How Marília Mendonça continues to be a phenomenon after her death

How Marília Mendonça continues to be a phenomenon after her death

Vinícius Lemos

The songs of singer Marília Mendonça, one of the biggest names in the sertanejo in recent years, remain among the most played in Brazil after her death in November 2021, at the height of her career.

The artist was at the top of the charts in 2022 and earlier this year and continues to be heard a lot on the country’s radio stations and music platforms.

Behind this posthumous success of the singer, there is also the work and strategy outlined by her label, her family members and the office that represents the artist.

The main project is a four-part series – the last one to be released at the end of May – with songs taken from a live she did in May 2021.

The song Leão, which heads the series “Real Decrees”, has already been heard 340 million times on music platforms and YouTube, according to Som Livre.

The track was the most popular in Brazil on Spotify last summer, and Marília Mendonça was the most listened artist in the whole country in the same period.

The numbers reached by Marília after her death were surprising, evaluates journalist André Piunti, specialized in country music.

“No one expected that a posthumous release would be so successful. This never happened in sertanejo, I don’t know if in another type of music in Brazil, but I don’t think so”, points out Piunti.


One of the main names in the “feminejo” subgenre -music made by and for women-, Marília Mendonça is the owner of numerous successful songs.

The artist arrived at the Som Livre label in 2015, still as a composer. The career as a singer began a little later. Known as the “Queen of Suffering” for singing about heartbreak, the artist reached the top with “Infiel”, her first hit.

The song now has more than half a billion views on YouTube, where Marília’s channel has almost 26 million subscribers. Then came hits like “Todo Mundo Vai Sofrer”, “Vai lá em Casa Hoje”, “Troca de Calçada” and several others.

“She showed, right from the beginning, that she had a lot of vocal potential, that her composition spoke with all the characteristics of women and that she was representing this audience. It broke the stigma of the sertanejo segment”, says Júlia Braga, from Som Free.

Throughout her career, Marília accumulated records. At the height of the pandemic, in May 2020, her live became the most viewed in YouTube history, with 3.3 million simultaneous hits. The singer was the most heard artist in Brazil on Spotify in 2019 and 2020.

His career ended early. While she resumed the shows that had been suspended due to the pandemic, the singer died in a plane crash, aged 26.

She was on a plane that crashed in the city of Piedade de Caratinga, in Minas Gerais, on November 5, 2021. In addition to the singer, her uncle, Abicelí Silveira Dias Filho, producer Henrique Ribeiro, pilot Geraldo Medeiros Júnior also died and co-pilot Tarciso Pessoa Viana.

The tragedy caused commotion across the country and was news around the world. Her wake, in Goiânia, gathered thousands of fans.


The singer’s representatives had a challenge after her death: how to handle the work left by one of Brazil’s greatest artists?

This meant, in part, managing the jobs that Marília had completed before the accident.

Marília had just released “Patroas”, for example, a partnership with Maiara and Maraísa, her longtime friends. Songs from the project reached the top of the charts in the following months.

The last project launched by Marília in life was a partnership with the duo Maiara and Maraísa

The last project launched by Marília while she was alive was a partnership with the duo Maiara and Maraísa – Disclosure

At the same time, the team decided to revisit all the material already produced by the singer, thinking about producing new projects.

“We were very careful in reflecting on what she would do. It is obvious that we will never know and we wanted her to be here. But when she wasn’t here, we were careful to try to do it with her face”, explains Júlia Braga, commercial and marketing for Som Livre label.

In the live Serenata, made on YouTube in May 2021, Marília sang hits from her career -some in a new version- and from other artists. The presentation currently has over 10 million views.

The broadcast was remastered to improve the sound quality of some songs, and the first part was released last July.

The three volumes of “Royal Decrees” that have come out so far add up to 780 million plays on audio platforms and YouTube, according to Som Livre.

“I think everyone understood that this re-recording project -it’s not new- is very powerful”, says Júlia Braga. “What explains her current success is, without a doubt, Marília herself. We are only here to help.” In the months following the singer’s death, recordings of Marília with other artists were also released.

The releases of these songs followed the schedule of each partner, such as the singers Ludmilla, Naiara Azevedo and Zezé di Camargo, after the approval of Marília’s representatives.

The song “Mal Feito”, with the duo Hugo & Guilherme, was one of the most successful partnerships. The song, released in January 2022, was the most listened to last year on music platforms in the country, with 255 million plays.

“The main piece is missing, which is Marília and her brilliant ideas, but what remains is the flowering of the seeds she planted”, says the Work Show office, which took care of the artist’s career, in a statement to BBC News Brasil.


Marília’s success even after her death goes beyond the fact that she was a phenomenon in life, evaluates journalist André Piunti.

He points out that a fundamental point is that the artist left a lot of material produced with quality. “She got things really ready,” he says.

“They didn’t need to go through files, these things, which are always complicated. For example, Cristiano Araújo (sertanejo singer), who died in 2015, had his first posthumous project released only at the end of last year, because they had to go through files. Then it loses some of that appeal. Hers (Marília) was released less than a year later”, he adds.

On Spotify alone, Marília currently has just over 13.2 million monthly listeners. She is the fifth most heard Brazilian artist on the platform in recent days.

According to Som Livre, it currently has more than 27 billion plays on audio platforms and on YouTube. The amounts moved by posthumous releases were not disclosed.

Another point, says André Piunti, is that her team adopted a strategy for launching projects similar to the one used while Marília was alive.

“They brought together fans, the press, the record company and made a release as if the artist were here”, he comments. The track “Leão”, a partnership with the rapper Xamã, became one of Marília Mendonça’s biggest posthumous hits.

The song was originally released in 2020 and was re-edited by the singer in a new solo version on the May 2021 live.

Piunti says that the song reached expressive numbers mainly because it was considered almost unprecedented for many who followed Marília’s career.

“The song had been recorded with Xamã, in his style. So, even though he made a fuss with it, it was more for Xamã’s audience than for Marília’s”, he says.

“A lot of people who liked Marília didn’t even know the version with Xamã. mess she liked to make”, comments Piunti.

“If it was just a re-recording of a well-known country song, like so many others she has done (live), the song would have strength, but not that much”, evaluates the expert.


In the coming months (or years), there should be more posthumous releases by Marília. It is a strategy that continues to be outlined by her team, with the support of the artist’s mother, Ruth Moreira.

“It’s all sewn together by many hands. I remember the first meeting perfectly, everyone was very emotional. Even today, many people still have the feeling that it will appear, it’s such a vivid thing that we know it happened, but don’t understand that she is no longer here to discuss plans and ideas”, says Júlia Braga.

Musical partnerships that have not yet been released, a biography and a documentary are in the plans. In addition, a team is cataloging new songs written by the singer.

There are “countless songs and creative projects being developed that will soon appear”, says the Work Show to the report.

According to the office, the launches will take place according to Marília’s will, “in the short, medium and long term”, as she indicated to trusted people.

“She made a commitment to be more than a singer, a movement, a way of being, an idea, and ideas don’t die”, says the office. Several works left by the singer must still be evaluated by those who take care of her work.

“I didn’t have access to unpublished material or drafts, but I’ve been told that there’s a lot of her stuff. She was a hyperactive woman, in her prime and carried a notebook all day long. She always recorded audios and sent them to the producers”, says Júlia Braga .

“It’s an infinity of material that needs to be heard and analyzed to see what’s up to it for the public. Whenever there’s a Marília project, it’s going to be great”, he adds.

This text was originally published here.

Source: Folha

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