Latin pop star Becky G on life in quarantine: ‘I’m in survival mindset’
Pop singer Becky G earned some of her earliest success with 2013’s “Becky From the Block,” which celebrated the specifics of her Inglewood roots through map-point shout-outs. “Yo, first grade, Oak Street Elementary / A few blocks from the Inglewood Cemetery.”
In the seven years since, the artist born Rebbeca Gomez has become one of the city’s most bankable musical exports. Mixing Latin American pop, reggaeton and dance-pop, the 23-year-old singer, who is signed to Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe imprint, has charted both as a solo artist and in collaboration with superstars including Bad Bunny, Pitbull, Zayn, Kane Brown and David Guetta.
In 2019, she issued her debut album, “Mala Santa,” which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Latin albums chart. She’s hit No. 1 twice on Billboard’s Latin airplay chart, starred in the movie “Power Rangers” and guest-starred on Fox’s “Empire” series.
In mid-April, after the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak had shut down Los Angeles public schools, Becky G released “They Ain’t Ready,” a new video and single. Simultaneously, she offered for sale a limited-edition T-shirt, with all proceeds going to L.A. Students Most in Need.
Last week Becky G, a breathless conversationalist, got on the phone to talk about how, and with whom, she has been spending her time during the forced isolation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Where are you right now?
I was born and raised in Inglewood and basically never left the South Bay. So I’m right near LAX. My career takes me to beautiful countries but I never want to leave home because I love it so much.
Why did you choose to use your platform to raise funds for Los Angeles public school students affected by the shutdown?
The L.A. school system hasn’t ever had to adapt to something like this. There are kids who don’t have access to internet, who don’t have computers to go online and send in their schoolwork. Some of these kids don’t even have access to pens and paper.
My little brother Frankie, who I’m in quarantine with, loves street fashion and is the creative consultant for everything that I do when it comes to merch. He created this design for “They Ain’t Ready” and we decided to put it up online. One hundred percent of the proceeds from these T-shirts will go to the relief fund for the Los Angeles Unified School District, for students affected by COVID-19. And if it’s helping the students, it’s helping the families.
Just so I get it straight: You’re in isolation with your brother Frankie?
In my house — I’m as true Mexican as it gets — we have been in quarantine for a month all together: It’s me, my brother, my other [two] siblings, my parents and my boyfriend [L.A. Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget].
How many people is that?
It’s 7 total.
And everybody is healthy?
Yeah, fortunately. My grandparents actually live next door, and although we haven’t literally seen them, we’ve been checking in, leaving groceries at their doorstep. Making sure that they don’t go without something that they need.
What’s been your typical day?
Wake up between 9:30 and 10 and then I go to the kitchen. I make my coffee, my boyfriend makes his mate and we have some eggs. Then we go outside for a little bit of activation, some workout. We’ll watch a movie or read for a little bit.
Are you cooking or ordering in?
I am cooking most of the time. I’m not too clueless in the kitchen, and I really enjoy it. But we’ve also tried to support local businesses and restaurants. A couple of friends of mine are restaurant owners. Not the five-star restaurants in Hollywood. They’re family-owned businesses, and I knew what a hit this was to them. We do takeout from their restaurant, called Isla. It’s really good.
Have you binge-watched anything?
We just started “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”). We binged the “Toy Story” films. I cried every night that we watched them. It’s really good to tap into that vulnerability. Walt Disney has a really amazing quote: “Although there’s very little adult in every child, there’s a lot of child in every adult.”
What have you learned about yourself during the shutdown?
A lot. There’s a part of me as an artist who is struggling. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, and now all momentum is basically at a halt for reasons beyond my control. I don’t have access to a studio. No one can leave home, you know?
But the way I explained it to my team is like, “Are we going to sink or are we going to swim?” Right now I’m more worried about the safety of my family than I am about recording the next single. I’m worried about having enough groceries in my refrigerator. And whether or not my grandparents have enough. I’m in this survival mindset.
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