Daniela Mercury Biography

Daniela Mercuri De Almeida Póvoas, 28 July 1965, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Singer-songwriter and producer Mercury is one of the main exponents of ‘sonido bahiano’, a style that combines the Brazilian music genres ‘axé’ and ‘samba reggae’. Building upon a foundation of percussive sounds, her work delivers an exuberant mix of upbeat Caribbean rhythms, African aesthetics and Western pop music, with innovation a guiding principle. She is also one of only two Brazilians to be honoured with an appointment to the position of ambassador for UNICEF.

Prior to her solo career, Mercury was a member of Banda Cheiro De Amor and lead singer with the pop band Companhia Clic. She also sang backing vocals for Gilberto Gil. Her debut album as a soloist was released in 1992. The lead single, ‘Swing Da Cor’, became a number 1 hit in Brazil, with the result that the untitled album quickly came to be known as Swing Da Cor. The appearance of Bahian collective Olodum on this hit single was an early reflection of the impact that the city of Salvador da Bahia and its culture would have on Mercury’s career. During that same productive year, Mercury founded Páginas De Amor, a publishing company through which she ensured control of her work, and O Canto Da Cidade, her own production company, the name of which she also used as the title of her second album. This second solo effort extended her name recognition beyond Salvador de Bahia, and was instrumental in disseminating axé throughout Brazil.

Mercury attained international stature with the subsequent albums Música De Rua, released in 1994, and 1996’s Feijão Com Arroz and toured in support of them throughout Europe, Latin America and the USA. Again driven by innovation, she formed the TrioTechno and utilized electronic sounds as the primary feature on her first two releases of the new millennium, 2000’s Sol Da Liberdade and the following year’s Sou De Qualquer Lugar, although sales of her albums suffered as a consequence. In the mid-00s she released a string of live CDs and DVDs. Mercury’s work as a choreographer is a key element in her stage performances, which fuse classical ballet with modern aesthetics, Afro Brazilian street dance and samba reggae. During this period, she also released another electronic album (Carnaval Eletrônico) that included collaborations with Gil, Carlinhos Brown, and Lenine, before returning to the style of her earlier albums on the 2005 follow-up, Balé Mulato.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.