La Cruz_

INTERVIEW: La Cruz Talks Normalizing Gay Reggaeton & Karol G Co-Sign

Photo by Laura Chapman.

La Cruz is shaking up the reggaeton music scene with his songs about men. This past summer, the Venezuelan singer went viral with his sexy “Quítate La Ropa” music video. In addition to the LGBTQ+ community, the regayton anthem also turned Karol G and Omar Apollo into fans of his. With that momentum, he had a mini U.S. tour for the first time last week. While catching up with La Cruz at his Los Angeles, CA, show, he spoke with Remezcla about his breakthrough year, becoming a proud gay voice in el movimiento, and what’s coming next.

“When I think about what I’m doing here in the United States, it’s something I dreamed about that now I’m making happen,” he tells Remezcla. “Sincerely, I feel very happy.”

Before stepping on international stages, he grew up as Alfonso La Cruz in La Guaira, Venezuela. Among the acts that inspired him, he cites Karol G, Paramore, and Freddie Mercury. He also listened to a lot of Arcángel’s music. La Cruz always had aspirations to be a singer, but Venezuela’s economic collapse made that plan unfeasible. 

“In Venezuela, I felt like I couldn’t achieve my dreams,” he says with a sad expression. “It was very complicated, the idea of making music. Also, there was a crisis in my country. At 19 years old, I left, but I continued to pursue music.” 

La Cruz moved to Spain in 2015. Three years later, he became known throughout the country after competing in the reality singing competition Operación Triunfo. Following his time on the show, he hit the ground running as an independent artist. La Cruz released a string of singles in the years that followed. In 2022, he started to make his mark in reggaeton with the “Desnudx” music video, which showed him admiring another man. 

“I’ve always been open about my sexuality throughout my life,” he says. “I’ve never gone to a studio to work on a project that I couldn’t identify with. I wanted to do something that’s real about who I am. How the people take it, that’s another thing. That’s what I was afraid of. I always look at and focus on the good comments and the people who have love for me.”

“I’ve always been open about my sexuality throughout my life. I’ve never gone to a studio to work on a project that I couldn’t identify with. I wanted to do something that’s real about who I am. How the people take it, that’s another thing.”

Fortunately, La Cruz never let homophobia stop him from expressing himself as a gay man in his music. He continued to push boundaries in reggaeton, a historically machista genre, with his debut album Hawaira, released in November 2022. La Cruz came through with more gay-friendly perreo in his follow-ups like “Boulevard” and “Te Conocí Bailando.” In time for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, he turned up the heat with reggaeton romp “Quítate La Ropa,” which featured shirtless men perreando in the music video. 

“I feel like the [queer] community is super receptive because they were missing that reference,” he says. “We have Villano Antillano, Young Miko, and Ptazeta, but a boy who sings openly [about being gay] and does it naturally was something that we were always missing. I sing about what I’m living.”

“Quítate La Ropa” went viral across social media, with gay men recreating the twerking from the video. The song also caught the attention of artists like Karol G and Omar Apollo, who followed him on Instagram. La Cruz received words of encouragement from both artists in his DMs. 

“I wrote to [Karol G] that I felt grateful and that she’s one of my inspirations,” he says with a big smile. “I wrote, ‘Bichota, ‘I’m going to kill it!’ She wrote, ‘I know you’re going to do that. I love the song!’ She wrote a bunch of beautiful things. Omar Apollo was super happy. I hope we can work together because he is very nice.”

During his show at the Soho House in L.A., La Cruz performed his songs for an intimate group of fans. During his set, he also sang his upcoming single “Easy Boy,” which will be released sometime next month. “It’s a song that’s going to make a lot of people dance in the clubs,” La Cruz says. “I think it’s going to change everything.” He is also hard at work on his next album, which is coming out next year.

“I want people to hear my songs and have a good time,” he says. “The message I want people to take away is there are men who can perrear with other men. It’s completely normal and natural.”