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Tony De Matos

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  • Born: Porto, Portugal
  • Died: Lisbon, Portugal
  • Years Active: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Antonio de Matos was born in the city of Porto, Portugal, on October 28, 1924. With both parents professional actors in the Companhia Desmontável de Teatro Rafael, performance came naturally to Antonio. He began singing at a very young age, performing alongside his parents in the theaters around Porto. By the age of 21 he had taken a position as a singer for the Emissora Nacional, which he abandoned a short time later. Antonio took a break from professional performance for a period of nearly three years in his early twenties. Opening a show at the Café Luso in Lisbon for renowned fado artist Julio Peres, de Matos made such a strong impression on audience members and club management alike that he was offered a residency and stayed there, performing for three years. In 1950 de Matos was taken to Madrid by producer Manuel Simões to make his first recordings. The song "Cartas de Amor" and others produced in those sessions became national hits. By the early '50s he had traveled to and from Brazil, where he acted in stage plays, headlined at the Copacabana, and recorded. By the time he returned to Portugal in 1967, hits such as "So Nos Dois" and "Vendaval" had made him a national star. Throughout the 1960s, de Matos appeared in popular Portuguese films like A Cancao da Suadade and Rapazes de Taxis, earning fame as an actor as well as an expert vocalist. Though his film career thrived in the '70s and he was commissioned for numerous EPs and singles, de Matos did not make a proper solo record until his 1985 release, Romantico. His next and final solo release appeared in 1988, entitled Cantor Latino, on which he interpreted the repertoire of fellow fado artists and Portuguese giants like Rui Veloso and João Gil. Tony de Matos died a year later on June 8, 1989, having fallen victim to cancer. Various compilations of his work and a "live in concert" DVD of his 1985 performance at the Coliseu dos Recreios were released after his death and remain popular today.