A Raw Alejandro (1993) loves Madrid. Especially because, when talking to him, he confesses that he went out last night and had a great time on the streets of the capital. But not a hangover can stop him from continuing to work and accumulating successes, such as ‘Todo de ti’, which has undoubtedly become the song of summer 2021, or others already consolidated as reggaeton hymns, such as ‘El Efecto’ or ‘2 / Catorce’. Although the most curious thing about this artist classified as urban is that he has just released a studio album, ‘Vice Versa’, in which we not only find this scam of rhythms. He has dared with electronics, boleros and, of course, pop. Although one thing remains intact: love is the protagonist of his verses.
These same ones, that you already know from beginning to end, are the ones that have taken him to the top of the charts year after year. We have chatted with him about how he has changed in recent years, but he has also confessed other secrets such as the birth of ‘Todo de ti’ – ‘spoiler’: it has nothing to do with Fergie and ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ – and if we can expect a collaboration with Rosalía soon (Catalan flattery included). We like everything about him, we don’t hide.
How do you feel about this second album?
Super good, very happy. With this album I was able to do the things I really wanted to do and it is a totally new Rauw Alejandro. Very different from what I have been creating during my career.
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What is that different thing that you wanted to do and have not done in the previous projects?
Be more free. New artists feel the pressure of having to fit in, because it is understood that it is the remedy to reach a position and have all the resources that you did not have before or the attention of the public. Now I’ve gotten more creative and having that freedom to do whatever you want, musically speaking, it’s a really cool feeling.
Why did you choose ‘Vice Versa’ as the name of your album?
Represent the two opposite sides of things. The album is like an upside down world, a closed circle, a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes we feel one way, other times another … We have many moods. If you listen to the record, it’s like a story, with a beginning and an end.
What is that story about?
It is one that everyone lives. For example, in my case, my music is aimed at female audiences, with a little more romantic, more sensual aspects … I’m always telling that love story. Reggaeton has a reputation for having slightly heavier lyrics. Over time, it has evolved a lot and I’m not going for that explicit part. I’m not soft either. I try to find that middle point. From experience, they don’t like bad guys anymore, but they don’t like super good guys anymore [risas]. You have to find the balance. ‘Vice versa’ has that contrast. It is not just reggaeton, it has many types of musical genres.
You always talk about love but what is love to you?
It is a very big word to define. It’s everything. It is when you give yourself to that person, speaking of couples, family, friends …
What is the song on the album that has cost you the most to create on the album?
‘Beautiful thing’. The story tells what the boy is feeling. There is pain, there is a break. So, he does a mix of the Afro genre and electronic house. The change is very interesting and it was a lot of fun to do it. At first, there is the suffering part, but then the house comes and you feel the ‘bang, bang’. I start sad and end with another ‘mood’. It’s a bit of that spite of when you go to party with courage and say: “Today I’m going to break the street, I’m going to have a good time.” These types of transitions are very difficult to make, however it is part of the challenge. There is also ‘Aquel nap’, which starts with an R&B, then changes to reggaeton and ends up being a bolero.
You’ve worked a lot on it …
It is a super project. I have made sure that each ‘track’ has my essence, since I also like directing and producing the songs. I’ve been in music for six years and two years ago I started producing them myself, together with my team of course.
And the most significant clue?
The songs on the album are like my children, I can’t choose who I love more [risas]. But let’s say ‘Todo de ti’, which is the first track on the album and a song with which I felt a very strong connection.
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The resemblance of this to ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ has been talked about a lot. Did you sample Fergie’s song?
Well, look what I’m going to tell you: no. We do not sample it. It was the fruit of chance.
Tell us a little more about this.
I find out about the similarity to Fergie’s when the song comes out. But I said, “I’m going to let time pass and people comment.” Obviously, I’ve heard that song, and it has nothing to do with ‘Todo de ti’. The explanation is simple. Twelve chords or notes are created. The ones that are similar are the first four, which have a similarity in what the melody is. This can happen in music because nobody invented anything. Everything is made up! It’s interesting because, furthermore, if I had, I wouldn’t mind saying so. He has sampled a lot of music and revived ‘old school’ songs. However, in this case, it was pure chance. I was very inspired by Bruno Mars and American funk. At the time I created it, I was listening to the ‘vibes’ of the 90s and 2000s, and I liked it. Thus it arose.
