There are very few women in the world of Musica Urbana, and even fewer women who stand as strong, independent and unique as P LA Cangri. Her latest album, the Johnnie Walker Blue album included the hit single, Let’s Do This Here, which has been released on many radio stations worldwide and has helped her crossover into the American market. And her latest YouTube video, Lo Que Viene, is a smashing success, sure to get you up and dancing. With a musical repertoire that encompasses a variety of genres from Hip-Hop to Tropical, this artist is the one to beat (or look up to if you’re an aspiring female artist in the industry). Latin è had the opportunity to sit down with this firecracker to discuss her music, her inspirations and her mission. We can’t wait to share it with you.
é: Your sound is a mix of many different styles? What artists influence your work? Where does your inspiration come from?
P La Cangri: Everyone laughs when I say this. They laugh or they’re silent. (I laugh a bit) See, you’re laughing already. My greatest influence is Luis Miguel. My grandmother used to play his music, and I love people who really pour themselves into the music – I wanted to be like that. I wasn’t an R&B singer so there wasn’t much I could do in English. That’s when I thought that maybe, if I learned to really sing in Spanish I could make a difference. As for my inspiration, I’ve always looked to life experiences that really move me – I take them and write about them. All of my songs are true. (Chuckling) Saying that might get me into some trouble, but they are.
é: Well now you’ve gotten me curious. What’s your favorite Luis Miguel song?
P La Cangri: I love Pensar En Ti. It’s a beautiful song, and the lyrics really have something to them.
é: Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to pursue music?
P La Cangri: Absolutely. I would listen to music with my grandmother. My parents worked a lot, so they were never home because they had to work. I was home a lot with my grandma, and she would always sing in the kitchen. She was always singing and cooking. Let’s just saw that I sing really well and I cook excellently and I got it from her.
é: Now, I know you perform with a live band. How did that come about? Are you all close?
P La Cangri: Stroke of luck – you get one band member and that person knows somebody and that person knows somebody and that person knows somebody… Before you know it you have a band of great people that you’re close to.
In the beginning I was doing Tropical music and we were traveling. Now, with the urban music I’m doing I’m doing a fusion of DJ and live band, and I think bringing both sounds together is going to be incredible.
I’ve got a bunch of great people who bring so much to the table. We get along great – they all dislike my rehearsals. I’m like that teacher who doesn’t let you go to the bathroom. (laughing) No, they’re all wonderful.
é: Recently you starred in a Bacardi commercial, doing the voiceover for their Vivimos Campaign. What was that like?
P La Cangri: That was insane. They called me to do the voiceover, and they wanted a Cuban accent that was like 90-years-old. I spent two years living in Puerto Rico learning the ebonics there for my music, so when I said yes to Bacardi I was so terrified because I have more of a Puerto Rican accent now. So I called my mom and had her read it for me and record it in her Cuban accent, and the whole ride over to the studio I listened to her reading it and when I got there I was able to do it all in one take.
I think I can do anything if I put my mind to it, and there was some history there because I’m Cuban and I lived in Puerto Rico so I fit what they were looking to impart in their commercial. It was a great experience.
é: When you decided to remix your song, “Let’s Do This Here,” did you always know that you wanted to collaborate with Coke Boys and Boocity?
P La Cangri: The backstory is that when you’re an artist and you sign to a label that label holds you as being a certain kind of artist. As a Latino artist I was doing Tropical and Pop music, but I didn’t see any artists forging ahead and making a difference, and once I saw there was a need for a female artist in Urban Latino music I thought maybe I should do that.
So, after the album came out I got asked a lot why I didn’t do a collaboration with a well known artist. And, as a woman and as an artist I want to stand on my own two feet, and if I did a collaboration with someone well known, like Jay Alvarez, people will say that I only became successful because I did a song with them.
No one saw a collaboration with Boocity and Coke Boys coming. So I said, I need a hip-hop artist. I strive to do exactly what a major label would tell me not to do. Exactly what they tell me not to do is what I will do.
Don’t be surprised if next month I have a collaboration with another Coke Boy or a major R&B artist. I think it says a lot that they’re collaboration on my song; I’m not on theirs. I needed to do a collaboration that no one saw coming – I love to do the unexpected.
é: So, what’s next for P La Cangri?
P La Cangri: Right now I’m pushing/finishing the retail album. I’m finishing all of the videos for all the songs on the blue edition mix tape. The next video that’s going to come out is for De Donde Somos. And my next album is entitled, No Preguntes, because I don’t like being asked personal questions. When I sit down for an interview the first question is always, “Do you have a boyfriend?” or “Are you married?”
é: Well I’m glad I didn’t ask that then. One last question, do you have anything you’d like to say to all of your fans out there?
P La Cangri: Yes. What I always say is, “I am here. My mission is to represent Latino women in Urban Latin music with class and dignity. If I can do it; you can do it.” When you first start out you want to win Grammys and make all this money and have all this grandeur, but when I got started I saw how women in the music industry were being treated, and I thought, maybe I can make a difference.
We all have a purpose, and God has given us talents that no one can take away, so I don’t mind sharing the spotlight. I want to help women getting into this industry and following their dreams. I have my own label now, The Blue Label, so that’s what I’m trying to do.
There you have it folks – this whirlwind artist is sure to bring us many great things in the coming year. We can’t wait to see where she takes Urban Latino music. It’s sure to be one heck of a ride.
By Caitlin Omolarami Smith
Follow Caitlin on Twitter @moralynn1992