Born in Mozambique but raised in Portugal, singer Mariza became one of the most popular fado performers ever after releasing her debut album Fado Em Mim. She was signed by the Dutch-based World Connection label after its executives were captivated by her highly stylized performances of fado on the radio during a tribute to its founding heroine Amalia Rodrigues, who had passed in 1999. Mariza's knowledge of jazz, blues, soul, and Brazilian pop helped her create one of the most captivating European folk records of the new millennium. Produced by Jorge Fernando, it earned the German Critics award. Her follow-up, Fado Curvo (2003), garnered even wider acclaim and, true to its title, found Mariza incorporating new elements into her take on fado.
The following year, the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) recognized Mariza as one of ten emerging artists to reach audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album.
Recorded in Brazil, Transparente was released in 2005 and followed by performances at Live 8, Cornwall's Eden Project, and a global tour that took her from Australia and Finland to the United States and Argentina. That album eventually reached the Top Ten in The Netherlands, Finland, and Spain.
2007's Concerto em Lisboa received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album and was certified five-times platinum. The following year she released Terra, which also received a Latin Grammy nomination in the same category for its modern fado influenced by jazz, Latin, and African styles, and flamenco. Mariza toured globally for the rest of the year. In 2010, she issued Fado Tradicional and was a featured artist in the pilot episode of the PBS music series Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders. In mid-2011, she and husband António Ferreira celebrated the birth of their first child, Martim. The singer took five years off to be a mother, rarely appearing in concert or on television. She surfaced again late in 2015 with Mundo. It entered the Portuguese charts at number one and was certified double platinum. The album's popularity didn't end there, however. It was reissued in the rest of Europe and in the U.S. the following year, and on vinyl in 2017. After an international tour that culminated with 17 sold-out cities in the United States, Mariza re-entered the studio with producer Javier Limón. She emerged in June of 2018 with her self-titled seventh album; it topped the charts during its first week of release and was certified platinum in August. The same year, Mariza and sister fado icon Ana Moura opened the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with a rendition of the standard "Barco Negro." ~ Drago Bonacich