Is singer Ludmilla going global? After scoring a hit with Snoop and recording with Cardi B., singer Ludmilla recently had talks with Roc Nation
By Marques Travae
Not sure if you all know it or not, but two or three days in the blogging game seem like an eternity. I know it’s not, but sometimes it sees that way because whatever world you’re in, if you step away even for a short time, the world keeps on moving. I say this because this month, I’ve been getting mad work at my day job which has cut into the time I have to post new stories here on the blog.
Since September turned into October, there have been a number of stories I’ve wanted to cover and post but simply haven’t had the time. I hope to get to some of them before they become old news. Today’s report is a good example. I had been receiving some very interesting news about singer Ludmilla that I’ve been wanting to share since last week. I’m glad to be able to finally carve out some time to discuss this because, at first glance, these topics might not seem like their newsworthy, but once you peel the surface off of it and look at each individual story, these stories are much more important than they appear.
Let me just get into this so you understand what I’m talking about.
Back in April, Ludmilla released a track called “Onde Diferente”, meaning ‘different wave’. Like so many songs she’s released over the past five years the song blew up. Of course, it didn’t hurt that she teamed up with one of Brazil’s hottest artists of the past decade, Anitta, as well as American rap legend Snoop Dogg. You may wonder how it was that Snoop ended up on the song, but as the lyrics speak of the effects of maconha, which Americans call marijuana, you immediately get why Snoop would be a perfect match for such a tune.
But the song and video are not even the reasons that I wanted to talk about Ludmilla. In terms of “Onda Diferente”, I got interested when I discovered the latest dust up between Ludmilla and her fellow Rio artist Anitta. The press has been playing up a rivalry between the two singers since at least 2016, and this month we saw a return of a possible rift between the two. Although the song was released six months ago, Ludmilla recently felt the need to explore rumors of any bad blood between the two.
A few weeks back, Ludmilla celebrated hearing Bahian singer Ivete Sangalo sing “Onde Diferente” at the annual Rock in Rio festival. Anitta’s fans took issue with Ludmilla not giving her a shouti out for her participation in the track and video. Ludmilla spoke on the issue, Anitta’s involvement and the song’s origins.
“Let’s clarify ‘Onda diferente’. I made this song, then showed it to my record label and my record label didn’t want to let me work on this song. But as I liked it so much, I said: ‘I won’t leave this song stored away here’. And I ended up posting it on the internet. The song started to go viral and blew on the internet. So, Anitta saw it and said, ‘Man, let’s record this song?’ I went and said: ‘Come on. But the problem is that the song is already published and it’s growing a lot. ‘ Then Anitta said: ‘So let’s erase it from the internet,” said Ludmilla.
The funk singer states that she accepted Anitta’s idea of recording the song together and, to prepare for recording and official release, she ended up deleting the song from YouTube. “I even asked (popular DJ) Rennan da Penha not to play it anymore. And I also asked any friend of his who was a DJ to stop, because we were going to release the song in January,” said Ludmilla.
The artist formerly known as MC Beyoncé also explained how Anitta got in on the act. “When Anitta said that she liked the song, the record company says ‘ah, ok, let’s record it, yes, let’s go’. Then, first it was just me and Anitta in the song, and then she came up with the idea of calling some other gringo. They were other gringos until she arrived at Snoop Dogg. The condition that Snoop imposed was that he get 50% of the song. So, I gave it (to him), it was all right and it came out,” she explained.
Hol’lup! Pump ya brakes! You gotta give mad respect to the mack move that Snoop pulled with this one. Dude spits a couple versions on the joint and walks away with 50% of the songwriting credit? Dude still pimpin’! But maybe the deal was good for both sides. Snoop may have claimed half of the songwriter royalties, but Ludmilla sharing a song with an internationally known American rapper will also get her name more recognition globally. Anitta has already shown that she’s making moves to globalize her career by doing shows in the US as well as making songs in which she sings in both English and Spanish and even appearing on TV shows speaking English.
Might Ludmilla also have goals of international fame as well? As I mentioned in my article on Brazil’s top music artists last week, it’s one thing for a Brazilian artist to sing in Portuguese and reach a market of about 250 million people and another to sing in English and suddenly be able to reach billions of potential fans around the world.
Ludmilla admitted celebrating the singing of her song by singer Ivete Sangalo at Rock in Rio, recognizing her own talent and being thankful for her blessings:
“I celebrated for the following fact: ‘Wow, God gave me the really nice gift.’ Because I went to Rock in Rio a few days earlier and I saw that it’s a sea of infinite people. And then everyone was singing that thing that came out of my mind. I was celebrating it.”
At the Escritório Central de Arrecadação e Distribuição (Ecad) registry, the song “Onda Diferente” is recorded under the name of Ludmilla and Calvin Broadus, which is Snoop’s real name. In addition to the singers, it was also released under the Warner label. ECAD is a Rio-based company responsible for the collection and distribution of the copyright of music to songwriters.
So, how did the alleged beef between the two Rio-based funkeiras come about? Well, according to journalist Leo Dias, the two were quarelling….again and have “definitely” parted ways because of “Onda”. Apparently, Anitta’s fans took issue with the fact that Anitta thanked Ivete Sangalo for performing the song but didn’t mention Anitta.
