RosalíaPhotography Berta Pfirsich

The Catalan flamenco singer is reshaping the sound of global pop

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LocationBarcelona, Spain

    As the internet dissolved the borders separating different sounds and scenes, the resulting exchange of ideas has led to some truly groundbreaking music – but it’s also created an environment for major labels to co-opt absorb the creativity local cultures into a rootless, homogenised sound. In contrast, the most exciting music emerging today sounds like it comes from a specific place: K-pop idols from Seoul, Latin trap stars from Medellín, and – in the case of Rosalía – flamenco singers from Catalonia.

    While largely unknown just two years ago, today Rosalía is one of Spain’s most popular new stars, and arguably one of the most exciting talents on the planet. Rosalía, who hails from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, is schooled in the traditions of flamenco music, creating a contemporary spin on the Andalusian regional style that’s driven by high definition electronic production, hypnotic programmed percussion, and subatomic bass. It’s Rosalía’s voice that commands the most attention, though, a totally captivating and truly unforgettable presence on crossover hits like “Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)” and “Pienso En Tu Mirá (Cap.3: Celos)”.

    With her second album, the platinum-certified El Mal Querer, Rosalía became the first artist to hold the #1 album and #1 and #2 singles in the Spanish charts, but she’s also making in-roads on the international stage. She’s released collaborations with the likes of James Blake, has been in the studio with Pharrell and Arca, and recently appeared in Pedro Almodóvar’s film Dolor y Gloria alongside Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. And, vitally, it’s all been on her own terms – with zero concessions to English-speaking audiences.

    Selim Bulut