Rosalía Interview: How She Makes Her Music

Also, my favorite artists are changing constantly, and they’re the most human ones. I love that approach and I feel like my musical taste over the years has changed a lot. What used to bother me, maybe they’re now my favorites. Like Coltrane. I’d be like, Why does this man do that? Why does he sound like that? And then one day I was on the train on my way to Barcelona, and A Love Supreme changed my life. I understood it, it clicked, and I was like, Of course, it’s about spirituality and about freedom. Then [flamenco icon] La Niña de Los Peines, who is one of my biggest references—her records sound so bad because it comes from long ago and it’s hard to appreciate music when it sounds of this quality. It took me time but then I really appreciated it. Or John Cage—there’s music that really challenged me then, that nowadays is my favorite music ever.

Do you think getting a little older helps?

I mean, I’m excited para cuando sea mayor [for when I’m older]. [laughs] For example, my grandma—you can hear her in the song “G3 N15”—is my idol. She created such a big, beautiful family, and I’m excited for that moment in my life one day.

I wanted to ask you about your grandmother. I know your sister Pili does all your styling, and that you named MOTOMAMI after your mother. What do the bonds of those women mean to you?

The women in my life are my main inspiration. MOTOMAMI wouldn’t exist without my grandma, my mom, my sister. I have so much love for them and that’s why I’m a motomami, because they were a motomami before me. My mom was the OG motomami. She would have this long blonde curly hair and she would be driving a Harley when I was a kid, and I hugged her while she was driving. I remember the wind in her hair in front of my helmet in Barcelona. Because of the experiences I’ve had with my family, nowadays I feel like: oh, I’m a woman.

Alongside that, I wondered about “Hentai.” To me it’s really fun because it embraces women’s sexuality, which is always so judged, and puts the reality into it, which is that it’s not that serious.

That’s it! It’s just desires! Why not make a song about desires? And again the contrast between what’s tender with something that is more explicit—obscene, if you wanted to call it that. It just made sense for me in a ballad, just a voice and a piano, and that’s really naked. When people heard the whole song and the album and saw the video, I think that they understood and felt it and were very positive, but with the 15-second snippet, some people critiqued it, no? That just shows you the discomfort that happens when a woman expresses herself openly about her sexuality. I really thought, like: Lil’ Kim. Madonna. Björk. It’s been done. How is it possible this is something that people would still talk about? It’s uncomfortable for some people. But well, they’re gonna have to get used to it! [laughs]

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