Entertainment

Record Labels Told Her No Because She Was ‘Too Latina’ So She Said Screw It And Created Her Own

LaLa Romero does it all. No, for real, she does. With every endeavor, LaLa takes it upon herself to build something, from the ground up.

This Chicana is an independent artist, soon-to-be founder of her own label, co-founder of her lifestyle brand Bella Doña, and a radio host for Apple’s Beats 1. But it didn’t come easy. When record labels told her there wasn’t a demographic for her music, she created a label herself. Streetwear brands weren’t catering to Latinas, so she and her business partner, Natalia Durazo, started one. “We weren’t in the forefront of the brands that existed, so we created our own,” she says.

mitú met up with LaLa for lunch at Escuela Taqueria in Los Angeles to see what the life of a real life boss looks like.

6:45 a.m. Daily


I’m forced out of bed by my bulldog, Biggie. He scratches at the side of my bed until I open my eyes and tell him good morning.

7:00 a.m.

?GOD BLESS?

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I do a guided meditation first thing in the a.m. Being quiet and still is really hard for me, so meditating is a serious challenge. Usually, I start off good then move into daydreaming about what I want to eat and completely lose focus. I try to do this daily before I open my emails or social media because once I’m in work mode there’s really no turning back. This guided [routine] is one I do off YouTube; it has you run an inventory of all the things you’re grateful for. I think this is an important way to start your day. All of the most successful, extremely busy [people] I know meditate. I’m hoping I get the hang of it soon and zen my vibe.

7:30 a.m.

She was a smart girl, until she fell in love. ??? #NewMusicComingSoon

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I journal daily. I have this Inner Guide planner my mentor gave me as a gift that has changed my life. She is the busiest woman in the music biz, anything she advises me to do, I’m on it. I update this journal every morning; it helps me sort my heart and work for the day.

8:00 a.m.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFFrF6ER1MK


I walk Biggie to Starbucks and check all my emails. I’m basically juggling three different sectors of my career and brand, so I have to stay really organized or else all hell breaks loose and shit starts falling through the cracks. I spend around 20 minutes each morning in emails for each category: Music stuff with my manager, Beats 1 business with my producers, and Bella Doña with my business partner Natalia – which always turns into gossip sessions, since we are best friends, basically sisters.

9:00 a.m.

?

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The gym is like my therapy. If I skip it, I’m grumpy all day. It sounds corny, but working out gives me a cool, natural high and keeps my anxiety issues at bay. I listen to my Beats 1 show talk breaks from the day before, then listen to Zane Lowe because his show is a roadmap for many things I’ll touch on during [the] request [segment]. I learn so much by listening to him broadcast.

10:30 a.m.

???

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I grab more coffee and walk home. I walk instead of drive because it gives me time to listen to music and vibe in the sunshine. Nature, blooming roses, the fall leaves scattered on the ground all make me feel. I currently have Mac Miller’s new album “The Divine Feminine” in heavy rotation. I mostly get a lot of creative inspiration from heartbreak, so I’m always intrigued when people are in love and write about it’s upside.

10:40 a.m.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_Iy_mtR1Jl/


I check in and call our Bella Doña assistants. I break down daily objectives and put out any fires. We discuss customer service stuff, etc.

11:00 a.m.

Recent thrift find!! #22bucks

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I get ready for my day! I don’t do full hair and makeup daily, so I can then move pretty quick.

12:00–3:30 p.m.


I work on Bella Doña early afternoons. I try to go into our office three times a week and take meetings outside the other two days. Designing, photo shoots, styling–all concepts, Natalia and I handle it all except shipping. On Fridays, which is the only day I’m not on air for Beats 1, we do photo shoots.

The brand mimics our life, taste and sense of humor. It’s really hard to pass the baton and hire people to do any of these jobs because no one gets us like us. One of our goals with the brand was to create opportunities for women from the neighborhood. Our office manager Karmen was the president of my MySpace street team back in the day. She did so much for me I vowed to hire her one day when I could afford to. It’s been dope to hire from within our community. Models, photographers, everyone we work with is from our community, and I’m really proud of this.

Our office is filled with music and tacos. It’s a super fun creative environment where everyone is fighting over the aux cord to put each other up on new music or some shit we think the other has never heard. Music is the catalyst of why I started the brand. Bella Doña, all of it, was inspired by my struggles as an indie artist and me trying to find other creative ways to push my music and message.

Basically ???

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We have a taco stand on the corner up from our office. We reward ourselves with tacos when we finish our to-do list every day!

3:30 p.m.

✨BEATS1✨

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I head to Beats 1. If I’m busy with Bella Doña or my music stuff, I Uber so I can continue to work.
I get an oatmeal peanut soy smoothie every day [around this time] when I get to the studio! I’m a creature of habit. This smoothie is like a sweet reminder I’m halfway through my day!

4:00 p.m.