But even the beginning is very similar with the ‘1,2,3,4’ …
It is a count that many bands do. But it is true that, when I see the video of Fergie afterwards, I realized that she also started the video like this and I said: ” It can’t be ” [risas]. But, for example, if you listen to ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ by Bruno Mars, it starts like this. Getting carried away by many things, ‘All of you’ came out. But it is a coincidence. Fergie and I were connected [risas]. Sometimes happens. Obviously, she is a legend. I respect all artists, but she never crossed my mind for this topic.
Who inspires you, then?
I’m a big fan of Michael Jackson, James Brown … Of all these ‘performers’ who come on stage and start dancing, who have the complete package. They have always caught my attention, they have inspired me. From the new school: Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars … Artists that, as a child, I have always loved and followed. And, obviously, in the Latin world, Daddy Yankee. Even Chayanne or, here in Spain, David Bisbal, who threw his movements and his steps.
Indispensable question: collaboration with Rosalía. Is the intention at least on the table?
Some day some day. Rosi and I have a great friendship. She was able to work with me on ‘Aphrodisiac’, my first album. We exchanged a lot of ideas, we’ve been working on her things together … We have that nice chemistry in the studio. We are waiting for the right moment to do the theme and make it a super theme. For me, she is the top. Not only in Spain, but also worldwide. He is extremely talented.
What’s the latest thing that inspired you to compose or create a song?
Ugh, life [risas].
Something more concrete …
I look for inspiration in many things. I am very outgoing. I try to look for the surprises that life has on a day-to-day basis. I listen to a lot of music, I go out with my friends, I work … In the end, there is always someone who manages to lift that muse for me and makes me creative. They are the situations of life in general. Things that inspire you and help you connect with others. When you are real, you start writing about what really happened to you. You also try to understand the world a little further, observe and look for that connection with the public. For me, it is the most important thing when I am in the studio. If you don’t have that click with them, you’re not doing it right.
So many of your songs are based on real events?
Sure. Obviously, sometimes it is not so literal, but they are things that have happened to me. The intro or a verse can tell what happened. There I leave a little piece of me. But they are also situations that happen to everyone. People fall in love, they have their heartbreak, they feel happy, they feel sad, they feel butterflies in their stomach, they have ambition, dreams … I try to generalize, because not all people feel the same. This is how I achieve that connection with the public.
How about these days in Spain? Have you been with a lot of fans?
I love Madrid and Spain. It was one of the first places I was able to ‘tour’, some years ago, in some festivals, such as the Reggaeton Beach Festival, and all the discos, and now I return in October. Also, this time it’s going to be cooler. The theaters are bigger and it’s another level. I come to give the complete ‘show’ of Rauw Alejandro.
Advance us a little from that ‘show’.
They have to go to the ‘show’ to check it out! [risas]. There will be a lot of energy and a lot of dancing.
When did you feel that your career had hit the ball worldwide?
It has not been from zero to one hundred. It was from zero to twenty, from twenty to thirty … Each year was better than the last. It was not to drop a song and have the ‘boom’. Because, obviously, every artist sticks it now. We have been working for a long time, for example with Nicki Jam on ‘The effect’, ‘Fantasía’ with Farruko, ‘Tattoo remix’ with Camilo … and every year there is a song that surpasses the step. This has made my career more solid and my fans are there very loyal. It was already three years ago that I started to see that this was going to be great, and I knew I had to focus and take it to the next level.
And what has changed in you?
Many things. Everything! Even vocally. You change, you keep improving, learning many things. Above all, to see life in a different way, to move in a different way, to make decisions in a different way. You have more responsibility as you have all the public eye on you. Three years ago I could do whatever I wanted out there and nobody knew about it. Now you have to be a little more reserved [risas]. Ultimately, you learn a lot. I am trying to learn and absorb all that I can. I am very involved in everything that has to do with my career. I hope that in a couple of years I will be gifted at what I do [risas].
Plans for this summer?
I don’t have many vacations. I’m focused on tour rehearsals. We started on July 15 in the United States, Latin America and then we came to Spain. We are also preparing the MTV VMAs show [12 de septiembre en Nueva York] , there are several shootings … There is no vacation for me. Maybe when the year is over, at Christmas, I take a week.
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