Tim Maia / Sept 28, 1942 - March 15, 1998

Feliz anniversário para Tim Maia, the fun & lovable Brazilian soul singer and MPB star who's direct honesty appealed to his fans. Born Sebastião Rodrigues Maia from a favela of Rio, the 18th of 19 children, he started as a drummer at 14 but soon became an excellent guitarist. He was a childhood friend of Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos and Jorge Ben.

He was in the doo-wop group The Sputniks with Roberto Carlos before adopting the name Tim Maia and going solo. He spent the early '60s in the US and recorded there with the doo-wop group The Ideals (the record had young Milton Banana on percussion!). Maia's 1963 pot bust got him deported and killed the group. He then found himself in São Paulo and started making samba-soul records in the late '60s as one of Brazil's first soul artists.

He dueted with Elis Regina and wrote some tunes for Roberto Carlos and aligned himself with Tropicalistas like Os Mutantes. He became quite a big star with his soul sound and sang in both Portuguese and English. In the mid-'70s he started his own publishing company and label Seroma. He became heavily influenced by the Rational Culture cult and started writing his lyrics based on their teachings. The resulting album was rejected by his major label and Maia ended up purchasing the masters and releasing it on Seroma, along with a follow-up album. The albums flopped and he eventually left the cult. They became highly sought-after platters.

He went back to major labels and started producing disco to mixed results. As times got tougher, he found himself releasing a lot of his own music, alternated with appearing on pop dribble to fund them. In the '90s a whole new generation of urban Brazilian artists became very influenced by his records.

He joined the Socialist Party in '97. He was outspoken his whole career and frequently found himself blacklisted from major opportunities. There was a 2012 stage musical of his life, Vale Tudo. His son Léo Maia is a musician. The Racional albums linked to the cult have been reissued to great acclaim and a compilation overview of his work appeared on Luaka Bop. 

Tagged: Celebrate Icons, classic albums, psych, samba, soul!, soul/funk, Tim Maia, Video, vintage footage

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