During the Women on the Rise – The New Generation panel, moderated by Billboard senior writer, Latin, Griselda Flores five emerging artists discussed the biggest inspirations (Rihanna, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez) and revealed the challenges they have and continue to face in the industry.
The panel, held on the third day of BillboardLatin Music Week (September 20-25) welcomed superstar songwriter and artist Elena Rose, urban pop twin duo Las Villa, reggaetonera and Miami native Mariah Anqelique, and multi-talented Emila Mernes. Argentinian caesura.
And despite the different challenges each artist has faced in their respective journeys thus far, one commonality emerged: they were never going to give up on their dreams.
Below are the most motivational quotes from each artist about their come-ups and the current status of women in the Latin music industry.
“I’ve always had it in my heart, the passion for it, [and knew] that I was going to make it big.
“My challenge [now] is to change music, because sometimes as an artist you have so many things around you, you have so many people around you, that you forget that you have to make music for yourself and make something different that could change your generation and change [the course of] music. I have a lot of saved music, I have a lot of music that I’ve written, and sometimes as women you don’t really get that credit until much later. Karol G has been doing this for a long time – and now she says “I am that”.
“We are in a good position right now. Women have so many opportunities [today]. There is still a lot to do and achieve, but we have worked hard to get the respect we deserve. F–k misogyny… Where do men come from? Women.”
Villa Lucia: “We have always been very supported by our parents. At one point, I doubted if I wanted to do music, but our parents said, “No, no, you were born for this”. Keep on going.’ We used to do musical theater in Colombia, we used to sing opera, we had casting calls for Disney… that was a whole other thing. We started to feel like we wanted to do something that belonged to us, not be in someone else’s room. We were very inspired by Bad Bunny and trap and watching on YouTube and that’s where we hit [connected with] urban music. It wasn’t until we did our first song that people noticed us. In 2018, we said we were going to give it one more chance.
“The women who came before us – Natti Natasha, Karol G, J. Lo – continue to blaze a trail for others, but now that we’re here, what do we do with that trail?”
Laura Villa: “To be able to revolutionize music in one way or another [is our biggest challenge]. The great artists in history are those who changed music. How did an artist become a turning point? How the hell are we going to do this? I feel like the creative process takes you there, because your music is the muse — and it guides you like a guardian angel. Music is sound, but sometimes you have to learn to listen to it better. Music is a woman, you have to treat her well.
“I was in a band until about three years ago when I started as a solo artist. When I started on my own there was a lot of uncertainty… In 2018 there was there weren’t many women and now there are a lot of us in this genre, and from what I had grown up listening to, it was really hard for me to be able to figure out what I would be able to sing I started looking for pop and urban — and of course urban has many subcategories. My biggest challenge is feeling happy with the music I make, not just making [a certain kind of] music to feel like you belong to a genre.
“With Elena, she was the first woman I did a song with and we are there now. We are far from our families, so it is important to surround yourself with [people] who share the same vision as you so that you can move forward together. Everyone expects something from you, so it’s important to surround yourself with the right people. In this industry, machismo exists, but that’s why in this session, I think it’s great for all of us to be here on stage and to be able to support each other.
“We still need more positions for women in the industry, more producers, more writers… We have to keep fighting for equality, it’s fundamental. But as I said, we are in transition – and strength comes with unity.
“One day, I was singing in a bar [in Miami] and a producer came over and said I had a great voice and I was like, ‘Thank you, but do you have any money? I have to pay rent. [Then I said instead], ‘Or don’t pay me, let me be in the studio.’ I learned in a space where I was the only woman among men… I walk in a room not thinking that I am a woman, but a writer.
“Talking about our generation for women and men, we have to develop patience. We want to see something happen now. We need patience not only with the world but with ourselves… I love my team because we are very aware of ‘how is your mind, your heart, how are you feeling?’ [We don’t’ lose sight] why we do this.
“I remember listening to ‘Jenny From the Block’ and I never wanted to be her, she made me feel like I could be myself, and as an artist I always wanted pass it on.”