Spanish singer Rosalía is making her mark with her innovative flamenco fusion and fierce style. Here's everything you need to know about her.
Even if you missed Rosalía’s whirlwind performance last year at the Latin Grammys — where she was the second most nominated artist, after J Balvin (she grabbed two gramophones!) — it’s not too late to experience the vision of the Spanish songstress, born Rosalía Vila Tobella, a name as grandiose as her stage presence and talent. The video for her collaboration with Balvin and El Guincho, “Con Altura,” dropped March 28. It is an homage to flamenco, with a reggaetón twist, of course. Here’s what you need to know about the ambitious 26-year-old beauty.
1. She is bringing flamenco to younger audiences. She may wear sneakers and shiny bodysuits on stage, like most pop princesses her age, but her flamenco fusion sound, spiced with pop and urban beats, seeps deep into your soul like the classics from la reina Lola Flores. Check out her song “Malamente” from her album El Mal Querer. “I’m super excited, I feel grateful because I’m doing the music I feel comfortable doing. My music I know has risks, so if it connects with people, which I think is happening, I feel very grateful,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “As a songwriter, as a producer — not just as a musician and as an artist that goes on stage and sings — I feel proud, I feel happy. This is something to celebrate, that not just me but a lot of female artists are having visibility.”
2. She has estilo! From wearing a girly tutu fit for a prima ballerina on the red carpet of the Latin Grammys to rocking a pink fur skirt and crop top, Rosalía mesmerizes with her fashion-forward style. She also likes a little bling-bling on her show-stopping nails!
3. Her songs are unapologetically feminist. Like other Spanish singers Bebe and La Mala Rodríguez, Rosalía’s music is filled with raw and real female empowerment, not cliché girl power slogans. In her music video for “Malamente,” she defies the traditionally macho figure of the Spanish bullfighter by teasing him (like the bull) in a speeding motorcycle while he dangles his red cape in front of her. The songs in her album El Mal Querer, like chapters in a novel, chronicle a woman freeing herself from the shackles of an abusive lover, leading to the ultimate liberation anthem “A ningún hombre [To No Man],” in which she says she owes explanations to no man, only God can judge her.
4. She plans to tackle the big screen. Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar — known for iconic films like Volver, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and The Skin I Live In — was hypnotized by the young star and invited her to be part of the cast of his upcoming film Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory) starring Penélope Cruz. Is Hollywood written in the stars for the singer? We think sí!
5. She has sparked a debate over in Spain over cultural appropriation. Rosalía’s popularizing of flamenco has had a bit of backlash. The Catalan singer — who was born in the north of Spain and is not gitana or from the southern region of Andalusia, where flamenco is said to have originated — has been criticized by the Gypsy or Romani community for being a sort of poseur: speaking with an Andalusian accent, dressing with Gypsy flair and adding Caló (the Romani language) and gitana imagery to her songs and music videos. Rosalía responded to the controversy by telling Spanish El Mundo that “flamenco does not belong to the Gypsies.”