Rita Lee in 2010
|Birth name||Rita Lee Jones|
|Also known as||A Rainha do Rock (Queen of Rock)|
|Born||December 31, 1947|
|Origin||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Genres||Rock, pop, tropicália, psychedelic rock, avant-garde|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, actress, author, TV host|
|Instruments||Vocals, flute, theremin, guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion, piano, synthesizer, harmonica|
|Associated acts||Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil, Pitty, Ronnie Von, Caetano Veloso, Tutti Frutti, Elis Regina, Roberto de Carvalho|
Rita Lee Jones Carvalho (born Rita Lee Jones on December 31, 1947), simply known as Rita Lee, is a Brazilian rock singer and composer. Lee continues to be a popular figure in Brazilian entertainment, where she is also known for being an animal rights activist and a vegetarian. She has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide.
Early life and career
Rita Lee was born in São Paulo, Brazil, to an American Brazilian father, descended from the Confederados, a dentist, and a Brazilian mother of Italian ancestry. She was educated in a French language school and became fluent in Spanish, French and Italian, as well as her native Portuguese and the English that her parents spoke at home. She went to college, where she was a colleague of the popular actress Regina Duarte, but she soon left to pursue her musical career.
In 1966 Lee formed the band Os Mutantes with Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias. The band released five albums between 1968 and 1972. In that time, Lee had also released her first two solo works, although these records were produced with fellow members of Os Mutantes. When the band reformed in 2006, she refused to join, calling the reunion an attempt to "earn cash to pay for geriatry".
The daughter of an amateur female pianist, she never took music lessons. In place of the traditional adolescent debut ball, she asked to receive a drum set. Lee formed a band with two other friends and they were quite good at vocals, backing stars like Tony Campelo, Jet Blacks, Demetrius, and Prini Lopez, when they met the brothers Arnaldo and Sérgio Dias Baptista. Adopting the name O'Seis (a pun with "the six" and the Brazilian redneck way of saying "you all"), they recorded the single "O Suicida," which was never released. When the rest of the band left for college, only three of them remained. Picking the name Os Mutantes, they backed Nana Caymmi on her then-husband's composition "Bom Dia" (Gilberto Gil). When Gil met them, he immediately knew that Os Mutantes were on the same track as the Baianos. Inviting them to accompany him at TV Record's 1967 III FMPB, they won second place for Gil's "Domingo no Parque" with the addition of Rogério Duprat conducting an orchestra with his revolutionary arrangements. The novelty of electric guitars and a generalized irreverence of the mixing of strange orchestral sounds irritated the audience a great deal; the nascent Tropicalia was coming to the world under heavy booing. Soon after, they recorded their single "O Relógio."
In 1968, they performed on the album/manifesto Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis (Philips), with Nara Leão, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Tom Zé. This was also when they recorded their first LP, Os Mutantes. Also in 1968, they accompanied Caetano to TV Globo's III FIC, on his "É Proibido Proibir" and performed their "Caminhante Noturno," which won seventh place. In the same year, they participated at the IV FMPB with their "Dom Quixote" and, by Lee and Tom Zé, "2001." At the end of this year, they performed with the Baianos at the Sucata nightclub, Rio, and recorded their second album, also self-titled.
In 1969, they went to Europe, playing at Cannes, France, at the MIDEM, and in Lisbon, Portugal. Then, they returned to Brazil and set the show O Planeta dos Mutantes, the first multi-media experiment in Brazil. With bassist Liminha (now a respected studio producer) and drummer Dinho, they participated in the V FIC with "Ando Meio Desligado" (Arnaldo and Rita).
