Interview: Ivy Queen Talks Living Through The History of Reggaeton on Spotify’s LOUD Podcast
When you talk about the early days of Reggaeton, Ivy Queen has to be part of the conversation. When Reggaeton was first starting to expand beyond the island of Puerto Rico, Ivy was at the forefront, a trailblazer and one of the most recognized female voices in a genre that has been historically male dominated.
Spotify and Futuro Studios recruited La Diva to host their new podcast LOUD, The History of Reggaeton, and it’s a perfect match to bring in someone that lived through the story. Reggaeton’s history is complicated and it has many layers, but thankfully with Ivy’s great story-telling, you can’t help but get immersed en un party de marquesina as you see the genre evolve into the powerhouse that it is today.
Ivy sat down with us here at mitú and shared her point of view on not only telling the history of Reggaeton but living through it, feeling honored by influencing so many artists today, the future of the genre and more.
This isn’t Ivy Queen’s first time doing a podcast
La Caballota has been in the podcast game for a while now. Back in 2019 while she was on tour, she had a fully equipped tour bus where she would do podcast shows with special guests. Ivy was approached by Spotify and Futuro Studios to host the show and Ivy was instantly in love with the material. “I started to read all of the data and information that I was going to be giving to the world, because it’s a big compromise. I was surprised because everything was 100: it was raw, it was specific, it was well written. Being part of the history [of Reggaeton] I was able to look at certain things and know that they were facts”, Ivy shared.
LOUD highlights the true Black origins of Reggaeton
“The presence of Tego [Calderón] in Reggaeton, he took the heat for being black and having an afro”, Ivy shared about Tego’s impact in the genre, and how back then people weren’t too thrilled about having Afro Latinos take the stage. Panamanian star Sech is also a featured guest on the podcast, and he shares his own story of dealing with racism in the music industry. “This is a story of sacrifice, sacrifice of people that fell in love with this music, and this movement”, Ivy said.
Panamá is once and for all recognized as the birthplace of Reggaeton
If the Queen says it’s a fact, then it’s a fact. For many years, people have talked about where Reggaeton comes from: Puerto Rico or Panamá? But in the LOUD Podcast, the debate has been put to rest once and for all. In the words of Sech: “Panamá created it, but Puerto Rico commercialized it”. For Ivy, she always gave props to the Panamanians that started the Reggae in Spanish movement. “With this podcast, we always wanted to give props to the pioneers. We couldn’t be leaving behind Panamanians, Vico C, and so many others that started this. We had to honor the roots”, Ivy shared. The first episode of LOUD explores how it began in the streets of Panamá and how it evolved to what it is today.
From all the guests on the podcast including Sech, Rauw Alejandro, Maluma and more, Reykon was the one that surprised Ivy Queen the most
Even though they have never met personally, Colombian singer Reykon’s story got to Ivy. “The story of this guy was mind-boggling. When he speaks and tells his story, it’s very touching, how he came up from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Medellín, and was a barber before he took on singing. All of the guests on the podcasts share their own experiences and how they overcame so many obstacles and keep moving forward”, Ivy shared.
On becoming an influence for female Reggaeton singers
Ivy Queen has long deserved her props, and it’s touching to see so many artists like Karol G, Rosalía, Kali Uchis and more give her her well-deserved flowers for opening doors for women in the genre. When I asked Ivy about what it means that people look up to her as an icon, Ivy replied: “I see myself as an architect, because I fought against all odds. I used to have my long ass nails, my braids, my baggy clothes and they used me to call me names. I used my music as an expression, as a defense for women, I never gave up on talking about women issues, con elegancia, con ímpetu, because I was going through a lot of shit.”
“I went through being a teenager in the music industry and then blossomed into becoming a mother of a beautiful daughter, and still out here riding the wave, you know”, Ivy shared. “I feel so honored when they use me as a reference, that’s my biggest victory. There’s no award that can top that. They could give me 400,000 awards, and it wouldn’t match up to the respect and recognition, that’s the biggest one.”
The Bad Bunny effect
“I call Bad Bunny a phenomenom,” Ivy shared. “They didn’t expect something like that to happen. A guy with painted nails, dressing as a woman, and rompiendo every single record that comes his way. There have been plenty of moments in our genre that for me it’s a joy to be alive, to taste this moment. I’m like “Oh my God, qué bueno. Tanto que nos dijeron que no, and now look”, I’ll always be rooting for our genre to be where it’s at today. The idea for this podcast is to honor that history and that legacy, and giving the genre the props it deserves”.
The future of Reggaeton
To close off the interview, I asked Ivy about where she sees Reggaeton in the next 5-10 years. Ivy replied: “As we see everyday a new artist pop up, and everything happening so fast, that I just hope that we don’t lose the essence and the roots of Reggaeton, what we started. It’s good that we mix our music with different genres, but we need to honor the roots. I don’t want that spice to be lost. Reggaeton’s magic is that it comes in through your ears, gets to your soul and makes you want to dance. I hope that with so many new artists and subgenres coming up, that we don’t lose our essence that made people fall in love with us.”
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