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Wilson Moreira was born in the neighborhood of Realengo, in Rio de Janeiro. As a teenager he was associated with the samba school Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, where he won two samba-enredo contests in 1962 and 1963. In 1968, Wilson became affiliated to samba school Portela.

Wilson has a prolific partnership with sambista Nei Lopes. One of their greatest hits is the song "Senhora Liberdade", which became an anthem in the Brazilian Diretas movement for the institution of direct national elections in the 1980s. Some other famous songs from the duo are "Gotas de Veneno", "Sandália Amarela" and the non-samba "Candongueiro", which brings forward their African roots, with other successes as, e.g., "Meu Apelo", being signed by Wilson alone.

Wilson was a guest on many records, and released quite a few of them. Some of his records were released at first to the Japanese market and then to Brazil, since Wilson is very prominent in Japan. Brazilian virtuoso Raphael Rabello was a big fan of Wilson, and took part in his records Peso na Balança and Okolofé, both of which are considered up to this day some of the best finished samba albums ever.

In March 1997 Wilson Moreira fell victim to a stroke which left him partially imobilized. Fund-raising shows were organized by the samba scene in order to obtain more resources for better treatments to the sambista. Wilson has since recovered and has already released a record, composing sambas in partnerships.