Ana María Merino Tijoux (born June, 1977 in Lille, France), commonly known by her stage name Ana Tijoux or Anita Tijoux, is a French-Chilean musician. She became famous in Latin America as the female MC of hip-hop group Makiza during the late 1990s. In 2006, she crossed over to the mainstream of Latin pop after her collaboration with Mexican songstress Julieta Venegas in the radio hit "Eres para mí". Tijoux has often been praised for "exploring sensitive matters devoid of violence." She gained more widespread recognition following her second solo album, 1977.
Tijoux is the daughter of Chilean parents living in political exile in France during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship of Chile.
Ana Maria Merino Tijoux was born on 12 June 1977 in the French city of Lille. She is the daughter of two Chilean exiles who fled Chile to France after the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. In 1978, her family moved to Paris, France. It was not until 1983 that Ana Maria traveled to Chile and met her grandparents and extended family who stayed in the country despite the coup.
In 1988, Tijoux met Consuelo Vergara, who taught Tijoux how to rap and sparked Tijoux's interest in hip-hop and dance. Tijoux moved back to Chile after the return of civil power in 1993. In 1995, influenced by the local rap group Makul in Santiago, Chile, Tijoux formed her own group called "Los Gemelos" with Zaturno, another rap artist. In 1997, Tijoux became widely popular for her participation in the group "Los Tetas" and their first studio album release. She and Zatourno collaborated with Seo2, Cenzi, and DJ Squat to form the group Makiza.
In 1997, the group released their first CD, Vida Salvaje, with great success even though it was an independent production.
In 1999, Makiza released "Aerolineas Makiza" on Sony Music Entertainment, who became interested in Chilean rap as a result of Tiro de Gracia, a bestselling Chilean rap group. Makiza's album included new and improved versions of songs from "Vida Salvaje with two new songs, one of which was the hit single "La Rosa de los Vientos". This album put Makiza at the top of the Latin American hip-hop market, as their style was much more evolved than other groups at the time. The production style resembled the New York underground sound inspired by the Native Tongues, and the lyrics of Makiza lacked the overwhelming "machismo" and violence of average rap. This helped the group receive approval from a wider population.
In 2000, Makiza covered the popular song "Somos tontos, no pesados" by Los Tres. At the end of that year, the members of Makiza separated due to its members' desire to work on personal projects before their tour through neighboring countries. Tijoux specified that she would be abandoning hip-hop and her music career.
In 2001, Tijoux collaborated with a popular band, Barrio Santo, on "La persecución" and "La bienvenida". She returned to France shortly thereafter, until 2004, and recorded her first solo track, "Santiago Penando Estas" for the tribute album for Violeta Parra entitled "Después Vivir un Siglo", which was highly popular in both Chile and France.
In 2003, Tijoux returned to Chile and worked on musical projects with Aluzinati, a Chilean funk band. She also recorded "Lo Que Tu Me Das" with Mexican singer Julieta Venegas for the soundtrack to the film Subterra, and appeared as a featured artist on Mexican hip-hop group Control Machete's final album Uno, dos: Bandera.
In 2004, Makiza came back together and announced a tour to promote the re-release of Vida Salvaje, which was remastered and in CD format. Tijoux and Seo2, the only musically active remaining members of the group, decided to reunite the band and work on new material. The group released its third album in 2005, "Casino Royale", under the independent label Bizarre Records. The album involved various producers, rather than one producer like previous albums released, and involved a third Chilean MC, Sonido Ácido. During this time, Tijoux also voiced "Nea" in the animated series "Pulentos".
In 2006, the group broke up permanently due to differences in beliefs about musical production and direction.
In November 2006, Tijoux released her first single "Ya no fue" and debuted as a solo artist. Due to problems with "La Oreja" record label, her first album which was produced by Erasmo Parra and Camilo Salinas was never released. In January 2007, Tijoux collaborated again with Julieta Venegas on her song "Eres para mi" from her album Limon y sal. The two artists achieved major success in Latin America.
In September 2007, Tijoux released her first solo album under the independent label Oveja Negra, founded by the Sociedad Chilena del Derecho. The album was titled Kaos, and its first single, "Despabilate", was well accepted by the Chilean public and nominated at the Latino MTV Video Music Awards under the categories Best New Artist and Best Urban Artist. She was also nominated for Song of the Year with Julieta Venegas on their collaboration "Eres Para Mi".
On 29 June. 2009, Tijoux performed at the Mexican music festival "Vive Latino" and continued touring across Mexico soon thereafter.
In October 2009, Tijoux released her second solo album, 1977, titled after the year she was born. The album was very much a return to her rap roots, paying homage to the "golden age of hip-hop". The album was largely autobiographical, exploring themes from her own life that included the death of a close friend, experiencing creative crises, friendships, and bad luck, among others. The album marked a significant distancing from the pop music and pop collaborations Tijoux had been doing in collaboration with other artist. She rapped on this album in both Spanish and French as a raw and direct, as well as mature, MC. The album was produced by Hordatoj, Foex, and Tee of the Potoco Discos label with Habitacion del Panico. The album and single 1977 were immediate hits in the underground rap circles of Chile. The record was amongst the top 10 in 2009 for the blog WorldHipHopMarket.com and it was picked up by the United States based Latino Alternative label Nacional Records, who released it in April 2010. In March 2010, Tijoux was invited to perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas. She soon began her first, and widely successful, North American tour. On 24 May 2010 Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, advised his listeners to listen to "1977", on a list he created of his favorite bands and songs. The list also featured popular artists such as The John Coltrane Quartet Plays and Björk. Yorke introduced the song as one of his favorite ones of the summer. In 2011, the song was featured on the EA Sports video game FIFA 11. It also appears in Breaking Bad (season 4, episode 5).
In September 2012, Tijoux was featured in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book. On 19 September 2011 MTV Iggy put her in the first position of his list "Best New Female Emcees Dominating Mics Everywhere".
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