“May God guide me on the way”

This Catalan artist transcends flamenco with urban sounds. Having become a musical phenomenon at that time in a few world hits, she won all the awards. We met her before her . tour Motomami his new album.

When you walk into the suite of a Parisian hotel this spring morning, Rosalía immediately exudes a strong fragrance made with charisma, liveliness and playful energy. All space is conquered by it. Her tall figure moves across the room with the grace of a dancer. Her wide smile reveals a sparkling butterfly tooth gem ready to fly away. Rosalía Vila Tobella, 28, is one of the pop icons in the world right now. She was crowned with nine Grammy Awards, and her songs have toured the world. But it is completely atypical. He is the only star today who has been able to impose in contemporary music a tradition deeply rooted in European history. Her ability to combine pure Andalusian music and urban genres in one piece hasn’t escaped Beyoncé, who recently declared: “She’s my heir!”

Rosalía grew up in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, a working-class Catalonia village near Barcelona, ​​where her mother’s family owns a name plate factory, where her father also works. At the age of 16, she entered the prestigious Catalan School of Music, which she graduated five years later. One of his teachers, Luis Cabrera, recalls, “In his way of singing, there was something of the great vocal past of Spain, and at the same time, it was the newest sound we had heard in our country for forty years.

In the video, fashion music, cosmetics, Rihanna, pop star and cash machine

Rosalia, an insatiable student, already plays guitar and piano, knows jazz and speaks fluent English. During her thesis, she composed illness, The hit that catapulted her to fame on the album money querrier, Released in 2018, it has won five Latin Awards. Rosalia says she inherited her blend of kindness and strength from a female family bloodline: her mother and sister follow her every step of the way and support her in her career by founding a company successful. To this family spirit she dedicated her new album, Motomami. At the top of the charts (#1 on Spotify), the singer trusts us ahead of her world tour.

Miss Figaro. – In your opinion, has the status of pop stars changed drastically over the past decade?
Rosalia.– Absolutely. We always imagine the pop singer as a somewhat superficial girl, who doesn’t know how to do much, except to hold a mic, dance and work as a clothes rack. This model was forged especially in the ’80s and ’90s, when the trajectory of young female pop stars was controlled by labels and a predominantly male world. In contrast, we’ve had rock, with strong women, like PJ Harvey, appearing on stage with guitars and menacing voices. Today, those two numbers have overlapped: pop queens like Billie Eilish or Dua Lipa possess both the sexy side of pop and the rock punch. They write their scripts, compose and create their clothing styles, participate in organizing their concerts and produce their clips.

Your generation is the origin of a profound cultural revolution. But don’t you think other singers defended these rights before you?
naturally ! Extraordinary singers and musicians like Joni Mitchell or Amy Winehouse have shown us the way. They even directed great musicians. Madonna, too, had a profound influence on her era. But we’re talking about comets: They’ve been terribly lonely on their journey. As long as we keep the artists isolated, we can control them…but that’s over. Today, women have seized power in music, and are advancing through entanglement. Also thanks to social networks, we can communicate, not only among singers of the younger generation, but also with those who have taught us everything. Billie Eilish and I, for example, collaborate regularly, but I’ve also traded in with Björk, the formidable pioneer of artistic freedom, and my ultimate hero.

Today, women have seized power in music, advancing by holding hands

Rosalia

on me Motomami Your new album, double your talents as a singer, musician and composer. What was your mood when you did this?
I started writing during my 2019 tour, then locked myself in a studio in Los Angeles, near the apartment I rented in West Hollywood. I worked there fifteen hours a day for two years. We were in the middle of the covid pandemic, and I was away from my family, which I had never seen before. At times, I thought I was cracked and wanted to go back to Spain. But I knew that if I got on a plane, I wouldn’t be able to go back.

The result is a mix of pure flamenco, cross hip-pop and vocals Without accompaniment of musical instruments, Bolero is backed with electric, R’n’B and rap layers. Design your sound like never before…
Thanks. While making this recording, I noticed how racism is also revealed through the music. I’ll explain. The brain instantly recognizes a musical style, such as flamenco, rap, or reggae. And instinctively he associates it with country and skin color. If we mix these types, the boundaries get blurry. This can frighten people, because they no longer recognize themselves in a society or culture. For me, this is where it gets interesting. If through my music I could, even for a moment, make the listener want to go and listen to a piece of flamenco, drop their shoulders while transitioning to African rhythm, venture into rap and go watch a series like go down, which describes his origins in New York (On Netflix, Editor’s NoteWell, I will have fulfilled my dream. On the album cover, she painted a butterfly, the symbol of travel. I long to open up.

