Tim Maia

Last updated

Tim Maia
Sebastião Rodrigues Maia

(1942-09-28)September 28, 1942
DiedMarch 15, 1998(1998-03-15) (aged 55)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums
  • flute
Years active
  • 1956–1998
Associated acts
Website timmaia.com.br

Tim Maia (Brazilian Portuguese:  [tʃĩ ˈmajɐ] , born Sebastião Rodrigues Maia; September 28, 1942 – March 15, 1998) was a Brazilian musician, songwriter and businessman known for his iconoclastic, ironic, outspoken, and humorous musical style. Maia contributed to Brazilian music within a wide variety of musical genres, including soul, funk, bossa nova, disco, romantic ballads, pop, rock, jazz, baião and MPB. He introduced the soul style on the Brazilian musical scene. Along with Jorge Ben, Maia pioneered MPB's samba rock genre, combining samba, soul, and funk. [1] He is internationally recognized as one of the biggest icons of the Brazilian music.


Tim Maia recorded numerous albums and toured extensively in a long career. After his early death in 1998, his recorded oeuvre has shown enduring popularity. A theatrical retrospective of his career, the popular musical Vale Tudo, was first staged in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.



Maia was born in the Tijuca neighbourhood, in the northern suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. He began writing melodies while still a child, the second youngest of nineteen children. Then known as "Tião Maia", he wrote his earliest songs at age eight. At fourteen, as a drummer, he formed the group Os Tijucanos do Ritmo, which lasted one year. He then took guitar classes and was soon teaching other children in Tijuca. He also gave lessons to his friends Erasmo Esteves and Roberto Carlos, fellow members of the so-called Matoso Gang. Named after the street where they used to hang out, the gang also included Jorge Ben and Erasmo Carlos, among others. They liked to listen to the earliest styles of rock and roll, with both Maia and Ben being nicknamed "Babulina" after their enthusiastic pronunciation of Ronnie Self's rockabilly song "Bop-A-Lena". [2]

In 1957, Maia, Carlos, Arlênio Silva, Edson Trindade and Wellington started the vocal group The Sputniks. After a televised appearance on Carlos Imperial's Clube do Rock on TV Tupi, Imperial arranged a solo appearance for Roberto Carlos the following week. Maia got annoyed at this, leading him to insult Carlos in the following rehearsals until his bandmate left the group. After watching Carlos' concert the following week, Maia left The Sputniks, and went after Imperial for a solo appearance. Imperial eventually suggested another artistic name, Tim, which Maia accepted with reservations. [3]

In 1959, Maia went to study in the United States, where he lived for four years. He joined a vocal harmony ensemble, The Ideals, and wrote the lyrics to "New Love", which was recorded as a demo with guest percussion by a young Milton Banana. [4] (Maia also recorded the song as a soloist in 1973). [4] The group's career was derailed in 1963 when Maia was arrested for possession of marijuana and deported back to Brazil. [2] [4]


After returning, Maia had a few unsuccessful jobs and arrests in Rio. Eventually he decided to move to São Paulo to try to get help to kickstart his musical career from Carlos, who was beginning to enjoy the massive success of Jovem Guarda with Esteves. Carlos was inaccessible, but Maia started to perform in São Paulo's nightlife and in Wilson Simonal's radio program, and also had a televised appearance at TV Bandeirantes with Os Mutantes. By the end of 1967 Maia managed to send a homemade recording to Carlos, who got Maia a deal for a single at CBS and an appearance on the Jovem Guarda TV program. His first single in 1968, "Meu País" backed by "Sentimento", went unnoticed, as was another single, "These Are the Songs"/"What Do You Want to Bet?", recorded in English for RGE Discos. Maia also wrote one of Carlos' hits, "Não Vou Ficar". [5] He became more visible after 1969 when he launched his "These Are the Songs," which was re-recorded by Elis Regina in the next year in a duo with Maia. Maia managed a deal with Polydor/Philips and recorded the successful single "Primavera". [6]


Tim Maia, 1972. National Archives of Brazil. Tim Maia no Teatro Opiniao.tif
Tim Maia, 1972. National Archives of Brazil.

In the 1970s, Maia started to record albums and perform shows promoting his synthesis of American soul and Brazilian music with elements of samba and baião. The movement gradually took the working-class suburbs of the north side of Rio de Janeiro, exploding in 1976 with the black movement.

