Rosalía turns 30 years old in the midst of her transition from flamenco to pop and urban

The career of the Spanish singer Rosalía, who turns 30 this Sunday, is a journey of transgression from her debut album, more attached to classic flamenco singing, through the breaking of the canon with “Malamente” and the deconstruction of “Motomami”.

A trajectory, in short, to revolutionize flamenco conventions and turn them into a pop element.

Maybe your preference because flamenco was his most surprising trait when, after collaborating on songs like “Before I die” with C. Tangana, he released “Los Angeles” in 2017, his first album, with the producer Raül Refree.

Many then attributed to Refree the achievements of that twelve-track album.sober songs, voice and guitar, around the theme of death.

“She is the one who was clear about what album she wanted to make and who has investigated in search of these cantes”, they pointed out from her record company at the time after seeing her become the ‘word of mouth’ that filled theaters in a matter of hours.

“You sing like an old woman”, guitarist Pepe Habichuela would blurt out while the album made believe that a new disciple was getting on board the quejío flamenco, although within the world there was also an important segment that saw her as an intruder who did not really sing like a singer of this genre.


Without intuiting the turn that the artist was preparing, two years later a song broke into the Spanish music scene: “Badly” blew up any prejudice about her. Flamenco reminiscences, the influence of commercial pop, an incursion into the emerging world of trap and a groundbreaking video clip burned her into the history of music.

The impact of “Badly” would be just the appetizer. Under the pretext of a final year project and inspired by the 13th-century Occitan novel “Flamenca”, Rosalía combined the urban aesthetics of her adolescence with her devotion to the cante jondo of consecrated tablaos in “El mal Quiero” (2018) , a milestone that captured the attention of the public around the world.

Songs like “Pienso en tu mirá”, “Di mi nombre” or “Bagdad” told the story of an abusive relationship, which earned him a platinum disc, two Latin Grammy and the Grammy for “Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album”after getting to advertise on the billboards of Times Square, in New York.

However, there were other detractors who accused her of “cultural appropriation” for taking features of Andalusian culture and, very particularly, of gypsy slang and symbology.

“It is not that I am being attacked specifically, but rather the situation of people who are lucky enough, as I have had, to study music, the music that I have loved,” Rosalía declared in an interview to defend herself against the critics, and in which he also made reference to the desire to publish “a song in which one moves, in which one dances”.


The wish would come true in 2019 with the release of “With height”which, under the guidance of J Balvin, would open the doors of clubs in Spain and Latin America for her and embark her on a torrent of releases, including collaborations with The Weeknd and Tokischa or the album “Fucking Money Man” ( 2019), where two themes warned of the lights and shadows of fame and wealth.

Progressively, Rosalía began to tread more strongly in the field of Latin urban and left a good number of hits, such as “I x you, you x me” with Ozuna, or “Last night” with Bad Bunny, while still flirting with experimental music in collaborations like “Barefoot in the park” with James Blake.

The singer’s silence broken by occasional singles predicted the recording of an album that was long in coming. It would not be until the end of 2021 when the singles “Hentai” and “La Fama” anticipated that their sound was abandoning the flamenco influence that they had manifested, for example, when singing a version of the rumba “Me quedo tú” by Los Chunguitos.

And the publication of “Motomami” in March of this year surprised us by deconstructing “El mal Quiero” to give rise to a tremendously catchy, resounding and urban album, raw at times, tender at others, and capable of reconciling all its influences. A success with the public and international critics, with 9 nominations for the Latin Grammy.

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