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Record Labels Told Her No Because She Was ‘Too Latina’ So She Said Screw It And Created Her Own

LaLa Romero does it all. No, for real, she does. With every endeavor, LaLa takes it upon herself to build something, from the ground up.

This Chicana is an independent artist, soon-to-be founder of her own label, co-founder of her lifestyle brand Bella Doña, and a radio host for Apple’s Beats 1. But it didn’t come easy. When record labels told her there wasn’t a demographic for her music, she created a label herself. Streetwear brands weren’t catering to Latinas, so she and her business partner, Natalia Durazo, started one. “We weren’t in the forefront of the brands that existed, so we created our own,” she says.

mitú met up with LaLa for lunch at Escuela Taqueria in Los Angeles to see what the life of a real life boss looks like.

6:45 a.m. Daily


I’m forced out of bed by my bulldog, Biggie. He scratches at the side of my bed until I open my eyes and tell him good morning.

7:00 a.m.

?GOD BLESS?

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I do a guided meditation first thing in the a.m. Being quiet and still is really hard for me, so meditating is a serious challenge. Usually, I start off good then move into daydreaming about what I want to eat and completely lose focus. I try to do this daily before I open my emails or social media because once I’m in work mode there’s really no turning back. This guided [routine] is one I do off YouTube; it has you run an inventory of all the things you’re grateful for. I think this is an important way to start your day. All of the most successful, extremely busy [people] I know meditate. I’m hoping I get the hang of it soon and zen my vibe.

7:30 a.m.

She was a smart girl, until she fell in love. ??? #NewMusicComingSoon

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I journal daily. I have this Inner Guide planner my mentor gave me as a gift that has changed my life. She is the busiest woman in the music biz, anything she advises me to do, I’m on it. I update this journal every morning; it helps me sort my heart and work for the day.

8:00 a.m.


I walk Biggie to Starbucks and check all my emails. I’m basically juggling three different sectors of my career and brand, so I have to stay really organized or else all hell breaks loose and shit starts falling through the cracks. I spend around 20 minutes each morning in emails for each category: Music stuff with my manager, Beats 1 business with my producers, and Bella Doña with my business partner Natalia – which always turns into gossip sessions, since we are best friends, basically sisters.

9:00 a.m.

?

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The gym is like my therapy. If I skip it, I’m grumpy all day. It sounds corny, but working out gives me a cool, natural high and keeps my anxiety issues at bay. I listen to my Beats 1 show talk breaks from the day before, then listen to Zane Lowe because his show is a roadmap for many things I’ll touch on during [the] request [segment]. I learn so much by listening to him broadcast.

10:30 a.m.

???

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I grab more coffee and walk home. I walk instead of drive because it gives me time to listen to music and vibe in the sunshine. Nature, blooming roses, the fall leaves scattered on the ground all make me feel. I currently have Mac Miller’s new album “The Divine Feminine” in heavy rotation. I mostly get a lot of creative inspiration from heartbreak, so I’m always intrigued when people are in love and write about it’s upside.

10:40 a.m.


I check in and call our Bella Doña assistants. I break down daily objectives and put out any fires. We discuss customer service stuff, etc.

11:00 a.m.

Recent thrift find!! #22bucks

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I get ready for my day! I don’t do full hair and makeup daily, so I can then move pretty quick.

12:00–3:30 p.m.


I work on Bella Doña early afternoons. I try to go into our office three times a week and take meetings outside the other two days. Designing, photo shoots, styling–all concepts, Natalia and I handle it all except shipping. On Fridays, which is the only day I’m not on air for Beats 1, we do photo shoots.

The brand mimics our life, taste and sense of humor. It’s really hard to pass the baton and hire people to do any of these jobs because no one gets us like us. One of our goals with the brand was to create opportunities for women from the neighborhood. Our office manager Karmen was the president of my MySpace street team back in the day. She did so much for me I vowed to hire her one day when I could afford to. It’s been dope to hire from within our community. Models, photographers, everyone we work with is from our community, and I’m really proud of this.

Our office is filled with music and tacos. It’s a super fun creative environment where everyone is fighting over the aux cord to put each other up on new music or some shit we think the other has never heard. Music is the catalyst of why I started the brand. Bella Doña, all of it, was inspired by my struggles as an indie artist and me trying to find other creative ways to push my music and message.

Basically ???

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We have a taco stand on the corner up from our office. We reward ourselves with tacos when we finish our to-do list every day!

3:30 p.m.

