Nathy Peluso, the chameleonic Argentine singer who went from writing poems on the street to Coachella and the Grammys – KESQ

Marysabel E. Huston-Crespo

(CNN Spanish) – The street is school and teacher for many and that does not exclude artists like Nathy Peluso. The Argentine singer, who grew up in Spain – the country where she currently resides – used to write poems in the streets of Madrid, something that later led her to venture into rap and hip-hop.

The experience, which Peluso said was enriching, provided her with tools for composition.

Writing poems in Madrid shaped her as a composer

“It was a very enriching experience, especially because of the agility that I had to develop within quality. When a person comes to you and asks you for a poem that you have to write in a maximum of five minutes, because there is a queue and being committed to quality… because that is something that I never abandon. It was a challenge that later gave me many tools to be a lyricist,” Peluso told Zona Pop CNN in an interview via Zoom.

From those poems came the bars for rap, which triggered hip-hop and a now global musical career, he says.

“Writing in verse quickly is somewhat difficult, especially to maintain the game of the everyday, of the metaphor, of not going to the cliché and not using words that are too sugary. I like to write elegantly”, says Peluso in the CNN Pop Zone interview.

“It was a super nice moment in my career, because in the end for me that was already starting to train as a composer. Thanks to that, I ended up rapping because I liked to write in verse and the rhymes led me to hip-hop. And hip-hop in the end ended up emphasizing that he was a lyricist and that he could write songs and sing them and that he did it well, “said the Argentine.

The Anglo-Saxon Grammy nomination

Perhaps some knew Nathy with her debut album, “Esmeralda”, which was published in 2017. Others will locate her for her session with Bizarrap (number 36) and which exceeds 173 million reproductions on Spotify.

The truth is that “Clambre” – a point of energy leakage as she explains the name of the production – took her to the Grammy Awards, the Anglo-Saxons. The first time that Argentina is nominated for this award.

A mention that came days after raising his first Latin Grammy, precisely for the same album. At the 2021 ceremony, Peluso won the Latin Grammy for best alternative music album, beating established bands like Café Tacvba or Aterciopelados.

“[La nominación] It happened to me in a very shocking week because I won the Latin Grammy. I hardly had time to celebrate that award. I didn’t expect it at all. Everyone told me they are going to nominate you and I, no, what’s up! The truth is that I did not count on it, so it was a pleasant surprise. And well, you saw, a mime after so much work to be recognized globally, is like a fortune,” Peluso told CNN Pop Zone.

Nathy Peluso’s “Cramp”

The album has songs like “Sana sana”, in which he makes a social complaint -among other things- or “Pure poison”, Peluso’s guilty pleasure, he tells Zona Pop CNN, in which he gave free rein to his passion for the sauce.

“Clambre” was born between 2017 and 2018, during the “La sandunguera” tour, the name of one of the singles from “Esmeralda”.

“It started there, but it was the truth that a very long period of composition. In my life there were a lot of changes and that whole album was like the result of many stages. That’s why they also have so many sounds,” said Peluso.

The work process lasted about two years. The album was finished recording in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My voice was changing while I was recording it, while I was composing it. I made several changes and even finished recording it in the middle of the pandemic,” he said.

“I have learned a lot over time. On top of that, at this stage it’s like you learn very quickly… so I put everything I learned there. I was also able to work with musicians that I admire, who represent a lot of the quality that I wanted to propose in this album and also to respectfully defend all the genres with which I dared to play in Cramp”, he adds.

Argentina’s second album was released in October 2020, a month before she received her first Latin Grammy nomination for best new artist.

Nathy Peluso, without labels or genres

Something that characterizes Peluso is that one day he may be singing a bachata with C. Tangana, a pop like his recent single “Vivir asi es muerte de amor” (yes, the Camilo Sesto classic) or a salsa like “Mafiosa”.

This flexibility in composition and interpretation is part of an idiosyncrasy that the artist carries as a flag and that she defends despite criticism: not defining herself as a singer of a specific genre.

“I have been defending this work philosophy since I started making music. That was like my speech and my flag. And the truth is that people did not understand much. In fact, it came to me as if to criticize perhaps for not being from a specific club. It makes me very happy to see how those barriers, those limitations disappear and to be able to contribute with my philosophy. That people feel free to do what they want with music, that’s what it’s for. It is to enjoy it, to learn it,” the singer told CNN Pop Zone.

The music that Nathy Peluso listened to in her childhood

Part of this flexibility comes from childhood. Peluso remembers that a rich variety of genres was heard in his house, from salsa with Héctor Lavoe or his idol Gloria Estefan, to folk music or Brazilian rhythms.

It was at that stage, and later in her adolescence, where she formed those rhythmic bases that today take her to the Grammys or the Coachella stage.

“In my house there was a lot of variety of music, from folklore to pop, American music, Latin music, Brazilian music, too. We made a trip to Brazil and my parents played Caetano (Veloso) and João (Gilberto) and Jobim a lot too. We’ve heard a lot of Ray Charles. I always liked swing a lot”, he adds.

Peluso defines herself as a music lover to the point of deeply studying each genre, such as salsa, one that she is passionate about and surprises her.

“Salsa always surprises me, the truth is that it is one of the genres that it gives me as a consumer and as a composer,” she says. But not just any sauce, specifically Puerto Rican.

“I am a huge fan of salsa and making, for example, Puro Veneno was like a guilty pleasure for me, because I was able to record it with Puerto Rican musicians in Puerto Rico, honoring that salsa, which is the one I listen to the most and I study it a lot”, Peluso explains.

Singing Camilo Sesto but very Luismi

In his most recent single, “To live like this is to die of love”, one of Camilo Sesto’s hits, Peluso wanted to play with an interpretation and a work carried out towards another of his musical idols: Luis Miguel.

To do this, he says, he looked for the same musicians who worked with the also well-known Sol de México on “Romances”, one of his best-known albums worldwide.

“I tried to recycle it more towards Luismi’s side, towards all that musical avant-garde. In fact, I called musicians who played in Romance, who are already veterans, because I wanted to bring that format, that more romantic, more classic, even more chewy musical concept. That absolutely everyone understands it, that everyone can identify with boys, adults, old men, women, men, “he said.

One of the reasons for reviving this theme, says the singer, was to bring the romantic musical genre to an audience that did not experience its heyday or that perhaps would not listen to it if it were not for a version by a current artist. Also, says Peluso, the concept of the song is something that completely defines it.

“The concept defines me a lot, the concept of dying of love for life and constantly fighting with oneself, with the unconscious,” he explains.

And it is that a romantic ballad, whether we like it or not, has one of those songs that always ends up being sung on several occasions: in a love breakup, in a karaoke or with a few more drinks at a family party or with friends. Precisely that transversality of the genre is what motivated Argentina to venture to interpret it.

“For me, the romantic ballad will always have a transcendental power over people. As it is inevitable to sing it, it is inevitable to feel it. That’s why I chose to bring a genre like Living like this is dying of love,” he said.

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Nathy Peluso, the chameleonic Argentine singer who went from writing poems on the street to Coachella and the Grammys – KESQ