meta-scriptSebastián Yatra Talks Digging Deep & Finding Joy To Create His Exploratory New Album 'Dharma': "I Just Let Go Of Any Fear" | GRAMMY.com
Sebastián Yatra Talks Digging Deep & Finding Joy To Create His Exploratory New Album 'Dharma': "I Just Let Go Of Any Fear"
Sebastián Yatra

Photo: Erick Fernando Quituizaca

interview

Sebastián Yatra Talks Digging Deep & Finding Joy To Create His Exploratory New Album 'Dharma': "I Just Let Go Of Any Fear"

The Colombian star has been on an emotional journey in the nearly three years since his last LP. As a result, Sebastián Yatra's latest project is more than just his most personal — it's a reflection of an intentionally evolving man.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2022 - 04:13 pm

Six months ago, Sebastián Yatra picked up a copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yual Noah Harari. Little did he know, that book would solidify the vision for the project he had been trying to perfect for years.

Upon reading, the 27-year-old Colombian artist discovered dharma, a concept that is defined as the nature of reality. To Yatra, that term perfectly encapsulated his last three years, which saw the singer embark on a personal quest filled with intentional self-discovery and whimsy, learning how to love while also refining and expanding his sound. Thanks to Sapiens, Yatra hadn't just found his album title; he had completed what he calls his "masterpiece."

"I've been working on myself a lot, and I'm back to being myself," Yatra says. "I'm happy with the music I'm working on, and I think it's reflected in my videos, where it's like, they're being made out of love and enjoyment and not out of what the result is going to be — really having some valor agregado (added value)."

What's most important to Yatra now is having his music reflect his current state of emotions while helping fans feel all of theirs too, whether it's a profound feeling or something more rooted in fun. That approach resulted in a genre-spanning 17-track album, on which Yatra tethers between genre lines with ballads and vallenatos, incorporating sounds of punk rock and '80s retro pop to create boundary-pushing Latin sounds.

Yatra detailed his meaningful Dharma journey to GRAMMY.com, explaining how he was able to let go of any inhibitions and create his most personal album yet — one that he hopes will help, as he puts it, "heal all parts of your emotions."

Tell me what your elevator pitch would be for this project. Why do you think that it's the best Latin pop album of 2022?

I love that. You got me, I didn't have that answer prepared. [Laughs.] But I've just got to say the truth about what I feel with the album, and it's definitely my best album so far.

Dharma means the acceptance of reality and accepting our reality is accepting our emotions. And for me, this album reflects that, because our emotions are all over the place. It's not just one way of feeling things or one type of music that makes us connect with all our emotions.

I decided not to do this album based on any genre, but on emotions. And then, depending on the story I was telling or the emotion I was talking about, I decided what rhythm I was going to use or what style. So you can find all types of things in this album.

Each of these songs is very honest, very real, and it feels like you could build an album around any of them. But I didn't build an album thinking about wanting to win an award or wanting to get a result out of it. I built an album where people can actually feel any of their emotions and see themselves reflected and understand that it's all part of our reality, and we've got to accept it.

So your emotions are what guided the variety of sounds and styles on the album?

For me, [I think] why do you have to only sing one style? It's like if you were a doctor, and you only make pills for a headache, but you don't have something to like, treat kidneys or bones. I'm making music to heal all parts of your emotions and all your heart. 

You worked on this project almost entirely during the pandemic. How was that creative process for you? And what sides of your humanity do you think we see in this album that we haven't seen before? 

I think you see a lot of my humanity. I'm not a person that talks about my personal life in interviews or in public or anything, and you always see me with a smile. In my music, I've always been very dramatic and stuff, but I didn't [get] personal. 

 Something cool about this album is that I just let go of any fear. I was very honest about everything, and a lot of the songs have to do with me, 100 percent. Some of the songs are stories that the different writers would come and tell me in conversation. But we've all gone through so much in this pandemic and grown so much that there [were] so many things to write about all the time.

I want to thank this album a lot, because I feel like it's made me a better person. It's an album that I grow and I learn from. I'm learning lessons from the songs that I didn't even know that I was even getting when I wrote them.

What's an example of that? Like, where can we hear that reflected in the way that you're describing?

There are two songs that are mega special for me in the album. When I wrote "Adios," it was like an improv. I just improvised everything, and I didn't really know what I was saying. I understood the lyrics like a year and a half later — [realizing] what I was going through in my head and in my heart at that moment. I had a very big, internal crisis at that point of my life. That song marks the beginning of my process of where I was.