✨BEATS1✨

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I head to Beats 1. If I’m busy with Bella Doña or my music stuff, I Uber so I can continue to work.
I get an oatmeal peanut soy smoothie every day [around this time] when I get to the studio! I’m a creature of habit. This smoothie is like a sweet reminder I’m halfway through my day!

4:00 p.m.


I start my show prep, run through new music and my show with my producers. It’s like dress rehearsal because my show is live!

5:00 p.m.


From 5–7 p.m., I’m strictly in BEATS 1 mode. I’m checking out new music, playing requests and talking to listeners. For those two hours, I force myself to not to even look at my texts or emails. I like to stay in the music and in the moment; the rest of my life gets put on hold for those two hours. I get so hype to crack the mic every day that if I think about it too much, I get nervous. I’m broadcasting to the entire world, and I’m among people like Ebro Darden and Elton John on any given Monday.

I’m extremely passionate about Beats 1 because of the platform it offers artists, especially indie artists. I’ve been indie my whole career. I know the struggles personally. I was tired of the music business telling me there wasn’t a market for my music. They weren’t understanding that this is viable. There’s no one speaking for this demographic of people, where are the people telling our stories. We exist. Our stories are important.

7:00 p.m.

Spent the day in studio with this beauty!! @reverielove X @kinglilg X me coming soon! ???????

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Once I wrap my show, I switch gears and start working on my music. Today, I was dealing with logos for my new record label. I have a bunch of deadlines to meet for my mixtape and for my next two music videos, which I’m finishing up now.

8:00 p.m.

Love hard 365 ❣

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I order delivery for dinner so I can work on my mixtape release. Currently, I’m working on video treatments, and locking in locations and styling. As an indie artist, it’s like five times the amount of work when I shoot a video. But I’m a total control freak, so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love planning and shooting videos. It’s so much fun bringing my songs to life!

12:00 a.m.


I read a little bit before bed. I’m obsessed with memoirs and biographies. Right now I’m reading Kim Gordon’s “Girl In A Band” and Angie Martinez’s “My Voice.” These two books just happen to be about women who kicked down doors and lit the way for so many in the music business. It’s a pretty cool note to fall asleep on!

1:30 a.m.



I walk Biggie and time for bed!

Photos courtesy of @lalaromero‘s Instagram


READ: Meet Lora Arellano, the Latina Makeup Artist Rihanna Swears By

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Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Bad Bunny is on top of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it appears to all of us on the outside enjoying his record-breaking year. Not only did he release three albums in 2020 but he also landed his debut acting role in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and from his Instagram stories, he seems to be in a happy, contentful relationship.

But like so many others, Bad Bunny has his experience with mental health issues, of which he recently opened up about in an interview with El País.

Bad Bunny recently spoke up about his struggle with depression.

Despite his immense success that’s catapulted him to, arguably, the world’s biggest superstar, Bad Bunny admits that sometimes he still feels like the young man who bagged groceries in a supermarket.

The reggaetonero revealed in an interview with El País that right as his career really started to take off, he was not happy. “You asked me before how I hadn’t gone crazy. Well, I think that was the moment that was going to determine if I was going to go crazy or not. From 2016 to 2018 I disappeared, I was stuck in a capsule, without knowing anything. The world saw me, but I was missing,” he said.

Although no doctor diagnosed him, he is sure of what was happening. it only did he feel lost and empty but he had stopped doing many of the things that brought him joy, like watching movies and boxing. Without realizing it, he had also fallen out of contact with much of his family, with whom he was typically very close.

“And that’s when I said: who am I? What’s going on?” he told El País. When he returned home to Puerto Rico from spending time in Argentina, he was able to get back into the right state of mind and remember who he was.

Despite his success, Bad Bunny still worries he’s in financial trouble.

Although today, he is the number one Latin artist on Spotify and the awards for his music keep coming, there are times when Bad Bunny still thinks that he has financial problems.

“Not long ago, I was 100% clear in my head what I have achieved, maybe a year or six months ago; but until then, many times I forgot, I felt that I was the kid from the supermarket. He would happen something and say: “Hell!” And then: “Ah, no, wait, if I have here,” he said, touching his pocket.

Much like Bad Bunny, J Balvin has also been candid about his own mental health struggles.

Bad Bunny is just the most recent to speak to the emotional havoc he experiences despite being a global superstar. And, thankfully, like many other celebrities, he’s been able to find refuge in a reality that allows him to keep his feet on the ground so that he too can enjoy the achievements of his career.

