Latin

Rebeca León on Signing Rosalía and the Power of 'No': Latin Hitmaker Podcast

Rebeca León
Wesley Mann

Rebeca León photographed on Oct. 20 in Medellín, Colombia.

Rebeca León first saw Rosalía perform as a guest on a concert by her then-client and business partner Juanes in Madrid. "She was such a boss. I have never in all my years seen something like that," says León, the founder and CEO of management company Lionfish Entertainment, which also handles Lunay and st Pedro.

León is the featured guest in this week’s edition of Latin Hitmaker, the Billboard podcast that tells the stories of the visionary executives behind the artists and their hits and that features a new guest every Wednesday.

Here are nuggets from the conversation with León, and a link to the full episode, available now on all platforms.

On how she discovered Rosalía thanks to Juanes: He told me, “You don’t understand. She’s like Edith Piaff. One every 50 years […]” And then when I saw her rehearse, she was such a boss, I had never in all my years seen something like that. She knew exactly what she wanted to hear in her ear monitor. She wasn't going to, like, let it go. She wanted it exactly right. She stood on stage with all these guys and just, had her way. It was one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen.

On making mistakes, and getting up again: Sometimes you get punched in the face, you know what I'm saying? That's when you really define yourself. Success is super blinding. When you're in the middle of it, you don't even know why it's happening; you just are happy it's happening. It’s the failures that really make you grow and self reflect, if you take them as learning experiences, because that's what they're for. But, lots of mistakes, you know, lots of bad decisions. But in the end, I think ultimately I always was fearless.

On why she’s passionate about management: Building careers is a passion of mine. I'm just very maternal in my in my way of being and and nurturing. So I have this tendency of “let me let me take care of you. Let me help you. Let me help you in every way.” And that's kind of what management. So I don't fight it.

On what she looks for in a client: I definitely have a criteria for the artists I work with. I like it when they have very much an athlete's approach to being an artist in the sense that they have discipline, that they are open to critique for their betterment. That they rehearse, that they show up on time, work their voice, they're committed to their craft in a way that's Olympian. I think people that have that kind of hunger and the drive are the ones that really get there. I don't want to to be chasing after anybody to make them rich and famous.

On the power of no: It is very very very big. In the Latino world we have a tendency to say yes to everything. When it’s not good for you don’t do it. And that kind of attitude weights way more in the end.