In 1970, Lee recorded her solo album, Build Up, produced by Arnaldo Baptista. Soon after, they had a stint at the Olympia in Paris, France. In that period, during their somewhat frequent tours of Europe, they recorded an LP that was never fully released, Tecnicolor, with the exception of some tracks included on 1971's Jardim Elétrico. The LP A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado is from that year and Jardim Elétrico (Polydor) from the next. In 1972, Lee recorded another solo album backed by the Os Mutantes, Hoje É o Primeiro Dia do Resto da Sua Vida (Philips). After releasing the Os Mutantes' No País dos Bauretz, Lee departed from the group. In fact, she was expelled as she wasn't proficient enough as an instrumentalist. Following a period of depression, during which she became locked up in her home, she decided to abandon her career. But, at the same time, she was writing the material that would make her famous as a solo artist.
In late 1972, Rita left Os Mutantes and started a solo career. She was initially part of a female duo with singer Lúcia Turnbull called Cilibrinas do Éden, and after a short time the duo gave birth to the band Rita Lee & Tutti Frutti. This eventually became Lee's backing band. In 1975, she recorded the album Fruto Proibido with the band. The album was praised by critics, sold more than 200,000 copies - a record to Brazilian rock & roll singers at the time - and Rita was given the title "Queen of Rock". In 2007, the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone magazine ranked this album as the 16º best Brazilian album of all time in its "100 Best List". The producer was Andy Mills, producer of Alice Cooper and then Rita's boyfriend.
In the late 1970s, Lee started a partnership with her husband, Roberto de Carvalho, and many subsequent albums were credited to the duo Lee/Carvalho. In the late 70s, Lee was mentioned in the Caetano Veloso song Sampa.
In 1976, pregnant for the first time, she was arrested for having marijuana and condemned to one year of domiciliary imprisonment, when she composed with Paulo Coelho (who is now a best-selling esoteric writer) the single "Arrombou a Festa," which sold 200,000 copies. She continued to perform, under special judge permits. Soon after, she recorded the single "Doce de Pimenta" with singer Elis Regina, and recorded and toured with Gilberto Gil in the show/album "Refestança".
In 1978 she released Babilônia her 4th and late album with the band Tutti Frutti. Facing trouble with her tutti frutti band mates, Lee started recording with her husband, guitarist Roberto de Carvalho. The couple wrote big hits like "Mania de Você" (79), "Lança Perfume" (80), "Saúde" (81), "Flagra" (82) and "On The Rocks" (83), which presented a new side of Rita Lee as a composer who alternates ballads and pop songs.
Rita Lee was married to fellow Mutante Arnaldo Baptista from 1971 to 1972. In 1976, fellow MPB singer Ney Matogrosso introduced her to guitarist Roberto de Carvalho, whom she married and had three children: Beto Lee, João Lee and Antônio. She's been married to Carvalho for 35 years and refers to him as her "boyfriend".
Aside from her musical career, Rita Lee had a humor program called Radio Amador on Brazilian radio for nine months in 1986. That same year, Lee wrote three children's books and appeared in Brazilian movies and TV shows. In 1990 she started her own talk show, called TvLeeZão (a play on "televisão," the Portuguese word for television), on MTV Brasil. From 2002 to 2004 she hosted the Brazilian cable TV talk show Saia Justa. In 2005 she and her husband started a new talk show, called Madame Lee. She also made a brief cameo in the 2002 film Durval Discos. In 2008/2009 she performed a new show called 'Pic Nic Tour.' In 2010 She performed another new show called 'Etc...Tour' revisiting some forgotten songs from her long career. In 2011 she began to produce and record two new albums. The first one with new unreleased songs, the second one called 'Bossa'n Movies' where she continues the project first stated with 'Bossa'n Roll' 1991, 'Bossa'n Beatles' (Aqui, ali, em qualquer lugar). In the album she'll record Brazilian and international movie themes (American, French, Spanish, Italian...). She also confirmed her new tour for May/2011 with Erasmo Carlos, called 'Os Reis do Rock' (King & Queen of the Rock) where they'll change repertoire (She sings his songs, and he sings her songs) plus, a homage to Raul Seixas, and some classic international Rock songs.
