Emerging Mexican-American femmetón singer-songwriter La Doña’s new album, Algo Nuevo, dropped March 12 via Human Re Sources just as the coronavirus pandemic intensified in the U.S. Concerts, festivals and other large gatherings across the country were canceled, including her planned South by Southwest debut, interrupting her early career momentum.
As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with La Doña — whose real name is Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea — each week to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis. (Read the previous installment here and see the full series here.)
Your birthday was just a few days ago (on March 2), how did you celebrate?
I had my family over for lunch in the backyard and then I had a nice dinner with my partner.
Saw you got the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week. How’d it go?
It was fine. It’s open for educators but it was a little bit of a hike to actually get an appointment. You just have to keep refreshing and keep checking the website early in the day. I went to Walgreens to get the Pfizer shot and my arm was super sore and I felt pretty fatigued that day and the next day but then I felt fine. Most of my family has been vaccinated because they’re all educators.
Has anything changed for you in the past month?
I went to L.A. last week and did a couple of photo shoots and it felt good to be more active again. I got to see my friend Thalia who I’ve always worked with and hadn’t seen this entire time, probably since we shot the cover for my 2020 EP Algo Nuevo.
Last time we spoke, you mentioned that you love to release music on your birthday — can we expect something soon?
Yeah, I have my new single coming out April 2! I wrote the new track that’s dropping soon over the pandemic. I had just been sitting on so many beats and songs and I hadn’t wanted to take any of them to the next level until I started writing this line on the accordion. I sent it to my producer so he could listen to it and told him I wanted to do something with a bachata guitar and this accordion line and he whipped it up and I threw down so it all happened pretty quickly. And I’m also going to be releasing a vinyl, finally, for Algo Nuevo probably in about a week.
Latin artists are announcing arena tours in the Fall, does that make you feel optimistic?
It feels like we’re going from zero to 100 … but for the Fall, I think it could happen and it makes me hopeful to begin playing again. But I think it will be more complicated to travel, at least for me. I would like to see the artists with the most resources go for it and try it out and see what happens. And if Maluma is ok and everyone is chill then I’ll get back on the road. But I probably wouldn’t be the trailblazer there.
What’s been on your mind as we approach the anniversary of the pandemic shutdown?
I’ve been trying to finish up tracks that I had started since I’m feeling reanimated. I feel that growth and invitation to creativity again as new projects start coming in. I’m working with Lauren D’amato, a longtime collaborator, on a music video for my new single and everything she does is so perfect, artful and beautiful so I’m excited to be working with her again. And just pick up where I left off, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I feel more motivated and a little bit less fearful. At the end of the day, fear is what really affects your motivation and creativity. That was such an overwhelming sentiment during this pandemic. Having a little bit of relief from that fear means I’ll be able to make more art.