To say that Bebel Gilberto is something of music royalty would be an understatement. Bebel is the daughter of Joao Gilberto, the man responsible for the smooth, tranquil sound of bossa nova (a style of Brazilian music derived from the samba, and fused with jazz), who helped introduce the sultry sound to America in the '60s. Bebel's mother is Miucha, one of Brazil's most respected singers.
Even Bebel's stepmom is famous; Astrub Gilberto originally sang "Girl From Ipanema", while Bebel's uncle, Chico Buarque, is a famous Brazilian singer and composer. But it was thanks to her mom that Bebel developed the voice she has today. Miucha taught her daughter how to harmonize, and by the time Bebel was 9, she was performing with her mother at Carnegie Hall during the Newport Jazz Festival; sang on an album of her mother's; and was making a name for herself by appearing on Brazilian children's TV shows. While in Brazil -- she was raised in Rio de Janeiro -- Bebel was contributing to soundtracks, doing some recording of her own, and even trying her hand at acting.
She released a self-titled debut EP in 1986, consisting of "Preciso Dize Que Te Amo" (which won the Premio Sharp Award for Single of the Year in 1989). In 1991, Bebel decided to move to New York City, where she matured as a musician and person. It was in New York where her repertoire and musical spectrum expanded as she began to work with various musicians such as David Byrne (of Talking Heads), Arto Lindsay and Romero Lubambo. While in New York, she took her act to the clubs and Lincoln Center, where she performed and contributed her sound to the bossa nova inspired soundtrack of Next Stop Wonderland. Towa-Tei's "Technova" -- a song that Bebel co-wrote -- made its way to the club dance floors, after working with the dj/producer on his albums.
In 2006, Bebel duetted with Mike Patton on the song "Caipirinha" which appears on his Peeping Tom album, released on May 30, 2006. Also in 2006, Bebel started writing and producing the songs that would become part of her third album Momento, released in April of 2007. On this album, Bebel collaborated with UK producer Guy Sigsworth, her friends Didi Gutman and Sabina Sciubba (from NY based band Brazilian Girls) and the Rio based Orquestra Imperial. Shortly before her 2007 tour, and ten days before the release of her album "Momento", she broke her foot, preventing from walking and making it difficult to rehearse with the band prior to the tour. In a Reuters article, Gilberto said that she used Skype to rehearse with the band during her recovery.