For a year, skyrocketing musician Becky G had the now certified platinum single “Sin Pijama” archived on her phone. She knew the song was going to be a hit—she had no doubt about it. “I remember someone told me,” she recalls, “‘Well, if you think this song is such a hit, why don’t you want to share it?’ And I was like, ‘Because hit songs happen every day and I don’t want a hit song. I want a moment in history.’”
So that’s what the Mexican-American singer did. “Sin Pijama,” which also features Natti Natasha, was history making, using reggaeton to empower women to own their sexuality and challenge the prejudices that come along with doing so. “And that happened because we didn’t listen to what the industry told us,” Becky G adds.
Right now, history is repeating itself with Becky G’s new release “MAMIII,” in collaboration with Colombian songstress, Karol G (merely a coincidence they share the similar ‘G’ moniker). “Las G’s finalmente juntas!” laughs Becky. “We’ve been acquainted and friends for so long, and to do a song together was always in the talks, but it was about the song. It had to be the song.” And if you’ve observed the way “MAMIII” has been soaring up the charts, you can be sure they’ve found the song. However, the reception was not a surprise for the G’s—they expected it, they knew what they were looking for, and they delivered. “Us two together is a force to be reckoned with,” claims Becky G, “and if you look at everything that I’ve done, it’s always been about female empowerment and collaboration, and I think that’s what the industry was waiting for.”
Singer, song-writer, dancer, performer, actor, and all around boss-lady of her own make-up brand, Becky G wrote her first song at a sleepover with her cousin when she was about nine-years-old. “Even before the first official song that I ever wrote,” she emphasizes, “I wrote poems, I wrote scripts, I wrote stories. I always was a writer.” Performing rancheras in front of her family since she was five years old, it was just a matter of time for her to become the star she is now.
But Becky’s evolution was not simple. She developed as an artist, while also growing as a young woman, and that change became very apparent in her music. If not only for the language change—she speaks to the hurdles she had to jump through to become the empowered woman she is today. “Singing professionally in Spanish was my biggest fear,” she recalls, “and I think it was a fear of rejection, because of the identity crisis that comes from being second or third generation mixed-culture, you don’t know where you belong. You are told that you are either too much of this or not enough of that, or too much of that and not enough of this. And you have to choose.”
Before starting her journey in Spanish, Becky G experimented with English. She released her debut EP Play It Again in 2013, with a positive reception, and later “Shower” in 2014, the single for her expected first album that gained her mainstream success, allowing her to co-headline a tour alongside J Balvin in 2015, be featured on “Superstar,” a song by Cuban-American rapper, Pitbull, and finally release her first Spanish song, “Sola.” A song that completely changed the course of her career, transforming that expected first English album into “Mala Santa,” an all-Spanish album she released in 2019 through RCA Records, Kemosabe Records, and Sony Music Latin, who have been behind her since the beginning.
So, with regards to her music, choosing what songs to release and when came naturally. The way she felt writing and singing in Spanish reverberated in a space where her message and lyrics had been missing. “My Spanish music is different from Becky G’s ‘Shower,’” describes the songwriter. “Although that song was massive, and it caught a second-wind going viral on TikTok, it’s a song that really lacked identity. It didn’t have a voice. That song was bigger than me. And that’s okay, that song taught me so many things. But as an artist, to feel like you don’t have a voice, it’s pointless.”
The proof is in the output. Through her Spanish-language music, Becky G has arrived at a voice hyper-relevant to her moment in time, addressing the is- sues that women in her culture have had to put up with for way too long. “When it comes to my Spanish music,” she shares, “I am a young, empowered woman, who has a lot to say, who hates double standards, who wants to challenge the machismo that exists within the Latinx culture, and the world. Who wants to own her sexuality, and wants to challenge people on all these things.”
Becky G has mastered the challenge, and that mastery roots itself in exploring the authentic representation that Latinx culture was missing. “It was very black or white,” considers the singer of the cultural precedent she faced, “and it’s all of the beautiful colors that make the Latinx culture so rich. Not all Latinas look the same—we don’t all come in the same colors, shapes, and sizes, so why be put in this little box?”
Nevertheless, Becky G is still in a constant cycle of change. Always learning. Her upcoming album, which she has been working on for the past 14 months, coming out this Spring, recounts how much she has grown this past year, showcasing a different side of herself, musically and personally. “I’ve changed as an artist,” she recounts of the differences between this new album and her last album, Mala Santa. “I think that has a lot to do with where I am at. It is so different to where I was when I released Mala Santa. The things that I’ve written about still stand the same: it’s always about empowerment, but there are a lot of things and a lot of heartbreak that I have experienced, maybe not first hand, but I’ve witnessed people that I care about go through so much, and that inspired a lot of the songs that I wrote.”