As the story goes, Ludmilla tried to get at Anitta via WhatsApp to demand that the “Show das Poderosas” singer remove her name from the songwriting the credits. Huh? How’d that happen? As mentioned previously, the song was supposed to be a 50/50 split between Ludmilla and Snoop, so how did Anitta’s name pop up? As it turns out, Anitta confirmed that she negotiated between the publisher and the record label in order that she be included as a co-writer. Standing behind their girl, Anitta’s fans even sent Ludmilla screenshots showing that Anitta apparently DID receive songwriting credit for the joint even though Ludmilla penned it.
Anitta explained in a short note:
“The reason why I appear there as a creative part of the song was because it was part of the production and structuring. I searched for the feats (featured artists) (Papatinho and Snoop Dogg), helped Papato produce,” she wrote via her social network profile.
It seems that Anitta’s name was eventually removed from the songwriting credit, so here we see a few reasons for why the two artists have been at each other’s throats after having shared a big hit together. In the first day of the song’s release on YouTube, the song had already gained more than 914,000 clicks.
Now, if I were to close the story here, that would be enough. But what’s the big deal, after all, this is just two women engaged in a cat fight, right? Why is this news? Well, one of Ludmilla’s fans brought out another intriguing little detail about this whole ordeal that once again touches on the racial elements of Brazil’s music industry. Ludmilla was about ready to let the whole dispute go until she read the messages of the fan’s opinion that went viral online.
What the fan noted was that Ludmilla’s record label wasn’t even interested in releasing the song she wrote until Anitta expressed interest in it. Going even further, the fan opined that this revealed a racist element in the whole story. How so? Let’s go there…
On Monday the 14th, Ludmilla posted a photo with a Brazilian fan she came to know in the United States and subtitled the photo with the fan with the words ‘Read this’. She then shared a series of messages written by the fan on Twitter.
In his messages, Rafa Rodrigues pointed out the reason why it was necessary for Ludmilla to emphasize that she was the composer of the song. We all know the stories of how black artists have been exploited by the music industry and that history applies to both Brazil and the United States.
The next point that Rodrigues made will depend on whether you, fans or Ludmilla’s record label sees Anitta as black, white or mestiça.
Through his Twitter profile, Rafa goes in making several points that are worth considering. He writes: “Why does Ludmilla care so much about re-asserting herself as the composer of ‘Onda Diferente’? And why is she more than right?”.
He goes on to state that Ludmilla’s talent as a songwriter was being undervalued by her label:
“Ludmilla was barred by the record company from recording/releasing the song because they did not believe in the potential, until Anitta (white) came into play and showing 100% interest.”
He then mentioned how both Ivete Sangalo and Anitta ended up performing the song; Sangalo singing it live at a huge musical festival and Anitta actually singing the song in duet with Ludmilla. He then went further analyzing the situation from the perspective of race.
“Everyone knows that blacks need to work twice as hard to achieve the results of a white person. Lud, besides being black, is a woman, and there is no more disrespected person in this life than a black woman,” read another Tweet.
“It’s to show everyone that a black woman, from the favela, a funkeira, is capable of this and much more, and that you don’t have to depend on a white woman for people to value this… Ludmilla’s happiness is to see a work that was not valued by those who should value it, being valued by a crowd at the biggest festival in the world,” writes Rafa.
“Lud and Anitta worked together, it was an exchange of favors, it wasn’t a hand out from Anitta, Ludmilla doesn’t owe ANYTHING to her… (…) Stop wanting the black woman to stop feeling proud of her hard work! (…) You want to take away anyway the joy of someone who was underestimated, and that’s wrong!”, he also wrote.
“Ludmilla reaffirming that she wrote ‘Onda Diferente’ is to show to the record company and pros who doubted her, that people (like Ivete, Anitta, Cardi B…) value, believe and appreciate her hard work. It’s a personal feat that you should respect!” – October 9, 2019
I have explored the whole situation around the way Anitta is seen in terms of race (see here, here and here) so I won’t re-visit the issue. Whether one sees Anitta as a light-skinned black woman, white or mixed, we CAN say that the mainstream media DOES prefer women with lighter skin, a fact that simply cannot be disputed. But one other name popped up Rafa Rodrigues’ Twitter posts, did you happen to notice? He also mentioned American rapper Cardi B. What does Cardi B. have to do with all of this? Well, that leads to even more news about Ludmilla.
The Rio funkeira was recently in New York where she recorded a track with the award-winning rapper of Dominican, Trinidadian and Spanish ancestry. Cardi B. even sent out a message on her Instagram about Ludmilla: “Ludmilla Arrebenta”, which basically means Ludmilla is about to blow up. To top all of that off, we also learn that she ended her US visit with a meeting with Jay Brown, who is the CEO of rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company. We all know what such collaborations could mean for her career. Over a decade ago Mr. Carter helped introduce the world to young singer from Barbados who has since gone on to challenge his wife, the Queen B, for supremacy in the world of black female pop singers.
So, if you’re keeping track, you’ve got a a collab with Snoop, a visit to the US, a collaboration with Cardi B. and a meeting with Roc Nation. If fact, she’d already met Rihanna in Paris in 2017. Rubbing elbows with some of biggest names in black music, I gotta say, Ludmilla is making some serious moves.
If I were her, I would be shifting those English classes into high gear!!