I start my show prep, run through new music and my show with my producers. It’s like dress rehearsal because my show is live!

5:00 p.m.


From 5–7 p.m., I’m strictly in BEATS 1 mode. I’m checking out new music, playing requests and talking to listeners. For those two hours, I force myself to not to even look at my texts or emails. I like to stay in the music and in the moment; the rest of my life gets put on hold for those two hours. I get so hype to crack the mic every day that if I think about it too much, I get nervous. I’m broadcasting to the entire world, and I’m among people like Ebro Darden and Elton John on any given Monday.

I’m extremely passionate about Beats 1 because of the platform it offers artists, especially indie artists. I’ve been indie my whole career. I know the struggles personally. I was tired of the music business telling me there wasn’t a market for my music. They weren’t understanding that this is viable. There’s no one speaking for this demographic of people, where are the people telling our stories. We exist. Our stories are important.

7:00 p.m.

Spent the day in studio with this beauty!! @reverielove X @kinglilg X me coming soon! ???????

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Once I wrap my show, I switch gears and start working on my music. Today, I was dealing with logos for my new record label. I have a bunch of deadlines to meet for my mixtape and for my next two music videos, which I’m finishing up now.

8:00 p.m.

Love hard 365 ❣

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I order delivery for dinner so I can work on my mixtape release. Currently, I’m working on video treatments, and locking in locations and styling. As an indie artist, it’s like five times the amount of work when I shoot a video. But I’m a total control freak, so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love planning and shooting videos. It’s so much fun bringing my songs to life!

12:00 a.m.


I read a little bit before bed. I’m obsessed with memoirs and biographies. Right now I’m reading Kim Gordon’s “Girl In A Band” and Angie Martinez’s “My Voice.” These two books just happen to be about women who kicked down doors and lit the way for so many in the music business. It’s a pretty cool note to fall asleep on!

1:30 a.m.



I walk Biggie and time for bed!

Photos courtesy of @lalaromero‘s Instagram


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Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

fierce

Video Dug Up From Cardi B’s Past Shows Her Saying She Used To Drug And Rob Men

Stay grateful you did not grow up in the era of Snapchat/ Instagram/ Facebook kids because you can delete but your recorded actions can still come back to bite. Cardi B knows the story. While the Afro-Latina queen of Trap isn’ making any apologies, the latest video to be dug up from her past is requiring her to give some answers.

Video of the singer, recalling a time in her life in which she felt forced to drug and rob men while seducing them has resurfaced.

Over the weekend, video of the “Money” rapper recalling how she used to drug and rob men resurfaced.

The video, which was recorded during an Instagram live broadcast, sees Cardi as she goes on a tearful verbal tirade about her past. This after, someone apparently questioned her success and accused her of not “putting in no fucking work.”

“I had to go ‘oh yeah, you wanna fuck me? Yeah yeah yeah let’s go to this hotel.’ And then I’d drug [expletivie] up and I’d rob them. That’s what I used to do.”

Users online were quick to comment.

“The fact that cardi b admitted to drugging and robbing men she would take back to a hotel for sex blows my mind,” wrote Twitter user @itsangelaa. “That’s not ‘keeping it real.’ that’s a crime.”

“I wonder what woulda happened if it were the other way round,” @BTSisthecauseo5 commented.

At the onset of the backlash, the rapper seemed to take the comments rather lightly.

The following day she also tweeted “IM THAT BITCH THEY LOVE TO HATE, IM THAT BITCH THEY HATE TO LOVE and I love it.”

On Tuesday, however, after users on Instagram and Twitter continued to simmer, she was forced to issue comment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bve_d3sFet7/

In a post to her Instagram, the rapper responded to the comments about the video by saying: “I’m a part of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are.”


Read:After Two Parkland Students Commit Suicide, Community Unites To Share Mental Health Resources

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Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

fierce

Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

The year 2017 marks a time of major multilingual and multicultural musical collaborations. With Luis Fonsi’s remix of “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, climbing to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 16 weeks, and J Balvin and Willy William’s remix for “Mi Gente,” featuring Beyoncé, making it to the No. 3 spot, the western music market is opening up to music in Spanish. But these aren’t the only collaborations bridging different cultures and genres. In the era of globalization, K-pop, short for Korean pop music, is an international phenomenon, and the genre is beginning to meld its addictive melodies with urban Latin pop. Evidence: K-pop boy band Super Junior’s recent collaboration with Leslie Grace.

Debuting in 2005, the fellas of Super Junior are the kings of Hallyu — the Korean wave. At their height, 15 men donned the Super Junior title, but, due to departures, mandatory military service and other issues, only Siwon, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Yesung, Heechul and Leeteuk are currently active. As a group, the men have led a revolution in the industry, spurring forward electro-pop and R&B-influenced dance tracks.

