“It was being honest with who I am and understanding that I’m a person that feels so many different emotions,” Sebastián Yatra tells Apple Music about his third full-length album. “There’s a lot of ways to express those emotions, not just in one genre.” The Colombian singer has made a career of shape-shifting through a variety of Latin pop styles, his expansive range covering reggaetón grooves as much as the broad appeal of Encanto’s “Dos Oruguitas.” A notable divergence from 2019’s ballad-heavy FANTASÍA, Dharma leans more prominently into his already well-documented artistic diversity, further integrating reggaetón and other contemporary pop formats into the mix. From the breezy and lovestruck “Tacones Rojos” to the brokenhearted dembow of “Amor Pasajero,” the collection proves to be his most surprising and satisfying project yet. Read more about some of the key songs on Dharma, in Sebastián Yatra’s own words, below.
“I already knew the title for the album. So, I sat down at the studio, and I said, ‘I want to write a song called “Dharma,” which talks about the good things in life that come to you when you do things right.’ There’s a phrase on the song that says, ‘I must have done something great in some other life for you to appear in this one.’ We had talked about wanting to mix vallenato with flamenco; vallenato represents Colombia, my country, and flamenco represents Spain, which is a country where I spent a lot of time in 2021 and where I learned a lot from their culture. I thought it would be an amazing idea to have a big representative of each of these two countries and genres. Jorge Celedón accepted the invitation, and Rosario Flores, one of the most iconic Spanish artists ever.”
“I wrote with Elena [Rose] right after quarantine in 2020. She’s been writing some of the biggest Spanish hits in the past few years. We talked for, like, an hour and we were writing, and I told her, ‘Come back tomorrow and let’s not write a song for me. Let’s write a song to sing together.’ So, she came to the house. It was me with my guitar and her, on the dock, with the water. And we started just talking and we wrote this absolutely beautiful song—which was impossible to record the way we record music nowadays, which is, like, you record it one instrument at a time and then the voices on top and you edit it all. Now this, the only way to record it, because it doesn't have, like, one specific tempo or anything—it’s just all flowing and changing. We had to do it all live. So, it was me and her in a room with Julio Reyes, an absolute genius, and with Camilo Velandia, who plays guitar.”
“All these songs show how my brain’s mapped out. I’m always looking for emotions and excitement, not just in the album from track to track, but within each track itself. ‘Melancólicos Anónimos’ goes through so many things. It’s a ride to listen to. You go slow, then you go fast, then you have a lot of emotion. The lyrics are funny, but then they’re sentimental and then they’re profound and you remember her, and you get sad. But then you get happy because there was something that made you so sad, so that’s also something that made you happy and nostalgic.”
“Si Me La Haces”
“I wrote this originally with Lenny Tavárez. We were meeting to write for the first time together. We didn’t know if it was going to be for something together. It just flowed that way and we let it be. Once we had that chorus, there was the magic. We wanted to have a girl on the track, singing the chorus, because it’s this very cool thing between a guy and a girl telling each other, ‘Yo, I think this is going to be something more serious now. So, if you behave bad, I’m going to behave bad, and it will make pieces.’ It’s very flirty and super sensual, and I think Mariah [Angeliq] was the perfect person.”
“I like finding myself in the reggaetón genre, and finding my comfort inside of any different genre, finding myself. And that happens with songwriting and when the songs come out of my heart. With ‘Regresé,’ I really enjoyed being able to mix up my style with two artists that are very different than me, which are J Quiles and L-Gante. But we also found we have a lot of things in common. This song, the people that have heard it thus far, are obsessed with it. I think it’s a song that should keep growing a lot.”
“When you talk about love, you either make a happy song or you make a sad song, you know? We all identify ourselves with that and it’s just very inspiring. I didn’t even write it thinking about anything specific. I just improvised it and then built the concept around it. I wanted it to be cumbia. Before, it was a little more reggaetón, but in reggaetón it sounded very dramatic. Once we made it all cumbia, it sounded super fun.”