Rosalía (singer)

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Rosalía
Rosalia 2019-portrait.jpg
Rosalía in 2019
Born
Rosalía Vila Tobella

(1992-09-25) 25 September 1992 (age 29)
NationalitySpanish/Catalan
Other namesLa Rosalía
Alma materCatalonia College of Music
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • arranger
  • musician
  • actress
  • designer
  • dancer
  • businesswoman
Years active2013–present
AwardsFull list
Musical career
OriginSant Esteve Sesrovires, Barcelona, Spain
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • handclaps
  • synthesizer
  • keyboard
  • guitar
  • sampler
Labels
Websiterosalia.com

Rosalía Vila Tobella[3] (born 25 September 1992),[4] known mononymously as Rosalía (Spanish: [rosaˈlia][5] or Catalan: [ruzə'liə];[6][7] stylised in all caps), is a Spanish singer and songwriter from Barcelona.[8][9] After discovering Spanish folkloric music at an early age, Rosalía graduated from Catalonia College of Music with honors by virtue of her collaborative cover record with Raül Refree, Los Ángeles (2017) and the baccalaureate project El Mal Querer (Sony, 2018), which was co-produced by El Guincho on a low budget and contained modern interpretations of flamenco mixed with pop and urban.[10] The album, which would later win the Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year and be listed in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020, was released to critical acclaim and started the ascent of Rosalía into the international music scene.[11][12]

Her first hit single came in 2019, when she collaborated with J Balvin on "Con Altura", a reggaeton-inspired track that marked Rosalía's journey to urban music. Selling over seven million copies, it was named one of the best songs of the year by Billboard and Pitchfork and Best Urban Song by the Latin Recording Academy.[13] It also spawned her signature lyric and nickname "La Rosalía".[14] She later collaborated with other musicians such as Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Arca and Travis Scott, achieving multiple accolades and breaking many records.[15][16]

Throughout her career, Rosalía has won a Grammy Award, eight Latin Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award, two UK Music Video Awards and two consecutive Premio Ruido for both of her studio albums, among others. In 2019, Billboard gave her the Rising Star Award for "changing the sound of today's mainstream music with her fresh flamenco-influenced pop",[17] and she became the first Spanish-singing act in history to be nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys.[18]

Life and career[edit]

1993–2016: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Rosalía was born on 25 September 1992 at the General Hospital of Catalonia [ca; es] in Sant Cugat del Vallès, and was raised in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, a small town in northern Barcelona.[1] She is the youngest daughter of Pilar Tobella, a businesswoman who has been running the family company for decades, as well as managing Motomami S.L., her own artist representation agency since late 2018. The company was created specially to manage her daughter's image, management, financial state and patrimony. Rosalía's father is José Manuel Vila, who was born in Cudillero, Asturias. She has a big sister, Pilar "Pili" Vila, who works with Rosalía as her stylist. She began her professional musical education at the age of 16 at the Taller de Músics.[19] She did a six-year course at the academy. She began attending class at the Raval school but due to her high grades and multiple recommendations she transferred to the Superior School of Music of Catalonia in order to finish her studies.[20]

At 15, she competed on the television show Tú sí que vales, although she wasn't selected. In 2012 she became the vocalist of Kejaleo, a flamenco music group featuring Jordi Franco, Roger Blavia, Cristo Fontecilla, Diego Cortés and Xavi Turull.[21] They released an album, Alaire, in 2013. That same year, Rosalía worked as a duo with Juan "Chicuelo" Gómez at the 2013 Panama International Film Festival and at the Festival Grec de Barcelona for the contemporary dance work De Carmen. In 2013, she participated in the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Conference in New York, and was the lead voice in the culmination of the Año Espriu 2014 at the Palau de la Música. In 2015 she collaborated with La Fura dels Baus on a show that premiered in Singapore. She was the opening act for Catalan flamenco artist Miguel Poveda, accompanied by Alfredo Lagos, at the International Music Festival of Cadaqués, and also at the 2016 Jerez Jazz Festival. She worked with Rocío Márquez on the presentation of her album El Niño, produced by Raül Refree, at Primavera Sound 2015. In 2015, she also worked with clothing brand Desigual and sang the single for their campaign jingle "Last Night Was Eternal".[22] That same year, she released "Un Millón de Veces". The song was part of the benefit album Tres Guitarras Para el Autismo. All proceeds benefited studies on autism.[23] Through her teenage years and early twenties, she performed in musical bars and weddings.[24] At 20, she worked as a flamenco teacher and vocal coach.[25]

