Sofía Reyes Talks ‘Mal De Amores’ & Her Vision for Women in the Industry

Photo by Fer Piña.

Sofía Reyes, the Mexican singer-songwriter, has grown into the artist — and person — she feels she was always meant to be. Reyes rose to international fame after her “1,2,3” single featuring Jason Derulo took the world by storm, charting in over 20 countries and reaching No. 24 on the US Hot Latin Songs chart on Billboard. Ever since, she has been steadily releasing singles, notably the Latine pop hits “RIP” with Rita Ora and Anitta, “¿Qué Ha Pasao’?”  with Abraham Matteo, and the sparkling “IDIOTA.” Now, after three years, she has finally released her highly-anticipated second studio album, Mal De Amores

Mal De Amores seems like more of a greatest hits album than a sophomore effort. Every track sounds inherently thought-out and meticulously crafted to be both an audience favorite and a deep part of the artists’ heart. The intro track “Mujeres” is a psychedelic-sounding, triumphant subconscious expression of womanhood with kicker lyrics like “no soy una santa, soy una mujer” and “soy buena y mala, como una mujer.” “Palo Santo” is spiritually-influenced, describing Reyes physically and metaphysically “cleaning the air” after deciding to break up with a partner. “Amigos” with Danny Felix exemplified the humorous undertones of the album — a ranchera-inspired track, depicting a back-and-forth between the two singers, who swear they’re just friends, but their actions betray that sentiment. The newest single “Marte” is a collaboration with Argentine singer María Becerra is a lowkey pop track oozing with latent sarcasm for a lover who was the main reason for their broken relationship.

Reyes sat down with Remezcla to tell us about crafting the sonic landscape of this album over the last five years, her intense and beautiful spiritual journey, and her vision for Latinas in the industry. 

It’s been three years of cultivating this album, and it’s finally being released. How would you describe the last few years of your life, and why did you decide to name the album Mal De Amores?

I’ve been saying that I’ve been working on this album for three years, but I realized that it’s been an even longer journey. It’s probably been five years, which is crazy for me to say. This album means a lot to me, because I got to meet a lot of people along the way that became family to me. I feel like the past five-six years have been the most beautiful of my life, and especially the past three years have been revolutionary in the sense of, I’ve changed so much as a person. I feel like as an artist, I am able to understand with more clarity who I am. I decided to call it Mal De Amores because I realized that there were heartbreaks I experienced and difficult situations that made me learn how to love, in a different way than what I thought love was. Love has all these ramas, and it’s so big, and we’re all learning how to love.

The first track on the album, “Mujeres,” is this beautiful and unapologetic expression of womanhood. Why was it important for you to make this the introduction song?

It felt important to start off the album with that statement of “Woman.” The song says “soy buena y mala porque soy mujer,” and I think that ‘s important to remember. I’ve always been surrounded by powerful women, from my mom to the people that work with me, and I feel very inspired by them. In the song, I’m talking about a relationship with a person in the verses and making that statement of womanhood in the chorus, which felt like the perfect way to welcome the listeners to me and Mal de Amores

Recently, you were a guest on Becky G’s Facebook show and spoke to her about uplifting other women in the Latine music space. What is your vision for how we, as an industry, can continue to uplift Latinas? 

We talk a lot about supporting other women and collaborating, but I think what’s really important is that it’s genuine. People talk about it, but then don’t do anything to help, or we become jealous and compare ourselves to each other. When we start singing in the industry, we’re told, “If you don’t just do this, someone is going to take your place.” Like I told Becky, we’re all unique — there’s space for everybody, and I think it’s very beautiful to support one another. I think especially in the Latin industry, things are changing a lot, and we can see how the industry itself and people are supporting female artists. There’s so much talent and power, and a true sisterhood between us.

When [women] start singing in the industry, we’re told, ‘If you don’t just do this, someone is going to take your place.’ We’re all unique — there’s space for everybody, and I think it’s very beautiful to support one another.”

Your song, “Palo Santo,” talks about adopting a new outlook on life after a break-up. How did your spirituality play a role in making this album?

I experienced my spiritual awakening two years ago, so this album definitely represents the before and the after within my spiritual journey. It’s been very intense and very beautiful. I feel that through this awakening, and also through the journey of going to my psychologist; I’ve approached life in a different way. What centers me always is that everything is perfect, everything happens for a reason. When people go from my life, like in “Palo Santo,” I always feel like that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and God knows better than I do. I don’t fight against it, and, in this case, it felt right that the relationship had to end. I felt peace, and I know that peace is always the guide.

This album has a variety of different sounds, ranging from a more typical folkloric  (“Gallina”) to something more futuristic (“Bachata”). What was your process behind creating the sonic landscape for this album? 

The process of creating this album has been long, so there’s obviously been a little bit of everything. Most of the album was produced by Thom Bridges, an amazing producer from Amsterdam. He comes from a completely different culture than I do, and I feel like what was exciting and challenging for the both of us was exploring sounds we had never done before and didn’t know the story of. We also wanted to bring something fresh to the table. With “1,2,3,” I realized how much I liked cumbia, so I started studying it, and realized that cumbia can be so different.  The song “Gallina” comes from a cumbia style from my hometown of Monterey. There’s also a song called “Bachata,” which is a bachata but has this hip-hop beat to it. I think that’s the beauty of creating music with no roof. 

The art on the album cover is a colorful masterpiece, and was made by Perrito, who is a Mexican artist. Tell me about the significance of the symbols within the album cover and the overall design. 

Perrito is an amazing Mexican designer. I love his work, and the fact that he’s Mexican made me want to work with him. I wanted to add a symbol from each one of the songs on the album on the cover, like the lightbulb from “1,2,3” and the boot from “Idiota.” We added La Virgen de Guadalupe, which represents Mexico in every single way, and I love her. The heart with the sword through it represents the way I learned that love hurts through the album-making process. I love mermaids, so I wanted to be one on the album cover. I really wanted to add everything together, make it colorful, and a little psychedelic, too, in a very fun way.

Listen to Mal De Amores below.