When Chilean artist Rubio set out to begin work on her latest album, she didn’t just want to create a fun collection of avant-pop songs. She wanted to give her fans something to think about.
“I think that humanity is very disconnected from its internal source,” Rubio tells Billboard. “Nowadays everything is consumerism, immediacy, a lot of fire power and not much consciousness. Nature is screaming to be listened to, and we are not listening. Humankind is very spiritually disconnected — and if I can offer my two cents writing songs that get to people’s hearts and make us think, that’s a beautiful thing for me.”
That two cents arrived on Friday (Oct. 16) in the form of Mango Negro, Rubio’s sophomore album, where the star took on deep, heady concepts like “existentialism, sorrows, and death,” and translated them into a series of club-ready, dancehall-meets-experimental-pop tracks, each interlacing into one another with expert-level production.
Rubio explains that she had a lot that she wanted to explore on Mango Negro, like “different dimensions, banal and trivial things that have disconnected us from spirituality, and even the beautiful messages from the universe.” But at the end of the day, her goal was simply to be able to give her fans something they could connect with. “That’s what I try to accomplish — that people who listen to my music can connect with themselves, and can experience the journey they were given and connect with the world we live in.”
As an artist operating in Chile’s underground music scene, Rubio knows about the importance of finding connection. She says that often times, working in a small market can feel just as exhilarating as it occasionally does stifling.
“We Chilean people are shy, and I think that makes us very special when making or performing art; we find some kind of refuge and escape in the act of creating,” she explains. “The fact that we are so geographically south isolates us from the rest of the world, and that can have its pros and cons. One of the cons is that we don’t have access to the masses for our music to be heard and that brings many complications for being a career artist. On the other hand, I love the fact that we’re not close to the consumerist societies and their fast pace.”
Now, Rubio wants to help her fans find some more music that will make them think. In honor of her new album, the singer curated a playlist for Billboard of songs and artists that she feels inspired by on a regular basis — and that she thinks her fans will enjoy as well. From the smooth stylings of James Blake, to the underground flavor of Dinamarco, check out Rubio’s full playlist below, with her own explanations for each song included:
James Blake, “If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead”
When I first listened to James Blake I was fascinated by his sound, it was something that I hadn’t experienced with an artist in a long time. It really touched my heart and I admire him a lot.
Underworld, “Sola Sistim”
This song has an exquisite beat. I’ve been playing drums since I was little and I pay a lot of attention to the rhythms of the songs, and this song captivated me since the first time I listened to it. I love its flow.
The Blaze, “Territory”
I like the energy that this song has, the melodies and its effects. It makes me wanna dance and travel at the same time.
Stimming, “November Morning”
This is an adaptation of a classic song, and I think that Stimming did an incredible job. It’s very subtle and as soon as I listened to it I loved it. The beat and energy it transmits is very inspiring.
Massive Attack, “Come Near Me”
This song inspires me every day — the vocals, the beat… I love the sensation of decadence it transmits. I’ve always liked Massive Attack, I’ve been listening to them since I was very little.
Weval, “Gimme Some”
I was obsessed with this song. When I listened to it, I would instantly start moving my body — those synths give me goosebumps.
Damé, “Like a Rockstar”
Damé is a band that I recently discovered, and I listen to their record a lot, from start to finish. I really like the way they mix reggae, trip-hop and dub. I think they accomplish a very modern sound. I love the energy of this record, from beginning to end, I highly recommend it.
This song makes me cry, it makes me feel very emotional. I like the fact that it increases the intensity in a very subtle way. It really gets deep. I feel that this song has inspired me a lot for creating my music.
James Blake, “You’re Too Precious”
I think that James Blake’s sound is very well accomplished in this song; each frequency is where it should be. It’s a truly beautiful song.
I love that it has a reggaetón beat, but it’s instrumental. I really like how it is. It makes you dance but also has very hypnotizing undertones.