In 2016, she collaborated with Spanish rapper and former boyfriend C. Tangana on "Antes de Morirme".[26] The song was a sleeper hit and entered the Spanish Singles Chart in 2018, after the success of Rosalía's other work. The collaboration received international attention when it was featured on the soundtrack of the first season of Spanish Netflix show Élite (2018).[27]

2016–2017: Los Ángeles[edit]

Rosalía and Raül Refree performing in Madrid in July 2017

In 2016, Rosalía performed to a crowd of a hundred people at the Tablao del Carmen, a flamenco specialized venue at the Poble Espanyol, in Barcelona. In the audience was Raül Refree, whom she invited to the show.[28] They began working on two albums together.[29] Rosalía signed with Universal Music later in 2016, and she relocated to California.[3] She went on to only release Los Ángeles.[30] The album talks about death in a dark way with aggressive guitar chords by Refree.[31] It presents reworks of flamenco classics receiving several accolades.[32] She was nominated for Best New Artist at the 18th Latin Grammy Awards. The album was released on 10 February 2017 through Universal Music and spawned two singles, "Catalina", released in October 2016, and "De Plata", released in August 2017. The album was very well received by critics. Jordi Bardají wrote on 1 November 2018 that the record was "one of the greatest 'sleepers' that Spanish sales lists have known in recent times." Los Ángeles reached its peak position of number nine on 11 November 2018 and has remained in the albums chart since its entry, having accumulated a total of 89 weeks. Los Ángeles won the "Album of the Year" award at the Time Out Awards and the Ruido de la Prensa Award for Best National Record, among others.[33] In 2017, RTVE contacted Rosalía to participate in the pre-selection to represent Spain in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, which she politely declined because of scheduling conflicts with the promotion of her debut record.[34][35]

Rosalía and Raül Refree embarked on a concert tour, Los Ángeles Tour, supporting their first studio album together. The tour began on 11 February 2017 in Granada and ended on 1 March 2018 at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.[36] During the tour, in 2018, Spanish singer Bebe attended one of their concerts alongside Juanes, who became immediately obsessed with Rosalía and asked his manager Rebeca León to work with her.[37] She agreed to manage her as she felt like she was a "once in fifty years kind of artist".[38]

2018–2020: El Mal Querer and international recognition[edit]

The recording cycle for Rosalía's second studio album, El Mal Querer, began in early 2017 as her baccalaureate project, graduating from the Catalonia College of Music. She personally chose to work alongside Spanish musician El Guincho and spawned its concept alongside friend Ferran Echegaray, who bet on the Romance of Flamenca to follow the album's storyline. Thus, every song on the album would be a chapter of the story narrated in the anonymous Occitan novel. Despite having no budget to produce the record as she was an independent artist working on a university project, Rosalía invested a lot of her own money, to the point of almost going bankrupt. However, she continued working on it, stating that "my goal was to find a way to explain this tradition that I'm obsessed with in the most personal way without fear and with risk. Before releasing the album I was in debt and had no guarantees that this would work but I had the hope that, since I was making it from my heart, whether it was a few or many, that those people that liked it, would like it for real".[39] The album was almost completely recorded at El Guincho's apartment in Barcelona with a computer, a microphone and a sound table. It would mix traditional flamenco with today's pop and urban music.

