Born in Mato Grosso, Brazil, in 1976, da Mata grew up listening to venerated artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, and Luiz Gonzaga, as well as the sounds of Rio she picked up on her radio. At 15, she relocated to Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, and began performing in clubs, soon moving to São Paulo to continue her career. She joined a reggae band, even singing with the famed Jamaican group Black Uhuru for a stint, while playing basketball and working as a model in her free time.
Da Mata teamed up with Chico César, and wrote the song "A Força Que Nunca Seca," the title track for icon Maria Bethânia's 1999 album, and soon she was also working on pieces for major stars like Daniela Mercury, Ana Carolina, and César himself. Now with some years of experience under her belt, da Mata decided to finally record her own solo material, releasing her self-titled debut in 2002. It was her next album, “Essa Boneca Tem Manual”, however, that really pushed her into the limelight, aided by the strength of the single "Ai Ai Ai." Three years later the singer's third album “Sim” won a Latin Grammy for “Best Album” and featured appearances from the acclaimed pianist João Donato and American rocker Ben Harper. The hit song “Boa Sorte” (Good Luck) with Harper reached the top of the charts in Brazil, South America and Europe. In 2018 Vanessa da Mata toured to support the brand new release “Caixinha de Musica” (Music Box) on Sony Music, a live DVD and CD of her best songs with new arrangements and also some new material.