Interview with Belén Aguilera
«Harmonizing Emotions: A Journey Through Belén Aguilera’s Musical Evolution»
Known primarily as «the girl and the piano,» Belén Aguilera began her musical journey by teaching herself to play the piano and sharing covers on social media. In 2021, she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Los40 Music Awards, and in 2022, she released «Superpop,» once again becoming one of the best-selling albums nationally. Songs like «La tirita,» a collaboration with Lola Índigo, reached the Top 50 in Spain, earning her first Gold Record. Meanwhile, «Antagonista» went viral on TikTok, reaching number 28 on the Top 50 Global Viral chart on Spotify and the Top 50 Viral in more than 23 countries, including Spain. This positioned the singer in the Top 100 Spanish artists and earned her first solo Gold Record. Midway through the year, Belén released her EP project «METANOIA,» which was a total success. She has now dropped her latest single, «Mr Hyde.»
This interview was conducted on 12/04/23. Belén Aguilera performed her concert on 12/03/23, and her last concert was on December 8th in Barcelona.
Casandra Maggio: How are you? Yesterday’s concert in Madrid was amazing. Can you tell us about it?
Belén Aguilera: It was incredible. I always say that each concert is the best because they truly are. Besides being the largest concert we’ve ever given, this one, in particular, made me feel confident and connected with myself. Due to personal reasons, it became even more special. Everyone I care about was there, and I got really emotional. It was fantastic. I wouldn’t change a thing.
CM: How is the tour going after three sold-out shows between Madrid and Barcelona?
BA: It’s been unbeatable. I always say that this isn’t something that comes easy. We’ve been working for a long time, refining the show… We’ve managed to create a distinctive stage presence and performance, very much our own style. With these shows, both visually and sonically, I’ve shaped who I am. I’m proud on all levels.
CM: You started as «the girl and the piano,» and like any artist, you’ve evolved. How has the transition been from a softer, piano-playing girl to a more mature artist?
BA: Since I started playing the piano, I’ve always said it’s a part of me. The piano is a tool I know, a sound that allows me to create ballads or softer melodies. While the piano is a beautiful instrument, I have many more facets, and I needed to explore that path first.
CM: I understand. How do you compose these new facets?
BA: It’s always the same process. I compose at home with the piano and then take it to the studio. All the sounds in my songs come from a piano played by me. I connect it to the computer, play the chords and bases as if it were an organic piano, but the sound transforms into something else strings, another organic or electronic instrument.
CM: What are your references for inspiring these chords?
BA: In each album, the references are very tangible. In the first album, I took inspiration from SIA, Ariana Grande, a more ballad and Anglo-Saxon pop. In the second album, «Superpop,» I wanted to give a gift to my younger self, emulating pop divas. So, I shaped the pop sound in Spain, making sure it didn’t differ from international pop. With Metanoia, my references were musicians I admire, who are influencers in more alternative music, like Lana del Rey, Caroline Polachek. You may not hear them directly, but there are many elements in the EP, and that’s what I like—having rich references and not trying to emulate anyone in particular.
CM: Last year, you opened for none other than Alicia Keys. How did you receive this news, and how was the experience?
BA: I still can’t believe it. Alicia Keys has been a role model for me, and working for her was inconceivable. I always say that I still don’t fully believe it. It seemed surreal. One day, my management called to inform me that I had been proposed as her opening act in Spain, and she liked me so much that she took me to Milan. Seeing her thanking me was very surreal. I still dissociate a bit from that moment.
CM: Tell me, in the middle of this year, you released your EP «METANOIA,» a total success with hits like «GALGO» or «LICÁNTROPO.» It’s quite different from what you’ve been releasing. Can you tell us about the creative process of this record and what you want to convey through these songs?
BA: Just like with «Superpop,» I shaped a sound that I later didn’t feel comfortable with. It had been a part of me, but I didn’t identify with it, and I wanted a change, but I didn’t know what. Personally, I went through many changes, a quite painful and confusing stage. It was frustrating because I didn’t know where to go. Then, one day, I went to the studio, and the first song, «quien soy,» came out. It’s made up of different verses I wrote during that summer when I was sad. I collected them all and created the melody for the chorus. From that song, which is actually the last one on the album, I found a new sound. I thought it was great to be able to narrate such a painful stage with this sound.
CM: You’ve just released a new single, «Mr Hyde,» inspired by the novel «Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.» What was the need to release this song?
BA: For me, «Mr Hyde» still has a Metanoia sound and is very important for me. I address many mental disorders, and I will continue to do so because that’s how I am personally. «Mr Hyde» closes the album and the year. I also wanted to give a Christmas gift to my audience, which is the most beautiful thing. The most important thing was to release it at this stage to be able to sing it in the shows and close the year encouraging what’s to come. The lyrics came out naturally, and the meaning is very clear, especially for women: when we are pigeonholed into goodness, behaving well, and in reality, we all have two sides, the good and the bad. There’s no need to dramatize because where there is light, there is darkness. We are dualities, contrasts, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
CM: Is it a critique of society?
BA: Yes. Sometimes, we find ourselves so confined by what has been said about how we should be that we’ve omitted what is real and exists. We end up making it taboo, even morbid.
CM: What importance does fashion have in music, and how do they coexist?
BA: Today, an artist is an image. I believe that what you see of an artist and how we are perceived is a way of expressing what you do and who you are. We must shape our own imagery, and fashion should be part of it.
CM: In fact, you have a very fantastical world.
BA: Yes, I have always been a person who has loved fairies. I believed in them a lot. I took it very seriously, and I still do today. I am fascinated by fantasy, everything that mixes with the real and the unreal. Taking care of my younger self is important and giving her space for fantasy to happen means externalizing everything I have been and making her happy.
CM: What can we expect from the new Belén Aguilera?
BA: I’m going to bring a fun stage, enjoying ourselves and an album that, for me, has a more mature sound.