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Boy Pablo On Growing Up Bicultural & Why Writing About Love Comes Easily To Him

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Photo: Benjamin Hovlandsdal

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Boy Pablo On Growing Up Bicultural & Why Writing About Love Comes Easily To Him

The Recording Academy caught up with Nicolas Pablo Rivera Muñoz after his set at Corona Capital fest in Guadalajara, where he shared more about his first time in Mexico, growing up bicultural, new music and more

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2019 - 12:15 am

"How would you feel if I walked up to you one day and ripped your heart out?" sings Nicolas Pablo Rivera Muñoz, a.k.a. boy pablo, the singer/songwriter and musician from Norway whose catchy indie rock is on the rise. "Losing You" is just a taste of his signature blend of upbeat sounds and lyrics expressing the rollercoaster that love is, from heartache to infatuation.

"It's weird 'cause I like to keep my things private, actually. I don't really have the need to share an experience about love," he told the Recording Academy. "But I didn't find anyone with a cool voice ... so, I had to sing my own songs."

Muñoz, who is of Chilean descent, began making music in 2015 and found internet fame roughly two years later via a viral video for one of his earlier singles, "Everytime." Since then, the world has come to know his music through 2018's Soy Pablo EP and 2017's Roy Pablo EP. 

The Recording Academy caught up with Muñoz after his set at Corona Capital fest in Guadalajara, where he shared more about his first time in Mexico, growing up bicultural, new music and more. 

It's your first time in Mexico, how do you feel being here? Is it everything you thought it would be? 

Yes. It feels like home cause it's a Latin American country. So I feel good and the weather's good, and yeah it's fun ... I don't know what I expected, actually. [Laughs.]  'Cause I've heard a lot of weird stuff about Mexico, but it's really a beautiful country.

I heard you speaking Spanish on stage.

Yeah. [Laughs.] My parents are from Chile so I learned Spanish when I was a little kid.

How was your set? 

They gave us a short time, but it was really fun. It was another kind of show 'cause we normally do longer shows, but really fun. We used all our energy in those 30 minutes that they gave us, and it was really fun. And the Mexican crowd was amazing.

How did the name "boy pablo" come about?

[Laughs.] I wanted an artist name with the name "Pablo" in it. And I asked my manager Fabio what could go with "Pablo." I came up with a lot of ideas and nothing was really cool. When I chose the name boy pablo, I really didn't think it was cool. I don't know. But Fabio suggested it.

How does it feel bringing your music to the world now? 

It's kind of a natural thing. When I made music, I thought like, people could like this maybe and then I showed it to my friends and my family and they were like really supportive. They were like, "Yeah, you've got to put it out." And in a strange way, we got famous by a YouTube video. So it's really like social media that made the project this big.

What was your reaction when the video blew up?

Suddenly, one day in October 2017 I was getting a lot of followers on Instagram. I called my manager Fabio and I was like, did you buy followers [for] my account? He was like, what are you talking about? And then I checked a couple of videos, we had a video for "Your Phone" and "Flowers." It was neither of them. Then I checked "Everytime" and suddenly it had like 20,000 views more than the last time I checked, then the next day 100,000 and then 250,000. It was crazy. I didn't know what to think cause it happened so fast. But we're so thankful for that now. 

 
Photo: William Glandberger
 
You mentioned your Chilean parents, but you grew up in Norway. How was that experience for you, and how do your cultures influence your music? 

Well, I'm a chill guy and people in Norway, they don't express feelings at all. That expressing feelings I got from my family, being chill I got from being Norwegian. But yeah, it's really cold [in Norway]. So there's nothing to do, normally. You just hang out at people's houses and it can be boring sometimes. So it was natural for me to make music and yeah, my parents showed me a lot of Latin music when I grew up.

Like what?

Américo. Ráfaga. A lot of like nuevo ola from the '70s. 

I'm Mexican-American. We sometimes refer to our language as "Spanglish." For you is there something you call when you speak Spanish and Norwegian?

Yeah, we mix languages. When I don't remember a word in Spanish cause I don't practice my Spanish so much as I like to, but yeah, we speak NorSpanish? [Laughs.] I don't know.

You write a lot of love songs. What's it like putting your experiences with love out in the world?

It's weird 'cause I like to keep my things private, actually. I don't really have the need to share an experience about love, but I've done that with some songs. But other songs, I actually write it like as a love song, but it can be about anything else. It's just easy for me to write about love, 'cause it's such a common thing to feel.

What came first for you, writing lyrics or playing instruments?

Definitely playing instruments. Actually, before I started boy pablo, I tried to find somebody, anyone that could sing my songs. But I didn't find anyone with a cool voice or that was a good friend or something. So yeah, I had to sing my own songs. The lyrics don't come easy to me. So I use a lot of time to work on those, although they're really simple, [as English is] not my first language.

What's next for you after Corona Capital?

We have a lot of festivals coming up this summer. We have like 25, like all over the world. Like France, Spain, Hungary. We're going to The States as well. And I'm working on new music.

Any more details you can give us?

I'm planning a couple of collaborations. I can't tell with who, but I hope one of those songs will be released soon, before the summer. 

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

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"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

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Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track

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Photo: Harmony Korine

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Iggy Pop Announces New Album, 'Free', Shares Title Track

"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained… I wanted to be free," the Godfather of Punk explained

GRAMMYs/Jul 18, 2019 - 11:47 pm

Today, GRAMMY-nominated punk forbearer Iggy Pop revealed the details for his forthcoming 18th solo studio album, along with its short—at under two minutes—yet spacious title track, "Free." The 10-track LP is due out Sept. 6 and follow's 2016's GRAMMY-nominated Post Pop Depression.

"This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice," Pop explains in a press release.

The statement notes jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas and L.A.-based electric guitarist Noveller as the "principal players" collaborating with Pop on this exploratory new project. On "Free," Thomas' horn and Noveller's guitar add layers of depth, somberness and exploration, as Pop's echoing voice cuts through twice to proclaim, "I want to be free."

Pop adds that his last tour left him feeling exhausted but ready for change, and the shifts eventually led him to these new sounds:

"By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that's an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need—not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen."

Post Pop Depression earned the former Stooges frontman his second GRAMMY nod, at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Alternative Music Album. It was produced by GRAMMY winner Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and as a tribute of sorts to David Bowie, Pop's longtime friend the producer of his first two solo albums, and was released shortly after Bowie's surprising passing.

As the press release states, "While it follows the highest charting album of Iggy's career, Free has virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor—or with any other Iggy Pop album."

You can pre-order and pre-save the new album now for the Sept. 6 release here. You can also check out Pop's new book, 'Til Wrong Feels Right, on Sept. 26.

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Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala

Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage

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Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"

It's been four years since we've heard new music from Tame Impala, but their new release has come just in time for festival season

GRAMMYs/Mar 23, 2019 - 12:08 am

Tame Impala have released a new single appropriately called "Patience." The GRAMMY-nominated music project by Australian singer and musician Kevin Parker had not released any new tracks since 2015's Currents.

The long-awaited latest release embodies the exact feeling of having to wait for something: "Has it really been that long? / Did I count the days wrong? ... I've been waiting here / Waiting for the day to come," Parker's soft voice sings on the track featuring an equally soft piano. 

Parker, who has come to fame for the psychedelic, dreamy pop sound he shares as Tame Impala, teased the single on Instagram last night. "New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones people," the post said. 

He and his touring band will be headlining Coachella and Lollapalooza this year and starting a U.S. tour after the Indio, Calif. dates. He said that he would like to release a new album by mid-2019. 

"I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."

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