Besides Maria Severa, Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999) is one of the most admired Fado artists of Lisbon. She was certainly the most pioneering voice of modern Fado.
Known as the Rainha do Fado - Queen of Fado - she was extremely influential in popularizing the fado worldwide. She was also one of the most important figures in the genre's development, and she enjoyed a 50-year recording and stage career.
Amália's performances and choice of repertoire pushed fado's boundaries and helped redefine it and reconfigure it for her and subsequent generations. In effect, Amália wrote the rulebook on what fado could be and on how a female fadista — or fado singer — should perform it, to the extent that she remains an unsurpassable model and an unending source of repertoire for all those who came afterwards.
Amália enjoyed an extensive international career between the 1950s and the 1970s, although in an era where such efforts were not as easily quantified as today.
Amália Rodrigues remains today as Portugal's most famous artist and singer, a woman who was born into a poor family and who grew to become not only Portugal's major star but also an internationally acclaimed artist and singer, whose career spanned half a century of activity, recording songs in several languages (especially Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and Italian), versions of her own songs, most famously 'Coimbra' (April In Portugal), and performing all over the world, achieving tremendous success in countries like France, Italy, Spain, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Japan and The Netherlands, among many others.
Her personality and charisma, and her extraordinary timbre of voice, gave depth and intense life to her chant: the impression she made on the public, her immediacy and the natural way she empathized with her public were tremendous and attracted more and more admirers throughout the world. As of her death in 1999 Amália had received more than 40 decorations and honors from all over the world (mostly France, including the Légion d'Honneur, Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, Israel and Japan).
She was the main inspiration to other well-known international fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, and Mariza.