Caetano Emanuel Vianna Telles Velloso (born August 7, 1942), better known as Caetano Veloso, is a composer, singer, guitarist, writer, and political activist. He has been called "one of the greatest songwriters of the century" and is sometimes considered to be the Bob Dylan of Brazil. Veloso is most known for his participation in the Brazilian musical movement Tropicalismo which encompassed theatre, poetry and music in the 1960s, at the beginning of the Brazilian military dictatorship.
Veloso was born in Bahia, a state in the northeastern area of Brazil, but moved to Rio de Janeiro as a college student in the mid-1960s. Soon after the move, Veloso won a music contest and was signed to his first label. He became one of the founders of Tropicalismo with a group of several other musicians and artists—including his sister Maria Bethânia—in the same period. However the Brazilian government at the time viewed Veloso's music and political action as threatening, and he was arrested, along with fellow musician Gilberto Gil, in 1969. The two eventually were exiled from Brazil, and went to London, where they lived for two years. After he moved back to his home country, in 1972, Veloso once again began recording and performing, becoming popular outside of Brazil in the 1980s and 1990s. He has so far won five Latin Grammy Awards. He recorded his first all-English album, A Foreign Sound in 2004. The album contains many American standards.
Veloso was born in Santo Amaro da Purificação, Bahia, the fifth of seven children of José Teles Veloso (1901-1983) and Claudionor Viana Teles Veloso (1907-). His childhood was influenced greatly by artistic endeavors: he was interested in both literature and filmmaking as a child, but focused mainly on music. The musical style of bossa nova and João Gilberto, one of its most prominent exponents, were major influences on Veloso's music as he grew up. Veloso first heard Gilberto at 17 years old, and describes the musician as his "supreme master." He recognizes Gilberto's contribution to Brazilian music as new—"illuminating" the tradition of Brazilian music and paving the way for future innovation. Veloso moved to the Bahian port city of Salvador as a teenager, the city in which Gilberto lived and a center of Afro-Brazilian culture and music.