In May 2018, the singer announced the title of her upcoming album in a little homemade YouTube series.[40] That same month, Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin released his fifth studio album, Vibras, which featured Rosalía on the track "Brillo", co-written by her and recorded right after her performance at the Latin Grammy Person of the Year performance for Alejandro Sanz. Later that month she released the album's lead single, "Malamente". Due to its intense promotion and novel sound, it caught the attention of international personalities and music critics, who all praised the track to the point that, in August, Rosalía was booked to perform at Madonna's 60th birthday bash but cancelled the gig after many logistic conflicts.[41] Personalities such as Kourtney Kardashian and Dua Lipa also showed their appreciation for Rosalía's new song, sharing it on social media. "Malamente" was promoted at several award shows like the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards as well as the Latin Grammys. Its music video, directed by Canada, went viral on the Internet and was named Video of the Year by Pitchfork.[42] The song was nominated for five Latin Grammys, out of which Rosalía won two, for Best Alternative Song and for Best Urban Fusion/Performance. "Malamente" is certified five times platinum in Spain for selling over 200,000 copies and is also platinum in the US. The album's second single, "Pienso en tu Mirá", was released on 24 July 2018 through Sony Music. Its music video also went viral on social media, with praise for its aesthetics and poetic symbolism.[43] Many Spanish portals were already talking about this as the "Rosalía phenomenon" or "hurricane Rosalía".[44] The song was nominated for Best Pop Song at the 2019 Latin Grammy awards. The third single, "Di Mi Nombre", released three days prior to the album, earned Rosalía her first number-one single in Spain.[45]

El Mal Querer was released on 2 November 2018 and debuted at number two on the PROMUSICAE chart. It is presented as experimental and conceptual, revolving around a toxic heterosexual relationship, inspired by the anonymous 13th-century Occitan novel Flamenca.[46] Rosalía revealed that she had already presented the project and that she had finally earned her degree in music, with a mention in flamenco, with honors.[47] The album also entered the charts in Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States, where the album debuted at the top of the US Latin Pop Albums chart. El Mal Querer was universally acclaimed by music critics. Writing for The Guardian, head critic Alexis Petridis highly commended the album, giving it the highest rating and describing it as "the calling card of a unique new talent".[48] He praised Rosalía's vocals for giving the album "a head-turning freshness", noting that her singing style "is audibly rooted in a different musical tradition to the usual styles in which pop vocalists perform." Pitchfork ranked El Mal Querer the sixth best album of 2018, with Philip Sherburne complimenting its combination of traditional and modern styles, and praising Rosalía's voice, saying, "Whether breathy or belting, she's as commanding a presence as Spanish-language pop has encountered in ages—less an ambassador for flamenco than the inventor of her own fascinating hybrid." In October 2019, Pitchfork named El Mal Querer the 36th best album of the decade, and Rolling Stone listed it 315th on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list of 2020.[49][50] El Mal Querer has been nominated for several awards including four Latin Grammys, a Latin Billboard Music award, a Latin American Music award and a LOS40 Music award. It ended up winning all Latin Grammy awards it got nominated for: Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album, Best Engineered Album and Best Recording Package. Therefore, Rosalía became the first female recipient of the Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year since Shakira in 2006.[51]

In March 2019, the Pedro Almodóvar film Pain and Glory premiered in cinemas. Rosalía made a cameo in the film alongside Penélope Cruz.[52] The film received universal acclaim and even won Best Film at the 34th Goya Awards.[53] This wasn't the first time that Rosalía took part in an audiovisual production. In 2018 she sang the theme song for the second season of Spanish hit Netflix show Paquita Salas.[54] That same month she embarked on her first world tour, the El Mal Querer Tour, in support of her second studio album. The tour visited several festivals such as Lollapalooza, Glastonbury and Coachella.[55] More than 63,000 people saw Rosalía live at Primavera Sound, in Barcelona in June 2019, making it the most-attended concert of the tour.[56] The tour ended on 10 December 2019 at the WiZink Center in Madrid after 43 shows (12 solo dates–three of them in arenas–and 31 in festivals).[57]

