Carmen Souza was born in Lisbon, Portugal, to Cape Verdean parents. As a teenager, she sang professionally in a gospel choir. She was later introduced to jazz by bassist and producer Theo Pas'cal, who went on to become a steady collaborator. In 2003, the two musicians set out on composing tracks for the album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde, released two years later. Singing in Creole, her ancestors' dialect, Souza offered a musical mélange of both traditional (morna, batuka, cola djon, and more) and modern (contemporary jazz), a colourful blend that can also be heard on Verdade (2008). For Protegid (2010), the artist pushed the envelope further and added Afro-Latin hues to her palette of sounds. Kachupada followed in 2012.