Read a version of this article in Spanish here.
It seems like a lifetime has passed since the Chilean's first and last visit to Seattle that memorable night of August 2019 in front of a sold out crowd at the Neptune, but no, it hasn’t even been a year.
The South American singer-songwriter, activist, and painter came to present her acclaimed album, NORMA, to the United States. At that time, our conversation with Mon Laferte walked the trails of her recent performance at Coachella, female empowerment, and the Latinx presence on the world stages. But things have happened in these ten months. A series of events changed Mon’s life and her native Chile and of all of us around the world in a radical way.
From October 2019 to February 2020, the social outbreak known as Chile Despertó (Chile woke up) occurred, which generated massive protest marches in that country, police repression, and more than 30 deaths.
"I think the government has made very bad decisions but we already knew that," says Mon Laferte, who was one of the artists who raised her voice to denounce the abuse of power and inequality suffered in her native country. Gepe, Javiera Mena and Francisca Valenzuela were also visible faces in this claim. “It was a hard time for Chile. I hope that when all this is finished, the voting and the referendum will resume because it has to change at its roots. That is what has to happen, a much deeper change."
From her current home in Mexico, she says, “I needed time for myself” and answers our question about how she’s doing during the quarantine:
“I have good days of great creativity, of being very positive and there are other days where I go to hell. I get super depressed, I think everything is wrong, but I really liked being at home for so long. It had been years since this happened to me because I spent five years on tour, non-stop.”
Many artists agree that creative processes have been multifaceted in isolation. Work and creativity was the sway that Mon also went through:
“When the quarantine started I decided to compose and I sat down every day, I took out the guitar, read, and wanted to do something but no, nothing came out. Like, I felt that I finally had free time and I wanted to take advantage of it but no, I was blocked. To be very honest, I had a super dark moment, I had my appointments with my psychiatrist by video call and I took sleeping pills, waking pills, pills for everything, like a zombie. Until a moment came when I agreed to do nothing and began to relax a lot. When I understood that this was a new life that I had to accept, embrace and that it will not be short (I do not know how long this will last), I hugged it and kind of relaxed. I started to enjoy other things.”
That enjoyment came "at maximum leisure, where creativity began alone," "suddenly I began to write and write songs but without intending to write them. I’d be doing nothing, I don't know, making bread and then boom! songs came out. So I wrote a lot and now I have started to record the new album at home.”
This is big news for Mon Laferte’s fans considering the success of NORMA that led her to touring the stages of the world:
“I’m in the demo stage and in a couple of weeks I’ll meet with Manú Jalil, and with him and Sebastián (Aracena), we’ll be producing here at home," she says. "I don’t have a super studio here, very much a home studio, but Jalil will bring some of his team and... there is a new album!”
“It doesn't necessarily talk about pandemics but it has a lot of this nostalgic thing about loneliness, isolation in general. It has that. It is logical, I write from what I feel,” she adds.
Mon Laferte is not only composing her new album but she also continues to paint pictures that you can check here, she does a podcast called “Trenzando: Conversaciones con Mon Laferte”, and is part of a collective of women musicians in Mexico who are fighting for greater visibility on stage and has released some songs that were stored in her chest such as "Biutiful", which she has called a "declaration of principles" on self-enjoyment and self-exploration.
Activist, captivating and proliferating, the Chilean artist does not hesitate to ensure that "the most beautiful thing" in this quarantine is her "re-connection with music” on a much deeper level:
“Because I always write songs, but now I feel like I connected to a special place and I think this new album, up to now, is my favorite album. I really want people to hear it."
June is pride month and we know that it’s an agenda that should be incorporated 365 days a year. At KEXP the music and voices of LGBTQIA+ artists from Latin America and Spain are in our podcasts, sessions, live programming, and weekly on El Sonido. Since we know there is so much to share and contin…
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