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

Courtesy of Nohemy

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

When Roc Nation’s #RocDaCourt Latin celebrity basketball game takes Las Vegas on April 24, there’s going to be an unfamiliar female face playing alongside Bad Bunny, Anuel AA, A.Chal and other urbano heavyweights. Let us introduce you: Nohemy, the emerging singer-rapper out of Orlando, Fla.

The moment is huge for the Puerto Rican artist, who just dropped her first Spanish-language single, “Repetir,” an energetic boastful bop, last month. But, clearly, the rising act has reason to be confident, though that doesn’t mean she’s not humble.

“Things are picking up. I’m grateful and enjoying the process,” the 25-year-old talent told FIERCE.

Nohemy, who is on Team El Combo, with el Conejo Malo, Tainy, Myke Towers, Rauw Alejandro and more, won’t be the only girl on the court. Becky G is over on Team La Familia, where she’ll be balling with acts like Anuel, Luny Tunes, C. Tangana and Justin Quiles, among others. But Nohemy doesn’t have her sights on the young Mexican-American singer. Instead, the triple threat, who played college basketball on a scholarship, is coming for Anuel — which is a glimpse at the up-and-coming Latina artist’s drive overall.

We chatted with Nohemy about the forthcoming game, where she sees her poppier sound in urbano’s global takeover, shining in Orlando’s music scene and what to expect next from the rising act.

FIERCE: It’s hard to place your music and sound in a genre box. How would you describe your style?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: My style of music would be uptempo, commercial and very happy. I don’t promote drugs or stuff like that. I try to be a positive energy, a good energy.

FIERCE: You were born and raised in Puerto Rico before moving to Orlando when you were 16 years old. What sort of music did you grow up on and how do you think this influenced your sound today?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: Growing up, I listened to a lot of Usher, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson and hip-hop. I didn’t even really understand the lyrics, but I liked the feeling of the uptempo music. I was also always involved in sports, and we always had a lot of playlists with this type of music, too. I think all of this reflects my style today because I go off of energy and the feeling it gives me. I’m very hyper. I can’t stay still. So I really identify with this high-energy music and I think I showcase this through my performances onstage.  

FIERCE: Oh definitely! I’ve seen some of your performances online, and you are very energetic. Not only are you singing and rapping, but you’re also dancing. When did you realize your musical talents and knew this was something that you wanted to do?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: I knew since I was little. I started singing at church, and I always had this feeling in me, this fire, that wanted to explode. In my room, I was always singing Usher and Chris Brown in front of the mirror. I always projected myself somewhere else. It was like a feeling of escaping from the real world.

FIERCE: At what point does this become the real world, something you go after professionally?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: Once I actually took the initiative to make my own music and get onstage, that was it. I always had a vision of what it would feel like, but once I experienced it, I needed more of it. I felt like I had to keep going. It’s addicting.

FIERCE: Orlando’s music scene used to be huge in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, during the bubblegum pop era, but it has since faded out. That’s not to say there aren’t big and rising names in the game from the O’ — Luis Fonsi, Coast City, Spiff TV, Nitty Scott and more, for instance — but many have left the city. What are some of the difficulties but also advantages of doing music in Orlando right now?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: I think it’s growing. It’s a great time right now. The Latino community is huge and growing in Orlando, and people are starting to catch up with what’s going on. As more Spanish-speaking people come in, the Latin market is growing worldwide. People here see that and I feel like there’s more support in the city now than ever, especially after Hurricane Maria, with more people coming over. People are understanding the culture and the importance of supporting one another. There are some difficulties, especially because Orlando is such a tourist area, so the music scene kind of gets lost in that. It’s not something people see; it’s hidden. It hasn’t gotten the boom and exploded out, so you have to network a lot, go to little events, get to know people inside the community and business. But there are people doing it. It’s just a different vibe, more quiet.

FIERCE: One of the benefits I see is you get to be a big fish in a small pond and are more likely to get on someone’s radar. Case in point: You were selected to participate in Roc Nation’s #RocDaCourt basketball game in Vegas this month, where you’ll be on team El Combo with Bad Bunny, Tainy, Myke Towers, Rauw Alejandro, A.Chal and more. How did that come about?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: My manager Stephanie was in contact with Lex Borrero, who is the executive vice president of Roc Nation and the head of Roc Nation Latin. He asked her if I played basketball, and I do, I actually went to college on a basketball scholarship, so she told him that and they asked me to come on. I think it’s so cool because I get to make music and showcase this passion, sports, which I’ve done for so many years of my life.

FIERCE: Team La Familia has Becky G, but you’ll be the only woman on Team El Combo, and so early on in your career. What does this feel like for you?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: Honestly, it’s surreal. When she told me, I got emotional. I come from a place where this is something we see on TV and never picture yourself there, especially so fast. I just put out my first single last month, and things are picking up. I’m grateful and enjoying the process.

FIERCE: I’m sure! As you said, you actually play ball and have real court skills. Who are you going to be coming for during the game on April 24?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: I’m coming for Anuel. I’m coming for him. I heard he has some ball skills, and a lot of people who saw I would be in the game have reached out to me and said I have to cross him up. It’s a fun, competitive game, and I have to do it now for the people, haha.

FIERCE: Haha, I can’t wait to watch that! I want to get to your music. You recently released “Repetir,” a fun, somewhat boastful song for the haters who didn’t believe in you. Why did you want to make this record. Does it describe sort of where you’re at right now in life?

Nohemy: Yeah, it definitely describes where I’m at in life. I took nine months off. In that time, I was finding myself as an artist. Before this, I wasn’t an artist who would say these things in songs; I didn’t have the confidence for that. But after putting that time in, that development, finding me, who Nohemy is, I found that confidence to say the things I said in that record. This is who I am, and I will continue to be me.

FIERCE: Love that! What else are you working on right now that you can tell us about?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: Right now, I’m working on my next single. I’m working on some visuals that I want to put together with it. That should be out by early June. Really, I’m just focused on making more music, having stuff to follow up with, and booking more shows.

FIERCE: Latin pop and urbano are having a major global moment right now. What do you think you bring to the game that’s different and helps you stand out among the rest?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: I think what I bring to the game is a different type of sexy, one that doesn’t necessarily  include too much skin but is a projection of the art, of my music, my style and my personality.

FIERCE: You are 25 years old, at the start of your career. What do you want the people to say about Nohemy in 10 to 15 years from now?

@nohemymusik / Instagram

Nohemy: That I always remained myself, true to myself: Nohemy, the humble, funny and really caring person. This isn’t just about the music, but what I represent, my morals. I’m not buying into things for the money. This is for the culture; this is who I am.

Read: Up Next: Meet Angelica Vila, The New York Dominicana Behind The Ladies’ Jam Of The Spring

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Cascarones: the Confetti-filled Eggs That Make Easter the Most Colorful Fiesta of the Year

Fierce

Cascarones: the Confetti-filled Eggs That Make Easter the Most Colorful Fiesta of the Year

Instagram / sanantoniomag

Since it falls at the beginning of Spring, Easter is one of the most colorful and lively events on our calendars. Across Latin America and the United States, festivals celebrating semana Santa and Easter are full of gorgeous decorations, festive performances and some of the best food you’ll eat all year. However, if you live in Mexico or in the Southern US, you’ll be aware of another tradition that celebrates the shades of Spring: cascarones.

Cascarones are hollowed chicken eggs that have been dyed and filled with confetti or small treats. These bright party favors have a long history and an enduring place in Latinx culture. In North America, cascarones were originally used in Mexico during Carnaval. They have since combined with the celebration of Easter but are also popular during New Year’s Eve, Christmas, birthdays, quinces and other fiestas. In fact, if your guests aren’t getting hit over the head by confetti eggs, can you really even call your event a celebration.

After you see this list, you might want to add these vivid eggs to all future party plans.

1. We can thank Marco Polo for cascarones.

Instagram / @emilyblincoe

Though they first came to Mexico in the 19th Century, cascarones have been around for much longer. Merchant and explorer Marco Polo first brought the favors over to Spain from China during the 13th Century. Cracking the decorated eggs over the heads of prospective sweethearts became a European courting custom before making it’s way over to Mexico.

2. Confetti wasn’t originally used.

Instagram / @prescribeddesign

Confetti wasn’t the first surprise inside cascarones. In Europe, they were originally filled with colored and/or fragrant water or powder. The eggs were sealed with wax and made for a much messier party favor. Cascarones wouldn’t be made with confetti until the custom traveled to Mexico.

3. A new tradition is born.

Instagram / @glenninnola

Easter egg hunts aren’t traditionally a thing in Mexico but that doesn’t mean eggs have no place there. When cascarones became intertwined with Easter, passing out confetti eggs to festival attendees became a custom. The mock confetti fights are called papaqui or guerra de cascarones and they can be pretty intense.

4. Cascarones reflected in la Cultura.

Instagram / @chachacovers

Like so many aspects of Latinx culture, cascarones have found their way into our art. This gouache painting by Texas artist Carmen Lomas Garza depicts a memory of time spent with family, decorating cascarones. Depictions of family and culture are a prevailing theme in Chicano art and Lomas Garza’s nostalgic take on this Easter tradition is no different.

5. Cascarones and the Jesus connection.

Instagram / @wigflipa

Besides Carnaval being closely tied to Easter, there is another reason why cascarones makes sense during this holiday. In pagan mythology, the egg has long been a symbol of rebirth. Many pagan customs were absorbed into Christianity in its infancy. Since Easter is the Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, it only makes sense that eggs find a convenient place within the holiday.

6. A craft project and ammunition.

Instagram / @tanyacalvarez

A big part of the fun behind cascarones is making them. In order to prep eggs for confetti, a tiny hole is made in the shell in order to drain the insides. Once the inside is rinsed out and dried, they can be decorated. The final step is to fill them with confetti or other goodies and to seal the hole with a bit of crepe paper.

7. Buy them by the dozen.

Instagram / @munimercados

Of course, you can always skip craft time and buy already made confetti eggs. In the States, cascarones are usually sold by the dozen in grocery stores during the Easter season. Additionally, churches, schools, and youth groups also make and sell confetti eggs as a fundraiser during Carnaval and throughout Spring. You can even find cascarones for sale on Etsy and through Amazon.

8. Literally art.

Instagram / @crowningfelicity

Cascarones are made to be destroyed but that doesn’t mean they can’t be works of art. Besides a traditional dip-dye, cascarones can be painted by hand and adorned with extra embellishments. For example, these lovely floral painted eggs are reminiscent of Mexico’s glazed ceramics and tile.

9. Cascarones are just plain magical.

Instagram / @cascaroneria

Like any artform, cascaron decorating is only limited by the artist’s imagination. You can find eggs that are embellished with paper, gold leaf, flowers, and other common objects. Cartoon characters, sports franchise symbols, and mythological creatures are also popular cascaron decorations.

10. Let’s get creative.

Instagram / @c.u.b.o90

The simple cascaron is the ultimate mock battle ammunition but vendors have found ways to improve upon them. Cascaron puppets come in popular fantasy characters and are sought-after in Mexico. Kids — and kids at heart — can play with the puppets before busting them open over each others’ heads.

11. A party favor with extra party.

Instagram / @sluca5

When you think party, you probably think piñatas. These cascaron piñatas combine two fun ideas in one. A cascaron is placed on a decorated paper tube or cone and candy and treats are hidden inside. For double the fun, take the whole piñata cascaron and whack it until it cracks.

12. Fun that will go straight to your head.

Instagram / @barbacoapparel

While we appreciate the artistry behind a beautifully crafted cascaron, we haven’t forgotten their original purpose. Though they started off like an old-timey flirting tool, they’re now all about fun and a healthy dose of competition. The objective of any good cascaron fight is to get as much eggshell and confetti into your opponent’s hair as possible.

13. Never too young to learn tradition.

Instagram / @lizzyloverface

No one’s excluded from cascarones during Easter. For babies, the colorful eggs are an immediate fascination and those “baby’s first cascaron” pictures are perfect for Insta. Just be careful about their delicate heads. Crack the eggs in your hands first before dousing los bebitos in confetti.

14. Even pups get in on the party.

Instagram / @txrosie

Speaking of adorable Instagram pics, your pup can get into the cascaron party too. Just like with babies, you want to pre-creak your eggs to avoid hurt perrito’s furry, little head. Your dog is sure to get hyped up when a full-on cascaron battle kicks off and you’ll have a new partner to corner your opponents.

15. Wear your confetti crown with pride.

Instagram / @mandi_sullivan428

One aspect of cascarones that is both fun and frustrating is that confetti is almost impossible to remove. This might cause you to walk around with a confetti crown for a few days but fear not! Tradition dictates that those confetti storms are actually showering you with good luck. Suddenly a scalp covered in confetti sounds pretty good.

16. Cascarones are perfect for sibling rivalry.

Instagram / @disneychapafam

When you’re a kid, you have very little agency of your own so you’ve got to take power where you can get it. Cue the cascaron battle royale. Do you remember using your stash of confetti eggs to annihilate your primos and hermanos? We do and there’s a photo album at there somewhere to prove it.

17. Some things you don’t outgrow.

Instagram / @ekiss

However, the fun doesn’t have to stop when childhood ends. You never really outgrow beefing with your siblings and cousins and — with cascarones — you never have to. It’s all in good fun; even if your Easter egg fight looks more like a war zone than a family gathering.

18. Confetti = family fun.

Instagram / @klewis2291

Like any other holiday, Easter comes down to spending time with family and those you love. That’s why cascarones are so great. No matter who you are — young or old — you can have fun making or cracking the confetti eggs. If nothing else, you can sit back and enjoy the colorful vibrancy the eggs left behind.

19. You’ll never stop finding confetti.

Instagram / @allimcbutter

Speaking of those little paper reminders: they will end up EVERYWHERE. This is why paper confetti is ideal in the cascarones. The paper will decompose quickly and leave no harm to the earth. If you want to go even more environmentally friendly, you can add seed to your cascarones. Also, you can just straight up buy confetti with the seeds embedded that will decompose and release the seeds. Mother Earth will thank you!

20. Most importantly, have fun.

Instagram / @fiestasa

Easter is very much the celebration of Spring. For many places, it’s the first time of the year we’ll actually experience sunshine and clear skies. What better reason to celebrate than that. ¡Feliz Pascua!

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