Who Is Rosalía, the Spanish Singer Who Burned Up the 2020 Grammys Stage?
The 26-year-old Barcelona-born flamenco singer is nominated for best new artist
Earlier in the night, the 26-year-old Spanish flamenco singer took home the award for best latin rock, urban, or alternative album for El Mal Querer, beating out fellow nominees Bad Bunny (X 100Pre), J Balvin & Bad Bunny (Oasis), Flor De Toloache (Indestructible) and iLe (Almadura).
She’s also up for best new artist. Read on for five things to know about the breakout star.
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1. She grew up around flamenco.
Rosalía, born Rosalía Vila Tobella, has performed the traditional Spanish music for over a decade, including in flamenco clubs called “tablaos” throughout her home of Barcelona as a teen.
“It was like getting pierced by an arrow — it was the purest thing I had ever heard,” the singer told Pitchfork in 2018 of the first time she heard flamenco music.
2. She released her debut album in 2017.
The record was called Los ángeles — but not after the city. Rosalía made her self-recorded concept album based off a collection of traditional flamenco songs, all dealing with death. (The title roughly translates to “the angles” in English.)
“I feel like with Los ángeles, I wanted to establish my musical legacy … and honor the classic sound of flamenco in the most traditional sense,” Rosalía told Jezebel in 2018.
3. Her acclaimed second album tells the story of a tragic relationship — that draws on Justin Timberlake.
Rosalía’s El mal querer (loosely: “the bad want” or “the bad desire”) was inspired by the 13th-century novel Flamenca, written by an anonymous author in the Romance language of Occitan. Each song is a chapter, tracing the fall of a relationship.
“It’s the story of a woman who married a man who becomes consumed with jealousy, and he goes crazy and imprisons her,” Rosalía told Pitchfork. “And it got me thinking, almost anthropologically: Centuries later, have we altered the ways in which we love and relate to other people, or are we still acting in the same ways?”
“Bagdad (Cap 7: Liturgia)” features a familiar melody — taken from the chorus of Justin Timberlake‘s 2002 hit “Cry Me a River.” Rosalía’s Spanish lyrics, according to Genius, translate in English as “And she’s going to burn, if she stays there / The flames rise up to heaven to die / There’s no one else around there / There’s no one else, sitting and clapping.”
4. J Balvin isn’t her only major cosign.
The flamenco star has also recorded with Pharrell and made her follow-up to “Con altura,” “Barefoot in the Park,” with English electronic artist James Blake.
And outside of music, Rosalía has also worked with Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodóvar on Pain and Glory, starring Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz.
5. She won big at the VMAs last year.
She took home best Latin video and best choreography with Balvin for “Con Altura” at MTV’s 2019 Video Music Awards.
The 62nd Grammy Awards are airing live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.