INTERVIEW: Letón Pé Breaks Down Every Song on New EP ‘Rojo Rubí’

Lead Photo: Photo by Juanca Paulino.
Photo by Juanca Paulino.
Read more

Since her music career began, rising Dominican singer and songwriter Letón Pé knew she always wanted to create a merenhouse record. Her debut EP, Deseo, was moodier with elements of R&B and trap, and her second EP, La Caleta, explored the sounds of pop, dance, and rock. So, for her third and latest EP, Rojo Rubí, Letón accelerates full-throttle into the realm of tropical electronic music, incorporating traditional genres and instruments found in her native Dominican Republic. 

“I had a clear vision in really wanting to create merenhouse music… And I remember Fuego dropped his song with The Martinez Brothers called ‘Pendiente Al Paso,’ and I said to myself, ‘Oh my god, it’s happening. They’re rescuing the genre. I need to jump on this!’” she tells Remezcla.

The previous year was a whirlwind for Letón. In conjunction with working on her Rojo Rubí,  she spent the early part of the summer making her SXSW debut at various showcases, including KEXP x El Sonido’s Radio Day Stage, performing at Pérez Art Museum Miami and SOB’s in New York City, and even attended the 2022 Latin Grammy’s in Las Vegas. She also met and worked with heavy-hitting producers, composers, and fellow artists. The list includes legends like Eduardo Cabra, originally of prolific Latin rap group Calle 13, producer Julián Bernal, and rapidly rising Puerto Rican producer Fuxbeat, who recently dropped his biggest track yet titled “Besos Ricos” for Venezuelan band Rawayana featuring Colombian star Goyo. Some of Letón’s newest musical colleagues also include rising artists like Calacote, Ana Mancebo, and longtime producer Piek, who ultimately all contributed to Rojo Rubí.

“I remember asking Julián, ‘Isn’t it hard to make fresh music when you’ve already made so many songs? Isn’t it hard to avoid repeating your lyrics, melodies, or mannerisms?’ And he basically agreed with me in that an artist can have their own stamp. But I don’t want to get bored, and I don’t want my listeners to get bored. So I’m always looking for different ways to speak to listeners and experimenting with my sound,” she says. 

Through her newest work, Letón Pé has allowed herself to remain authentic to her vision while continuing to explore genres and techniques that elevate and develop her artistic muscles. Since this EP will propel her further into the mainstream stage — where she belongs — Letón broke down every song on Rojo Rubí.

“Bailo Pa’ Mi”

From October to January 2023, I created a ton of new music, but none of those songs felt like they reached the heights of my previous work. This track gave me the gasoline and direction to enter the merenhouse territory I envisioned and to create more music in that realm. I knew immediately that this was always going to be the first track for Rojo Rubí. I met Ana [Mancebo] at a showcase in Miami and thought she was an amazing singer. I invited her to a studio session with myself and Fuxbeat and she ended up writing her own verse for the song. I said, ‘Girl, you need to be on this track.’ It was so fun to work with her and Mimi Rose, who was also in our session that day. It felt like a slumber party.

When I created “Bailo Pa’ Mi,” it felt like a big relief because I was finally making music connected to my roots, but it fell within the line of my signature sound while still distinguishing itself from all my other music at the same time. I wanted to stand out and make music that was authentic to my own experience. I called up Omega El Fuerte’s percussionist, Carlos Frias Alias, also known as “El Verdugon.” [He] helped me record percussions for [this song], “Rojo Rubí,” and “Tengo Miedo” [too]. I wanted people to feel a closeness and understanding of the music and culture of the Dominican Republic. I don’t want to cosplay anything. I want to make music on my own terms and take the ancestral rhythms of D.R. and incorporate them into sounds we can all recognize in pop music. 

“Tengo Miedo” With Calacote, Eduardo Cabra, & Tonga Conga

I met Calacote one year ago through DMs, and one day, I invited him to a session I was having with music producer Maffio. We immediately connected and stayed in touch, and when I attended the Latin Grammys, we invited Calacote to come with us. Remezcla had asked Calacote to record in the $1 session and all he knew was that it was going to be a mambo violento that he had to write lyrics on the spot. He asked me if I wanted to jump on the track with him, and of course I said, “Obvio!” He asked me what I wanted to talk about in the song and I initially wasn’t sure, but the beat and rhythm made me want to write about a woman that intimidates people for being who she is unapologetically. Calacote wrote the first part of the song so quickly — he’s a machine when it comes to songwriting. There was something so cool about the rush and we just let ourselves be guided by instinct. It was exciting to create a song at such a rapid pace but also difficult to break away from the impulse of wanting to write every word and every line perfectly.

I remember asking Eduardo Cabra what he thought about our song and he said, ‘Yeah, I like that,” and eventually asked us to create an extended version of it. So when we got back to D.R., Calacote and I got together in the studio and finished the entire track.

“Rojo Rubí (Rompiendo La Cadera)”

“Rojo Rubí” is about dominance and creating the ideal version of a woman. The narrative and opening sample is based on “La Dueña del Swing” [by Los Hermanos Rosario], and I was also inspired by villains from novelas like Rubí and Paola Bracho from La Usurpadora. So I took all those references, along with a few more local ingredients, to reflect vigor, strength, and dominance through the songwriting, but also through dance. I started my career in musical theater and I wanted to give the music video a touch of Vaudeville and much more choreography than I had ever done previously. Finding a male dancer was very hard because I wanted someone Dominican but not white or at least not lighter than me. I wanted someone masculine but still in touch with their feminine side too. We finally found Hector, who is a professional dancer and was amazing.

“Ando Animal”

This is one of the songs that most represent me. It’s an internal confrontation between hedonism and discipline. I ask a lot of myself, and sometimes, I struggle with imposter syndrome, which often prompts me to push myself harder to prove that feeling wrong. The writing is very explicit in expressing the push and pull of having to choose between instant gratification and pleasure or being patient and persistent while working towards long-term desires. So I thought pairing that analogy in my songwriting with the setting of a gym for the music video was perfect. The gym is also a really Letón kind of thing. I did crossfit for many years and used to win a ton of awards, so I said, “I need to create a video that showcases that truth.” I remember telling Eric Alvarez, who also directed the video before “Rojo Rubí,” ‘I never felt more comfortable or more like myself in a music video.” Flashdance was a big source of inspiration, and so was Teyana Taylor’s performance in Kanye West’s music video for “Fade.” When that video came out, it changed my life.


So when I mentioned that I was running around and working a lot between October and January, when that period ended, I crashed. It was like el bajón de los bajones. This was a period of rest and self-reflection. I needed to close the EP with a track that felt like a deep breath and that connected with listeners more intimately. Normally, when I need to recharge, I always go to the beach and hang with my friends and cousin. Those are my biggest comforts. In the outro, I took the sound of a video that I recorded when I was at the beach with my friends during my birthday, so you can hear my friend Elisa say, “Tengo una teta afuera.” She’s one of my best friends and also a creative who helped me with the creative process for my last EP. You can also hear my dog barking, and it was one of those days where you feel, “Dios mío, I need a day like this at least once a month.” I told Fux that I really wanted audiences to feel a closeness and to feel like this track is a return home.