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My Life Written By Me: 10 Autobiographies Written By Famous Artists

Arts can have many different representations, such as theater, music, and the visual arts. To tell their own stories and experiences to their fans and admirers of their works, many artists have written autobiographies.

They talk about important events, about the challenges they face, and about previously unknown facts about a particular time. Are you feeling curious? Then check out 10 autobiographies written by famous artists for inspiration and to discover their stories!

Pete Townshend – Who I Am

Guitarist, singer, composer, and writer. Pete Townshend is world-renowned for his career in the rock group The Who. He was considered one of the most influential artists in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the book published in 2013, Townshend brings the fan letters that he received with a single purpose: they would be locked away and only read when he was writing his story. In this way, the rock star relives his childhood memories, episodes from the band’s tours, and even recounts facts about his prison in 2003.

The story also tells of the band’s beginnings and includes important names that have also influenced the artist’s trajectory. During the narrative, Pete Townshend is self-conscious and even critical in his different reflections.

Rita Lee: Uma autobiografia

Known as the queen of Brazilian Rock, Rita Lee is also the author of the book that contains the stories of her life. The singer accumulates different successful albums and tracks, being recognized nationally and internationally.

The artist’s autobiography was released in 2016 and tells, with a lot of honesty, the facts of her life. The narrative goes from her childhood, to the beginning of her career, and even to the events of her prison sentence in 1976. It also recounts her passion, the birth of her children, the songs and events that made up her career.

Along the book, Lee provides memories and photos selected by the artist. Her autobiography is full of lessons for artists, singers, and for the Brazilian culture.

Wall Trough Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramović

In this autobiography, the Yugoslavian performance artist shares stories of life, art, and different memories. Her work explores the relationships between the artist and the audience, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. Abramović has an incomparable artistic career. To celebrate 50 years of innovative performances, she demonstrated her strength by holding a retrospective of her works and an incredible performance at MoMA in 2010, with a line-up of more than 750,000 people.

The book reveals the personality and lifestyle of the woman who lived different exciting experiences. Abramović has always impressed with her innovative and unique art. By sharing her reflections, she once again surprises and inspires the people who know her.

The Princess Diarist: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher left her mark on the lives of Star Wars and world cinema enthusiasts. She was still a young actress when was called up by George Lucas to play the role which would change her life: Princess Leia. In a very different environment, the star found refuge in her diaries. The texts relate the days, the relationships, and different moments in her life and film.

The autobiography is revealing and is set against the events of the 1970s. With humorous writing, it captures the memories of difficulties, insecurity, and challenges of life behind the cameras.

Autobiografia precoce

Patrícia Rehder Galvão was a journalist, poet, writer, cartoonist, and great personality who was very important in the Brazilian modernist movement and in political issues. Pagu, a nickname given by the poet Raul Bopp because of a mistake, was advanced for the time standards and defended feminists causes. At 18, she joined the Anthropophagic movement under the influence of Oswald de Andrade and Tarsila do Amaral.

Her autobiography contains texts from 1940, letters addressed to Geraldo Ferraz in which Patrícia Galvão tells stories, memories, and details about her life. The book brings back the memories and details of her life. It covers topics from maternity to the sexism suffered by Galvão during her trajectory.


small cactus plant next to a stack of books on white coffee table
Designecologist/Pexels

Na Minha Pele

In the book published in 2017, the actor, TV host, and writer speaks about one of the current and necessary themes. In the publication, Lázaro Ramos shares his reflections on affirmative action, gender, family, empowerment, affection, and discrimination. He maintains a pulsating desire for a society based on respect, cultural, racial, ethnic, and social plurality.

The focus here is not his life, but on his trajectory and ideas. In Na minha pele, Lázaro shares with readers some episodes from his own life and tells of his concerns, discoveries, and victories along his journey. With a lot of sincerity and transparency, Ramos offers an important conversation for everyone.

Verdade Tropical

Today, at 78, his mastery is still remarkable. Musician, producer, arranger, songwriter, and a great name in Brazilian Culture. Caetano Veloso, during his career that already exceeds five decades, has constituted a vast musical work recognized not just in Brazil, but in many different countries. In 1960, he was one of the most important names in cultural movements and was recognized for his opinions and compositions.

In the book, he recounts his cultural background and does not restrict himself to his own history. The autobiography brings memories, stories, and the context of tropicalism. During the years of military dictatorship, the most troubled period of the Brazilian dictatorship, Veloso talks about his choices and the illustrious conversations that marked his life.

The new edition of “Verdade tropical” includes an unpublished text in which Caetano reflects on the two decades that have passed between the book’s release, in 1997, and this new version.

Me

Here the voice responsible for the hits “Your Song” and “Rocket Man” tells his stories, memories, and a wealth of details. Elton John is an internationally acclaimed musician, pianist, songwriter, and singer. He has accumulated awards in his career, such as five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, and several others.

He started in music when he was a teenager, and has not stopped since. His records and songs have made him a worldwide successful singer. In addition, Sir. Elton John has also performed duets with big names such as: John Lennon, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Lady Gaga.

The book, which was released in 2019 soon after a movie that recounts his stories, is amazing and full of details. Her autobiography is made up of memories and recollections and narratives with a lot of feelings. He works everything with a lot of ironies about himself.

Prólogo, ato, epílogo

Arlette Pinheiro da Silva Torres, better known as Fernanda Montenegro, is one of the most important actresses in Brazilian national television. She began her career in 1950, on TV Tupi. She was soon cast in renowned roles, starred in several novelas, plays, and movies. She joined TV Globo in 1981 and from then on was nationally acclaimed.

Her autobiography is divided in three parts, approaching different aspects of the actress. It covers her memories as an actress, mother, and as a woman by telling her life stories. The book also follows her fight for the democratic rights of culture and her reinvention in the artistic community.

Fernanda Montenegro has received several cinematographic awards for her work. In 1999, for her role in Walter Salles’ Central Station film, she was the first Brazilian artist to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She was also the first Brazilian to win the International Emmy in the category of best actress for her performance in Doce de Mãe (2013).

Scar Tissue

The autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, is from 2004 and counts with the participation of Larry Sloman, who has compiled information and has interviewed people related to the book’s narrative. The US band started in 1983 and has accumulated rock fans all over the world.  Made up of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Frusciante, they have won different honors and awards, including six Grammy Awards.

“Scar Tissue” brings the stories of Kiedis’ life from his childhood until the beginning of 2004, when the book was released. His memories recall the highlights of his career, his personality, and recollections of different stages and challenges in his life. The book tells about his relationships with different people, including his band mates Hillel Slovak and Flea

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The article above was edited by Larissa Mariano.

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Karina Almeida

Casper Libero '23

Journalist from São Paulo, Brazil. Passionate about books, cinema and culture.
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