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Up Next: Meet Kim Viera, The Nuyorican Powerhouse Singer Soaring Over Tropical Beats

Courtesy of Kim Viera

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

Kim Viera is a star — but don’t take it from us. That’s what Daddy Yankee told the rising Nuyorican vocalist when he worked with Viera on her debut single, “Como.”

The hit, a tropical treat about a paradisal romance that features the Big Boss, dropped last July, garnering more than 25 million views on YouTube. Since then, fans of the Bronx-born artist have been hungry for more. Lucky for them, Viera is holding on to enough musical goodies to feed their appetite all year long.

Most recently, the singer, who is signed to Republic Records, released “Here For Ya,” a playful jam that flips Ghost Town DJs’ classic “My Boo” beat into an anthem for every girl who was ever feelin’ someone who was already in a relationship.

“It’s not about pursuing anything. It’s not about taking another woman’s man. It’s more like how you are feeling in your head, what you’d want to do with that person if the situation was different,” Viera says of the banger.

We chatted with the rising act about her musical upbringing, her varied sound, her long journey to the spotlight, working with Daddy Yankee, new music and more.

FIERCE: You’ve described your sound as American Latina. What does that mean to you?

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rehearsal flow.

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Kim Viera: I was born in New York, in the Bronx, and I always had my heritage. It was strongly a part of my life. But I also grew up with American culture. That also influenced who I am as an artist. For me, basically, I always felt like I was somewhere in the middle of my culture and American culture. It’s American Latina. The first culture I knew aside from my own is American. I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. I learned that as I got older. American Latina is a new generation of Latinas who experience culture different. It’s the third-generation types. I was born in the states, and my parents were also born in the states.

FIERCE: Who were your biggest musical influences, English and Spanish, and how do you think they’ve influenced this “American Latina” vibe you embrace?

Kim Viera: I definitely listened to everything. I love Selena, Marc Anthony, La India, J Lo as well as the large voices of Christina Aguilera and Mariah. They all had an influence on me as an artist. Growing up and seeing people who look and sound like you or have similar stories as you was encouraging for me as a little girl. That influenced me to feel like I was OK. They don’t speak the language either, but they love their culture like I do. I wanted to learn more. If they could do it, then I could, too. So it influenced me to push myself to do the same thing I saw artists I love do. I took some of the things they went through in their journey and applied it to my own and how I approach struggles. For instance, Marc Anthony didn’t speak Spanish, and he learned and became one of the best salseros of all time. Selena and J Lo didn’t either, and they’re Latin icons. Seeing them break through these cultural barriers was very helpful for me.

FIERCE: You grew up in a musical home. Your dad launched, owned and operated a live production company, and your mom sang backup for major Latin acts like Willie Colón and Rubén Blades. That’s really dope! When did you realize that you wanted to follow in your parents’ footsteps and pursue music professionally as well?

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I just wanna ride witchu 🏎❣️

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Kim Viera: I’ve always wanted to do music since I was little. I was always naturally an entertainer since a little girl. I decided I wanted to do it professionally or as a career when I was a teenager. At times, it seems like you have the talent but dreams still seem so far away because it takes so much to get to that place. Opportunities started popping up, and I was like, if I don’t take them now, I may not get them again. So I went for it. There were people who took me under their wing as an artist and songwriter, who helped teach me and help me grow. I started getting in the room with the right people. It’s been a whirlwind, but I realized early that I wanted to do music. I just didn’t know if it was attainable or not.

FIERCE: This is a difficult, brutal and in many ways insecure industry, which I’m sure your parents were aware of. Knowing this firsthand, were they concerned about your musical pursuits, hoping you’d do something more “stable” instead, as many Latinx parents do when their children profess interest in the arts, or did they fully embrace and support this decision?

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On the rocks, no chaser. #miami #ipromiseimworking

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Kim Viera: It was a split decision with my family, or my parents. They’ve done this before. They were always supportive of me and what I wanted, but they wanted the best for me and were scared for me, because there’s a lot of rejection, a lot of nos before yeses, a lot of hard work with no payoff. You really have to love what you do. They were always concerned about me finding a way to make a living and how I would be perceived. My dad was like “go for it,” and my mom, who was a singer, was more hesitant because she had a deeper understanding of what you’re up against as an artist and also saw how I reacted to rejection as a child. She saw me go through auditions as a kid and not understand why I was getting rejected. But I had to show her that’s how I reacted as a kid because I was a kid, and I’m older and smarter now.  

