Entertainment

AB Soto Creates Music Celebrating His Mexican Heritage And Sexuality After Not Seeing Representation In Hollywood

AB Soto took the music scene by storm when he released the wildly successful “Cha Cha Bitch” in 2015. The pink debazzled quebradita outfit instantly made AB Soto a fashion icon and a musical phenomenon. His goal was always to blend his Latino culture with his gay identity and turn it all into art. Disappointed with the lack of representation of his community in Hollywood, he made it happen himself and the results speak for themselves. Here’s what AB Soto had to say about his career so far.

Mitú (M): How did you get started in music? When did you break into the scene?

Credit: absoto / Instagram

AB Soto (AB): Many people may not know but I studied Fashion Design first and after graduating I worked as a designer for many years. I remember also having a passion for dance, so I started taking professional dance classes in the evenings and weekends. A few months later I signed to a dance agency and booked my first job dancing in a Coca Cola commercial. My agency would send me out for any auditions that were dance related from film to live tours. I remember audition for every major recording artist you could think of, but I never really fit in. I never saw myself represented in Hollywood or in the media. After being frustrated and bored with the industry, I wrote my first song during the Christmas break of 2008. I had so much to say, and I couldn’t wait around for Hollywood to understand my story. I had to tell my own story myself and bring my ideas to life. I immediately went into the studio and recorded my first song, and then filmed my first viral music video shortly after. I started performing in nightclubs that year and started independently touring in 2010. I was able to combine everything I learned as a designer, dancer, choreographer, and performer to tell my own story. I still write, style, direct and produce all my work. 

M: You are very active and fun on Instagram. What is it about that social media platform that appealed to you when it comes to sharing your music and sharing things with fans?

AB: Instagram is a fun platform to interact with my audience. It’s a quick way to post and share your work with fans. Although I really wish Instagram would stop censoring artists. With Instagram culture being so “fake” at times, my page is more raw and honest. 

M: Who did you look up to and who influenced you when you first started to create your music? 

Credit: absoto / Instagram

AB: I’ve always been inspired by ’90s music and gay history. Dance music is definitely my favorite genre, especially House music. When I was a kid, my mind would visualize huge dance productions and elaborate costumes/set designs. I grew up listening to Gangsta Rap and Banda music around the house and in my neighborhood. All of these sounds have had a major influence on my upbringing and music style. I’ve always wanted to see more openly gay and Latino artists in all of these genres. 

M: What was the hardest social medial lesson you have learned and what did it teach you?

AB: Social media can be fun but I’ve learned not to take things personally. Negative comments say more about the ignorant people posting them than anything else. I like to inspire dialogue with my work but my art is not up for negotiation. I also like to turn the comments section off sometimes, because I’m not really interested in what narrow minds have to say. I create because this is my passion, not for the praise. I also believe that artists and influencers should be a lot more honest as possible. You never know who your truth may inspire. 

M: What purpose do you think social media plays in the LGBTQ+ community in terms of building online communities? What do you want your music to do for the listeners and the Latinx LGBTQ+ community?

AB: Visibility is important online but it’s also important to protect our queerness and our community. Being authentic and visible online can inspire others to live their truth. Censorship can make it hard to preserve positive spaces for queerness and those wanting to explore. It’s up to us to maintain and create communities that inspire us to thrive and promote diversity. I hope my music and presence can inspire others to create their own path, to break all the rules, and to follow the road less traveled. Create something new. 

M: What is something you wish you could have told your younger self about being gay and coming out?

AB: Be patient. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to happen. Embrace your uniqueness and what makes you different. Remember that we are all looking for acceptance and to be heard. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself time and space to grow. 

M: Where do you get inspiration for your music?

AB: I get inspiration from art, personal life experiences, and pop culture. I’ve noticed that I still approach everything like I’m designing a clothing collection. It all just depends on the mood and the overall story. Often times it starts with a lyric and a melody inspired by what is going on around me. Sometimes an item of clothing can inspire a song, or a scene in a movie can also inspire a mood. I’m a visual artist so sometimes the music is just created as a soundtrack for the music video treatment. Each album is a concept and is inspired by a specific mood. I love to dance so the beats are extremely important.

M: How have you grown as a person since coming out and starting your musical career?

AB: I’ve always been an openly gay artist from day one. It was important for me to be unapologetically me since I never saw myself represented in the music industry. As an independent artist, I have learned a lot about the industry and have also developed a thick skin. Being signed to a major record label is not always the best decision for every artist. The music industry only puts us in a box, or a spreadsheet template designed to make dollars. I won’t compromise my vision for the sake of someone else’s profit. How many artists are even happy with their contracts these days? Not many. 

M: What has been the most rewarding moment in your musical career? 

AB: Touring overseas as an independent artist and meeting so many fans has been the most rewarding. Accomplishing 4 albums and over 27 music videos without the support of a label is something to be proud of. Now can you imagine what I could do with proper funding though? Lol 

M: What is something you want your fans to know about how their support has impacted you and your career? 

AB: Supporting queer artists is important for our stories to be heard. The appropriation of queerness by record labels sends the wrong message to our queer youth. Supporting authentic queerness creates more opportunities for visibility for our community and future generations. What we choose to support today can leave a huge impact on queer culture. 

M: Some people might think that you are being too much or doing the most in celebrating your sexuality through your music. What do you say to people who just don’t understand or approve your unapologetic persona? 

AB: My only responsibility as an artist is to be 1000 percent honest. How people view my work is not my problem, I’m only presenting my experiences as raw as possible. Some will be entertained, some will relate, and some will feel uncomfortable, but isn’t that what art is supposed to do? 

M: Is there anything you wanted to add about social media or your music that we haven’t discussed?

AB: Each album is a new window into my evolution as a person and artist. I want to invite others to evolve and grow with me, individually and as a community. Let go, expand your mind, feel something new, and just get up and dance sis!

READ: AB Soto Is The Queer God With Absolutely No Time For You Machismo On His Schedule

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Mariah Carey’s ‘Save The Day’ Video Pays Homage To Black Lives Matter And Breonna Taylor

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Mariah Carey’s ‘Save The Day’ Video Pays Homage To Black Lives Matter And Breonna Taylor

Mariah Carey says it’s powerful to be Black.

The beloved singer-songwriter with a five-octave vocal range is calling for the use of that power with her latest music video for her new song “Save the Day.” The song which features Lauryn Hill summons her fans to take action this year and vote their hearts out. The new single comes from Carey’s new two-disc compilation album, The Rarities which is available now and is a reminder that when it comes to our future “it’s up to us.”

And while the message behind “Save the Day” is getting quite a bit of love for how powerful it is, really it’s its drive to elevate Black Stories that is getting attention.

The animated music video for “Save the Day” dropped on October 22 and rhapsodizes the song’s theme “of citizenship—more important than ever in a tumultuous era marked by a global pandemic, political and social uprisings, and a looming presidential election.”

To create the animated music video, Carey partnered with ​PushBlack​, a non-profit media organization that produces Black stories, to honor Black influencers. Kerry Washington, PushBlack’s Julian Black, and the agency Maestra’s De’Ara Balenger and Zara Rahim worked to produce the film. Throughout the animated video, portraits of important Black people and essential workers come across the screen.

The video pays tribute to Black Lives Matter inspiration Breonna Taylor, Congressman John Lewis, Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, and trans activist Raquel Willis with powerful animations. The video also features essential workers.

The beautifully drawn portraits are drawn by artist Molly Crabapple who also illustrated A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 2019 Emmy award-nominated video about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This isn’t the first video created for “Save the Day.”

Carey issued another version of the video for the song at the opening ceremony for the Women’s U.S. Open. The animated version however works to illustrate the song’s themes in a way that works as a call to action to all watching to do their part in restoring our democracy.

“Our country is at a critical moment in history, and I felt compelled to do what I could using my platform of music to encourage us all to take action,” Carey said in a statement about the video. “My hope is that the ​’Save The Day’ video will serve as an inspiring message and spark meaningful dialogue and action across the country, for each of us to do our part to save the day.’ The lyrics of this song are all about doing your part to make a difference and highlighting the impact that each of us can make. Whether you’re an essential worker, a protestor, a student, a young parent making it work, or a first-time voter, we each have a duty to support our communities.”

Speaking about her daughter’s appearance in the video, Tamika Palmer issued a press announcement.

“Breonna’s life was tragically and wrongfully taken from her, but her death cannot be in vain,” Palmer stated. “There is so much at stake and we all must do our part. Having my beautiful daughter featured in the video is a testament to our people coming together in the face of tremendous adversity.”

Check out the Lyrics to “Save the Day” below

[Intro: Mariah Carey]
We’re all in this together
You’re my only hope
And it’s too divided, too deep to understand
But if we don’t do it, tell me, who will?
Oh, we always say these words that don’t mean too much
I wonder, where is the love?
It’s curious
The fear still holding us down
One day, will we look up?