Striving to connect in a deeper sense with herself and her community, empathetically analyzing the feelings of those surrounding her, while also maintaining the sassy, bold, playful alter-ego that has always been present in Becky G’s persona. “Playing with those different dimensions of me as an artist has been the most fun for this upcoming project,” she shares, “but I also have taken my time with this project. There is a roundup of music that I did last year that kind of stood the test of time, that really resonates and aligns with where I am a year later. There’s stuff that I recorded at the halfway point, and then there are songs that I basically recorded yesterday that are going to be on the album.” Of what’s to come, the listeners should expect to get to know Becky G from a completely different perspective. “What there is in this next chapter for my fans to learn about me is the way that I express myself sonically. It’s a lot different from what I think people are expecting from me.” The new album will be accompanied by a new live show that will reflect the album’s direction.
Becky G’s fixation with empowerment is helped by staying true to herself, a process that is deeply supported by relation- ships with her family. “My literal phone-a-friend is my mom, or my sister,” says the singer. “And I think that also speaks to our culture, because family is everything. But it’s learning that putting family first in this day and age is putting yourself first.” She continues, “The way I stay grounded and connected to myself and my culture is checking in with the people who really see me. Not the ones who see me for the amount of followers that I have, or the number of new releases, but simply based on my heart. And I think that looks different for everyone—some people don’t have close relationships with their family. But family doesn’t have to be blood-related, just someone that sees your heart and has your best interests at heart.”
Concurrently, Becky G is a proud advocate of therapy, acknowledging that the process is not completely accepted or welcomed in her culture, but that it has nonetheless given her the tools she needs to find balance in her sometimes too-big emotions. “It’s not about finding the answers,” she analyzes. “I go to therapy to be asked better questions. Because they can’t give me the answers, I have to find the answers, but if I am being asked better questions, then I am not asking myself ‘Why me?’ all the time. It puts you in this victim mindset, when you should be thinking ‘Why not me?’ I am strong, that is why this is happening, because I am strong and I am capable.”
Furthermore, the singer will be starring as a judge on the new MTV series Becoming a Pop Star, alongside Joe Jonas and Sean Bankhead, where eight up-and-coming TikTok musicians will be competing for a chance to star in a Pepsi commercial to air during the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. “It’s beautiful to be a part of something like this,” Becky G enthuses, “because my life changed because of the internet, and I was doing covers on the internet, and that’s how I got signed to a record label, and I was 14. You know, I had no idea what lay ahead of me and all of the lessons that I was about to learn.”
Yes, Becky G is ready to embark on this new role and help up-and-coming artists achieve their dreams, but she has her sights clear: “I don’t like the word ‘judge’. I am not here to ‘judge’ anybody. Music is an opinion-based sport. I am here to be of service, to be of help, to be honest with our fellow peers in the music space. These are artists in their own right too. And there is so much love and attention going into our positions.”
Like all of her work, Becky G’s makeup line, Tresluce, which can be found in 350+ Ulta stores across the country, also intends to expose the other side of the Latinx community, giving a voice to those who haven’t been heard yet. “In Tresluce, we collaborate with Latinx artists for our artwork, we try to highlight their voices, and give them the freedom to express their ways of identifying with their Latinx culture, and we do highlight pieces on social media about them.” She pauses, then continues resolutely, “I was a CoverGirl at -years-old. And fast forward, I am now the owner of my own beauty line, and all of the education and experience that I’ve had in those 10 years speaks to the fact that I don’t just want to be the pretty, Latina face that helps a major company check a box to say that they are diverse.”
Becky G’s goal is to separate herself from the brand. She wants to make clear that all the accomplishments of Tresluce are for her community as a whole, because her goal is to make the beauty space understand that Latinas don’t all look the same, don’t all identify the same—and that makeup is not gender-exclusive, it’s about having the freedom and the forum for self-expression. “Having the support of a partner like Ulta to put us in stores across the country is a huge accomplishment,” she exclaims. “And not just for us as a brand, but for our community, because representation in stores is not common, and I want to change that. We have to make sure that we are opening the door for all of the minority communities that deserve experiences like this.”
Becky G’s efforts to em- power her community do not stay put in the music or beauty spaces, but go as deep as teaching her community about voter registration and education. In 2022, she joined as a co-chair for Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative, alongside H.E.R, Steph Curry, Jennifer Lopez, Bretman Rock, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, and many more. “When we talk about voting,” con- siders the artist, “we are talking about empowerment, which is important for our communities. Empower yourself with the right information, with the right education to be able to understand what it is that is our responsibility as citizens. Voting rights and voting education is crucial and it makes all the impact, because it’s a space where we have hope to create change.”
If the picture is not clear yet, Becky G is a chaparrita who is conquering the world step by step. Opening doors, while shutting down stereotypes. Analyzing and commenting on the wrongs of her community, while also empowering those that are a part of it to speak up against injustice and ignorance. As she continues to gather steam and amass success, it’s impossible to tell where her focus, hard work, and unique point-of-view might take her.
Photographed by Zhamak Fullad
Styled by Mui-Hai Chu
Makeup: Deanna Paley
Hair: Fitch Lunar
Nails: Johana Castillo
Photo assistant: Francesca Sostar
Style assistants: Vanessa Blasi and Shei Marcelline
Flaunt Film director: Mynxii White