"Quererte Bonito" is the evolution of where my heart and my mind is now. I wrote "Quererte Bonito" like a year ago, and now I'm starting to understand those lyrics and the beauty of just letting life flow with no expectations, being present, and loving people for who they are. And, you know, not forcing anything to stay and not forcing anything to leave.

Out of the music I've done — it is so weird to use this word when referring to your [own] music — but compared to my other songs, I think it's like my masterpiece. It's like when you're in college, you know, "presenta la thesis." This is my thesis as a writer, and I'm really proud of this song and the message it transmits in the lyrics. I think it really gives you hope, and it makes you understand that relationships can have amazing outcomes, and positive outcomes, and they can last in time. 

It sounds like you had a lot of revelations during your journey leading up to this album.

Life can be full of fleeting things, or it can also be full of things that last. But that all starts with you, your self-love, taking care of yourself, and dedicating time to yourself. 

Dharma's brought me into doing yoga. This album, this process, this journey, and these lessons I've taken from it made me make the decision to start going to the psychologist and not be scared of therapy. This album is so much more than just music for me. 

Throughout the album, there is a strong sense of exploration of love. You explore cowardly love, unreciprocated love, saying goodbye. Like you said, it feels like love in all its phases is at the center of your work. Why is that? 

I'm just an emotional guy. I mean, my moon's on Pisces [Laughs]. 

That's fair! 

Maybe it's a subject that I talk about a lot because it's what I'm going through at this moment in my life. Maybe once I have that more resolved, I'll speak about other things, but I'm just being true to myself. This is where my heart is and my thoughts are right now. I feel like I don't have to jump to another phase when I'm not in it yet.

I have written other songs more about society and all these things, but I feel like I'm not at that point right now. When I do want to express that, I want to express it because I'm feeling good a million percent inside — not because I'm forcing myself to do it or [saying], "I want everybody to think that I don't just write about love. I want to be super interesting and write about society and do more protest songs right now."

When I do write that, it's going to be because it's what I want to communicate, and it's the emotion that I have that I want to leave forever. But I want to leave it in the right way. 

Did you feel like you got enough time with this album? Did you feel pressure to release it sooner, or are you happy with it?

I mean, thank God I got some pressure, because then we were never going to release. Like, I've been wanting to release it for a while, but it just wasn't ready. If I had done it earlier, the songs weren't there yet. The concept wasn't there. I found [the term] dharma in a book like six months ago. I had other names for the album, so it happened when it had to happen. 

I've always been a person that, even if I don't have [outside] pressure, I've put it on myself. I've had that wall, and it's something I'm working on. I feel like everyone is pressuring me, and maybe it's just me, my demons and my thoughts — sometimes [people] are pressuring me [Laughs], but, you know, you make it bigger in your head.

That's one of the things I'm overcoming right now, these past three or four months. It's like I'm myself again, because I'm not putting that pressure on myself that I need to be number one — which I've put on myself before, because we're all naturally competitive. If you're a well-known artist and it's something that you did consciously, it's because you like attention, and we've got to fight against that.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I don't like attention! If not, I'd be making music at my house and making it for my friends. I wouldn't be living this public life. But now it's transformed into something different — [something] a lot more beautiful, because I have the opportunities to transmit a message. 

Kali Uchis On What It Means To Be A Latin "Crossover" Star In The 21st Century

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Red Carpet Fashion: See Pics Of Rosalía, Karol G, Peso Pluma, Shakira, Bizarrap, & More
Shakira on the red carpet at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs in Seville, Spain.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

news

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Red Carpet Fashion: See Pics Of Rosalía, Karol G, Peso Pluma, Shakira, Bizarrap, & More

For the 24th Latin GRAMMYs Awards, Latin music's biggest artists graced Sevilla, Spain’s royal red carpet in their most dazzling outfits.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2023 - 01:25 am

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs are not just The Biggest Night In Latin Music — it was also an occasion for the leading lights in Latin music to don a plethora of eye-catching outfits. Just as many of the nominated artists blend genres and break barriers, so too did their sartorial choices. 

Latin GRAMMY performers and nominees demonstrated their individuality and creativity with  extravagant, playful styles. Artists including Rosalía, Karol G, Bizarrap, Peso Pluma, Juanes, and Sebastián Yatra donned jaw-dropping award show looks. Daniela Santiago, Liz Trujillo and Sandra Calixto of Música Mexicana group Conexión Divina coordinated their all black and leather ensembles, while singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade — who took home multiple Latin GRAMMYs for, including Record Of The Year, for "De Todas Las Flores" — added a satin green touch to the red carpet. 

