Mala Rodríguez Talks "Dame Bien," Latin Music and Rosalía
“When I sang I was rapping, but I was also adding the sound of Andalusia and flamenco,” the singer says of her signature style. "The rappers said I wasn’t rapping and others would say it wasn’t flamenco."
Mala Rodríguez has always been a lover of Latin music, thanks in large part to her mother, who always listened to it at home. “I also have an uncle who is Colombian, from Bogotá, [so] I grew up listening to a lot of Colombian music,” the Spanish singer tells People CHICA. “I always identified more with Latin music than the music that was made in Spain, because the accent in Madrid or Andalusia was very different from mine, and I felt closer to Latinos.”
Rodríguez released her first album in 2000. During her beginnings in the music world, it was difficult for her to classify the kind of music she was making. “When I sang I was rapping, but I was also adding the sound of Andalusia and flamenco,” she says. “The rappers said I wasn't rapping and others would say it wasn't flamenco.” She was always happy with the music she was creating, which she now labels as urban music. “It includes everything — the inspiration of dembow, rap, and my roots where I come from … there are many elements that combine together in this genre.”
Although her sound is inspired by Latin music, Rodríguez incorporates her Spanish culture in her music. “The way of speaking, and several lyrics that only people living in Spain could understand, and of course, flamenco!” Her latest song, “Dame Bien” with Guaynaa and Big Freedia, came about because she wanted to “take the song to another place.” That's when Guaynaa's name came into the picture. “He has a good sense of humor,” says Rodríguez. “He is a very intelligent guy and I really enjoyed it … I loved to share that with him.”
Asked about Rosalía, another Spanish singer making waves in Latin music despite not being Latin, Rodríguez doesn't say much. “I'm no one to judge, but at the end of the day, she's creating music,” she says. “But I understand everything. Everything.”