Rosalía performing to a crowd of 63,000 people at Primavera Sound in June 2019

While on tour, Rosalía issued several songs. On 28 March 2019 she released her second collaboration with Balvin, "Con Altura". The song received some criticism due to its urban-reggaeton sound, which was considered a departure from Rosalía's more well-known "hypnotic flamenco fusion".[58] Even though some critics did not enjoy the song, "Con Altura" topped the charts in Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Spain and has been streamed over two billion times so far. Rosalía performed the song throughout tour season as well as at the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Its music video, directed by Director X, became the most-watched music video by a female artist of 2019.[59][60] It also spawned her nickname "La Rosalía" and its choreography eventually became viral and a moment in Latin pop culture.[61] "Con Altura" won two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Latin Video and Best Choreography, making her the first Spanish act to win one.[62] It also won Best Collaboration at the 2019 MTV Europe Music Awards.[63] The song has sold over seven million copies worldwide so far.[64]

Rosalía performing at the Palau Sant Jordi in December 2019

Before starting the tour's European leg and to celebrate one year since the release of "Malamente", Rosalía released the song "Aute Cuture" (which she began writing in 2017).[65] It became her third single to top the charts in Spain and earned a Latin Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.[66] In July she released the single Fucking Money Man, which includes two money-themed tracks: "Milionària" (which she sang in Catalan) and "Dios Nos Libre del Dinero".[67] It was well received by linguists, who praised Rosalía for singing in Catalan for "showing the world her roots" because, "with her, the Catalan language is able to cross borders".[68] "Milionària" was a success, becoming her fourth number-one song in her home country.[69] On 15 August she released her collaboration with Ozuna "Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi", which they performed together at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards[70] and became her fifth number-one song in Spain.[71] It scored two wins: Best Urban Song and Best Urban Fusion/Performance at the 21st Latin Grammy Awards, marking Ozuna's first Grammy win.[72] In November, she released "A Palé", which features background vocals by James Blake, who she had earlier collaborated with on "Barefoot in the Park".[73][74] She parallelly received two Grammy Award nominations, including one for Best New Artist, becoming the first Spanish-singing act in history to be nominated in that category.[75] To close the year, Rosalía featured alongside Lil Baby on the remix of Travis Scott's "Highest in the Room", included on the compilation album JackBoys (2019). This marked the first time that a song that included Rosalía's vocals entered the Global Spotify chart, peaking at number four. She also hit a page in the 2020 Pirelli calendar, becoming the first Spanish act to do so.[76]

On 26 January 2020 she performed at the 62nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, making her the first Spanish female artist to perform at the gala. She ended up winning the Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.[77] Three days before her Grammy debut, she released "Juro Que", a conceptual single that brings back her old "flamenco fusion" sound. In February, the first of three episodes of the brief documentary La Rosalía, produced by Billboard and Honda, premiered on YouTube.[78] Directed by Alfred Marroquín, it is nominated for a MVPA Award for Best Visual Project.[79] Two days later, Spanish production company Canada, who also took part in the production of the documentary, revealed to radio station RAC 1 that they had filmed a music video in Los Angeles for Rosalía's upcoming single.[80] This collaboration with Travis Scott, "TKN", was scheduled to be released in March but was delayed to 28 May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[81] Instead, the singer released "Dolerme", which she "hoped could make people feel better during lockdown". It scored a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Rock Song.[82][83] After its release, "TKN" marked Rosalía's first entry on the US Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number 66, as well as the sixth number-one single of hers in her home country. It also became very popular on TikTok globally.[84][85] The music video for "TKN", directed by Nicolás Méndez, won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video, marking Scott's first Grammy. It also spawned a nomination for Best Direction at the Berlin Music Video Awards 2021.[86] On 22 June, Arca and Rosalía released their highly anticipated collaboration "KLK", included in the musician's album KiCk i, also Grammy nominated.[87]

