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World-renowned singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto, who has earned multiple Grammy nominations over the course of her career, has captivated fans and earned media acclaim worldwide with her trademark electronic bossa nova, taking over clubs around the world and positioning Bebel as one of the top-selling Brazilian artists in the U.S. since the '60s. Gilberto’s penchant for sonically transporting listeners to Brazil, with bright, incandescent bossa nova-infused melodies, lyrics about love, and a lilting performance style has earned her raves for her live performances.
Gilberto was born in New York to Brazilian music icons João Gilberto and Miúcha. Her musical education was her childhood in Brazil. She was surrounded by extended family including her uncle Chico Buarque and family friends like Milton Nacimento, Tom Jobim, Caetano Veloso, and João Donato; she made her first recording at age 7. “I will turn 50 this year, so I’ve been recording and performing music for 47 years!” exclaims Bebel with a laugh.
Bebel’s influences are vast and eclectic. In addition to living and breathing all types of Brazilian musical styles as a child, she was exposed to the greats, from Debussy to Prince; Michel Legrand to Billie Holliday; Bjork to Gershwin. She also has a strong love for North American soul; she discovered Donna Summer, Earth Wind and Fire, and Michael Jackson on the dance floor as a budding teenager. “The whole disco thing plays a big role in my heart,” says Bebel, who still loves to dance.
Several years after Bebel moved to New York City in 1991 her present day sound of electronic meets Brazilian began to crystallize. “Little by little, I learned what I wanted musically,” says Bebel, who gigged all around the city and collaborated with many artists. “I think there I became a New Yorker—with a Brazilian heart of course!