In 1970, Maia recorded his first full-length LP, Tim Maia, which included the classics "Azul da Cor do Mar", "Coroné Antônio Bento", and "Primavera", and topped the charts for 24 weeks in Rio de Janeiro. His first four albums were all self-titled. Next year's Tim Maia had other hits including "Não Quero Dinheiro (Só Quero Amar)" and "Preciso Aprender a Ser Só". His fourth album, released in 1973, included "Réu Confesso" and "Gostava Tanto de Você". Angry at how the music publisher distributed the royalties, Maia opened his own, Seroma (derived from the first syllables of his first, middle and last names), to make sure he had a bigger cut of the profits. [7]

After his fourth album, Maia left Polydor for RCA Victor, who offered him a chance to record a double album. The instrumental parts were all ready when Maia went to his composing friend Tibério Gaspar for help with the lyrics. In his house Maia found the book Universo em Desencanto (Disenchanting Universe), revolving around the cult of Rational Culture. [8] Maia converted to the cult, abandoned the drugs and red meat, and decided to write the lyrics for the songs about the knowledge contained in the book. RCA rejected the albums Tim Maia Racional, Vols. 1 & 2 for the newly found spiritual content, but Maia bought the master tapes from them and released the albums independently through label Seroma Discos, which would split its profits with the cult. While the lead single "Que Beleza (Imunização Racional)" had some airplay, at the time these records were not well received, due to inadequate distribution, and the spiritual content alienating both the radios and Maia's fans. Eventually, the artist could only perform at events promoted by the Rational Culture. Eventually in 1975, Maia got fed up with the cult, destroyed the unsold records and went back to his carefree life. [9] [10] The Racional albums are now regarded as classics and saw re-release in 2005.

For his return in 1976, Maia signed with Polygram and recorded an album also titled Tim Maia, which included the hit "Rodésia" (inspired by the Rhodesian Bush War), and also did a self-published album in English. [11] In 1977 Maia signed with Som Livre, where he recorded the album Verão Carioca. [12] In 1978 Maia signed with Warner Bros. Records and incorporated the disco sound of the period in the album Tim Maia Disco Club, which spawned the hits "Sossego" and "Acenda o Farol". [13] [14] In 1979 Maia recorded Reencontro for EMI-Odeon, but revolted at the label's estimated promotion costs which were the same as the money spent recording, Maia fought with the marketing executive, and in response EMI president fired Maia, releasing the album with no publicity to low sales. [15]

1980s and 1990s

In 1980, Maia recorded another self-titled album for Polygram. The following year, with turbulent passages through all the major labels in Brazil, Maia released again through Seroma the album Nuvens, which flopped due to inefficient distribution. To earn cash for his future albums, Maia was a guest in songs by Fevers, Edu Lobo and Chico Buarque, Ivan Lins and Sandra de Sá. His collaboration with Sá, "Vale Tudo", later became a solo hit for Maia. [16] In 1983 he had hits with "O Descobridor dos Sete Mares" and "Me Dê Motivo", included on O Descobridor dos Sete Mares (Polygram). Another milestone of his career in the 1980s was Tim Maia (1986), which had the hit "Do Leme ao Pontal (Tomo Guaraná, Suco de Caju, Goiabada Para Sobremesa)".

In 1990, Maia saw Caetano Veloso's songbook and asked editor Almir Chediak to do one for his own work. Chediak was working on such an album with bossa nova classics, and Maia requested a copy, which eventually inspired him to do a self-released album of bossa nova covers, Tim Maia Interpreta Clássicos da Bossa Nova. [17] After a period of poor presence in the media, he was again on top after being mentioned by Jorge Ben Jor's "W/Brasil" in 1991. In the same period, Maia had another hit with his re-recording of Lulu Santos' "Como uma Onda" for a television advertisement – Santos in return recorded Maia's "Descobridor dos Sete Mares.

At the same time, he withdrew from majors, recording his next albums through Vitória Régia, including What a Wonderful World (1997), where he recorded American pop/soul classics, and Amigos do Rei/Tim Maia e Os Cariocas, with the famous vocal group. Obese and in bad health, in March 8, 1998 he was performing at the Municipal Theater of Niterói when he became ill. He was hospitalized and died a few days later. [18]

Personal life

Leo Maia, Tim's adoptive son, also became a musician. Leomaia.JPG
Léo Maia, Tim's adoptive son, also became a musician.