Much like El Conejo, J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. But he’s long addressed the importance of caring for one’s mental health. During his Arcoíris Tour, he encouraged people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and let the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

We need more men like Benito and J Balvin to speak up about their mental health struggles, to help destroy the stigma that exists within our community.

And in the same interview, he also spoke about why he works to elevate the Spanish language.

As for the possibility of singing in English, the answer remains the same: a resounding no.

“You have to break this view that the gringos are Gods…No, papi,” he told El País. And, although he’s collaborated with artists like Drake, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, he has always sang in Spanish and with his famous accent.

“I am very proud to reach the level where we are speaking in Spanish, and not only in Spanish, but in the Spanish that we speak in Puerto Rico. Without changing the accent,” he said.

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Bilingual Collaborations Are Taking The Music World By Storm, These Are The Dream Collabs For 2021

Entertainment

Bilingual Collaborations Are Taking The Music World By Storm, These Are The Dream Collabs For 2021

Can’t Remember to Forget You / Sony Music Worldwide

One doesn’t have to look far back to know that Spanglish duets are a growing trend – and one that seems to be growing in popularity and Latino artists are making Spanish-language music go mainstream.

Just last year, we saw unprecedented collaborations between artists such as Maluma and The Weeknd, Banda MS and Snoop Dogg, David Bisbal and Carrie Underwood and Rosalía and Travis Scott. You can go back a little further in time to the chart-topping collab between and Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber from 2017.

Despite all the movement in Spanglish collabs, there are still so many dream mashups to look forward to. Here’s a roundup of some of the dream team ups that need to happen in 2021.

Bad Bunny & Harry Styles

Bad Bunny had an incredible 2020. And although many rumors exist that he may be leaving the music industry to focus on acting, the music world anxiously awaits his every move.

With his latest album, El Último Tour del Mundo, Benito gave us a look into alternative pop-rock Bad Bunny and we liked what we heard and saw. Meanwhile, Harry Styles is also an innovative, fashion-forward artist who – like Bad Bunny – makes music on his own terms.

If this collaboration were to happen, it would be a major milestone for the music industry and would easily be a major highlight of 2021.

Rosalia & Billie Eilish

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly a “dream” collab since we already know it is happening. We just don’t know when. It was back in April 2020 when the Spanish singer said she was trying to finish the song, telling Billboard, “I have been trying to finish the Billie Eilish collab. I think it’s getting quite close.”

And the world has been patiently waiting ever since. Both artists are experimental and strong songwriters, so we’re all waiting with baited breath to see what this duo comes up with.

J Balvin & The Weeknd

J Balvin is no stranger to bilingual collaborations, including hits with Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa, to name a few. Balvin shines in his place as a reggaetón star – just look at his credits from 2020 – and he’s made sure to bring his Latino essence into all the work he does.

Together with The Weeknd – who recently collaborated with Maluma – the duo would mesh their experimental sounds perfectly, making this one of the top dream collabs of 2021.

Daddy Yankee & Missy Elliot

This one might be a long shot but can you imagine?! The mashup of old-school reggaeton with old-school hip-hop and both Daddy and Missy Viking on their shared witty lyrics would bring us the ultimate ‘90s collab of our dreams.

Camilo & Sam Smith

This collab would work because these two pop crooners aren’t afraid to show vulnerability and emotion in their lyrics. Sam Smith’s powerhouse vocals would compliment Camilo’s delicate vocals. Like Taylor Swift, Sam Smith has yet to collaborate with a Latin artist. It’s never too late.

Karol G & Rihanna

Like many of us, Karol G is a major Rihanna fan. She even has a tattoo of the “Umbrella” singer on her arm. She previously told Billboard that Rihanna “presents herself as a real woman, she doesn’t care about the negative comments. I love her lyrics because she sings about love, heartbreak, woman empowerment, and I feel that we have similar personalities.”

And it wouldn’t be the first Spanglish collaboration for Rihanna, who previously worked with Shakira on “Can’t Remember to Forget You” in 2014.

Natti Natasha & Cardi B

Both Natti and Cardi are Dominican powerhouses: one is a reggaeton all-star and the other is hip-hop’s darling. Many have long said that a duet between the two is long overdue, especially since they both seem to be major fans of each other’s work.

And any collaboration between the powerhouse duo would be an important milestone in Latin music, regardless the route that they went.

What dream collaboration do you hope to see in 2021? Did we miss anyone on this roundup?

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