[Verse 1: Mariah Carey]
You got a right to your own opinion
But when it comes to the world we live in
Isn’t it time that we start rebuilding
All of the things that have basically crumbled?
We all tend to forget that
We all cease to exist if
Wе all live for ourselves
If nobody bothеrs to find a solution

[Chorus: Mariah Carey]
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day

[Verse 2: Mariah Carey]
We’re all in this together
You’re my only hope (Only hope)
And it’s too divided, too deep to understand
But if we don’t do it, tell me, who will? Yeah
Always say these words that don’t mean too much
I wonder, where is the love?
It’s curious
That fear still holding us back
One day, will we look up?
It’s up to us

[Chorus: Mariah Carey]
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh
(To save the day, to save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (Come on, come on)
(Will we?) We won’t ever learn to save the day
(Ever learn, no)

[Bridge: Mariah Carey & Lauryn Hill]
La-la-la, la, la-la, la
Woah, la
Woah, la (Ah, ah, ah)
La
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh (To save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (And she won’t)
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh (I’ma have to learn to save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (All God’s children, all God’s children)
We won’t ever learn to save the day (All God’s children, to save the day)

[Outro: Mariah Carey]
We gon’ learn, we gon’ learn
Said we gotta learn

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As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Entertainment

As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Last year’s Latin Grammys caused an uproar on social media after the nominees list was released. Many fans and artists noticed the lack of representation of the Reggaeton music genre. “Sin reggaeton no hay Latin Grammy,” read many of the posts on social media, but this year seems to be different. 

This year’s nominees accurately represent the changing culture in Latin music as it shifts more towards the reggaeton genre. Here are my top picks for some of my favorite categories. 

Record of the Year

Record of the Year is always one of the toughest picks as many of my favorite songs are included in this category. This year it seems pretty competitive as Bad Bunny’s Vete competes with Karol G and Nicki Minaj’s Tusa. Karol G is competing against herself with the song China by Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Featuring Ozuna and J Balvin. But at the end, Tusa by Karol G and Nicki Minaj should take the win as the overall production of the song is what makes it so great. From the rhythm to the lyrics, Tusa deserves the Grammy. 

Album of the Year

In 2019, we had a lack of reggaeton nominees in this category, but this year the list includes two reggaeton superstars: Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Both are nominated for their joint album OASIS and their solo albums, Colores and YHLQMDLG. To me, it’s clear that the winner of this category will be Bad Bunny with YHLQMDLG. The 20-song album delivered Latin trap with a variety of moods, whether it was a post-breakup heartbreak, our on-pause summer anthems, or the heartfelt thank you at the end. This album was highly anticipated and it delivered.

Best New Artist

The top contestants in this category are Anuel AA,  Rauw Alejandro, and Cazzu. While Rauw Alejandro has had some big hits this year, such as “El Efecto,” “Tattoo,” “Elegi,” and “TBT,” it is very likely that Anuel AA will take the Grammy home. Anuel AA was snubbed from a best new artist nomination last year, but he has been very successful since then which shows his growth as a new artist. 

Song of the Year

While there are many great songs nominated in this category, “ADMV” by Maluma stands out the most. The song was released during quarantine and was written by the artist as a dedication to all the people in his life that he loves. The song, which touches upon love and growing old with one’s significant other is a very heartfelt balada and one that gives us a whole new side to Maluma. The lyrics of the song and the overall composition gives us all the feels and reminds us to hug our loved ones a little tighter and tell them that we love them. 

Best Regional Song 

The top nominees in this genre include Christian Nodal with AYAYAY! and Natalia Lafourcade con MI RELIGIÓN. While I am a huge fan of Natalia Lafourcade, Christian Nodal will most likely take the win with this upbeat and modern song. What makes the song work for Nodal is that it is still rooted in the regional genre. 

Best Short Form Music Video

If you haven’t seen J.Balvin’s video for Rojo, please do yourself a favor and watch it now! But be prepared with tissues, this video delivers pain, acceptance, and even a message to its viewers. The video starts with Balvin receiving the news that his daughter was born, as he rushes to the hospital on the phone with his mom, he crashes and dies. But he is not conscious of his death and his spirit makes it to the hospital. The rest of the video shows Balvin following the life of his daughter as she grows up. This video delivers an exceptional story in less than 5 minutes and is a grammy-winning performance. 

To see who will win be sure to tune in! The 21st annual Latin Grammys will air on Univision, Nov. 19, 2020.

READ: Maluma Is Keeping Us Up To Date On His Life In Quarantine And I Couldn’t Be More Grateful

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