Maia lived in the United States of America from 1959 to 1963. He first resided in Tarrytown, New York, with the family of an acquaintance of Maia's father's costumer. There he learned English and did not speak much Portuguese because so few Brazilians were living in the US at the time. In 1961, Maia moved to New York City, and, in 1963, with a group of three friends, decided to travel to Southern United States. With a stolen car and performing small thefts to finance the journey (which got him arrested five times), Maia and friends traveled through nine states before arriving in Florida. In Daytona Beach, Maia had his final imprisonment for marijuana possession, which earned him deportation back to Brazil. [19]

He had three sons. The first was José Carlos da Silva Nogueira (b. 1966). Maia only met Nogueira when he was already 15. Maia never legally recognized Nogueira as a son, but the two reportedly had a good relationship. A sister of Maia claims that, once he found out about Nogueira, he allowed the boy to live in one of his properties and helped him financially. Nogueira was shot and killed in 2002, in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, four years after Maia's death.

Maia had a live-in girlfriend, Maria de Jesus "Geisa" Gomes da Silva. After some time together, they broke up. When they made up, she was pregnant with a boy, whose father refused to recognize the child as his. Maia then adopted the boy, Marcio Leonardo "Léo" Maia (b. 1974). Afterwards, Maia and Geisa married and had another son, Carmelo "Telmo" Maia (b. 1975). When Léo was 12, Tim Maia and Geisa divorced. [20] [21]

Tim Maia became a member of the Brazilian Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro – PSB) in October 1997. [22] He was rumoured to have joined the party in order to run for a seat in the Federal Senate for Rio de Janeiro in the 1998 general elections, but died before that. [22] When asked by a reporter why he chose to join the then small PSB, he replied: "Brazil is the only country where – in addition to whores cumming, pimps being jealous and drug dealers being addicted – poor people vote for the right-wing". [22] His phrase would become a famous aphorism on the way Brazilians face politics. [22]

He was also known for his easygoing lifestyle, and for his habit of lightheartedly missing appointments and even important gigs. [2] Indeed, Maia had a tradition of arriving late at concerts, at times missing them altogether. He also frequently complained about the sound quality in them. Many of his missed concerts were due to what he called his "triathlon": consuming whiskey, cocaine and marijuana before a gig. [23] Towards the end of his life, Tim Maia suffered from many health problems, which included diabetes, acute hypertension, obesity and pulmonary embolism. In 1996, he had a Fournier gangrene solved through an emergency operation. [24]

Legacy and homages

Caricature Tim Maia. Caricatura Tim Maia - panoramio.jpg
Caricature Tim Maia.

After his death, Maia was the subject of numerous tributes by Música popular brasileira artists; two lavish commemorations in 1999 and 2000 were each released on CD and DVD. A biography, Vale Tudo – O Som e a Fúria de Tim Maia, was published in 2011 by one of Maia's personal friends, Nelson Motta. [23] Motta later worked with João Fonseca on a stage version of the book [25] – their musical retrospective Tim Maia: Vale Tudo began a successful theatrical run in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. [4] [26] The film adaptation Tim Maia based on the book was released in 2014. [4] [26] [27]

In 2004, Som Livre released an album of posthumous duets entitled Soul Tim: Duetos. [28] Maia's entire discography, including the never before seen third volume of Tim Maia Racional, was reissued by Editora Abril in 2011. [29] In October 2012, American record label Luaka Bop released a Maia compilation entitled Nobody Can Live Forever. [4] [26]

In January 2001, Guns N' Roses guitarist Robin Finck sang "Sossego" during the Rock in Rio III festival. [30] In 2007, TV Globo recorded a special program about Maia, Por Toda a Minha Vida, [31] and in 2009, Globo had an episode of its show Som Brasil with Maia's songs, performed by his son Léo and Seu Jorge among other artists. [32] TV Cultura (São Paulo's public broadcasting) released in 2012 Tim Maia's 1992 episode on YouTube of their Ensaio music program. [33]


Maia released his first album in 1970 and recorded frequently throughout his career. The following is a representative list drawn from his extensive catalog: [34] [35]

Related Research Articles

Antônio Carlos Jobim Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist

Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, also known as Tom Jobim, was a Brazilian composer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and singer. Widely considered as one of the great exponents of Brazilian music, Jobim internationalized bossa nova and, with the help of important American artists, merged it with jazz in the 1960s to create a new sound with remarkable popular success. As such he is sometimes known as the "father of bossa nova".

