Meet Calma Carmona, Puerto Rican Soul for the Masses

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Né(e): Myraida Carmona

Raíces: San Juan, P.R.

Sounds Like…a little La Lupe, a lil’ Al Green, and a whole lot of Motown with a Latin twist.

You should listen to Calma Carmona because…this pint-sized, dreadlocked beauty has a voice so powerful it’ll punch your lights out and then seduce you.

With a sweet demeanor and a killer sway, Calma Carmona first charmed audiences at the now-defunct Café Seda in Old San Juan in 2007. She’s grown a lot since those days and managed to craft a live sound that’s as powerful as it is unique, making her music organic-–with a thumping hip-hop beat—and her stage presence magnetic. She’s so good, in fact, that Beyoncé chose her to open her show a month ago in San Juan. Damn, girl!

For her first recording, she released a live EP, There’s No Other Girl, with a short documentary on Mun2. In those sessions you can tell she wears her influences on her sleeve. From PJ Harvey and Tina Turner to Thelonious Monk and Al Green, she gets the best of both worlds, capturing the natural intersection between soul and bolero, Latin music and Motown. But Carmona also throws in some cumbia-influenced accordions and percussion in “No puedo evitarlo,” using all of her musical roots to her advantage.

Carmona has the playfulness of a contemporary soul singer like Duffy, the strong sensuality of Sade, and the feistiness of La Lupe, with a sweet personality to boot. I also love that she’s real. In an interview for the live session EP, she states that she doesn’t want to make music for a select group of people and, in the world of niche everything, that’s a pretty a courageous thing to say and be able to back up.

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(Photo Credit: Alberto Santiago Torres)

Download Calma Carmona’s There’s No Other Girl below: