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Portuguese pop star Marco Paulo was born Simão João da Silva in the city of Mourao. He began singing at the young age of six, performing publicly by age 12. Simão João's father being a financier, his artistic aspirations met with much resistance, and it was not long before he had to sneak out of the house to sing at parties and gatherings in town. Though he was being paid small amounts for his work as a singer, Simão João held a variety of other jobs throughout his youth, working on farms and in a pharmacy owned by the father of a friend. Aware that he needed training in addition to his natural talent and interest, da Silva began studying with Corina Freire, one of the better-known teachers of the time. Through Freire's connections, da Silva was invited to perform on a regional Portuguese music program, which quickly earned him invitations for repeat performances and even an offer to record. Three appearances on the Festival RTP da Canção stage and a duet with recording star Simone de Oliveira at the height of her career paved the way for Simão João, now performing under the name Marco Paulo, to become a national figure. His breakthrough hit, "Eu Tenho Dois Amores," produced by longtime collaborator Mario Martins, announced Paulo's arrival as a major star. During his 30 years recording with Martins for the EMI label, Paulo rose to become Portugal's most recognizable pop male vocalist. Recently electing to sign with the Zona Music label and to work with producer Ramon Galarza, Paulo has embarked on a new period in his career, hoping to capture the attention of younger audiences. His 2007 production, Marco Paulo, landed a spot in the Top 20 on Portuguese charts. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez