tú crees en mí?
“I grew up in a small town, and when I first started dreaming of being an artist, the resources were limited,” Emilia tells Apple Music. Her long-awaited debut album, tú crees en mí?, establishes the 25-year-old as one of the most exciting new acts in Latin pop. Born in Nogoyá in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos, the velvety-voiced singer began her career in the cumbia-pop band Rombai. In 2019, she went solo and gained momentum with a series of singles that gave ample proof of her remarkable talent as a songwriter. “In Argentina, I’m like a little ant,” she offers as an explanation for the album title, which translates to Do You Believe in Me?. “I was the only one believing in me. Without that, success would have been really difficult. And that’s how I began to achieve my goals and started getting bigger and bigger.” The insecurity of those tentative times seems well behind Emilia now. tú crees en mí? covers a wide range of styles with ease, her voice invariably in the foreground. Its eight songs go from the lush reggaetón of “cuatro veinte” to the sweet vulnerability permeating “como si no importara,” her duet with Argentine rapper Duki. “I like telling my story because maybe it will inspire other young people who spend their days at home with their guitars, which is what I used to do back when I was uploading covers and felt like there was no chance for me in this world.” Here, she walks us through the songs on her debut album. “latin girl” “I had been telling [Argentine producer] Big One for a while that I wanted to do an Afrobeats kind of thing, but more chilled and relaxed. Plus, I thought it would be fun to have a song referencing Latin women from a woman’s perspective. The artists I used to listen to when I was growing up were all the 2000s people like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Avril Lavigne, and Gwen Stefani, who always put women on a pedestal. I got a lot of inspiration from them because, to me, there’s nothing more beautiful than pop music. I want people to feel that same confidence when they listen to ‘latin girl.’ It’s like when you’re walking with your headphones on, and the street feels like a catwalk.” “como si no importara” (feat. Duki) “I think this was the first time I worked with Duki in the studio, because he helps me a lot with songwriting too. We decided to do a song together about everything that was happening to us back then, which was like a secret romance. He just steps to the microphone and starts spitting bars. It’s just amazing to see. He has a different way to write, and I think that we learn from each other. It’s a mutually nurturing collaboration where I help him with the melodies, and he helps me with the lyrics. At the time, people didn’t know about us. They saw the video and they were all, ‘They’re such good actors—their chemistry is unbelievable.’” “cuatro veinte” “We were inspired by Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón, that era with the heavy sound. I have a telepathic connection with Big One. I get into the studio and I’m like, ‘Dude, I want to do some R&B,’ and just like that, he puts together a chord progression that’s amazing for the song. We discuss things, he gets sounds on the computer, and it just happens. I decided to do the album with him because I had never had such a good connection with a producer. I wrote this song with FMK, who helped with the lyrics and came up with a reggaetón vibe for the girls that want to party. I know that everyone dances, but we are the ones who get into the real perreo, so this is for all of us girls.” “intoxicao” (feat. NICKI NICOLE) “I’ve always been a NICKI NICOLE fan. She’s this little thing with so much flow and so much power that she can let everything out as soon as she starts singing. I sent her the track out of the blue, and she told me she wanted to be part of it. She came to the studio with me and wrote a verse that shows what a beautiful sensitivity she has. There are no other female collaborations on the album. She’s the right woman in the right song. I am very grateful because she is one of the greatest [artists] we have in Argentina. It makes me so proud to have her here.” “mi otra mitad” “It’s my favorite song on the album. I was heartbroken, and as they say, that’s when you come up with the best songs. I wrote during lockdown about someone that I considered the love of my life and was always there for me. Then I had to leave home, and I started traveling and experiencing everything that comes with music, which is beautiful. But I also had to leave that other half and understand that our realities were different and that he was no longer for me. The song is R&B, with a lot of work put in the harmonies. I wanted people to be able to feel my pain.” “la balada” “It’s about an unfortunate romance, a toxic relationship that I was in. It was one of the first ballads I wrote, about three years ago, and I was putting out little teasers for a while. Fans started asking for it as ‘the ballad,’ and I thought it’d be funny to just title it like that.” “rápido lento” (feat. Tiago pzk) “There’s no one like Tiago. It’s his voice and everything he represents for Argentina. I was going to sing this by myself because it’s an R&B song where I talk about more intimate, sensual things. But then that’s Tiago’s style, too, and as soon as he heard it, he asked if he could be in it. He jumped on board, and he really went for it. It was a beautiful collaboration.” “cielo en la mente” “This is motivational, with a nice message for my fans. It’s a little bit about everything that has happened to me. I mention the people who bullied me, but also my dad, who is the most important person in my life. There are many sensitive points in here, and I would love for people to relate to the song and make it their own. The most beautiful thing about making music is that people can find their own stories in the lyrics.”