2020–present: Third studio album and collaborations[edit]

Despite the popular thought that "TKN" would be the lead single of the singer's third studio album, in July Rosalía told the press during a Zoom conference that her upcoming album would be released "hopefully in 2020 but whenever it makes sense" and that it would follow a concept. More focused on hip-hop, it will not include the seven singles released since the release of El Mal Querer.[88] She also discarded the idea of releasing a box set or a compilation album where these songs would be included.[89] Recording sessions for this new conceptual album started as early as 2019. In March 2020, Rosalía relocated to Miami due to unforeseen circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic.[90] When travel restrictions from the United States started to lift, the singer traveled to Puerto Rico for the first time, where she had recorded sessions with Lunay, Rauw Alejandro and Tego Calderón.[91][92] During her time on the island, Rosalía also recorded a remix of Sech's "Relación", which also featured Daddy Yankee, Farruko and J Balvin.[93] The remix was released on 4 September and earned Rosalía her second entry on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 64.[94]

She took part in Bad Bunny's third solo studio album, El Último Tour del Mundo, on the track "La Noche De Anoche", released in November and later released as an official single on Valentine's Day alongside a video by Stillz.[15][95] The collaboration, performed on Saturday Night Live, was a huge commercial success, debuting at number two on the Spotify global chart with 6.63 million streams in a single day, marking the biggest debut for a song fully sung in Spanish in history.[96] It also marked the ninth best debut on the platform in 2020 and the second biggest debut on Spotify Spain in music history. A week later, she collaborated alongside The Weeknd in the remix of his smash hit "Blinding Lights", released as a promotional single.[97] A month later, on January 21, 2021, the singer went on to release "Lo Vas a Olvidar", the highly anticipated collaboration with American singer Billie Eilish after two years in the works to promote a special episode from the show Euphoria.[98] On May 19, Rosalía surprisingly released a collaboration with experimental musician Oneohtrix Point Never titled "Nothing's Special", which is a vocal cover of his song of the same title.[99] In September, Rosalía collaborated with Dominican rapper Tokischa on her song "Linda".[100]

Artistry[edit]

Musical style and genres[edit]

After Rosalía's increase in popularity with the release of "Malamente" in spring 2018, her music was described as a "heavily exciting fusion of flamenco and modern arts". American magazine Pitchfork called the singer's voice "a soft liquid velvet" and wrote that "Malamente consumes the listener with drums and soft synthesizers that drag you to their world completely". After releasing El Mal Querer in November 2018, The Guardian scored it with 5/5 stars and said: "the Catalan singer's potent, smart second album is more complex than any Latin pop currently in the charts".[101] Before that, shortly after releasing her first studio album, Los Ángeles, writing for MondoSonoro, Yeray S. Iborra felt that Rosalía "is posited as the contemporary cantaora who has better understood the current times". After Rosalía released her 2019 track "Con altura", Rosalía's music evolved to a more urbano field. Rolling Stone had this to say about the song: "it's a modern take in reference to Spanish flamenco songs inspired by Afro-Caribbean sounds; ever the champion of cross-cultural experimentation, Rosalía has ultimately described it as her personal homage to classic reggaeton." Since this release, Rosalía's music is much more pop and radio-friendly than her 2018 releases. Despite her wide vocal range, Rosalía tends to use Auto-Tune aesthetically in songs and live performances.[102]

Rosalía has been accused of cultural appropriation by some Romani people because she adapts Romani customs into her style, and she draws from the flamenco music tradition, which is often thought to be from Romani people in Andalusia. However, the origin of flamenco music is not known precisely, and it probably fused musical practices from three sources: Moorish, Jewish and Romani cultures. Responding to this criticism, Rosalía said, "flamenco does not belong to the Gypsies."[103]

Influences[edit]

Blake performing in 2012
La Niña de los Peines leaning on a balustrade
Rosalía has cited James Blake (left) and La Niña de los Peines (right) as her major musical influences.

