NEW YORK.- Camila Hair says he found joy in his roots while working on “Family”, his new studio album. The pop singer-songwriter, born in Havana to a Cuban mother and a Mexican father, immersed herself in the music she listened to as a child and even ventured to write a couple of songs entirely in Spanish for the first time.
“I was curious what the process would be, because my process in English is that I take a microphone and just sing whatever comes to mind, including the lyrics. So I thought, ‘I wonder what’s coming out in Spanish,’” she said in a recent Zoom interview from Los Angeles.
what came out was “To the teeth”, a pop song with the Argentine urban singer María Becerra about the jealousy that one can feel for the past of an ex-boyfriend. And later “Celia”a rhythmic theme that seems make reference to Celia Cruzthe Queen of Salsa, in the chorus: “She has lived her whole life without sugar / She met Celia without going to Cuba”.
Featuring 12 songs in English, Spanish, and “Spanglish,” including the singles “Don’t Go Yet” and “Bam Bam” with Ed Sheeran and collaborations with WILLOW (“psychofreak”) and the Cuban singer Me you him (“Lola”), Cabello released her third solo album under Epic Records on Friday.
“My heritage and roots are a big part of who I am, and more and more something that makes me feel really connected and happy and something that I want to get closer to as I get older,” she said of her parents and grandparents. talk about the album title.
But he also mentioned his close friends and associates, his “family by choice,” as he called them: “It’s really about community and how important relationships are to me and I think everyone.”
Musically, the album uses classic rhythms such as mariachi mixed with contemporary sounds in songs like “La Buena Vida”, which Cabello performs in English accompanied by Jaime Cuéllar’s Mariachi Garibaldi, with a choir in Spanish from the Mexican band and from Cabello’s own father. the singer, Alejandro Cabello. She premiered it last October at NPR’s “Tiny Desk (Home) Concert” for Hispanic Heritage Month, featuring it as one of her favorites from her then-upcoming album.
“That was one of the songs I wrote with (producers) Ricky (Reed), Cheche Alara and Edgar Barrera. We were listening to songs I used to hear as a child: something by Alejandro Fernández, mariachi songs that my dad used to play when I was younger. We thought, ‘What can we do that’s interesting and weird?’”
They tried combining a rhythmic pop song with mariachi and were thrilled with the result. “Yes, they shined in the production,” said Cabello.
There is also “Lola” with Yotuel, which she co-wrote with Mike Sabath and Scott Harris, about a woman who wants “homeland and life” instead of “homeland or death”, Fidel Castro’s motto. The line comes from the 2021 Latin Grammy-winning song “Patria y vida” by Yotuel, Descemer Bueno, El Funky, Gente de Zona, Yadam González, Beatriz Luengo, and Maykel Osorbo. It had become an anthem of the demonstrations in Cuba that year after some of its authors dared to express their disagreement with the government for the first time.
“I was very moved when Yotuel said yes to writing on that song (‘Lola’) and collaborating with me because, for me, “Patria y vida” changed history and gave people a lot of courage and hope that things could change in Cuba,” said Cabello.
For her, “Lola” represents not only the people of her native country but of any other nation that systematically represses, where “intelligent and talented people do not have the same opportunities because of the place where they were born and where they live,” said the singer. , who arrived in Miami at the age of 6. “I was just reflecting on what my life would have been like if my family hadn’t come to the United States and all the possible alternatives.”
As for “Bam Bam,” which many fans pointed to as a possible song about her breakup with Shawn Mendes late last year, she said, “Of course it’s a personal thing; every song (on the album) is what I was feeling that day (that I wrote it)”.
But with the catchy chorus ” Así es la vida, si / Yeah, that’s just life, baby”, how was this song created?
“Well, in Latin music there are a lot of songs with those kinds of life lessons… like the impermanence of things and the hard and good times. I think that the impermanence of love and relationships is also very common; you just never know what’s around the corner, how things are going to progress, change and transform,” said Cabello, adding that, when he goes through a bad moment or a good one, his mother always says “that’s life … things take you by surprise.”
After writing the song with his team based on that principle, he said they sent it to Ed Sheeran, who made some “incredible” changes and sent him the chord progression now heard on the track.