On your disk there is an audio message in Catalan issued by your grandmother …
yes. There she says: “The family is the foundation of everything, and it is the most important thing after God.” I wanted to copy this message you sent me on WhatsApp while I was in the US. My maternal grandmother, very spiritual, gave me so much affection and affected me deeply. From her I inherited my first name, my strength and my voice. She is a very happy woman, and she always sings. She made me discover Pavarotti, classical music, and the films of Lola Flores and Pedro Almodovar (played by Rosalia in Pain and glory, together with Penelope Cruz, Ed). It is unusually modern, it Motomami Like my mom, my sister and me.

My maternal grandmother, very spiritual, gave me so much affection and affected me deeply.

Rosalia

What is the definition of a Motomami ?
It is a contraction of two Japanese words: Motorcycles Which means “stronger”. And the Mami Which evokes the figure of a mother, her creative strength but also her weakness. I celebrate the strength of women and their right to fragility. This word also reflects the duality of sounds found in the album. Motomami It sounds like a roller coaster: there are ups and downs, songs with a raging rhythm, and soft story songs, like Sakura. The text talks about the fear of collapse and the ability to recover. The first piece of advice my mom gave me was, “Whatever you do in life, do it.”

Motomami It is also the name of a company you created with your mother and sister to run your career. Can you describe these two women?
They are my inspiration. my mother is Motomami From head to toe: When I was young, she took me to school on a Harley-Davidson. She was beautiful in her black leather jacket, warrior boots, and long blond hair. She is a business executive and rock ‘n’ roll musician. She was the one who took me to music school when I was ten years old. My older sister Pilar is a photographer and fashion designer. When we were young, we designed and sewed dresses. We still do this for my stage costumes. Bailey is one of my closest advisors.

You designed your own album cover with your sister: she appears there like a modern-day Venus of Botticelli, naked, with a motorcycle helmet. Your generation’s message seems to be: “Look, but don’t touch and avoid any comment”…
There is no contradiction in this. I belong to a generation of liberated and detective women, who explore the whole of female painting. We dare to show our body, our sensitivity, our sexuality if it pleases us, without the need for a pygmalion. I wanted this nudity, because there is purity in the naked body. It is the image of the modern woman: aggressive when some, but naked when she decides. This does not mean: “The door is open, everything is permitted”…

I belong to a generation of energetic and liberated women, who explore the entire feminine palette.

Rosalia

What is the story of your voice?
The first to notice that it was my father. I was seven years old when I was asked to sing in front of the guests during the meal. When he opened his eyes, everyone was crying. At home, my parents listened to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Spanish rock…One day, some friends introduced me to Camaron de la Isla’s song, “Gypsy Mick Jagger.” My head exploded. I threw myself into flamenco singing, as a subjective passion. I sang at home, on the street … In 2007, at the age of fifteen, I entered the talent competition in Barcelona: I went on stage in high-heeled shoes, a guitar and a medal of the Virgin Mary at the neck. Then I sang a flamenco song no one, by Alicia Keys. In the end, a juror stood up and said to me, “Rosalia, I was nervous.” Bitter failure.

How did you prepare back?
I joined the Conservatory. I put everything aside – dancing, going out – and dedicating myself both body and soul to learning to play the piano and to sing. There was only one problem: my voice. I spent all these years simulating the power of the cantura (Flamenco singer, editor’s noteWithout proper training I may damage my vocal cords. I did what the doctors recommended: an operation and voice rehabilitation for a year.

What does it mean to be Alcantura ?
Years of vocal tech and learn rhythms. And a lot of humility: I don’t force things. Let God guide me on the way, give me inspiration. In flamenco, women sing in a primitive, almost animalistic way. What matters is that they have a truth within themselves, and that they are able to communicate it.

I don’t force things. I let God guide me

Rosalia

The mixing of flamenco with contemporary music has sometimes angered some traditionalists…
Already. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but if Beyoncé or Rihanna can tap into soul and blues and turn them into pop, why can’t I do the same with flamenco? We can show a new vision of Spanish identity, traditional but also urban. The poet TS Eliot said that tradition is null and void when it is not challenged and modified. So welcome all albums full of invention, syncretism and fads!

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