Spanish singer Rosalía, known for combining flamenco with Latin trap, won album of the year at the 2019 Latin Grammys. Her success is groundbreaking–Rosalía is the first solo female performer to win this award since Shakira won album of the year 13 years ago.
Rosalía won for her sophomore effort El mal querer, which translates to “The bad loving.” It is an experimental pop album that fuses traditional Latin sounds with electronic beats and the singer’s angelic voice to describe an abusive relationship.
The lyrics are empowering as hell; Rosalía comes out of a toxic romance stronger than ever. “I don’t consent to any man / Dictating my prison sentence. / Only God can judge me,” she asserts in the closing track “A NINGÚN HOMBRE,” meaning “No Man.”
But before that final power mantra, Rosalía shows that there’s strength in vulnerability as well. “I’ve left a trail / Of blood on the floor / I’ve left a trail / That leads me to the first day / That I told you that I loved you,” she sings.
Lucky for us, Rosalía is infiltrating western music as well. The trailblazer recently became the first Latin artist nominated for Best New Artist to record solely in Spanish. This is a huge breakthrough since all other artists with Latin roots who have been nominated for Grammys (like Christina Aguilera and Los Lonely Boys) have had to garner success with English-language recordings.
In the male-dominated world of the Latin music industry, Rosalía is breaking down gender barriers–and at the English-dominated Grammys, she is breaking down language and cultural barriers. It’s been a long time since a female Latin artist has been pushed into international super-stardom this quickly, and it’s all thanks to Rosalía’s refusal to back down from daring feminist themes and traditional Latin influences.