Singer-songwriter, poet, painter and actress Beatriz Luengo is not just a musical powerhouse —nominated today for two Latin Grammys for "Patria y vida"— she also has been a pivotal voice in the struggle for female empowerment within the Hispanic community.
Last year, the Grammy winner published her first book, El despertar de las musas, that showcased the stories of 12 women who influenced prominent male figures in history but never received proper credit due to socio-cultural limitations.
That work informed Luengo's new musical compositions focused on representing women who have been ahead of their time and influenced society.
"I wanted to use my voice in 2021 to give voice to other women that didn't have one. So with that inspiration I thought, 'I have to do this, but for music,'" she tells People Chica. "I have to see how I can create spaces where I can honor women that I felt were very brave during their own time; and it's time to recognize those who are icons and even those who are not."
First on her list was Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio, the Grammy-nominated icon famous for her rancheras and heartbreak anthems. Luengo collaborated with Paquita and urban star Darrell in their new release "Chanteito pa' un ex."
"Paquita la del Barrio is very important for us women in general because she spoke firmly and strongly during a time when—imagine if it's hard to do so now—there was no streaming, no YouTube. You really had to go through many filters to get your music heard," she says. "She was very explicit. Now people don't rely on the radio to put out their music, but Paquita has been doing this for 50 years without caring if it played on the radio or on television; it was simply an artistic expression —as if she were having a conversation."
Courtesy of White Lion Records
The single is a female empowerment anthem written by Luengo, Andrés Castro, Alean Imbert, Darrell, and Yotuel. The song's music video was directed by Fernando Lugo and is loaded with symbolism and a visual aesthetic that honors Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The tune was inspired by a real-life experience of a close friend who was betrayed by their partner a few weeks before the wedding. After spending an afternoon consoling the wronged party, Luengo and husband Yotuel went to the studio the next day and began composing.
"It was Yotuel who actually came up with one of the most prominent lines of the song: 'Hoy quiero hacerte una cancion de amor, pero no me sale; me gustaría llamarte mi amor, pero cab**n es lo que sale (Today, I want to write you a love song, but it doesn't come out; I'd love to call you my love, but bast*** is what comes out)," she laughs. "It's the best homage possible for a Paquita that's so explicit."
The duo has worked on several songs including "Patria y vida," which has become an anthem for Cubans and the Cuban diaspora who are against the Communist dictatorship on the island.
"I live with him [Youtel] and his fight with Cuba, and it's my fight too. It has been something so strong for me too, personally. I also feel Cuban. I also live with the pain, the threats, everything—I'm another Cuban myself who they want to silence," says the Spaniard as she holds her infant daughter in her arms. "It's beautiful because I've been a part of his fight, and he has been a part of mine with women empowerment. My friends say my husband is the most feminist [man] that exists."
Her most recent single, "Junto somos más" was also written with Yotuel and Lara Álvarez. It is now the European Championship 2021 official theme.
Photo by Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images
As for future projects, Luengo will continue to amplify female voices, her activism and her work supporting minorities.
"Ever since I became a mother, I believe in being useful. Yotuel and I often think about the children of the future, of tomorrow, of all the things we want to change for our children. Being useful is fundamental in music, in everything we practice every day," she explains. "For us, success has to do with how music works in society and generates an impact."
"Chanteito pa' un ex" is now available on all streaming platforms.