(Courtesy of Leslie Grace)

And among K-pop, they also have one of the strongest fan bases in Latin America. The group has long captivated these audiences with hits like “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple” and “Mamacita,” and Super Junior has made sure to visit their Latin American E.L.F — what they call their fans — on three separate tours since 2013, holding arena shows in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. It must be noted that the group has yet to hold a single solo show in the U.S.

For many years, Super Junior and SM Entertainment, their label, had seen the excitement from their supporters in Latin America and wanted to show their gratitude by releasing a song partly sung in Spanish. In March, the group dropped “Lo Siento,” a tune about finding romance on the dance floor, featuring Dominican-American singer Leslie Grace and the Latino production duo Play-N-Skillz as part of the extended version of their eighth album, Replay.  

“The song with Super Junior and Play-N-Skillz came out of nowhere. None of us really knew each other,” Leslie Grace, who was recommended to the K-pop group by the Argentine-Venezuelan sibling duo Play-N-Skillz, told FIERCE. “The beauty of it was [having the opportunity of] discovering something that’s been happening hugely in its own right in a different side of the world, and discovering it for the first time and saying, ‘Man, I wanna be a part of that. I don’t know anything about it up until this point, but I really want to be a part of that.’”

While it’s commonplace for K-pop groups to release records in Japanese or Mandarin in order to cater to Asian music markets, or English one-offs for international fans, no act had ventured into singing in Spanish or acknowledged their Latin American fans with a song quite like Super Junior.

“Lo Siento” is a true K-pop and urban Latin-pop mashup. It plays up the typical Spanish guitar and blends a familiar Latin flair with the energy and the mix of pop, dance and hip-hop that K-pop is known for. The music video, shot in South Korea, even features the “Díganle” singer dancing along with the guys of Super Junior.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhf174fBlko/?hl=en&taken-by=lesliegrace

The trilingual track debuted at No. 13 on Billboard’s Latin digital sales chart, the first K-pop entry ever. A bit over two weeks after the music video dropped, “Lo Siento” surpassed 20 million views, which was three times more than what their last Korean single, “Black Suit,” accumulated.

While “Lo Siento” isn’t the first time K-pop artists have teamed up with Latin ones nor used Latin genres in their music, it is the first instance that we can actually call a real collaboration. In 2016, for instance, Ricky Martin released a version of his hit “Vente Pa’ Ca” featuring Wendy from K-pop girl group Red Velvet, though she sang in English, and Mexican boy band CD9 released “Get Dumb” with Korean girl group Crayon Pop. In both cases, the artists simply exchanged vocals, put them together and released the song with little fanfare. With “Lo Siento,” however, not only did Leslie fly to Korea to be in the music video, but Super Junior invited her and Play-N-Skillz on their Latin American tour last month.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiNZO-sgKLW/?hl=en&taken-by=playnskillz

Stopping in Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Mexico City, Leslie, Play-N-Skillz and Super Junior played before a total of 55,000 fans. The stars blew up the stage with “Lo Siento,” but both Play-N-Skillz and Leslie also had the chance to perform their own sets during the show.

“It never stops being a surprise, with my most recent released single ‘Duro y Suave,’ for [the crowd] to sing it back to me,” the 23-year-old singer, who came to fame after the release of her bachata remake of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in 2013, told us. “I know it’s Super Junior’s crowd. I know that their fans are so accepting and loving, and I knew that they would be attentive during the show, but you don’t expect everyone to connect, especially a crowd that’s so different, to your music when you’re the special guest.”

Leslie is currently finishing her new album, which she says will drop by the end of the year. She’s also very excited about potentially finishing another leg of the tour with Super Junior. “They’re trying to see if we can do some more shows in Latin America, in Central America, go to the countries we didn’t get to go to in South America, like Colombia [and] Brazil,” she said.

Just like with “Despacito” and “Mi Gente,” “Lo Siento” is bringing together different cultures, languages and even fandoms from various parts of the world that don’t get to interact as much through music in a compact, smooth earworm.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiId1-5Bv_d/

“For us to come together just fully based off of mutual artistic respect, and for something like this to happen, and now everybody really enjoying it despite the cultural differences, that to me was the biggest takeaway and the biggest blessing to now be a part of Super Junior’s story and them a huge part of mine,” Leslie said.  

During an interview in Times Square, the dominicana gave the boys a quick dance lesson — and it was all caught on camera.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkWSwsvhpta/?taken-by=lesliegrace

“Bridging cultures one dance step at a time! First Super Junior with me and ‘Group Dance’ in their land South Korea, and now me with them and ‘Bachata’ in my home NYC,” Grace, 23, captioned a video of the dance sesh she posted on Instagram. “Proud to be your instructor, @eunhyukee44 hahaha! You are officially baptized the best bachatero out of Korea by the princess of bachata — BOOM!”

Catch the whole thing above!

Read: Leslie Grace And Super Junior’s “Lo Siento” Is The Hit All Latinx K-Pop Fans Have Been Waiting For

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