It’s fitting that Carla Morrison’s new album will be released during Latin Grammy season. Morrison had her “star is born” moment at the 2012 awards, where her debut full length Déjenme Llorar won best alternative album, with the revelatory title track winning best alternative song as well as being nominated for song of the year. In a red gown that exposed her tattoos as as much as her breasts, Morrison became an indie hero that night on stage when she excitedly blurted out “Viva Mexico Chingao,” swearing on national television before catching herself and clapping her hand over her mouth.
Morrison is still doing things her way. She took her time recording Amor Supremo, which comes out Nov. 6 on the L.A.-based label Cosmica label, her first release since a 2013 EP, Jugando en Serio.
“I knew that people were waiting for me to come back,” Morrison said during a phone interview. “But any pressure I had really came from myself, to outdo myself, to be better than I was before.”
Morrison spent eight months recording in a white, three-story beach house in Playas de Tijuana. It was a sparsely furnished rental with a patio for her dogs, “where we could hear the ocean all day.”
Together with two musical collaborators and a repertoire of about 30 songs she had written while on tour over the past few years, she created what she calls a “very conceptual record,” with a more electronic sound than her past work. “I felt like remaking myself and doing something completely different,” she explains.
“It was very natural,” adds. “The intention wasn’t intellectual, it was emotional. The idea was to be free. It was an experience of being eight months in silence with our ideas.”
The first song from the album,” Un Beso,” makes clear that what hasn’t changed is Morisson’s voice, and its ability to make you sit very still and just listen.
The track premiered on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music Beats 1 show on Sept. 15. In its first week, “Un Beso” entered Billboard’s Latin Digital Songs chart at No. 6 (2,000 downloads). It was streamed some 25,000 times, according to Nielsen Music.
“It shows a side of me that I almost never show, my sensuality,” says Morrison of the song.
With “Un Beso,” Morrison became the first female solo act in 22 weeks to crack the top 10 with a new song. While she’s already become something of a role model for independent women, she makes clear she’s not driven by any sort of feminist struggle.
“I’ve never been a woman to seek recognition in a supposed man’s world,” she says. “I do my job which is to hopefully change hearts and minds and I hope my fellow female artists look at it from a similar perspective. It’s great to get recognition but it should not be what we do this for.”
Morrison plans to tour after the album is released. And although that trek will likely end up on the Latin Grammy stage again a year from now, she’s quick to emphasize that she considers her music to be its own reward.
“I didn’t know my songs were going to be so popular,” Morrison says. “That wasn’t part of my priorities, [but] it did touch a personal side that made me focus on my privacy and what it is that I want. It moved some buttons that made me better, it made me wiser. Fame isn’t something that drives my life or enriches it. I value much more my art, and my moments alone. And making myself better.”