Iconográfica: Pop Princess Daniela Romo, the Guilty Pleasure Who Inspired Javiera Mena

Illustration by Cristobal Saez for Remezcla

When you think of Daniela Romo, the rancheras and cursi romantic ballads your mom listens to might come to mind. But few think of the electropop gems that were part of the release of Romo’s Amor Prohibido and self-titled record. With the help of producer Danilo Vaona, of Raffaella Carrà fame, Romo crafted a batch of pristine, anthemic pop songs in the early 1980s, tracks that have inspired a new generation of Latin American pop musicians.

Clad in bold colors, shoulder pads and hip-length straight hair, Daniela Romo burst onto the charts with “Mentiras,” after a successful stint in a telenovela and several stage plays. The song, a cut from her self-titled debut, is the definition of electropop melodrama, as she questions her lover’s cheating ways. But the highly infectious chorus of the first single had nothing on the second, “La Ocasión Para Amarnos,” where Romo belts out an ultimatum to her paramour about the importance of loving each other, even if it was just for one night. The last single of her debut, “Celos,” cemented her successful formula for hits with explosive synth choruses. The song, written by José Luis Perales, has a music video treatment that further exemplifies Romo’s novela acting chops, and features a cameo by none other than a very young Miguel Bosé.

For Amor Prohibido, Daniela Romo took a page from France’s 1960s yé-yé genre and covered a song by Italian pop star Fiordaliso, which became “Yo No Te Pido la Luna,” perhaps her most well-known hit. Interestingly enough, Romo rewrote the track in Spanish and Fiordaliso re-recorded it in Spanish – enabling two versions of the same song to compete on the airwaves. The power ballad is truly Daniela Romo at her finest, complete with synth stabs and a booming chorus.

After the success of her pop albums, Romo went in the musical direction of one of her ultimate idols, Rocio Durcal, and started performing romantic ballads and rancheras. Though she left behind her electropop gems and opted for mom jams, she inspired many Latin American indie pop stars. Javiera Mena, Chile’s 21st century pop princess, has referenced Romo’s influence since the beginning of her career; she even covered “Yo No Te Pido La Luna” on her debut album Esquemas Juveniles. Romo’s music has also been connected to the work of other Chilean pop darlings, like Alex Anwandter and Dënver. Hopefully, their support will help Romo’s underrated classics go from guilty pleasures to pop masterpieces.