FIERCE: You started off songwriting, including for major acts like Lil Wayne, before landing your own deal with Republic Records three years ago. A lot of young aspiring artists think big breaks and fame come overnight, which is actually very rarely the case. Talk to me about hustle, about your grind in this industry that’s taking you from working in the background to becoming the star of your own show?

Kim Viera: It’s taken me so many years to get where I’m at: sleepless nights and a lot of sacrifices with friends and family. When you are young, you want to hang with friends but you can’t do that when you are trying to strive for a dream. I sacrificed a lot of my own money to invest in myself. I spent years writing very crappy songs to get to good ones. There were so many nos, so many doors closed. It was about eight years of that, constantly going and going, nights you don’t sleep because you’re editing videos you need to put out the following day for content. You are sleeping and breathing what you’re working toward till you get there. Then you get there and think you can relax more, but you actually have to work hard to keep it. It’s definitely not an overnight situation. People don’t know who you are or your story or situation. They just think this person came out of nowhere. Some people do pop off in a year. Every journey is different. But it’s very hard and you have to try to not get discouraged and just keep pushing through. If you don’t enjoy the journey, then you won’t enjoy the destination.

FIERCE: Last year, you get on everyone’s radar with your hit “Como” featuring Daddy Yankee. What was it like working with the boss, one of the originators of urbano music, so early in your own career?

Kim Viera: It’s really cool. Freaking amazing is what it was. We had the song. I wrote it like a year before, and he had heard it through a close friend of mine, who was one of his stylists. He was playing it for him at a shoot, and Yankee heard it and kept singing it over and over. He said he thought it was catchy. His stylist told him, “that’s my girl Kim.” The conversation started there. At that time, I didn’t have a record deal. He ended up hearing it again and asked my friend if I was signed yet. At that time I was. He was just like, “I want to jump on it.” This all happened organically, just because my friend was showing love. Next thing you know, I’m in Puerto Rico shooting a music video with Daddy Yankee.

FIERCE: Wow. That’s an amazing story! You have to love community. What was it like working with Daddy Yankee?

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Agradecida. 🙏🏼 #Como #kimviera #daddyyankee

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Kim Viera: Exactly. It was crazy. I can’t explain it. It was wow. The word to describe it would be surreal. I remember listening to his music growing up. Then I’m on set with him and he’s like, “Kim, you look like a star. You look beautiful.” My heart sank. Like, wow, my first record being signed with Republic and I’m in Puerto Rico shooting my first major video with a legend, Daddy Yankee, whose music I would dance to in my car as a kid with my friends. Now I’m standing next to him shooting a video. It goes to show your dreams really can happen and sometimes God has better plans for you than you have for yourself. It was one of the best days of my life, and I’m so grateful and humbled.

FIERCE: Most recently you dropped “Here For Ya.” Like “Como,” this is a fun, upbeat song about a lighthearted romance or affair. How do you want people, particularly women, who listen to these songs to feel?

Kim Viera: I mean, this song is about someone you are interested in that’s taken already. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. It’s a lighthearted thing. I think a lot of girls can relate to being attracted to someone and then being like, damn, they have a girl. That’s what it is, a feel-good, summer, retalateble record.

FIERCE: That is hella relatable. And it’s not like you’re going to pursue anything with this person, just highlighting that feeling of, “damn, why you ain’t single, dawg?”

Kim Viera: Right. It’s real shit. It’s not about pursuing anything. It’s not about taking another woman’s man. It’s more like how you are feeling in your head, what you’d want to do with that person if the situation was different.

FIERCE: Before “Here for Ya,” you released “Never Listen,” which had a much different sound. This wasn’t a playful, dance, pop song. Rather, this was a slowed-down, raw ballad about the pain, rather than joy, of romance. Artists today, in many ways, don’t have genre or thematic constraints that existed just a couple decades ago. How do you think this allows you to be a more authentic and better artist?

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D&G 🌶 #vmas2018

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Kim Viera: I never really put constraints on myself in terms of what I should sound like to people. I try to be truthful in my music and aesthetic. In my writing, sometimes it shows up differently in the way it sounds, thematically or genre wise. I think, for me, before I listened to so many different types of music growing up and that diversity made me different because I don’t put constraints on my creativity. I like to take people on different journeys musically. I don’t think every song has to sound the same. I don’t need to be in a box. I can be Kim. People can be multifaceted, and that’s how I am with my music. I love those things that make me different. People should embrace difference.

FIERCE: You have dropped back-to-back songs that bang, undeniably, over the course of a year. What can we expect next from Kim Viera? What are you working on that you’re excited about and can tell us about?

Kim Viera: I’m dropping another record in the next month or so with a huge a feature.  I can’t say who just yet, but it’s a major feature. And I have my EP coming out at the top of the summer. You’ll have that by the beginning of summer. I’m working on projects and doing a lot more shows, possibly a tour. But I’m working on some dates to make people more familiar with me. I have a body of work people can live with for the summer.

FIERCE: That sounds so exciting. You are at the start of your career and it’s already looking very bright. In 10 to 15 years, what do you hope people can say about Kim Viera?

Kim Viera: I just hope that people would say a few things, see that I was a person who broke barriers for young girls in this music industry, culturally but not just for my own culture. I want to show that you don’t have to fit a mold. You’re enough as you are. That I am a person who tried and cares about people and really touches people. That’s what I care about.

Listen to Kim Viera’s latest song “Here for Ya” below.

Read: Up Next: The Emerging Orlando Puerto Rican Singer-Rapper Ballin’ With Bad Bunny, Anuel AA And Becky G

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Cardi B Stands Behind Bernie Sanders Because Of His Desire To Fight For All People And Their Rights

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Cardi B Stands Behind Bernie Sanders Because Of His Desire To Fight For All People And Their Rights

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Cardi B refuses to be boxed into any archetype. The Afro-Dominican rapper has used her platform in the past to talk about the injustices of America’s healthcare system. This Monday, she effectively put her weight behind Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by telling her 6.7 million Twitter followers that she feels “really sad” about “how we let him down in 2016.”

Claro, Cardi B’s endorsement of the progressive Democratic socialist candidate has ignited a firestorm of responses from fans and haters alike. 

In a single tweet, Cardi acknowledged the authenticity of Bernie’s platform–which has remained consistent throughout decades of politics.

Credit: @iamcardib / Twitter

Often, voters feel isolated from politics because political speech is too pedantic to resonate with. Cardi was speaking from the heart of America when she said that Bernie’s issues are not a “front” for a campaign to win. She believes Bernie’s passion to creating a safer America for all is genuine.

Bernie Sanders narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Instagram

It’s no secret that, after Trump won, the Democratic party experienced a deep disillusionment over party ideals. Bernie brought a much more progressive stance than establishment Democrats, advocating for free healthcare as an American right, free college tuition and equality for all. The Senator thanked her in a tweet that read, “Thank you @iamcardib! Our fight for justice is far from over and we are not giving up.” 

The conversation continued after a critic pointed out that Cardi has once complained about high taxes.

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The Twitter user seemed to think that Cardi’s disdain for high taxes would be in direct conflict with Bernie Sanders’s outspoken platform to raise taxes on the rich to effectively redistribute to the masses in the form of free healthcare and education. He was wrong.

His didn’t get away with going up against Cardi and Bernie without a good dog walk from Latinas in charge.

Credit: @JulieSmithM / Twitter

It’s the name of the game–perception is a reality in politics. The perks of being a civilian are being able to say things like “que chinguen a su madre” to anyone who twists your words. 

Cardi clapped back by saying that she’s here for high taxes, but only if she can see her dollar effect positive change.

Credit: @iamcardib / Twitter

With a large chunk of our taxes going to the military, subsidizing the dying dairy and meat industries, and a clear lack of funds directed towards the humanitarian crisis on the border, Cardi wants someone in power who will improve the quality of life for as many Americans as possible. She wants to see what she’s paying for.

Of course, the sexism and racism came out to play in the comment threads.

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This user claimed that “hood rats” are implicitly lacking the “mentality” to have political opinions. “I wish some people would stay in their lane,” is tantamount to someone like Trump telling The Squad to “go back” to “where they came from.” It implies that you’re born into the limits on your own agency, and it’s toxic thinking.

The Bardi Gang came through to defend Cardi’s right to use her political voice.

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Cardi B is an Afro-Latina woman who worked her way to fame by stripping at the club across from her high school. Her work has invited criticism from conservative pundits, claiming her body and sex-positive messaging is anti-feminist. As a black woman taking up space in the world, everything she does is overanalyzed.

 They also offered her support amidst all the “hate.”

Credit: @TwinklingTania / Twitter

Other politically invested folks came through with comments like “Girl read about ELIZABETH WARREN,” and “Kamala2020 get down read up on her.” Sprinkled throughout were messages of support for Bernie, happy that 6.7 million followers could #FeelTheBern thanks to Cardi.

Cardi might be a celebrity, but she’s also a constituent who wants to see her taxes put an end to bankruptcy by medical and student loan debt.

Credit: @iamcardib / Instagram

With 2020 around the corner, campaign season is in full swing again. As always, we are mitú and we want everyone to educate themselves about every candidate and get out the vote!

The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

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The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

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Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” Tour was set to reach its pinnacle as the Puerto Rican icon returned to her home barrio, New York City, on Saturday, July 13. Instead, the sold out Madison Square Garden show was evacuated after a city-wide blackout turned Madison Square Garden (MSG) dark. 

While StubHub reportedly refunded $500k to customers affected by the blackout, along with other suffering businesses, J.Lo was quick to action because her party ain’t over till she says it is.

When the lights went off, fans turned on their phone lights to light up the arena.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In video footage posted by J.Lo on her social media accounts, you can see the 49-year-old knockout performing for her loudest, most loyal fans when everything went black. Fans started to scream, and although J.Lo’s microphone cut out, she starts to tell the crowd, “Don’t panic. Everybody, stay calm.”

The singer quickly took to social media to blast her thoughts out to her fans.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

Since nobody could hear her, she brilliantly sent a message through to everyone with a selfie video. “Hi guys, we’re backstage. They just told me to get off stage… They’re asking everyone to evacuate very slowly and calmly and that’s what we’re going to have to do,” she tells the camera. She tweeted out to her fans, “Heartbroken to say tonight’s show is cancelled. We will reschedule. Love you all!!! Stay safe! ❤️ #ItsMyPartyTour”

Some thought her fire caused the NYC blackout.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In a video she posted to Twitter, we hear someone telling Jennifer, “New York just wasn’t ready for you.” J.Lo agreed.

J.Lo posted several more videos that night expressing to her fans how “heartbroken” she was to have to cancel the show.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“Devastated and heartbroken that I can’t perform for all of you tonight. We will make this up to you, I promise!” she tweeted alongside the video. And that she did. :’ )

Later, she shared a video of her finding out the show could be rescheduled for the upcoming Monday.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“UGHHHH, this sucks. This SUCKS, she frustratingly shouted into a phone.” We see her with fiancé Alex Rodriguez and her team in a business meeting where the person on the other end of the phone confirmed that MSG could reschedule her concert for Monday.

J.Lo made sure to bring the whole Madison Square Garden to its feet during rescheduled concert.

The blackout might have stopped her concert in its tracks but that would never hold J.Lo down. She promised to deliver a performance for her fans and she did just that.

The singer is celebrating her 50th birthday like only she can and fans approve.

Way to go, J.Lo. That’s how you deliver a show to your fans.

Of course, A-Rod was there with all of the support.

Credit: @AROD / Twitter

Alex Rodriguez is the attentive and supportive partner everyone deserves. He seems to always be there for her performances and his unyielding support of her is something we can all cry over.

Even though she’s going to perform in a different city the very next day, she’s making The Garden show round two happen the night before.

Credit: @MySimple_Life / Twitter
“I just want to let you guys know that you’re going to get your money’s worth, that we are going to come back and do an amazing show for you. I am so sorry that this happened. Obviously, it was all beyond our control,” she told fans just hours before following through on her promise. 

This morning, she tweeted “The party’s not over til I say it is…. See you tonight, NYC!!!!!!!!”

Credit: @momdcpac / Twitter

You can’t stop a Puerto Rican fire. ; ) J.Lo’s swift action and obvious disappointment for her fans has just reinvigorated her fanbase.

Meanwhile, around the city, Latinos were taking in the city sin luz.

Credit: @Joseph_Mora78 / Twitter

As the sun set on the city, it’s usually bright cityscape was absolutely pitch dark. Citizens started directing traffic, including directing police cars in the right direction. A Symphony Hall orchestra moved their performance to the middle of a busy New York street, making it open to the public.

Bodegas kept doing their thing.

Credit: @AliBaumanTv / Twitter

The metaphorical and literal cornerstone of NYC and Latino culture remained the hub for socializing and snacking.

Broadway just took their performances to the street.

Credit: @Hadestown / Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted an incredible video of André and company freestyling about the blackout, during the blackout, to keep the Hadestown performance alive.

Kulture still had a “lit” 1st birthday party during the blackout.

Credit: @iamcardib / Instagram

In an Instagram live video posted Sunday, Cardi B told her fans that her baby’s first birthday party “was so lit that I lost my motherf–king nail. Let me tell ya’ll something, ya’ll made it lit was the fact that I had got there, the lights went off in the party, it was like a whole hour with no lights, no music. But it was…lit!”

Here’s what we learned. A blackout may turn off the power in the City of Lights, but it can’t stop culture from doing its thing.

READ: A Valedictorian Wasn’t Allowed To Give A Speech Because He’s Gay, So J.Lo Came To His Hometown To Bring His Noise

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