You just released “Mafiosa”, a super empowered song. How did the idea come out?
I wrote it one afternoon in a hotel room. I was sick and very hungry to write. I put on a salsa riddim that only had conga and güiro and made the structure of the song; I started singing and improvising alone and in bed. I felt very lonely, I had been in quarantine for many days and I started talking about something that happened to me constantly and happened to many of my friends: that men intimidate us when we are safe. It is a dialogue that I have a lot with the girls. And I thought you might want to talk about this. When I finished it, the truth is that I felt that it was the best letter I had written, I was very happy.
What was it like bringing that to the studio?
The construction was interesting because the melody is absolutely set already and the lyrics as well. The interesting thing was working all the harmonic way and the whole band. I recorded it again in Puerto Rico, because the truth is that the sound from there represents a lot to me. It was interesting because it is almost always difficult because I am on tour, and at a distance everything costs much more. You learn a lot in these processes because there are many musicians, you have to fix each instrument and I get very involved in all the arrangements. That gave me a lot of work because I wanted to find the traditional way, preserving certain elements, but trying different structures that must be explained to the musicians, because now they seem like traditional salsa, and so on. It was quite a journey.
This song comes out with a music video that is visually stunning. Tell me a little about that …
It’s a video that, honestly, every scene I imagined. I imagined the places, the color palettes, each face that appears as an extra, each wardrobe, each movement of my body. Everything is super calculated by me. I really enjoy creating those scenarios and creating the universes of my songs. It is the most complex visual piece I have done, because it has a lot of delicacy, a lot of craftsmanship, and it was shot in one day. It’s bullshit to shoot all that one day, huh? I wanted it to be avant-garde, because the truth is that the salsa music videos of the women I know are wonderful. Those of Gloria Estefan have marked me, but they are always very correct and are very aesthetic and very photographic, and all very correct. Sure. I wanted to do quilombo because it is necessary that salsa be seen as something aesthetic, as something modern, as you see pop, trap. I mean, it’s good that the sauce is something old, right? The sauce is exquisite. I wanted to bring this beautiful genre closer to my audience through this visual, which I like, both through an imaginary that represents the present day and that represents what the song talks about, which is something that belongs to us today.
When listening to your music, you feel absolute freedom, you mix everything that comes to mind. But at the same time, you work at one of the biggest record labels and that usually has certain demands. How do you deal with it?
Everything that I close in my career is under the understanding that I lead my art and my team respect it very much and it drives me towards that place. Obviously a lot of people didn’t feel entirely right to go with a sauce at this point in my career. And I decided to continue betting there because it seems to me that, in the end, I have been building this for a long time and I trust my intuition and my desire to make the music that I like and that I feel I have to do at the moment. . I am very happy to be able to defend what I want.
There are many musicians who ask that they not be pigeonholed in any genre because they only make the music they want at the moment, but if you listen to their album, everything is the same except for a couple of songs. You, on the other hand, if I were the person who categorizes the songs on Spotify, I would have a problem because I wouldn’t know how to label you with something coarser than “urban Latin”.
When my album came out Muscle cramp They gave me a weird adjective. They ran into a problem.
Sure. And with such diverse materials, how do you find a common thread?
My common thread is the identity, the sound identity and the identity of the soul of the person who sings and who writes. I write all the lyrics and melodies. Regardless of whether they are different styles, they coexist in an ecosystem that is me, and they come out from the same handwriting and come out of the same voice. That makes them coexist in a pleasant way. It gives them dynamism, variety, but it does not make them alien. They are sisters in the end, because they come out of me. The point of union between everything I do is that in the end it is my own evolution and I am the one who defends it. So, being my voice and being my speech and my performance, it coexists. I was never scared to think that my songs might not work together. When I made Muscle cramp melodies and rhythms appeared and I embraced each one; I did not resist not doing something because it did not combine or because it will not coexist with the rest of the styles.
Speaking of Gloria Estefan, in some publications you have been named as a Gloria Estefan or a modern Celia Cruz …
Are they really saying that? Well, let’s see: they don’t have a bit of a reason, starting there. Those women are unrepeatable. But it is an honor for me that I remind you of an iota of your soul because I admire you so much. They seem to me to be historical women who contributed a lot to the feminine imaginary of salsa, which is very scarce, and took it all over the world.