María Becerra: from YouTuber to the top 10, to the Latin Grammy

Shortly before being one of the most listened to Argentine singers of the last year, María Becerra was a YouTuber whose funny videos, in which she appeared from bathing her cat to shaving her face with everything and foam, generated millions of views. But her true passion was not comedy but music, and now she is nominated for a Latin Grammy for best new artist.

“The truth was that he was a character,” he says about his teenage years when he produced his own videos. “And I was always like that, of inventing plays or scripts of things in my head and I wanted the world to see them … I was always very involved in everything related to art. I did a lot of plays but I was also very involved in what is self-management, I liked being very independent when doing my things ”.

That is something he has maintained as an emerging urban singer. Becerra still does not have a record label (only distributor), and even so he has appeared in the Top 10 of Spotify in Argentina with collaborations such as “Wow Wow” with Becky G, “Before you” with Rusherking, “Mal accustomrao” with Mau and Ricky and the international hit “¿Qué más ?,” just in the last few months.

Mostly a performer of urban music, but also of other rhythms such as bachata or R&B, in 2019 he debuted with the single “222” and two years later he released the EP “Animal, Part 1”, which was followed by his first full album, “Animal” , this year. He has also appeared in multiple remixes with popular artists, such as “En tu cuerpo” with Lyanno, Rauw Alejandro and Lenny Tavárez, “AYNEA” with FMK and Beret, and “Besides me” with Rusherking, Khea and Duki. Lit Killah and Tiago Pzk, his first number one on the Argentine Hot 100.

“The truth is that it would be a great achievement for me if I can continue to maintain my career like this,” working independently, says the artist, who began at age 12 by posting her first video on YouTube (a five-minute parody monologue which was viewed over a million times in just a few hours). “I know that there comes a point where it is very difficult to pay for all the expenses, because the videos, everything, I pay for it … but my goal would be to have my own record company. That would be incredible”.

Becerra will be measured for the Latin Grammy with Giulia Be, Bizarrap, Boza, Zoe Gotusso, Humbe, Rita Indiana, Lasso, Paloma Mami, Marcos Mares and Juliana Velásquez. The awards ceremony is November 18 in Las Vegas where she would love to meet Rosalía, see Danny Ocean and Becky G, and meet urban stars Karol G and Natti Natasha.

In a recent video call interview from Buenos Aires, he also spoke of his first steps in music and a wave of urban artists hailing from Argentina, a country best known for tango and rock in Spanish. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

AP: How was that transition from youtuber to urban music singer?

María Becerra: All this acting, singing, art in general was always very hand in hand, and what was always in me from a very young age was music. It also went hand in hand with all this video production that I loved and I think the transition happened when I got to a point where making the videos fascinated me, but it was a lot of work. I recorded the videos, spent 10, 12 hours editing them, uploaded them, monetized them, made the thumbnails themselves, spent hours in the PhotoShop editing, it was a lot and it was already something that was not filling me, because it was not what I wanted to be all my life … And I reached a point where I was already 17, 18 years old that I said: “Che, I’m investing a lot of time in this and I don’t really want to live on this. I want to be a singer, I want to make my music, write my songs ”. It was the moment of breaking and I said: “Well, the truth is that thanks to God I am very well known with what I do and I feel that I can also take advantage of the public that I have that banks me a lot, that they also bank me with music because I at the same time I was making videos, I had released three songs, I was doing covers, and people also knew me for that. At 18 I made the decision and at 19 I already started the whole process.

AP: Why did you decide on urban music?

María Becerra: I don’t know, I think it was more on the composition side, which made it more natural for me to compose. It comes out more natural for me to compose a reggaeton, to compose a trap, as I actually feel more comfortable and more at ease with those genres. What I find most challenging are genres like bachata, like R&B, which however today is what I decide to do, I decide not to stay in my comfort zone and go to other genres. I am very happy because I feel that I am achieving them with a lot of height and the truth fascinates me, I am fascinated to have written a bachata, to have written a salsa, I have saved R & Bs that are incredible.

AP: You are one of the most successful exponents of the moment among a group of emerging artists from Argentina that includes Nikki Nicole, Bizarrat, Tiago PZK … What do you think of this movement that is emerging from your country, because one listened to urban music from Puerto Rico, from Colombia … but from Argentina, how is it something newer?

María Becerra: Yes, it is something much newer. In fact, I think that one of the first Argentines to have done reggaeton was Cazzu with her album “Maldades”. There are many more too, but it was all quite ‘under’ … While in Puerto Rico and Colombia there were J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Farruko, De La Ghetto, they were all years, pioneers, for a long time in the industry, we were here recently We were starting to cheer ourselves up because here I was very installed in national rock … But I think that thanks to those who traced that path, like Cazzu – I admire that a lot, because she was also one of the first women in the environment and the truth is that she spent many things to give us a good place for women, they have made a lot of things easier for us and they have also nurtured us.

AP: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

María Becerra: Daddy Yankee, La Factoría, De La Ghetto, J Balvin … but also a lot of Shakira, like I have a lot of mix. I think that I have been influenced by a lot of artists from all sides and from each one as I took what I felt that nourished me or that I liked having a little

AP: Among them you mention J Balvin, with whom you now have the success “¿Qué más ?,”.

Becerra: Well, until recently I was kind of wow, I don’t know, I’ve listened to it all my life. About eight years ago I was quietly dancing one of his most famous reggaetones at the matinee, at the bowling alley, with my friends. And it’s like, “J Balvin”, do you understand? Nowadays having a song with him is a great example of overcoming, of perseverance, of work.

AP: Are you planning to attend the Latin Grammys?

Becerra: Obvious! I never expected that with a two-year career they would nominate me for a Latin Grammy. I’m not saying that I don’t deserve it, I know that I tried hard, that I write my songs, that I’m involved in a lot of things in terms of my career and it’s all a lot of self-management, my entire team is managing everything, I have a great team of professionals and people who are my family who are very capable that I appreciate because they have led me on a very good path. It really is a journey. None of us expected it.

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Sigal Ratner-Arias is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.

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María Becerra: from YouTuber to the top 10, to the Latin Grammy

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