The most-nominated artists at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs are Camilo, Karol G and Shakira, each of whom have seven nominations. Songwriter and composer Keityn also received seven nominations. Edgar Barrera, who took home the Latin GRAMMY Award for Producer Of The Year, led the night with 13 nominations. 

Hosted by Latin GRAMMY winner and performer Sebsatián Yatra, GRAMMY nominee and actress Danna Paola, along with critically-acclaimed actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega — who each also made fashion statements — the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs were an aural and visual night to remember. 

Here are some of our favorite looks from the red carpet at the FIBES Conference and Exhibition Centre in Sevilla, Spain. 

Karol G John Parra/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Rosalia 2023 Latin GRAMMYs Red Carpet

Rosalía | Patricia J. Garcinuno/WireImage

Bizarrap 2023 Latin GRAMMYs red carpet

Bizarrap | Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

Natalia Lafourcade Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Red Carpet Round-Up Peso Pluma Nicki Nicole

Peso Pluma and Nicki NicoleRodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Sebastian Yatra┃Patricia J. Garcinuno/WireImage

Conexión Divina┃Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

Karen Martinez and JuanesNeilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Mon Laferte 2023 Latin GRAMMYs red carpet

Mon Laferte┃Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

EDGAR BARRERA 2023 Latin GRAMMYs red carpet

Edgar Barrera┃Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Maria Becerra 2023 latin grammys red carpet

Maria Becerra┃Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

India Martinez 2023 Latin GRAMMYs Red Carpet

 India MartínezRodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Joaquina 2023 latin grammys red carpet

Joaquina┃Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Kenia os 2023 latin grammys red carpet

Kenia OS┃Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Sita Abellán 2023 Latin GRAMMYs red carpet

Sita AbellánPatricia J. Garcinuno/WireImage

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Winners & Nominations List

Watch: Sebastián Yatra Lights Up The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs With A Dreamy Performance Of "Energia Bacana" And "Vagabundo"
Sebastián Yatra performs at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

news

Watch: Sebastián Yatra Lights Up The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs With A Dreamy Performance Of "Energia Bacana" And "Vagabundo"

Taking a break from co-hosting the show, Colombian star Sebastián Yatra took the stage to perform a medley of "Energia Bacana" and "Vagabundo."

GRAMMYs/Nov 16, 2023 - 10:33 pm

Sebastián Yatra pulled double duty at the 2023 Latin GRAMMY Awards. Along with co-hosting this year's ceremony with Mexican singer Danna Paola, Puerto Rican presenter Roselyn Sánchez, and Spanish actress Paz Vega, the Colombian pop star also performed a medley of his hits "Energia Bacana" and "Vagabundo." 

Yatra started the performance with a dreamy rendition of his latest single, "Energia Bacana." His voice soared as he belted out the sexy love song. 

Yatra then turned the awards into a party with the feel-good "Vagabundo." Though he sang it without his collaborators Manuel Turizo and Beéle, he was joined by a full team of dancers. Flames and pyrotechnics appeared behind Yatra as he brought down the house with his merengue-infused banger. 

A 12-time Latin GRAMMY nominee, Yatra received one nod this year for Best Pop Song, for "Contigo" featuring Spanish artist Pablo Alborán. (The award ultimately went to Shakira and Bizarrap for "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53," which was the first Latin GRAMMY awarded on the telecast.)

Yatra won his first two Latin GRAMMYs at the 2022 ceremony, where he took home Best Pop Song for the feel-good hit "Tacones Rojos" and Best Pop Vocal Album for Dharma. The singer also delivered one of the most unforgettable performances of the night when John Legend joined him to perform a Spanglish version of "Tacones Rojos." 

As he works on his follow-up to Dharma, Yatra has released four songs in 2023, including the two he brought to the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs stage.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

More Performers Added To The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Maluma, Sebastián Yatra, David Guetta, DJ Premier & More Announced; Anitta, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, John Leguizamo & More Join As Presenters
The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will air Thursday, Nov. 16, live from Sevilla, Spain

Graphic Courtesy of the Latin Recording Academy

news

More Performers Added To The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Rosalía, Shakira, Maluma, Sebastián Yatra, David Guetta, DJ Premier & More Announced; Anitta, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, John Leguizamo & More Join As Presenters

These artists join the star-studded performer lineup, which also includes Peso Pluma, Juanes, Rauw Alejandro, Ozuna, Camilo, Christian Nodal, Alejandro Sanz, and more. The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will air Thursday, Nov. 16, live from Spain.

