Rosalía on Working With Billie Eilish: ‘I Felt Less Alone’

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Rosalía will make her triumphant return home to Barcelona this weekend, with a Saturday night set at this year’s Primavera Sound festival.

The 25-year-old reflected on her whirlwind year at the festival’s press conference held on Friday afternoon. “It’s been a year of very hard work, without weekends off, but I’m having a blast”, she said, wearing a luxe, purple Balenciaga jumpsuit, with matching nails and platform sandals. “I’m so happy to bring this show back home.”

Most notably, Rosalía could hardly stop gushing about working with teen anti-pop hero Billie Eilish — describing the experience as a highlight of her career so far. According to Rosalía, the pair bonded during a studio session back in March, for a track that’s still in the works. “I felt less alone being in the studio with her,” she explained. “She’s an artist with such a strong drive, who knows exactly who she is and what she wants, who pours her soul out when she sings… I’ve been in the studio with a lot of people, but no one has impressed me [the way] she has. She has extreme charisma and extreme passion when she sings.”

Rosalía hasn’t stopped recording new material while on tour; she described her normal modus operandi as “doing a million things at once.” The 25-year-old revealed that the original beats for her latest single, “Aute Cuture,” were actually crafted in 2017. “‘Pablo [her co-producer, El Guincho] told me, ‘Hey I’m doing these beats for an artist, want to do them with me?’”, she said. She declined to name who the song was originally intended for, except that it was a “very big artist.”

“It would be unfair to think that because of my current position in the industry, that my music or my sound has changed. My sound has always evolved and I hope it continues to do so,” she said — addressing those who say she now favors urban and reggaeton-tinged tracks over the more solemn, flamenco loop-driven fusion that made her a phenomenon.

The inclusion of Latin urban headliners like J Balvin in this year’s Primavera Sound lineup, which had traditionally geared towards rock and indie, has been somewhat controversial in Spain. “I always say, there’s no music genre better than another,” said Rosalía. “Reggaeton right now has a huge reach, and music has many roles and contexts, like dancing and having fun.” In fact, Rosalía said it was liberating to work on a song “with a sense of humor,” like her new single “Aute Cuture” — as well as its Tarantino-inspired video, set in a fantasy land starring nail artists-turned-girl-gangs.

As for reggaeton legend Ivy Queen — Latin music’s original nail art enthusiast, who also appeared at Primavera Sound this year — Rosalía said she was very much looking forward to meeting her. “I know she supports me and I love her as an artist,” she said. “I’ve told [my team] to make it happen.”

The organizers of the Spanish fest have also announced a stateside edition of Primavera Sound in 2020. Just in time for their 20th anniversary, the event will take place September 19th and 20th in Los Angeles’ Historic Park. Organizers have also hinted at a “big Latin presence.”

 

Rosalía discussed her Billie Eilish collaboration during a press conference on Friday, at Barcelona's Primavera Sound festival.

Photo courtesy of Primavera Sound