is a collaboration with Demi Lovato.
Also known as MC Kevinho, the singer born in 1998 is best known for his hit Olha a Explosão.
He sings funk carioca, funk ostentação, and funk ousadia, which are all derived from Brazilian funk.
Some of his most famous songs are Agora É Tudo Meu, O Grave Bater, Tumbalatum, Encaixa, Deixa Ela Beijar, and Terremoto.
Personally, I’m not a Brazilian funk fan because of the erotic, derogatory, and violent invitation.
18. Marília Mendonça
Marília (1995) was a leading figure in Feminejo, a variant of the Sertanejo genre uniquely characterized by its female performers and perspectives.
Renowned for her emotive renditions, she particularly excels in delivering “sofrência” songs—tunes that delve into the intricacies of heartbreak and the agony of love. Just so you can grasp how good she was, her nickname was ‘queen of sofrência’.
And yes, she was, no longer is. Sadly, Mendonça died in a plane crash in 2021, leaving Brazil in shock.
With a formidable voice, she has swiftly ascended to the ranks of the country’s premier singers and songwriters.
A few of her most popular songs are Ciumeira, Leão, Supera, Graveto, Intenção, Dois Enganados, Esqueça-Me Se For Capaz, Mal Feito, Supera, Infiel, Bebi Liguei, Apaixonadinha, and O Que Falta Em Você Sou Eu.
19. Luan Santana
Santana (1991) is a Brazilian singer and songwriter born in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
He sings sertanejo and is currently one of the biggest artists in the country.
Santana started his career at a young age, performing for massive crowds and collaborating with international artists like Enrique Iglesias.
Some of Santana’s most popular songs are Abalo Emocional, Namorando Ou Não, Trem Bala, Morena (I love this one), Solteirou, Perigosa, and Coração Cigano.
More Singers From Brazil You Should Definitely Check Out
Alok – not a singer, I know, but an incredibly talented Brazilian musician and DJ
Vinicius de Moraes
Bruno e Marrone, country duo
Victor e Leo, folk music duo
What other Brazilian singers and artists would you add to this article? Drop the names below. I would love to hear from you!