In the latest episode of the El Factor Latino podcast, singer-songwriters Raquel Sofia, ILe, and Amandititita sat down with Leila Cobo, Billboard’s vice president, Latin industry lead, to talk all things “Alternative Latinas.”
Mexican-based artist Amandititita, known for her experimental cumbia sound, Puerto Rican ILe, who branched out as a solo artist after forming part of Calle 13, and Raquel Sofia, a boricua who found her color living in Mexico, opened up about the challenges they face as free-spirited artists in the music industry, social media bullying, women empowerment from a feminist point of view, and more in the new 30-minute episode.
Billboard highlights some of the podcast’s memorable quotes below:
On the challenges they face being iconoclastic
ILe: I don’t like to feel tied to anything and I always work with that freedom. Whoever wants to limit me or censor me for what I want to say, then that’s where things go wrong. I like to have the tranquility that I can be as free as I can be. And I appreciate that, even with a record label, I have that creative freedom.
Amandititita: At the beginning, it was a war to the death with my label and also with the media. “It’s cumbia but it’s weird, you don’t have those physical stereotypes,” but in a short time you find people who look like you and maybe it’s not much but it doesn’t have to be a problem.
On social media bullying
Raquel Sofia: At some moment I found myself obsessed, looking at all that and you know what? I make music and that’s it! I make honest music and connect with my fans and tell them what happens to me. One also knows to what extent to let what people write affect you. You must measure how much it affects you and take the opinion of who gives it to you. There is no need to be violent.
Amandititita: When I first saw the comments on YouTube, I wanted to quit, it was the worst! I thought they wanted to kill me. It was very strong! You should never read the comments and I learned that from Madonna because it is super unfair. But it is part of the challenges.
ILe: I learned a lot through my brothers, who have received death threats. I’ve seen so much [on social media] that dealing with it also taught me that I shouldn’t care. I think it affects everyone, not just women.
On being perceived as “alternative” artists
Raquel: Unfortunately, the urban that has become pop, only allows a certain stereotype of women, a stereotype of how we see a woman. So in pop pop, for many years, there hasn’t been a woman doing something other than that stereotype that we are seeing right now. Our alternative [as artists] was to go and do something different because female pop, right now, is super typecast to a certain type of woman, a certain type of message, a certain type of sound.
On men changing the game in Latin urban
ILe: I feel that in the urban genre, men are breaking a little more schemes because they are opening up more and are more aware of certain topics. I feel that some artists have found a way to stay inside their sound but looked for ways to send a message. Physically, they are breaking stereotypes by painting their nails and dressing in what is known as “feminine.” I would like to see that in women too. That they break a little more of schemes too and make us question sexuality itself: what it is to be a man, what it is to be a woman? Simply be however you want to be.
Listen to the full second episode here.