Reggaetón, an adaptation of Jamaican reggae originally based out of Panama, has a new queen: 29-year-old Tomasa Del Real is revamping the genre with futuristic vibes on her new album, #neoperrero. “It’s a movement,” del Real tells FADER. “The new way to listen to reggaetón.”
Del Real’s lyrics are laced with self-affirming testaments of pleasure, celebrating women’s sensuality in a genre that is dominated by men. “Tu Señora,” a surprise song released on Valentine’s Day earlier this year, shows Del Real expressing her desire of needing someone to feel sincere, a display of emotional vulnerability softening reggaetón’s machismo dynamics. “Reggaetón lyrics are really strong and they’re usually sung by men. I think people like [my music] because for example, a woman who wants to dance—now she has the opportunity to sing it and dance.”
The incorporation of electronics is a testament to her being of the digital age. “All of my motives for reggaetón and everything also have to do with the Internet and the future,” she adds. “I didn’t have a single contact before, just the Internet and a computer. Through the web, I was able to meet people. Right now I’m in northern Chile, in Iquique, a small city on a beach right next to the Atacama desert—the most arid in the world. Here, we’re next to this beach, a city, the mountains and there’s a desert right around the corner, and yet, the only connection I have with the world is through the Internet.” She, along with other Internet artists, are reshaping the way that music is packaged and the evolution of its sonic sound.
As a millennial, Del Real’s fusion of electronic elements with the traditional reggaeton sound is also apart of what she has dubbed a new movement. ” I am from that generation that listened to reggaetón as a young girl, and now I’m turning it back around. This new generation of people are doing new Latin music — like a compilation of all those sounds. Apart from the music, the genre is accompanied with an approach to partying. And it’s not just me, it’s an entire movement.”
The futuristic former tattooist Tomasa Del Real never thought that she’d be doing music.
Del Real began doing tattoos since 2011, but developed an interest in reggaetón, due to its overwhelming popularity in Santiago, Chile. “I had this tattoo business, a studio with a lot of other tattoo artists, and I began traveling tatting people—and meanwhile, I was beginning to do reggaetón. I don’t know why. Just whenever it occurred to me, I’d rap, then I’d upload it,” she explains. “More people started to write to me. I did a few tattoo tours and during them, I’d arrive to countries and people would say, ‘Hey, could you play at a friends party?’ That’s how I had the opportunity to perform in so many places and that’s when I started doing videos.”
Del Real’s #neoperrero is set to drop later this year.