Although only 22 years old when she made her album debut with Navega in 2007, she was already a world traveler. A Cape Verdean born in Cuba, she had lived in Senegal, Angola, Germany and Portugal as well as Cape Verde before settling in France. At the age of 16 she won the gold medal at an international music festival in Canada. Charles Aznavour, the French chanteur par excellence, invited her to sing a duet with him for his 2005 album. She also recorded with Brazilian pop stars Chico Buarque and Lenine.
Songlines praised Navega as ''an astonishingly mature debut that satisfies more deeply with every listen.'' All That Jazz summed it up as ''totally gorgeous.'' Likening Mayra Andrade to Cesaria Evora, The Independent hailed her as ''the new diva of Cape Verde.'' When she performed at the sold-out Barbican Centre in London in 2008, The Financial Times reported that she ''seduced and drew the audience to its feet for a full ovation,'' The Guardian declared ''She has it all: musicianship, charm and confidence,'' and The Daily Telegraph recognized her as ''a true star.'' The BBC deemed her the World Music Newcomer of the Year, and weeks later she made her U.S. concert debut at Carnegie Hall, New York City, kicking off an eastern North American tour. Since then Mayra Andrade has thrived in her career. Navega is both its beginning and an early triumph. There will be many more.