In such a competitive industry as music, it’s hard for an artist to break barriers and molds, earn the love of millions, and position themselves as one of the top artists of the moment, all in such a short period of time and with a genre that’s typically not that mainstream all over the world.
Who is Rosalía
Rosalía Vila Tobella, better known as Rosalía, has managed to do all that with only two albums: Los Ángeles and El mal querer. In two years, she’s managed to collaborate with the most influential artists of the moment and perform at some of the most important venues like Coachella and the Hollywood Bowl. But who’s this young woman everybody is talking about?
With a traditional voice, a really modern style, and a great vision of the where the industry is going, this 25-year-old Catalonian musician has been conquering the world one flamenco palma at a time. Born in 1993, Rosalía always knew she wanted to pursue a career in music. She studied at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (Higher School of Music of Catalunya), where she graduated in Flamenco, a highly popular genre in Spain that rarely gets much attention in the rest of the world. So, how did a musician with a background in a very local genre manage to reach every corner of the planet?
Since 2017, her debut album Los Ángeles put her on the spotlight at a national level, earning her Best New Artist nod at the Grammy Latino Awards of that year. In addition, her album was considered as one of the best flamenco albums of the last few years. Flamenco is a very traditional and strict genre with established rules and boundaries, which Rosalía hasn’t entirely followed in the overall vision of her project. Still, she’s managed to conquer the hearts of even the most purist in the genre who feel she’s a breath of fresh air to these traditional sounds.
Now, though her first album was a hit all over Spain and some Latin American countries, it wasn’t until she released El mal querer that the Rosalía craze exploded. Her single “Malamente” has been at the top of several charts all over the world, and the video has over 70 million views. The video was actually her visual proposal, and it really appealed to new audiences. What’s surprising about Rosalía isn’t how fast she reached fame, but how she’s managed to inspire new audiences that weren’t even used to the music style she’s developing.
However, besides the persona she’s built around her music, what’s most inspiring about her is her discourse. She sings about empowerment and dealing with toxicity in life and relationships, and she gives a powerful message about identity, but most importantly, she knows where she comes from, where she’s standing, and where she wants to go. Is she original? Maybe not, since, as she claims, everything has been done already, but she’s definitely reinventing sounds and messages that together convey a very powerful discourse.
The way she dresses, her choreographies that mix traditional flamenco moves with modern urban styles, and the way she mixes sounds to create fresh rhythms have definitely positioned her as one of the most influential musicians of our time without losing her essence and roots.
Here are some photos that show why she’s become an instant icon:
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Images from @rosalia.vt