Like many second-generation Latinos, Daniela Andrade has spent much of her adult life revisiting her identity. The tamales and Spanish of her youth were never missing, of course. Yet it took a while for the Canadian-Hondureña songwriter and producer not to feel at odds with it all, especially after years of accepting North American culture as the norm. “I was always the only Latina at school,” she tells me on a phone call from Montreal. “So for me, there was a total rejection of culture when I was growing up.” For Andrade, many of those formative years were also spent on YouTube singing covers, making her something of a minor celebrity on the video platform throughout the early aughts. But beyond a few dabbles in Spanish-language covers — including the endearing “Carta Para María” with her father — Andrade’s catalog mostly catered to the sensible pop music tastes of the time. Now, that’s beginning to change.
On her forthcoming EP, TAMALE, due out on October 25, Daniela is uninterested in omitting any part of herself. As the EP’s name suggests, there will be mention aplenty of tamales and frijoles (the foods she was often bullied about for bringing to school, where “there was always that classic, ‘oh, your food smells funny, it looks funny,’”) along with more serious matters: her family and her womanhood.
This focus developed after trying to film last year’s music video for “Genesis” in politically torn Honduras. While her team was derailed to Mexico, Daniela still tells me, “I had this moment in a museum where I started crying, because a lot of the sculptures and paintings just reminded me of my mother… It just felt so surreal to see my family in museum settings.” Daniela began mining for this recognition across TAMALE’s earliest tracks, including today’s third single off the EP, “Gallo Pinto.” The single is accompanied by a cinematic music video directed by her partner, Oscar-nominated Jérémy Comte, and Remezcla has the pleasure of exclusively premiering it below.
“I like the challenge of trying to bring people into a concept they might not even understand,” Andrade says of “Gallo Pinto,” which was one of the first songs on the EP that she wrote lyrics for in Spanish. But Daniela isn’t only referencing the barriers of language: “Gallo Pinto” marks a supreme effort in carving out empathy for immigrants. It’s an issue that’s personal for her, as Daniela’s parents and older siblings immigrated from Honduras to Canada before she was born. “I think the conversation being had online [about immigration] is not had from a point of view of trying to understand what people are even going through,” she says. It’s what made her decide that the music video for “Gallo Pinto” would be about her family’s experience: “I really wanted the video to portray the humanity behind their decision.” And that, it does.
“Gallo Pinto” is a reenactment of her parent’s journey: long phone calls home to their children in Honduras, even longer hours working factory and farm jobs to bring their family back together. Grainy shots of Central American soil, humble apartments and moody Canada skylines piece together the history, all while Daniela’s delicate voice warbles overhead. “This one’s for my mami, this one’s for my dad,” she sings on a stand-out verse, “gave up everything to give me what they couldn’t have.” Daniela’s latest single proves that their sacrifices were well worth it.