Rosalía has cited Camarón de la Isla, James Blake and La Niña de los Peines as her major musical influences. In January 2019 she told MTV "when I was 13 years old I started listening to him [Camarón de la Isla] by chance. This genre, flamenco, was what my high-school friends listened to and so did I. When I discovered him I was like 'oh my God!' I didn't think anyone was capable to sing with such a voice; it would go right through me so heartily. He was my introduction to flamenco. Thanks to him I discovered this vast universe within this music style which is almost endless and very exciting." When she was asked about the impact Blake had on her, she said: "I started listening to him when I was at university. His music has left a mark on me; not only the bold character of his production but also its minimalism and free structures. When I listen to him, I can feel that he allows himself a lot of freedom. I personally think that he doesn't do music to please nobody but only for himself." Rosalía collaborated with Blake on his song "Barefoot in the Park", which was released as the fourth single of his 2019 album Assume Form in April 2019. Rosalía states that she began listening to another big influence in her life, La Niña de los Peines, when she was 16. She states that at first she didn't enjoy her music because it sounded like 78 RPM records to her but that later she ended up appreciating her melodies and realized that she was a creator, that she was a cantaora when, at that time, most flamenco singers were men. She said: "flamenco is a masculine art form by tradition and there she was, with all her creativity as a woman. She became a professional at the time when it was very unusual".[104]

When she was asked about her biggest fashion influence, she cited Lola Flores. In an interview with Billboard she said: "I love her. I love the attitude and the strength she had". She also mentioned Carmen Amaya; "she used to wear masculine clothes in a moment that any woman was dancing in typically-man clothing".[105]

When she was asked who would she like to collaborate with in the future, she said that it would be a dream to do a song with Kanye West since she loves everything he produces.[106] She also told W Magazine that Frank Ocean is also one of her main dream collaborations as well as her "first celebrity crush".[107] In the booklet of El Mal Querer she also thanks Kendrick Lamar, Diego el Cigala, Lole y Manuel, Pharrell, Héctor Lavoe, Beyoncé and Estrella Morente for teaching and inspiring her.

Impact[edit]

Spanish music industry[edit]

Rosalía is the main character in the first tidal wave of Spanish international musicians of the 21st century. From 2014, new artists started to emerge in Spain from Álvaro Soler to Pablo Alborán. Spain, however, being a Spanish-language country that is able to get inspired by a lot of different projects and genres thanks to technology and communications, had a lot of pop stars but not that many urban/hip hop-orientated artists. Spain's music industry was weak, monotonous and boring. Thus, based on this premise, and with the help of streaming platforms artists like Yung Beef, C. Tangana, La Zowi or Bad Gyal started to make fresh urban music influenced by the folklore of regions like Puerto Rico, Jamaica or Colombia. The rise of urban music in Spain grew in parallel with the increasing global interest in reggaeton, trap and, in general, Latin American music. Rosalía became very close with these artists, who heavily influenced her.[108] The interest in music in Spain, however, didn't reach its peak until 2017 when the mentioned artists reached a high point of success and when talent show Operación Triunfo aired on television for the first time since 2011. The show attracted millions of loyal viewers and became a massive platform for artists like Aitana, Amaia and Lola Indigo.[109] When Rosalía appeared on the charts for the first time with "Malamente", she became a fresh, interesting artist who had invented something new and exiting to listen to, a mix of traditional and modern arts; Rosalía had created flamenco music for everybody.[110] The revenue of music in Spain was 232 million euros in 2018, 9% more than the year before.[111] Due to this, music in Spain became an art to protect and to be proud of, making people take a look at the Spanish artistic market, which had abandoned its category of C-list industry.[112] In 2020, Spanish novel rapper Don Patricio told El Periódico that "The interest that the world has in Rosalía has benefited all of us, because all those who are interested in her and her music have looked out to see what else we are producing here. Rosalía going to the Grammys helps; the fact that she has made a song with Travis Scott helps. It all adds up to Spain, to Spanish musicians and to our movement".[113] This new wave of musicians in Spain and growing interest in music in the country has led to the recuperation of an annual award ceremony to celebrate Spanish music, the Premios Odeón, in 2020.[114] In December 2020, Forbes named Rosalía the most influential Spanish female singer in their list of "most influential Spanish women", which she shared with political and cultural personalities such as Queen Letizia, Ana Rosa Quintana, Sandra Barneda and Yolanda Díaz, among others.[115]

