Nathy Peluso: from singing in Madrid bars to winning a Latin Grammy

The first video of the YouTube channel of Nathy Peluso It’s from February 2015, it has almost two and a half million visits and it’s called Yo quiero un sound. It is a song that he recorded with River Stone Sound and that can be a declaration of principles, ideals, intentions.

In the middle of the screen, on a black background, Nathy Peluso has her hair tied in a bun, a white jumpsuit, large caravans almost brushing her shoulders. He looks at the camera and barely moves his arms. The song begins with a scream that has the force of a blues: it is a non-transferable scream, a scream that comes from somewhere that no one except her can access. However, twenty seconds later, the theme changes, it leaves that stormy area and from one moment to another it transforms into a rap that does not end being rap, into a pop that does not end being pop, into a reggaeton that does not end of being reggaeton. It goes like this: “I want a sound that makes me re-resonate / I want a sound that won’t let you leverage / I bring a sound that will directly give me away / Accumulate sound to explode.” She moves her face, arms, trunk, lets her hair down, shakes it. Nathy Peluso is 20 years old, works in bars and theaters in Madrid and sings where she can. When he has time he writes songs, he goes and records them at his friends’. Nathy Peluso is 20 years old and has a dream – that his music sounds, arrives, expands, grows – and a certainty: that he will achieve it.

Six years later he is 26 and they have just announced, at a ceremony in Las Vegas, that his album Muscle cramp (from 2020), is the winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. On stage, hair falling heavy down my back, Wearing a sheer, low-cut half black dress with a number one stamped across the front, she takes the microphone and says, “Thank you so much for making me feel special. Thanks to music for giving me this special opportunity in my life to learn so much through such a beautiful path ”. Blow a kiss with your hand, look up, smile and shout: “Thanks Cramp, I love you.”

A month passed from that moment and the nominees for the awards were announced. Grammy 2022, which recognize the best world music. Nathy Peluso is the only Argentine artist on that list. It competes in the category Best Latin or Alternative Rock Album, which in the previous edition was won by Fito Páez, for Calambre.

The album is called like this, Cramp, because of the impact: because of the way the 12 songs that make it up have of hitting, going through, breaking. It’s called Energy Cramp, Electricity Cramp. And perhaps because that is what the character Natalia Peluso chose to transmit her music is made of: a fluorescent and electric light.

From Buenos Aires to the world

Nathy Peluso
Nathy Peluso. Photo: AFP

It was 2004 when Natalia and her family moved from Argentina to Spain. She was ten years old and since then has lived with a piercing nostalgia for Buenos Aires: she remembers the sidewalks of Saavedra, the neighborhood where she lived, the trees and the music. Above all remember the music. Because when you leave your place, you have to cling to those capsules that activate memories. At home they listened to Atahualpa Yupanqui and Astor Piazzolla, Mercedes Sosa and Luis Alberto Spinetta, Serú Girán and Pappo. She grew up with those songs, so hers, so Argentine.

But he also listened to Shakira, Thalía, Chayanne, Bandana and João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso and Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles.

All those sounds – the mix of folklore and rock and pop and American and Brazilian song – left something in her, like a reverberation, like a mark on the body. Therefore, able, it is almost impossible to define the music from Nathy Peluso today: what is it? What gender do you place yourself in? is pop? Is it sauce? Is it hip hop? All that can be said, perhaps, is that it is made of pieces, of many things that come together to generate something that has some clues but that is not like anything, a mixture of rhythms and languages, a strange and addictive piece .

The most listened to songs

The first known song was Esmeralda, which gives its name to her first album, from 2017. That same year, however, she released Corashe, which was the song that exploded, especially in Argentina, adopted by women as a feminist anthem in full expansion of the Green Wave. The next to break all records was the session with Bizarrap, the one that says I’m a nasty girl, fantastic, which quickly became the most listened to session by the Argentine producer. Among the latest releases by Nathy Peluso, there is a collaboration with C. Tangana, Ateo, and another, Pa mis chicas, with Thalía, Becky G and Nicki Nicole.

He returned to Buenos Aires only twice since he emigrated to Spain. One in adolescence, and he remembers practically nothing. Another in 2018, the moment when it all began. After years of singing in bars and in theaters and writing poetry in exchange for a few euros, after a time when nothing happened, after the certainty that at some point everything would happen, Nathy recorded a couple of songs and put them on a disk, Esmeralda. It was 2017. Almost at the same time he released a single, Corashe. That song, which she sings to a man saying that it takes courage to confront her, was taken as a feminist anthem in Argentina, where the Green Wave for the legalization of abortion and feminisms were beginning to explode. This is how Nathy Peluso – the phenomenon – began to build. She returned to Buenos Aires unintentionally converted into a feminist icon. He did shows in different stages of the city and sold out seats.

Since then Nathy Peluso -so authentic, so politically incorrect, so unconventional- is an artist that everyone knows, that everyone talks about: her songs lead the rankings of the most listened to and her shows – this year she toured by cities of Spain, Cramp Tour– they run out in hours. She continues to do what she wants and how she wants. That’s the grace: that his music is as extravagant as it is seductive, as refined as it is popular, as voluptuous as it is opulent. That is the grace: that Nathy Peluso has everything premeditated, everything gestated for years and yet, when he stands on a stage he does not seem to care about anything, as if he were capable of crossing any limit, as if there were no rules.

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Nathy Peluso: from singing in Madrid bars to winning a Latin Grammy