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Pitty: Youth, Career And Impact On The Rock Industry

Priscilla Novaes Leone was born in the capital of Bahia, Salvador, on October 7th, 1977. She spent her childhood in Porto Seguro listening to her dad playing Brazilian classic songs in his guitar. Singers like Raul Seixas, Alceu Valença, Geraldo Azevedo and others were memorable in her life.

The singer was indicated four times for Latin Grammy and turned into one of the greatest female name of rock music in Brazil.

Let's figure out how this little girl became Pitty: the woman who changed the national rock scenario in the 21st century.

Childhood

Her family was humble, so they used to live in a little apartment in Salvador. It wasn't a problem for her. As a child, she only wanted to play in the streets with her friends and neighbors. When she was older, her family moved to Porto Seguro, where she spent the rest of her childhood.

Pitty was always connected to music. Her mom, a shoes saleswoman, used to listen to Elvis Presley, and her dad played guitar at some bars. He owned a bar back then and, sometimes, the little Priscilla helped him by singing on his "shows", but, at that time, she didn't know she wanted to work with that.

After a few years, her parents got divorced, so Priscilla, her mother, and her little brother moved back to her hometown, Salvador. That was the moment she started to became the Pitty that we know nowadays.

First bands and the beginning of Pitty

Pitty - a nickname given by her friends because of her height - became a very rebellious teenager, so she started going to underground places and listening to hardcore music, like Faith no More and Metallica. This behavior was one of the reasons for her argues with her mother. The passion for rock music made Priscilla and her girlfriends form what would be the first band she would be part of - in this case, as a drummer - the Shes. The group with four girls never released an album, but they participated in a French collection with only girl bands.

Unfortunately, the band was over one year later, but Pitty didn't want to put an end in her musical career too. To stay close to this universe, she started to work as a receptionist in a studio of jingles and slogans until the day that her co-worker said her brother needed a female voice in his band. Priscilla accepted without even hesitating, so Inkoma became the second band in her career and it was the first time she was performing as a singer. The hardcore band released a demo - Pilha Pura - which had 15.000 copy sells. In 2000, the album Influir was the last production of the group.

After that, her mother insisted that Priscilla should go to college, so she applied to Universidade Federal da Bahia to study music.

Pitty Era

While studying music in college, Pitty continued composing and learning more about the area. In 2002, the musical productor and artist director Rafael Ramos invited her to record a demo, because he already knew her previous experience with the Inkoma. She accepted and moved to Rio de Janeiro to start recording what would be one of the greatest successes in her career: the album Admirável Chip Novo, which name was inspired by Aldous Huxley's book, Brave New World.

The album has 11 tracks and five singles, as Máscara, Equalize, Teto de Vidro, Semana que vem, and Admirável Chip Novo. The lyrics have a lot of social criticism and literary references, like the song O Lobo, inspired by Thomas Hobbes and his book O Leviatã.

On May 7th, 2003, the album was at the stores for sale. The success was so huge that some of the tracks became theme of Brazilian soap operas, like Malhação, Da Cor do Pecado, and A senhora do Destino. After that, Pitty continued to shine in other productions, like Anacrônico (2005), (Des)concerto (2007), Chiaroscuro (2009), Setevidas (2014), and the last one, Matriz (2019).

However, the fame doesn't escape from hate. Since she's from Bahia, some people assumed that she would - and must - sing axé music - a regional popular genre from there -, so it was important to see Pitty going against this label and contributing to Bahia's rock music.

Prejudice in the music industry

In 2017, Pitty took part in a Brazilian TV show called Altas Horas to talk about the experience of being a woman from Bahia in the rock industry: "[...] Everything I did in that moment was trying to survive inside that context, so I was always looking for escapes...", the singer tells that she used to change her clothes, vocabulary and behavior to be more inserted and accepted in society. She even talks about Simone de Beauvoir and her phrase "One is not born, but rather becomes a woman", and how she "became a woman" as well.

It was back that year that she and the famous Brazilian singer Elza Soares released a song called "Na Pele", with a very feminist lyric. The Rockstar gave an interview for Folha Vitória about her single and the sexism in the industry. "I dealt with the strangeness of being a woman in a band with a heavy sound, the opposite of the stereotype of a girly sound or the figure of a diva. In the beginning, therefore, I saw many suspicious looks", said Pitty.

Nowadays, Pitty is one of the presenters of the Brazilian TV show Saia Justa and she lives in São Paulo with her husband and drummer, Daniel Weksler, and their daughter, Madalena.

During the pandemic, the singer continued producing and innovating. The announcement of a short Youtube series called Videotracks inspired by her last album Matriz was a real surprise for the fans, such as the new single "Na Tela", filmed and released during the lockdown.

Pitty won more than 70 awards in her career and doesn't have plans to end it that soon. With her lyrics and passion for music, she continues to inspire her fans being one of the greatest Brazilian Rockstar's.

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The article above was edited by Bárbara Vetos.

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Gianne Oliveira

Casper Libero '25

20 years Journalism student at Cásper Líbero Great passion for music, art and books
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