Nathy Peluso: ‘Feeling repressed should be absolutely prohibited’
Having achieved creative maturity after only three albums, this confident diva transcends all labels and trends, both in her music and her style
Nathy Peluso defines herself as “a diva who inspires others to embrace their own essence and pursue their dreams without fear.” Throughout her musical career, which began in 2017, she has inhabited many characters: “I have been very histrionic, very theatrical, and today I am at a point in my maturity in which I feel prepared to speak from a place of intimacy and about things that perhaps I hadn’t spoken about before.” Her words are illustrated by her actions, as she sits down to talk wearing only a white tank top and underwear, while two assistants remove her makeup, wig and eyelashes. To many, Peluso is the best way to explain what has happened with the transformation of Latin music in the last decade: a mainstream product that the whole world dances to even if they cannot understand the lyrics.
A 28-year-old Argentinean who has lived in Spain for 20 years, Peluso released Calambre, an album with no borders between genres, just before the Covid-19 pandemic stopped the world. Through bachata, salsa, trap and hip hop, her feminist messages became a beacon among women, as well as the Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. She collaborated with Bizarrap before the Argentine producer broke out with Quevedo’s and Shakira’s Sessions. She danced with C. Tangana at the Toledo cathedral. And now, she is preparing a new album about which she has not said much; all she has offered is one track, Tonta, which was released on April 20. It sound feels much more like calm pop, with an epic touch at times. Creative maturity before reaching 30 and having only released three albums.
Question. How are you after these last three years? You seemed to be everywhere.
Answer. I’m fine, because I’m doing this, I’m quite happy since last summer.
Q. What do you mean?
A. The album. I’ve been on tour and at the same time in a very intense stage of learning, creative discovery and stress. Right now I’m going to start with the whirlwind of telling everything I’ve been doing.
Q. Let’s talk about your new single, Tonta. Your sound has changed.
A. It has nothing to do with what I’ve done so far. It is a step towards a way of composing that is the result of many years of work as an artist. It’s 100% me. What I really wanted to do is songs that still feel new after many years.
Q. Are you able to ignore trends?
A. I focus on what my role is. After that, everything else are tools that you use to make music. I want to tell things, I want to express, I want to move and accompany people. Art doesn’t follow fashions or trends, but nature.
Q. Does this freedom come from the success you’ve had in the last three years?
A. It has been a personal challenge. I need to be in contact with my audience. I devote more time to the creative part now. Tonta is a great introduction to what I am today. It is something that I can afford, being real and always doing what comes from my heart. And my audience expects me to be honest, to surprise them. I don’t make music to provoke. I only made this album with the aim of showing what was going through my head. And facing that is complete insane. You have to be brave.
Q. In recent years, artists have changed the way of talking about sex. Now it seems that they want to show their version of heartbreak. Is this your intention with Tonta?
A. I write without a very specific goal. I write without thinking. I had just been through a moment that was unfair to me, and that someone else mismanaged emotionally. Writing about my exposure at that moment was something absolutely organic, without alluding to someone specific. It was saying: “I am not a fool, I won’t break, I won’t abandon my peace because my nature is strong and I will remain focused on being well and taking care of myself.”
Q. Do you consider yourself a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community?
People have endowed me with a lot of triumphs. They have allowed me to represent them in a way that I never planned, and that is the most beautiful thing. Just by the nature of what I’ve done, we have connected thanks to the honesty and the genuineness. They have seen themselves reflected in me and have given me the chance to accompany them. But I don’t see myself as an example of anything. I am just one more, and in the end I am part of their communities, of their strength, of their word, of their message.
A. You’ve always been so sure of yourself; how much hate do you get for being like that?
I have been in an industry for years. I work as a leader, directing. I have lived through many stages and, of course, I can tell you that in the last few years something has changed for the better, but incredible women have been doing the work for centuries. We continue to weave that culture of how to take things, how to receive messages, how to treat people. I was educated very freely. You have to know how to value and enjoy yourself. Why would we hide? Feeling repressed is something that should be absolutely prohibited.
Q. Have you ever felt imposter syndrome?
A. Yes. Doubting is human, feeling insecure is human, especially when we work under so much pressure and with our emotions. And being a woman is a wonderful emotional journey, and at the same time it is overwhelming. We find ourselves with many difficult situations that we have to deal with very elegantly. But we have to put an end to these situations and educate people so that it is no longer considered normal.
Q. Are you afraid of disappointing others?
A. I know I’m not going to disappoint people. That’s not a possibility, because when one does things proudly and with determination, there is no disappointment. What I do doesn’t have to be liked by everyone, but there will always be someone who connects with me, I’m sure.
Q. Do you believe in meritocracy?
A. It is a scale. The basis of any triumph that makes you feel satisfied depends on effort, discipline, perseverance, faith and hard work. I’m accompanied by an education, a certainty, a talent. But I’ve worked so hard that I don’t think it’s luck. I am lucky to find the professionals I work with and at the same time I think about how long I have been working and how hard it has been for me to find them. I am very clear that I have always had a vision, and I know what my purpose is. I have decided to defend it at all costs; that is why I have been able to get to where I am.
Q. To what extent does Bizarrap mark where music is headed today, and how was your experience with him?
A. He is my friend and I am proud to see how that boy I knew transcends to this level. He remains quite consistent with the roots of his sound, preserving the electronic music and merging it with the urban sound, which makes it very original. But beyond the musical genres, the fact that there is a house where we artists can go express ourselves with that level of exposure is fascinating and reminds me of rap culture, which I always admired. My experience working with him was incredible, I learned a lot and I loved being able to collaborate in that creative space.
Q. What is your ultimate goal?
A. What I really want is to be happy.
Q. Difficult, isn’t it?
A. It’s about the moments, and I get many from my career. I want to be happy devoting myself to this, to learn to enjoy constantly. That is the challenge that we all have: to be in the present, to be able to focus on taking advantage of everything around me, to learn something new every day and to be able to share my music with the whole world.
Q. Do you think twice now before saying things?
A. I am definitely aware of the influence I have on people, and I’m beginning to guard my privacy to protect myself. It’s a balance between being genuine and choosing well the information that you share. It goes hand in hand with personal maturity, you learn how to communicate. This influences for good, to be a little more aware of the information that you give and the impact it can have.
Q. You represent a type of woman that the system can label as problematic because she won’t keep quiet. To what point do you think the boost from your fans and social media has been key to take to where you are right now?
A. I am who I am thanks to my fans. I am responsible for all I’ve done, but I’ve been able to transmit it thanks to the fact that there is someone there. The role of the audience is crucial to feel alive, supported, inspired and, above all, to learn. It’s like a home. It feels very warm, you feel accompanied.
Q, Your head seems to always go very fast. You don’t stop creating. Do you have time to focus so you can enjoy yourself?
A. I have no time. The point is to try to enjoy much more with art. For me, the beauty lies in not having to stop to enjoy, but being able to enjoy what you do; in the end, I am lucky to be able to be able to devote myself to something that I have chosen. The challenge of life is being able to stay awake and connected, to make the songs I want without having to stick to anything other than what I feel. It’s a privilege.
Styling: Juan Cebrián
Makeup: Sandro Igon
Hairdresser: Bosco Montesinos
Manicure: Maritza Paz
Digital technician: Sandra Seaton
Photography assistant: Pedro Urech Bedoya
Styling assistant: Paula Alcalde
Special thanks to Casa Carvajal
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