Jorge Ben Brazilian musician

Jorge Duilio Lima Menezes is a Brazilian popular musician, performing under the stage name Jorge Ben Jor since the 1980s, though commonly known by his former stage name Jorge Ben. His characteristic style fuses samba, funk, rock and bossa nova with lyrics that blend humor and satire with often esoteric subject matter. His hits include "Chove Chuva", "Mas Que Nada", "Ive Brussel" and "Balança Pema", and have been interpreted by artists such as Caetano Veloso, Sérgio Mendes, Miriam Makeba, and Marisa Monte.

Brazilian rock refers to rock music produced in Brazil and usually sung in Portuguese. In the 1960s it was known as "iê-iê-iê", from the Portuguese transcription of the line "Yeah, yeah, yeah" from the Beatles song "She Loves You".

Erasmo Carlos Brazilian recording artist; singer-songwriter

Erasmo Carlos is a Brazilian singer and songwriter, most closely associated with his friend and longtime collaborator Roberto Carlos. Together, they have created many chart hits including "É Proibido Fumar", "Sentado à beira do caminho", "Além do Horizonte", "Amigo" and "Festa de Arromba".

Luiz Melodia Brazilian musician

Luiz Carlos dos Santos, more commonly known as Luiz Melodia, was a Brazilian actor, singer and songwriter of MPB, rock, blues, soul and samba.

Zé Ramalho Brazilian singer-songwriter

Zé Ramalho is a Brazilian composer and performer. Zé Ramalho has collaborated with various major Brazilian musicians, including Vanusa, Geraldo Azevedo and Alceu Valença to name a few. Ze Ramalho is also the first cousin of Elba Ramalho, a well known Brazilian composer and performer.

Marcos Valle Brazilian musician

Marcos Kostenbader Valle is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and record producer. He has produced works in many musical styles, including bossa nova, samba, and fusions of rock, soul, jazz, and dance music with Brazilian styles. Valle is regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian artists of all time.

Charles Gavin Brazilian musician

Charles de Souza Gavin is a drummer and musical producer, whose fame comes mainly from his drums works at Brazilian rock band Titãs.

João Donato Brazilian jazz and bossa nova pianist

João Donato de Oliveira Neto is a Brazilian jazz and bossa nova pianist from Brazil. He first worked with Altamiro Carrilho and went on to perform with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto.

Som Livre Brazilian record label

Som Livre is a Brazilian record company that was founded in 1969 by Rede Globo to commercialize its soap opera soundtracks, later expanding to record studio albums.

Wilson das Neves Brazilian musician

Wilson das Neves was a Brazilian percussionist and singer from in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a key figure in the history of Brazilian music, having played with many of Brazil's greatest musicians across many decades and featured on numerous important recordings. Wilson was a very important artist specially for Brazilian popular music as a sambista, composer and instrumentalist, with over 50 years dedicated to music. He can be heard in over 600 records from major Brazilian artists.

Ed Motta Brazilian musician

Eduardo "Ed" Motta is a Brazilian MPB, rock, soul, funk and jazz musician. He is the nephew of late singer-songwriter Tim Maia.

<i>Acústico MTV</i> (Os Paralamas do Sucesso album) 1999 live album by Os Paralamas do Sucesso

Acústico MTV is the third live album released by brazilian rock band Os Paralamas do Sucesso at the Parque Lage, in Brazil.

João Theodoro Meirelles, better known as J. T. Meirelles, is a Brazilian saxophonist and flautist. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and died at 67 years old in that same city. Meirelles is considered one of the creators of the samba-jazz rhythm, along with Manfredo Fest.

Maria Rosa Canelas, better known as Rosinha de Valença, was a Brazilian composer, arranger and musician. She was considered one of the best acoustic guitarists in Brazilian music and played with many famous artists, such as Baden Powell, Sérgio Mendes, Sylvia Telles and Sivuca.

