In the last year, Rosalía has become a bonafide pop star. In the fall of 2018, she had just released her second studio album, El Mal Querer, based on the first-ever novel, Flamenco. Since then, she’s been on tracks with Travis Scott, J Balvin, Ozuna, and James Blake. She hangs out with Kylie Jenner and Hunter Schafer. Now, she’s nominated for two Grammy awards and is making history as the first artist to be nominated as Best New Artist for performing entirely in Spanish.
“Best New Artist contender, Barcelonan nu-flamenco queen Rosalía, makes history as the first nominee in the category that performs completely in Spanish,” a statement posted to the Grammy.com read. “The ‘Malamente’ singer also has a nomination in Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for El Mal Querer.”
Her success has been emblematic of the massive success that Spanish-language music had in 2019, which has dominated streaming charts across genres and has resulted in all sorts of unexpected collaborations. There was that Sebastian Yatra and Jonas Brothers collaboration, the novelty singles, and that Black Eyed Peas and J Balvin song.
Rosalía won big at the Latin Grammys late in 2019, winning album of the year for El Mal Querer, the first solo female artist to win the award in 13 years. She also won with J Balvin for Best Latin at the MTV Music Awards for their song “Con Altura.” She’s also been nominated for awards at The iHeart Radio Music Awards and Premio Lo Nuestro 2020. At times, Rosalía’s success has become controversial – because she is making Spanish language music, some have categorized her as a Latina performer, which hasn’t sat well with Latinx people. Rosalía is Spanish, from Spain.
But overall, the history that Rosalía is making at the 2020 Grammys with her nomination and performance is an exciting development for Spanish-language music, which for so long, despite genre, has been relegated to specific Spanish-language categories, not considered for the big awards. Let’s hope to see this same energy moving forward for the many Latinx acts who are currently changing the shape of mainstream U.S. music.