After taking a break in 2017 and spending some time out of the spotlight, Carla Morrison recounts a more positive return to the stage than she imagined with El Renacimiento Tour, which began in May 2022 and continues in 2023. Between laughs, the Mexican singer-songwriter describes to Billboard Español how happy she felt to reunite with her fans and to hear their longing for her romantic music in times of reggaetón.
Her perspective on touring is different this time.
With more self-awareness, the wisdom of someone who has worked on herself, and an assertiveness that she attributes to experience, Morrison expresses: “I have very clear limits, my routine, my priorities, and my values. I also think it’s my age, I’m about to turn 37 and I feel less serious about everything. I say to myself: ‘Carla, is just music, no one is going to die… Enjoy it!'”
She did not always have the same confidence. When Morrison began to take her first steps in music, she was ashamed to charge for her performances. It was her mother who insisted to her: “Mija, fight for what is yours.” She now understands that her mother wanted to teach her to fight for her rights.
Since then, she has faced many challenges as a woman in music. “To be compared, to be branded, to be called many names. My music has been used without asking for permission… by men with a lot of power,” she recalls. When she complained about not receiving credit for her music, she was told she should be thankful.
However, asked about the future, Morrison says without hesitation: “The future is female. We are gaining more ground and we are finally getting the place we deserve. And when that happens, it’s just going to be a world filled with love, compassion, tenderness, and opportunity. There are going to be many more women in production, on stage, in photography, in art, and management. You will see many women participating and learning without fear.”
Recently, Morrison collaborated with Karol G on the song “Mañana Será Bonito,” which peaked at No. 19 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated March 11. The track also earned Morrison her first Billboard Hot 100 entry. The composition was a request by the Colombian artist and Morrison wasn’t expecting to sing on it. She remembers that her husband (with whom she usually writes songs) pointed out that “Mañana Será Bonito” should be the title of the song. To their surprise, it ended up being the title chosen by the Colombian star for her historic album.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Billboard kicked off its “Las Poderosas” series, featuring a select number of powerful Latinas who get real about the word “empowerment,” their space in Latin music, and more. The series debuted on March 20 with LALI and continued on the 22nd with Nathy Peluso. Read the exclusive Q&A with Morrison below:
What does empowerment mean to you as an artist and as a woman?
It’s remembering your rights and what you deserve like any human being in this world. I think women have often fallen into that place where we feel that we should not ask, question or demand, because we look bad, because we should be grateful … But in reality, we have every right to question, ask and demand. I believe that empowering yourself is putting yourself in the place that you should always be, knowing your value, our work, and the quality and value of our work.
What does empowerment NOT mean to you?
Making decisions based on fear, based on saying, ‘No, I’m not going to ask and I’m not going to say anything because [when I’m quiet] I look prettier.’ I think that this is not empowering. And it is not empowering to attack men either.
What is the best advice you have received as a woman in music?
When I was just starting, I wrote to Julieta Venegas through MySpace, and I told her, “I’m from Tecate, I’m starting music and I wanted to ask you for some advice — because I saw that you left very young, how did you manage?” And she told me: “Carla, I just left, I fought for my dream — if I can, you can.” And that is one of the things I remember and treasure a lot, because she made me see something that I felt so unattainable as very achievable. Something as simple as a word of support, someone telling you, “You can do it too,” is priceless.
Which woman has served you as a mentor or role model?
Hijole, the truth is going to sound very cliché, but I think that the person who has inspired me the most in my life is my mother. There have been so many women who have given me good advice, but my mother is the woman I admire the most — because she is a very strong and hard-working woman. She always told me that writing, singing and being an artist was good. And she always brings me back to earth when I travel a lot in my thoughts. My mom has been my mom, but also my friend and my accomplice. And I know not all of us have that.
Have things changed for Latina women in music in the last five years?
I think that things have changed in the aspect of the sisterhood. I think that among women we support, celebrate and accept each other more, and we criticize each other less. What I do think hasn’t changed is this very sexual part, of feeling that we have to expose ourselves to sell. I think some women show off their bodies because they love it and that’s fine. So, if that’s their way of presenting their work, that’s fine with me, because they feel comfortable. I don’t feel so comfortable there with the boobs out and so on, but I see other girls who do it and I say: awesome! If it works for you … Amazing! But it’s not my style.
Favorite girl power song?
A song that spoke to me about female empowerment when I was very young and made me cry when I heard it was “Quisieras Andar Conmigo” by Julieta Venegas. I remember when I heard it I said, “Julieta, what!” It is something that never happens. I thought it was cool that a girl wrote a song that talks about something that men usually do. And right now, clearly [“Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53”] by Shakira and Bizarrap. By being honest, [Shakira] empowered herself, but women empowered her more, and so it became this Amazon-like force. And another song is “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.