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Astrud Gilberto (born March 29, 1940) is a Brazilian singer best known for her samba and bossa nova music, most famously as the vocalist on the Grammy Award winning song "The Girl from Ipanema".
Astrud Gilberto was born Astrud Weinert the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a German father in the state of Bahia, and grew up in Rio de Janeiro. Astrud married João Gilberto in 1959, and they emigrated to the United States in 1963, when she performed on the influential Getz/Gilberto album with João Gilberto, Stan Getz and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Astrud had never performed professionally before, and joined the recordings by insistence of João Gilberto. In the mid-1960s the couple divorced.
The success of Gilberto's vocal work on the song "The Girl from Ipanema" quickly established her as a jazz star. In 1964, Gilberto appeared in the motion pictures Get Yourself a College Girl and The Hanged Man. Her first solo album was The Astrud Gilberto Album (1964), which became a chart album and was nominated in the category "album of the year" for a NARAS Grammy award. Gilberto began as an interpreter of Brazilian bossa nova and American jazz standards, but started recording her own compositions in the 1970s. Her repertoire included "The Shadow of your Smile", "It might as Well be Spring", "Love Story", "Fly me to the Moon", "Day by Day", "Here's that Rainy Day" and "Look to the Rainbow". She has recorded in her native Portuguese, as well as in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese.
In the late sixties and early seventies, Gilberto recorded a series of TV commercials titled "Number One to the Sun" for Eastern Airlines, and became the voice of the airline for several years.
Due to excessive stage fright, Gilberto did not perform at night-clubs for many years, explaining that she felt intimidated by the closeness of the audience in clubs; for that reason, she would only perform at larger venues, such as theatres. Having taken acting classes at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting to help her overcome her difficulties with stage fright, in 1982 she resumed performing at clubs again. Subsequently, paradoxically, Gilberto has broken the attendance record of several club venues, such as for example, "Fat Tuesdays" (in NYC), SOB's (in NYC), and "The Jazz Café" (in London). In 1992, Gilberto was the first jazz artist to perform at the "House of Blues" (Chicago).
In 1982 Astrud Gilberto's son Marcelo Gilberto joined her group, and for more than a decade did extensive worldwide touring with her, as her bassist. In addition to his work as musician, Marcelo also collaborated with his mother as co-producer of the albums Live in New York (1996) and Temperance (1997). Son Gregory Lasorsa (also a musician) participated in the album Temperance, playing the guitar on the track of one of Astrud Gilberto's compositions, titled "Beautiful You" (which also featured vocals by Michael Franks).
Astrud Gilberto received the "Latin Jazz USA Award for Lifetime Achievement" in 1992, and has been inducted in 2002 to the "International Latin Music Hall of Fame".
Gilberto's original recording of the song "Fly me to the Moon" was edited as a "duet" with the recording of the same song by Frank Sinatra for the soundtrack of Down with Love (2003).
Although not officially retired, Gilberto has announced in 2002 that she is taking "indefinite time off" from public performances.
The song "Astrud," by Polish singer Basia, is a tribute to Gilberto.
Her vocals on "Berimbau" are sampled by Cut Chemist in his song titled "The Garden".
Gilberto is also a fine artist, and an ardent advocate of animal rights.
Her song "Who Can I Turn To" is sampled by the Black Eyed Peas in the song "Like That" from the album Monkey Business.