Arthur Maia was a Brazilian composer and musician. Considered one of the best bass players in the world by professional critics, Maia played with many famous artists, such as Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Lulu Santos and Ney Matogrosso. His compositions usually present a fusion of jazz, funk, swing music and reggae.

Mário Negrão Brazilian musician

Mário Negrão Borgonovi is a Brazilian composer, drummer and percussionist.

<i>Tim Maia</i> (film) 2014 directed film by Mauro Lima

Tim Maia is a 2014 Brazilian biographical drama film based on the book Vale Tudo - O Som e a Fúria de Tim Maia by Nelson Motta, about the life of Brazilian musician Tim Maia. It is co-written and directed by Mauro Lima, and starring Robson Nunes, Babu Santana, Alinne Moraes, Cauã Reymond, Valdineia Soriano, George Sauma and Tito Naville.

Luciana Alone Pereira is a Brazilian singer and songwriter. Her career began in gospel music in the Crianças Diante do Trono. In 2010, she released her first album, Lu Alone. In 2011, Alone recorded the American film Destiny Road.

Aline Wirley Brazilian composer and actor

Aline Wirley da Silva Christóforo is a Brazilian actress, singer-songwriter. In 2002, she won the talent show Popstars and joined the Brazilian girl group Rouge until 2005, with which she released four studio albums, Rouge (2002), C'est La Vie (2003), Blá Blá Blá (2004) and Mil e Uma Noites (2005), selling in all 6 million copies and becoming the most successful girl group of Brazil and one of the twenty that more sold in the world.


  1. Katsnelson, Anna, ed. (2009). Time Out São Paulo. Time Out Guides. p. 192. ISBN   1846701260.
  2. 1 2 3 Motta, Nelson (2001). Noites Tropicais (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva. ISBN   85-7302-292-2.
  3. Motta, Nelson (2007). Vale Tudo – O som e a fúria de Tim Maia (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva. pp. 29–32. ISBN   9788573028744.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Seabrook, John (January 28, 2013). "Tarrytown Boy". The New Yorker . Condé Nast: 23. Retrieved November 16, 2013.(subscription required)
  5. Motta (2007), pp. 54–71
  6. Motta (2007), pp. 77–79
  7. Motta (2007), p. 70
  8. Motta (2007), p. 127-9
  9. Slater, Russ. "Tim Maia's Journey into Rational Culture" Sounds and Colours, July 7, 2010. Retrieved on 2014-11-05
  10. Motta (2007), p. 132-143
  11. Motta (2007), p. 146-156
  12. Motta (2007), p. 160-1
  13. "Tim Maia Disco Club, Tim Maia (WEA)" (0100-7122). Veja . Editora Abril. November 28, 2001.
  14. Motta (2007), p. 165-7
  15. Motta (2007), p. 173-5
  16. Motta (2007), p. 184-189
  17. Motta (2007), p. 286-9
  18. Tim Maia morre aos 55 anos, no Rio, Jornal do Commercio
  19. Motta (2007), pp. 40–51
  20. Polícia começa a investigar assassinato de filho de Tim Maia, O Estado de S. Paulo
  21. Motta (2007), pp. 127–8
  22. 1 2 3 4 (in Portuguese) Lucena, Pierre. "Biografia de Tim Maia é o livro mais divertido do ano". Acerto de Contas. December 11, 2007.
  23. 1 2 140 quilos de som e transgressão Archived October 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine , Veja
  24. Motta (2007), pp.364–5
  25. "Tim Maia – Vale tudo, o musical". O Globo . August 8, 2011.
  26. 1 2 3 Rohter, Larry (October 19, 2012). "He's Back, Baby: The Man Who Put the Funk in Rio". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  27. Filme sobre Tim Maia sairá em 2014, após atraso na produção, Folha de S. Paulo
  28. Silvio Essinger. "Soul Tim Duetos". CliqueMusic.
  29. Coleção Tim Maia Archived November 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  30. Rock In Rio: Guns'N'Roses toca Tim Maia
  31. Rede Globo , "Por toda a Minha Vida" Archived March 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  32. Os bastidores do Som Brasil Tim Maia
  33. Faro, F. (Director). (1992) Ensaio [Live music television program]. São Paulo: TV Cultura. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87FNMfTGSmA
  34. Tim Maia discography at AllMusic
  35. Tim Maia discography at Discogs