On cultural appropriation[edit]

The popularization of new flamenco, both nationally and worldwide, has allowed new artists such as María José Llergo [es] to reach a wider audience internationally. In 2020, The Atlantic stated that Rosalía had "turned the harrowing music of Andalusia into a global phenomenon".[116] Several critics have found contemporary artists being inspired by Rosalía's artisty; Marina, Kacey Musgraves and Christina Aguilera, for example.[117][118][119] The resurgence of flamenco music by the hands of Rosalía has in turn opened the door for the discussion of cultural appropriation. Rosalía has been accused of stealing the culture of the Spanish Romani people, who claim this artistic expression as their own, since it has been one of the few ways of free cultural expression Gitanos had available to them, in the face of discrimination and persecution within wider society.[120] Purists view flamenco performance by Catalans, non-Gitana, or non-Andalusians, such as Rosalía, as unfair and illegitimate.[121][122] On the other hand, others defend[who?] Rosalía, saying that, in a global, interconnected world, where exposure to world cultural traditions and art forms are readily and widely accessed, such performance by Rosalía can inspire international appreciation of this artform, and compare the situation to Madonna's use of Spanish traditions sparking international interest in Spanish culture and art.[123]

The New York Times said in 2019: "the debate on the cultural appropriation of the Spanish singer is unfair: her music embodies, with height, the most eloquent artistic form of globalization: the remix".[124] When asked about this topic, she responded: "I've realized that it is not that I am specifically being attacked, it is the situation where there are people who, like me, have been fortunate enough to be able to study music, which they have wanted. And having options that other people don't have", stating that this is more of a political issue and a matter of privileges.[125] Following her win for Best Latin Video for "Con Altura" at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, Rosalía broached a related discussion, as to whether the expression "Latin" (derived from a romance language like Spanish, Italian, French or Portuguese) has been misunderstood and has evolved to "Latinx" (person from Latin American countries previously ruled by the Spanish and Portuguese empires), extending the debate about cultural appropriation and whether she should or should not be nominated in Latin categories at award shows.[126][127] Rosalía also discussed the topic at the 2020 Latin Billboard Music Week where Leila Cobo, host of VP Latin, stated: "Billboard categorizes music sung in the Spanish language as Latin music. You are a Spanish artist, not a Latin American but your music is called 'Latin' because it is sung in Spanish. It is also very interesting to see how this term is only used in the United States".[128] Rosalía has also said that she feels "uncomfortable" when this term is used on her.[129] Stemming from these debates and her comments, Rosalía has received critiscm and online backlash. She has been referred to online as a "colonizer".[130][131]

Personal life[edit]

She is of paternal Asturian and maternal Catalan heritage. Her paternal grandparents were of Galician and Andalusian origin.[132] Her great-grandfather was Cuban.[133] She is fluent in Catalan, Spanish and English.[134][135]

Relationships[edit]

In 2016, Rosalía started dating Spanish rapper C. Tangana. They co-wrote eight of the eleven songs of Rosalía's sophomore album El Mal Querer and collaborated vocally twice. They broke up after two years, in May 2018. Since then, the couple has referenced each other in songs, social media posts, interviews and music videos. In April 2020, Tangana told the press that there "exists a good friendship between the two".[136] They unfollowed each other on social media in December 2020 after Tangana talked about her quite poorly in a recorded interview for Rockdelux.[137]