In 2011, she contributed the track "Pistis Sophia" to the Red Hot Organization's most recent charitable album "Red Hot+Rio 2." The album is a follow-up to the 1996 "Red Hot + Rio." Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.
With Os Mutantes
- 1972: Mutantes e Seus Cometas no País do Baurets (Polydor, 1972)
- 1971: Jardim Elétrico (Polydor, 1971)
- 1971: Tecnicolor (abandoned, released 29 years later) (Universal, 2000)
- 1970: A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado (Polydor, 1970)
- 1969: Mutantes (Polydor, 1969)
- 1968: Os Mutantes (Polydor, 1968)
- 1968: Tropicália: ou Panis et Circenses (Philips, 1968. Collective album with Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Nara Leão and Gal Costa)
- 2012: Reza
- 2003: Balacobaco
- 2001: Aqui, Ali, Em Qualquer Lugar (aka Bossa'n Beatles)
- 2000: Rita ReLEEda (remixes)
- 2000: 3001
- 1997: Santa Rita de Sampa
- 1993: Todas as Mulheres do Mundo
- 1990: Rita Lee e Roberto de Carvalho
- 1989: Dias Melhores Virão (soundtrack)
- 1988: Zona Zen
- 1987: Flerte Fatal
- 1985: Rita e Roberto
- 1984: Rita Hits (two medleys remixed compilation)
- 1983: Bombom
- 1983: Baila Conmigo (in Spanish)
- 1982: Rita Lee e Roberto de Carvalho
- 1981: Saúde
- 1980: Rita Lee
- 1979: Rita Lee
- 1978: Babilônia
- 1976: Entradas e Bandeiras
- 1975: Fruto Proibido
- 1974: Atrás do Porto Tem uma Cidade
- 1972: Hoje é o Primero Dia do Resto da Sua Vida (Cláudio César Dias Baptista talking and playing "zabumba")
- 1970: Build Up
- 2009: Multishow Ao Vivo Rita Lee
- 2004: MTV Ao Vivo (MTV Live)
- 1998: Acústico MTV (MTV Unplugged)
- 1995: A Marca Da Zorra
- 1991: Rita Lee em Bossa 'n' Roll
- 1977: Refestança (with Gilberto Gil)
- 1975: Hollywood Rock (with Erasmo Carlos, Peso & Raul Seixas)
- 2002: Rita Lee Novelas
- 1983: Desculpe o Auê / Yoko Ono (Single in Spanish)
- 1977: Arrombou a Festa (Single)
- 1976: Lá Vou Eu (EP)
- 1996: Tutu, O Menino Indio (spoken album as narrator)
- 1989: Pedro e o Lobo (spoken album as narrator to Peter and the Wolf)
- 2009: Multishow Ao Vivo Rita Lee
- 2007: Biograffiti (Box Set 3 DVDs)
- 2006: Grandes Nomes: Rita Lee Jones (Original TV Special From 1980)
- 2004: MTV Ao Vivo (MTV Live)
- 1998: Acústico MTV (Live) (MTV Unplugged)
- ritalee.com.br. Biographaphy (Portuguese). http://www.ritalee.com.br/biografia.html
- Marcelo Feitosa. Rita Lee critica a volta dos Mutantes (Portuguese). http://houseofprog.wordpress.com/2006/07/14/rita-lee-critica-a-volta-dos-mutantes
- Nascimento, Roberto. "Esse tal de Rock... ACERTOU". Estado de São Paulo.(Portuguese)
- "iyiiki >lists >Lista dos 100 maiores discos da música brasileira pela Rolling Stone Brasil". rateyourmusic.com.(Portuguese)
- Clique Music. Biografia (Portuguese). http://cliquemusic.uol.com.br/artistas/rita-lee.asp
|Awards and achievements|
Os Paralamas do Sucesso
|Latin Grammy Award for Best Brazilian Rock Album