Video by video: How Rosalía conquered the world in 10 months

The Barcelona-born pop superstar this week became the first female Spanish artist to win an MTV Video Music Award but her success has been a year in the making

Héctor Llanos Martínez
Rosalía performing on the BBC (l) and with her MTV Music Video Awards.
Rosalía performing on the BBC (l) and with her MTV Music Video Awards.GTRES

After her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday, August 26, there is no doubt that Spanish pop superstar Rosalía has become a global sensation. Not only was the Barcelona-born singer the first female Spanish artist to win an award at the event (one for Best Latin Video, another for Best Choreography), her live performance became a world trending topic on social media.

So how did Rosalía get to this point? Let’s take a look at the highlights from the past year that have turned the Spanish singer into an international phenomenon.

October 2018: Later… with Jools Holland

The British pianist and TV host Jools Holland is known for being one of the first to spot international music stars. In mid-October last year, before Rosalía presented her new album “El Mal Querer” at a massive concert in Cólon square in Madrid, she was invited to perform on the BBC show Later...with Jools Holland.

The program, which has been running for 27 years, brings together around five artists to sing live in front of a studio audience. Rosalía performed Malamente and Pienso en tu mirá during an episode that also featured performances by Norwegian singer Sigrid and Paul Weller, the legendary former frontman of The Jam. The complete show can be seen in Spain on Movistar+.

November 2018: MTV Europe Music Awards

Rosalía was invited to perform two songs (De aquí no sales and Malamente) at the MTV Europe Music Awards at the Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao, in Basque Country. As well as sharing the stage with Nicki Minaj and Janet Jackson, the Spanish pop star was also nominated for the award for best Spanish act, which she lost to indie group Viva Suecia.

November 2018: Latin Grammy Awards

She may have missed out on a prize at the MTV Europe Music Awards, but at the Latin Grammys, Rosalía was awarded Best Urban Fusion/Performance and Best Alternative song for Malamante. The singer was also asked to perform at the event and put on a dramatic show, dressed in a Palomo Spain outfit with Gucci sneakers that would set the stage for her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Rosalía in action. Speechless.

March 2019: Con Altura with J Balvin

Rosalía’s first international collaboration was with Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin on the song Con Altura. Since its release in March 2019, the music video has received 776 million views on YouTube, and was even the subject of analysis by The New York Times.

March 2019: Lollapalooza

Rosalía’s first performance at an international music festival was at Lollapalooza in Argentina. She performed at the festival in Chile two days later, and again in Chicago in August. To date, the singer has performed in several countries including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Denmark, France, Poland and the Czech Republic.

April 2019: Barefoot in the Park

The singer’s entrance in the English-speaking music world came via a duet with British singer James Blake. The song Barefoot in the Park, which mixes English and Spanish, paved Rosalía’s path toward becoming an international electro-pop sensation.

April 2019: Coachella

Coachella, one of the most important festivals in the world, brought Rosalía to California. In one of her several weekend performances, the Catalan star paid tribute to flamenco duo Las Grecas with a version of the song Te estoy amando locamente. At the Goya Awards, Rosalía also performed a song by Spanish Romani group Los Chunguitos.

Rosalía bring Las Grecas to Coachella.

April 2019: Billboard Latin Music Awards

Rosalía has also won over the iconic US magazine Billboard. In April, she performed at the Latin edition of the Billboard Music Awards, performing a song medley with J Balvin, El Guincho and Sean Paul.

May 2019: Pain and Glory at the Cannes Film Festival

Rosalía made a small cameo appearance in Pedro Almodóvar’s film Pain and Glory, which was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie has since been released in more than 20 countries, including Argentina, France, Uruguay and Australia.

August 2019: Duet with Ozuna

For her latest single Yo x Ti, Tú x Mí, Rosalía teamed up with Puerto Rican music star Ozuno. Since its release two weeks ago, the music video has received 50 million views on YouTube and is threatening to overtake the success of Con Altura.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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