“I didn’t listen to flamenco until I was 13,” Rosalía says. “When I listened to it, it was a turning point for me.” We’re at the iconic Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City, and she’s explaining the musical roots that have made her one of the most intriguing artists in pop today. After several encounters in 2020, today we are going to finish a conversation that began during a full-on pandemic. The Spanish artist has her hair up and is wearing a long T-shirt that doubles as a mini-dress, plus knee-high Rick Owens boots that suggest a character out of a Mad Max movie.
For an artist on her level, Rosalía, 29, is overwhelmingly warm and familiar. We head to Sony Music Studios in the industrial uptown area, where the legendary Mexican artist José Alfredo Jiménez recorded some of his greatest songs decades ago. We plan to listen to her conceptual album MOTOMAMI for the first time there. It’s a project that has taken her more than three years to develop, but once it’s out in 2022, it will represent the creative path that’s led to her artistic emancipation.