Who Is ROSALÍA? The Latin-Grammy-Winning Artist Got Her Start As A Flamenco Dancer
Rosalía Vila Tobella, known by her mononym ROSALÍA, is a fashion icon, in my book. Honestly, I follow her on Instagram, along with 4.3 million other people, for her impeccable sense of style. It's edgy and super fun. But, as I scrolled through her account — marked by gorgeous ruffled clothing, eerie stage lighting, and snaps with J Balvin — I got to thinking, who is Rosalia? Well, the 25-year-old singer and dancer is one of the biggest breakthrough international singers on the rise.
Rosalía's Life Changed The First Time She Heard Flamenco
Rosalía is actually a professional flamenco dancer at the age of 25. She picked up the art form at 13-years-old after hearing flamenco while hanging out in a park with friends. "It was so visceral. I had never heard anything like it,” Rosalía told TIME magazine. “Nothing was the same for me after that.” It certainly wasn't.
She went on to study flamenco for eight years under the local legend José Miguel “El Chiqui” Vizcaya and at the super prestigious art school Catalonia School of Music. FYI, this school only accepts one student a year. One! That program is no joke.
Rosalía's sound is probably like nothing you've ever heard before and that's because her music is heavily influenced by Catalonia's traditional flamenco music — with her own modern twist on it, of course.
She incorporates elements of R&B, EDM, pop, and the Caribbean stylings of Reggaeton into her music. Speaking on her unique amalgam of sounds, she told Rolling Stone, “I learned the tradition. I learned all the rules. But I have to be transparent with how I understand flamenco here and now, with who I am, with my references, with my age, with the moment I am living, you know? The classical basis is so important to me. But from there, I want to have freedom.”
Rosalía's Career Is Marked By Collab After Collab
In 2017, Rosalia released her first album Los Ángeles, marked by traditional, acoustic flamenco sound. She took a more bold approach to her followup album, the more alternative-style El Mal Querer released on Nov. 2, 2018. She garnered even more buzz after collaborating with James Blake on the track "Barefoot In The Park," which was featured on his album Assume Form in January 2019. She then worked with J Balvin on the popular track "Con Altura," which dropped March 2019.
Wow, Rosalía really stays busy.
After that, she performed at Coachella in April 2019, rocking her own set and appearing in J Balvin's to perform their duet together. In the same month, she appeared on the most important album of our time, For The Throne, Game of Thrones' official soundtrack with the track "Me Traicionaste."
OK, I may have hyperbolized a little bit, but making the cut on this album is seriously a big deal. Game Of Thrones is iconic.
Rosalía Is A Decorated Artist
You may just be getting to know Rosalía, but the budding musician has already been officially recognized for her brilliance by The Recording Academy twice, or I could say thrice.
In 2017, she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys. She lost that year, but in 2018 she picked up five Latin Grammy nods and took two awards home under Best Urban/Fusion Performance and Best Alternative Song for her song "Malamente." Not bad.
She's also nominated for three 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. The first is for Best New Artist. The second and third nods are for her song "Con Altura" featuring J Balvin in the categories Best Latin and Best Choreography.
Rosalía Acts Too
In case you hadn't noticed, Rosalía's a multi-hyphenated artist. On top of her exceptional dancing and singing skills, she's also an actress. She stars in a movie alongside Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. Amazing, right?! The film is called Dolor y Gloria, which translates to Pain and Glory.
According to Remezcla, the film follows a Spanish director named Salvador Mallo (played Banderas), who is frustrated with his career so he revisits his memories of his childhood in the '60s and as a young man living in Madrid in the '80s. I have no clear idea of Rosalía's role in the film, but she blesses us with a few chords in one of the trailers. She actually sings with Cruz as they wash their clothes in the river. Dolor y Gloria was released in Spain in March 2019, but it is slated for a U.S. release in October 2019.
Wow, Rosalía is like, super talented. On that note, excuse me while I get into this flamenco fusion on her Spotify.