Brazilian pop star Anitta is lashing out at Warner Music, saying she regrets signing with the label and would have “auctioned off her organs” to be let out of her contract.
The artist — who had a breakout 2022 with the success of her tri-lingual album Versions of Me, a No. 1 track on the Billboard Global Ex. U.S. chart with “Envolver” and performances at Coachella and the Latin Grammy Awards — went on a Twitter tirade last week when fans prodded her to explain her tortured history with Warner.
When one fan said he wished she could be free of her contract, she responded that “if there was a fine to pay, I would have already auctioned off my organs, no matter how expensive it was to get out. But unfortunately, there isn’t. When you’re young and still don’t know a lot, you need to pay close attention to the things you sign… if you don’t, you could spend a lifetime paying for the mistake.”
A spokesperson for Warner Music declined to comment. Leila Oliveira, Warner Music Brazil’s new president, did not respond to a message from Billboard. Brandon Silverstein, Anitta’s U.S.-based manager, also did not respond to a request for comment.
Anitta signed with Warner Music in the U.S. in January 2020 after previously signing with Warner Music Brazil in 2013. Under the U.S. contract, she produced Versions of Me, which was executive produced by Ryan Tedder. Anitta has said she’s required to deliver two more albums for the label to satisfy the contract. (In January 2022, she signed a publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing.)
This isn’t the first time Anitta has complained about Warner. She previously swiped at the label for having to pay for music videos out of her own pocket, including for “Gata,” which she said Warner refused to produce a video for when they saw that the song’s performance on streaming platforms was falling below expectations.
“They only invest after it pays off on the internet,” Anitta said in an Instagram livestream in May. “Unfortunately, there are things I can’t get, that’s why I don’t buy millionaire cars, because when I want to do something, I pay for it.” (She says she ultimately got a sponsor to help pay for the video.)
During the same livestream, Anitta also said that Warner only invests in her work after a song goes viral on TikTok. “The label is very tied to TikTok, to what goes viral, and if they don’t get a hit right away, they say ‘later,’” she said.
Anitta’s fans have also criticized Warner for the label’s perceived treatment of the Brazilian singer, with many complaining on Twitter that Warner didn’t give her 2021 single “Girl From Rio” the marketing push it deserved by including it in playlists on streaming services. (The song, which combined bossa nova and trap with English lyrics, dropped rapidly on the charts.)
Anitta has also said that Warner initially resisted the release of “Envolver,” the single that blew up after Anitta’s butt-grinding dance in the song’s video, which she directed, became a global TikTok sensation. “[Warner] said the song wasn’t going anywhere and that I wouldn’t have the sway to release it alone [without a feature on the track],” she said during an Instagram livestream in December.
Late last year, Anitta’s fans began urging her to release a funk remix of “Practice,” which she originally recorded with A$AP Ferg and HARV, but the singer said last week that Warner wouldn’t allow her to. “When I saw that you liked [the remix version] I asked to release it, and it has been a long time,” she wrote to her fans on Twitter. “But things can only be released with their authorization.”
Since Anitta’s tirade last week, fans have organized a #FreeAnitta movement on Twitter. One fan posted a photo depicting the singer sobbing in a jail cell with the Warner Music logo on the wall behind her. Another fan asked her if her harsh comments could damage her relationship with the label.
“Is there a way it could get worse? Hahaha,” she responded.