Two years ago, singer Karen Freire moved to Los Angeles and began writing and recording songs alongside her friend and producer Jesse Schuster. Having played in various bands over the years, Freire took a different approach with her own solo project, which she branded Kablito. The resulting tracks combine a love of 90s R&B with fresh and forward-thinking pop. Her solo debut, an EP titled Telenovela, is due in June, and today we are premiering a brand new track exclusively at Remezcla.
“Puto Colchón” is a glittery and sweeping pop song that recalls Control-era Janet Jackson. Her lyrics detail a relationship that has run its course and is now devoid of any romance or excitement. The only connection left between this couple is a shared mattress. Over the course of five minutes, those frustrations air out in synth collisions as she challenges her partner (“dame pasión, dame peligro, dame más”) with a final plea knowing full well that it’s doomed.
“Everything always starts with a really simple beat and a bassline,” she tells us over Skype when describing the six-song EP. “There’s a lot of 80s vibes, but there’s also a reggaeton song in there. I want to blend in everything. I love R&B, Latin sounds, and 808s.”
Freire remains to committed to embracing Spanish-language lyrics. “The whole idea with this EP is that I wanted to write a telenovela. I wanted to take the feelings and make them even more dramatic. These things, when you say them in English – it just sounds fucking dumb. I just feel more authentic saying things in my native language.”
Born and raised in Ecuador, Freire moved to the U.S. as a teenager and ended up in the whitest suburbs of Minneapolis. “After I moved to New York and (later) out to L.A., I felt more in my element. It’s a weird thing to be an artist [who sings in Spanish], but there’s a lot of people already representing in pop and electronic music. I feel like there isn’t as much representation for the kind of music I make and the kind of person that I am.”
It is this approach that elevates Kablito as a project to watch, alongside a wave of other rising LA-based Latinx talents such as The Marías or Cuco. Kablito’s ambitions to rep Ecuador are also laudable. She keeps strong connections to her home country. “My dad and my siblings still live there. My best friend is out there. I go back every few years. I’ve played shows in the past and It’s a very different scene. But I’ve always wanted to be an artist that comes out of there and gets to be known.”
Now with a completed EP, Kablito can take those first steps to reach a wider audience and to finally have her moment. Though in many ways, she’s already received the approval she was after: “As soon as I finished this record I sent it to my 14-year-old cousin. She’s really New York and listens to a lot of rad shit. When she told me she liked it, I was like like, ‘That’s it. I’m good.’”
“Puto Colchón” will be available on all digital streaming platforms on May 10. Kablito’s Telenovela EP drops in June.