Latin

Why Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez and More Love This Latin Songwriter

Elena Rose
Celia D Luna

Elena Rose

Elena Rose recalls dressing up as Jennifer Lopez for Halloween at age eight and telling her mom: “I want to be a singer and one day, J. Lo will know who I am.” Seventeen year later, and the songwriter born Andrea Elena Mangiamarchi co-wrote the Jennifer Lopez and Maluma hit “Pa’ Ti” (alongside Edgar Barrera), which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart last October.

Since, the 26-year-old has landed work with Selena Gomez – co-writing five out the seven tracks on Gomez’s first Spanish project, Revelación – and Marc Anthony, for whom she co-wrote chart-topping salsa track “De Vuelta Pa’ La Vuelta.”

The Venezuelan singer-songwriter started writing at 11 years old, and soon after landed gigs performing at bars in her native country with the goal of earning enough money to eventually move. In 2014, at age 19, she did just that and relocated to Miami. "Since I was a little girl, I had the dream of being an artist,” Rose previously told Billboard. “I always wanted to be singing, but while I was in Venezuela, I was under a lot of literal danger and my life wasn’t going to get any better if I stayed there.” Five years after moving, Rose scored her big break when Becky G recorded one of her songs, “Dollar.” The track peaked at No. 27 on Hot Latin Songs (chart dated Nov. 1, 2019).

Rose credits her success to two things. “I never take into consideration how ‘big’ an artist can be or the numbers they’ve had in the past. If I get a good vibe from them, then I will do it no matter what,” she says. And her writing process is just as intuitive. “I love to write while I’m showering,” she says. “I have my cellphone in there to record in case a melody or lyrics come to mind. When I don’t have it with me, I yell at my sister: ‘Hurry bring me the phone.’ When I’m alone I feel more liberated not having to think about structure, I just write what comes to mind.”

Looking ahead, Rose is turning her attention to her upcoming solo project to be released on Guerrera de la Luz. It will include previously-released R&B-tinged pop tunes “Fenomenal” and “La Ducha,” both of which arrived last year. As for her forthcoming single, “Pimienta,” out May 14, Rose reveals it’s more edgy and experimental.

“I realize that I’ve become a confidant for these artists in the studio where they can feel free and trust me 100%. But when I’m writing for Elena Rose, I’m so much harder on myself,” she says, adding that she’s working on opening up and letting go of self-judgement.

She's also learned another important lesson from her collaborators: “They’ve taught me how to be an artist and be in the spotlight. If I had started as a singer instead of a songwriter, I wouldn’t have been prepared. They’ve given me more than I have given them.”

"Pa’ Ti” became the very first song the co-writing team of Rose and Barrera ever wrote together, crafted at a Sony songwriting camp a few years back. “The session flowed so well that we didn’t even stress about it landing on the project or not,” recalls Rose. Years later, it arrived as the first half of the two-part track, “Pa’ Ti + Lonely,” which will be part of the soundtrack for the upcoming romcom Marry Me, starring Lopez and Maluma. “The night the song dropped my mom told me, ‘Baby you are a living example that dreams do come true.’”

Rose co-wrote five of the seven songs on Selena Gomez’s first Spanish project, Revelación, released this March. “I felt I had to prove myself because it’s biggest project I’ve ever worked on,” says Rose, who along with Barrera and Kris Floyd started writing for the project in November 2019. One of the first songs she co-wrote was the single “De Una Vez,” which peaked at No. 4 on Hot Latin Songs, inspired by her past breakup with a producer. “He made me believe that without him, I was nothing,” says Rose. “Then I thought, de una vez por todas (once and for all) — I am stronger alone.”

Before Revelación arrived, Rose and Barrera had scored another co-wrote for a pair of superstars. Rose admits she had written one song for Anthony “but for some reason, it wasn’t going to be recorded so I told Edgar, ‘Bro, we have to write another song like, right now.’” The pair emerged from a Miami studio one-and-a-half hours later with the salsa anthem “De Vuelta Pa’ La Vuelta,” which became Anthony and Daddy Yankee’s first-ever collaboration (it climbed to No. 6 on Hot Latin Songs). “When I met Marc in the studio, he told me, ‘You are the future of the industry,’” says Rose. “I’ll never forget those words.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the April 24, 2021 issue of Billboard.