In March 2020, Rosalía started dating Puerto Rican singer Rauw Alejandro and made their relationship public on Rosalía's 29th birthday, after eighteen months of private dating.[138]

Political views and religion[edit]

Rosalía is a feminist. After being congratulated at the 2019 Billboard Women in Music gala, the singer stated: "I was fifteen when I entered a recording studio for the first time having all this women as references. I was so shocked by the fact that there were only men in that session that, since that moment, I've been fighting for having the same number of men and women in the studio. As simple as that".[139] Her studio album El Mal Querer revolves around the liberation of a female from a toxic heterosexual relationship.[140] Rosalía is also pro-choice. In April 2019, during a concert in Mexico, she wore a green handkerchief in support of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion.[141]

As for Rosalía's religious beliefs, she revealed that she has never been baptized nor taken to church by her parents. Her grandmother, who was Christian, used to take her to church if she voluntarily asked to. There she began to believe in God despite never having submitted to the Catholic Church nor considering herself Christian.[142]

During her performance at Glastonbury on Pride Day, the Spanish singer told the crowd that she was an LGBT supporter and said: "there are a lot of ways to love and none is better than the other.[143] Raise your glass for love and freedom to love". All profits from her Viva Glam cosmetic campaign were to be given in support of women, youth and the LGBT community.[144] In July 2021, Rosalía condemned the killing of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz, who was beaten to death in A Coruña in a crime motivated by homophobia. She stated "Samuel didn't die, he was assassinated".[145]

As for Spanish politics and international conflicts, in November 2019, following a second general election in the country within six months, Rosalía tweeted "fuck Vox".[146][147] VOX is a far-right nationalist political party that had earned a lot of seats at the Spanish Parliament and was constantly growing in popularity at the time. After being asked about politics at a press conference at the 2019 Latin Grammys, she said: "I think it is a very delicate topic and I don't think this is the place to talk about it since it requires a lot of time due to its sensitivity."[148] Hours after that, the spokesperson for the Socialist Workers' Party, Adriana Lastra, winked at the singer on her Twitter account by publishing the agreement of a left-wing coalition government with Unidas Podemos with one of Rosalía's most signature lyrics.[149] In May 2020, Rosalía expressed anger for the murder of George Floyd[150][151] and briefly attended a protest in Miami in defense of racial equality, leaving early in order to appear on a virtual benefit concert organized by TeleHit. In October, she offered her song "A Palé" for a vote-encouraging campaign of Sony Music for the 2020 United States presidential election titled "Your Voice. Your Power. Your Vote".[152] In May 2021, Rosalía expressed her support for the protesters during the 2021 Colombian protests, which were motivated by Iván Duque's tax reform proposal.[153]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosalía performed at many virtual benefit concerts while locked down in Miami like Se Agradece and La Marató de TV3 in an effort to give economic support to the development of a vaccine and in Música Solidària del Baix Llobregat, which was celebrated in benefit of the Botiga Solidària in Cornellà de Llobregat, a non-profit organization that distributes food to those who need it since the place was in danger of extinction due to the consequences of the pandemic.[154][155] She also collaborated with Save the Children and Creu Roja Catalunya.[156]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2019 Pain and Glory Rosita Cameo appearance
2020 Nueve Sevillas Herself Cameo appearance

Television[edit]

Year Show Notes Ref.
2008 Tú Sí Que Vales Contestant [157]
2018 Later... with Jools Holland Performer [158]
Late Motiv Performer [159]
2019 Mixtape Protagonist [160]
2020 Austin City Limits Live Performer [161]
Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2 Performer [162]
2021 Saturday Night Live Guest performer [163]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role
2019 "Adore You" Harry Styles Narrator
2020 "WAP" Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion Herself

Commercials[edit]

Year Product(s) Brand(s) Role Ref.
2020 Air Max 2090 Nike Herself [164]
VG26 Lipstick MAC Cosmetics [165]

Tours[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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