The orange light of late summer evenings has the ability to beautify everything it touches. Even the buildings of a Madrid polygon. Behind the windows of one of them, in an already empty room where this photo session has taken place, Julieta Venegas (Long Beach, California, 1970) stands in front of a laptop, turns on the camera and begins to say hello: “Hello Nicaragua , hello Chile, how good Puerto Rico…”. On the other side of the screen, hundreds of fans from different parts of the planet connect to the presentation of the latest video clip of her new album, Your history. Julieta is one of the most beloved figures of music in Spanish in recent decades and, during the minutes that she is live, her followers let her know. A while earlier, during the interview, she was reflecting slowly on her constant search drive. It is a trait of her restless personality that she has cultivated throughout her life and for which she left Tijuana at the age of 21 to try to make a living with music. “I settled in Mexico City and put up posters in record stores because I wanted to start a group. They contacted me and I went to the houses of musicians I didn’t know listen to them play. It was one craziness but nothing bad ever happened,” he recalls. Quite the contrary. It was her awakening. And over time she achieved her dream. World fame came thanks to Salt and lemon in 2006 and several decades later, after a successful career with 10 Latin Grammys, 7 MTV awards, 2 Grammys and 2 Billboard Music Award, left his label (Sony Music) to embark on an independent path. “I need to look for uncertainty because certainty puts me to sleep. I distrust places where everyone is accommodated. Also, I am at a point in my life and career where I don’t want a big machine to represent me. I don’t want to be told, but to tell myself. It’s more modest and I don’t stop learning,” she says. Her latest audiovisual collaborations have been with the directors Ana and Lola Piñero and with singers such as Sen Senra either Bad Bunny.
How did the collaboration with Bad Bunny come about?
In the middle of the pandemic. She was holed up at home in slippers when Tainy, the producer, told me that he wanted me to write a response to a song that Benito sang. I love Bad Bunny and I told him to send it to me quickly. It was a fantasy.
Your 12-year-old daughter would be excited, wouldn’t you?
He told me: “Have you told Benito ‘don’t be afraid daddy, come and give me more’?”. “Of course!” I replied. “If he sings to me”I’m sorry baby‘, what I’m gonna say?”. There are friends who do not believe that I have written that.
Has the figure of women in the world of music changed a lot since you started 25 years ago?
Luckily yes. There is no longer anyone at the door saying who is in and who is not. And women songwriters have grown a lot. In addition, they choose how they want to show themselves. There are still critics because some of them are very sexy, but it’s great that they show themselves as they want if they are the ones who decide it and not someone from behind. Sexy and feminism are not at odds.
And you composed the theme Women due to the rise of feminist marches in Latin America.
Yes. I began to experience those marches in Buenos Aires, where feminism was a spearhead for the rest of Latin America, and I was moved to see how they emerged in Mexico. I know what it is to be afraid as a Mexican woman and the marches do something to our heads. In them we realize that we are a political force that can make structural changes. Being on the street together is therapeutic because we enjoy it, we get angry, we cry for all the dead women and there we are. When I saw how the press took the focus away from the center, which is the violence that women in Mexico suffer, and took it to vandalism saying that feminists are aggressive, I wrote the song.
He states that it is an unstoppable movement.
Yes. Feminism is unstoppable, but it goes very slowly. All governments should be allying with him because he is not only about women, but about improving society. It exasperates me that the president of Mexico, [Andrés Manuel] López Obrador, who fights with whoever goes against him, does not realize that feminism is to build, question and change things.
In your last videos you have only worked with female directors.
He wanted to avoid the excessive security of the male directors. I need to work from a certain uncertainty, it gives me more openness to know where I want to go.
By leaving Sony Music and embarking on an independent path, you will also have taken on a lot of uncertainty.
Yes because, for example, it was no longer going to occupy certain spaces. But did I want to be in them or find my place? If you write songs you have to stay grounded and know who you are.
Is that why you moved to a neighborhood in Buenos Aires?
Of course. I needed to take my daughter to school, go to the supermarket, cook… And then I launched into a monologue in a theater for 200 people for six months. Every night I was scared before going on stage. I want to do anything that excites me.
Literature is another pillar of his life. He did the podcast Stack of booksshares her readings on GoodReads and has been the last guest editor of Editorial Barret.
I am a composer because I first became a reader. And since I am certain that this is possible, I dedicate time to promoting it. In my case it was not because of a particular book, I started reading Corín Tellado in Vanidades magazine when I was seven years old, but knowing that I could imagine something just by reading a few lines seemed incredible to me.
Looking back, what is amazing about your life?
The audacity of leaving at the age of 21 to live in Mexico City. The impulse to stay and not return to Tijuana.
He has said that “it is difficult to get out of childhood unscathed” and that “along with adolescence is the stage that defines us”. Was it so in your case?
Yes, because we begin to define who we are when we face our family. I love them, but when I was a teenager I was very unhappy, I didn’t like living in Tijuana and I felt I belonged somewhere else.
And that he has a twin sister.
Imagine the level of denial! I was clearly from that family and I feel very normal thanks to them. My dad is a wedding and event photographer. He has always considered himself a craftsman, not an artist. Me too.
And what do you feel?
I write songs and dedicate myself to music.
On this album he sings more to heartbreak than on the previous ones. What does he attribute it to?
It was the same for the pandemic [cuando lo escribió]. I am a theoretician of love, ask me what you want. LOL. In love stories we tell our humanity. But on the album there is a very furious ranchera from humor. You have to laugh at spite like when something painful happens to you. In my songs there is always humor to accept certain things.
the disk is called Your history. Why?
I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to cross out anything I’ve experienced. Many times I have put aside things to move on, and not now. Everything builds you, teaches you and makes you who you are. The important thing is to embrace the error. Why suffer for things you already did? You have to accept the person you have been and what you have learned from those experiences. It doesn’t make sense to pretend you haven’t experienced anything.
does it apply these tips?
No. I am very good giving them and very different taking them. Many times I write songs as self-advice: first I think about it, I get an idea and then I put it into practice. My themes arise from that reflection.
Has age weighed on you at some point?
Only between 19 and 20, because I felt that I had become super old. Then it hasn’t happened to me again and I always think that the best age is the one I’m living because I really enjoy the changes. It is also that in the media we are used to idealizing youth, but there is much more.
It is a reference. Who is it for you?
Marisa Monte inspires me, and also young people like Rosalia. She is exceptional, a goddess. The other day I wasn’t feeling well before going out to sing and I thought: “May Goddess Rosalía take care of me”. Sometimes I write to him on Instagram like: “I love youoooooooo”.
Styling: Beatriz Moreno de la Cova
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Julieta Venegas: “People don’t believe that I wrote to Bad Bunny: ‘Don’t be afraid, daddy, come and give me more'” | Celebrities | S Fashion THE COUNTRY