GRAMMYs/Nov 9, 2023 - 01:00 pm

The Biggest Night in Latin Music is almost here — and even more talent will grace the stage! The Latin Recording Academy has announced additional performers for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Current nominees Shakira, Rosalía, Maluma, Sebastián Yatra, and Milo J have been added as performers. Andrea Bocelli, a previous Latin GRAMMY nominee, and DJ Premier join the star-studded lineup, and David Guetta will join Ozuna for a special performance.

In addition, Majo Aguilar, Anitta, Pedro Capó, Jorge Drexler, Luis Figueroa, Fonseca, Tiago Iorc, Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, John Leguizamo, Nicki Nicole, Carlos Ponce, Carlos Vives, and Yandel join as presenters.

Milo J is nominated this year for Best Rap/Hip Hop Song, while Maluma is nominated for Record of the Year and Best Tropical Song. Latin GRAMMY and GRAMMY winner Rosalía is nominated for Record of the Year. Shakira has seven nominations including Record of the Year and three different nominations for Song of the Year. Two-time GRAMMY nominee and two-time Latin GRAMMY winner Sebastián Yatra, who is currently nominated for Best Pop Song, will co-host the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, alongside Latin GRAMMY nominees and actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Danna Paola and internationally acclaimed actress Paz Vega.

Read More: 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

They join previously announced performers Juanes, Rauw Alejandro, Alejandro Sanz, Christian Nodal, Ozuna, Bizarrap, Feid, Camilo, Maria Becerra, 2023 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year Laura Pausini, and many others, who will take the stage at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. Additionally, Peso Pluma and Eslabón Armado will join forces to perform "Ella Baila Sola" for the first time together on television.

The 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards, will be broadcast from the Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES) in Sevilla (Seville) in Andalucía (Andalusia), Spain, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión in the U.S., and at 10:30 p.m. CET on Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) in Spain. It will also air on cable channel TNT at 19:30 (MEX) / 20:30 (PAN-COL) / 21:30 (VEN) / 22:30 (ARG/CHI). The ceremony will be aired in over 80 countries worldwide. Check your local broadcasters for airings.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Explained: 4 Reasons To Be Excited About The New Categories & Changes

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Hosts Announced: Sebastián Yatra, Roselyn Sánchez, Danna Paola And Paz Vega
2023 Latin GRAMMYs hosts (Clockwise from top-left): Danna Paola, Roselyn Sánchez, Sebastián Yatra, and Paz Vega

Photo Courtesy of Artists

news

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Hosts Announced: Sebastián Yatra, Roselyn Sánchez, Danna Paola And Paz Vega

Taking place internationally for the first time ever, the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will be broadcast from Sevilla (Seville) in Andalucía (Andalusia), Spain, on Thursday, Nov. 16.

GRAMMYs/Oct 19, 2023 - 11:59 am

The Latin Recording Academy announced today the hosts for the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: Latin GRAMMY winner and GRAMMY nominee Sebastián Yatra; Latin GRAMMY nominee and renowned actress Danna Paola; and the internationally acclaimed actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega will take over as hosts for 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, officially known as the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards.

With a total of 15 career Latin GRAMMY nominations, Sebastián Yatra is nominated for a Latin GRAMMY for Best Pop Song this year. Roselyn Sánchez, a previous Latin GRAMMY nominee, returns as host of the Latin GRAMMYs for the sixth time after hosting the show in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021. Also, previously nominated for a Latin GRAMMY, singer, songwriter and actress Danna Paola joins the lineup of hosts. In addition, award-winning international actress Paz Vega returns for a second time after hosting the 2019 Latin GRAMMYs.

Read More: 2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

The hosts will join previously announced performers, which includes current nominees Maria Becerra, Bizarrap, Feid, Kany García, Carin León, Christian Nodal, Rauw Alejandro, and Alejandro Sanz. More 2023 Latin GRAMMYs performers will be announced soon.

Taking place internationally for the first time ever, the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs will be broadcast from the Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES) in Sevilla (Seville) in Andalucía (Andalusia), Spain, on Thursday, Nov. 16. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión in the U.S., and at 10:30 p.m. CET on Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) in Spain. Additional international broadcasting partners and local airings will be available soon.

2023 Latin GRAMMYs Explained: 4 Reasons To Be Excited About The New Categories & Changes