Laura Carvajalino, better known as Lao Ra, grew up playing in punk bands in her native Bogota. She also grew up in the post-Pablo Escobar days, when Colombia was still mired in violence, then left for London to make music. All those influences comes together in an exhilarating musical mix full of brash “listen to me” bravado.
“I wanted to make something that was cool, but it needed to be pop and punk and it needed to have content as well. It needed to have a seriousness,” Lao Ra told Billboard over the phone from London on the eve of the release of her new video for her single “Patrona” (Boss Lady).
With it’s dembow beat, twangy opening guitars and attitude-laced lyrics (“La patrona soy yo” or “I’m the boss lady”), it “really sounds like I wanted to sound; I would describe it as cheeky, modern, pop and Latino,” says Lao Ra, who sings in English and Spanish and is signed to Disruptor Records.
And it definitely looks like she wanted to look. Directed by Ben Charles Edwards, the video is inspired by the work of West African photographer Sory Sanlé, who took photos of African youth against painted fabric backdrops and surrounded by quirky props. In the vibrant video to “Patrona,” Lao Ra struts alongside three male dancers, displaying both bravado and humor (her “patrona” guns are made of pink plastic) as well as an aesthetic that’s all her own but evokes flashes of J Balvin’s “Mi gente” by reaching into roots and relevant cultural imagery that begs for multiple views.
It’s just the beginning for Lao Ra, who is featured on Dillon Francis’ upcoming single out Sept. 12.
In the meantime, check out the video premiere of “Patrona”.