Interview: Becky G Talks “My Man,” Quarantine & Collabs
Becky G is one of the busiest women in music. So far this year, the 23-year-old has rolled out an English-language bop called “They Ain’t Ready” and five Spanish-language collaborations including “Muchacha” with Gente De Zona and “Jolene” (yes, a Dolly Parton cover) with Chiquis Rivera. She now drops “My Man,” a Spanglish bop that samples a classic hit from Chiquis’ mom — the legendary Jenni Rivera. By putting a modern, English-language twist on “La Gran Señora,” Becky successfully combines both of her worlds as a Mexican American.
I recently spoke with the prolific hitmaker about her new single and the adorable video, which she filmed in quarantine with her hunky boyfriend Sebastian Lletget. Becky opened up about the challenges of creating content in 2020 (it reminds her of covering songs in her bedroom as 14-year-old) and using her platform to support worthy causes. The bilingual superstar also talked about her many collaborations and plans for next year. Prepare to be inspired by Becky G’s positive outlook in our Q&A below.
“My Man” is such a bop. What inspired the song?
“My Man” is such a special song because it’s one of those songs that creeps up on you because it’s just super poppy and in your face. There’s a sample in the beginning of a Jenni Rivera song called “La Gran Señora,” and the storyline of that song is just so badass. It’s about a woman reclaiming her man and saying to the other woman, “I don’t know how you got here and I don’t know what happened, but I do know that you got to find your way out because this is my man and I am his woman.”
I thought that that was super empowering and a perspective that we don’t hear very often in music. I think that it was really fun to put a modern twist on that storyline. Then, of course, the music video brings some insight into what my relationship has looked like since we’ve been in quarantine together. It has really been a blessing in disguise at times because last year, I spent, I want to say 90 percent of the year on the road. I never got to see my boyfriend, Sebastian. I never got to see my family.
Obviously, given the times, there’s a lot of mixed emotions. It’s been really tough on me mentally trying to straddle, feeling really, really lucky to have this time with my family, but then also knowing that so many others are being very affected by what’s going on in the world. I felt like I really wanted to highlight the good in my relationship, and share that happiness and sweetness with everyone.
Did it take a lot of convincing to get Sebastian to be in the video?
He’s a good sport. Honestly, we had so much fun because it’s like a home video really. It was just us at home shooting it. It wasn’t like we had to do a bunch of takes. It was just like, “Oh, let’s try this. Okay, now let’s do this challenge.” We genuinely had so much fun doing it, it just felt really natural. I think if it was an official video with full-blown production, it would remove that element of authenticity. This is literally just what we’ve been doing in quarantine. It just felt a little special fly-on-the-wall type of experience for my fans.
“My Man” is also interesting because you sing in English and Spanish. Is that something you want to do more of?
For me, deciding to make English or Spanish music has been quite the challenge because I really identify in both worlds. The idea of picking one or the other has never really felt right to me. When I go into the studio, I don’t necessarily have a set decision of, “Today we’re writing a Spanish song.” It’s just, “Let’s make a great song, and whatever language it comes out in is what it’s going to be.” That was also the case with “My Man.” It was just natural to add a twist of Spanish. Particularly with the Jenni Rivera sample. It just felt cool to share that story in English, but the bring it back to its Spanish roots.
Were you familiar with “La Gran Señora” before writing this song?
Yes. Growing up, my mom and I would listen to all kinds of regional Mexican music because I am Mexican American, and my grandparents would play a lot of Mexican music as well. Jenni Rivera is obviously such a badass woman. She’s an incredible mother, an incredible artist who always wrote about her truth. “La Gran Señora” is amazing because she was singing about what her mother had experienced. She was singing from her mother’s perspective, and I thought that that was so cool. I thought that was super different.
Like I said, it’s a perspective that we don’t get to hear very often. I think it’s important that every woman acknowledges they have options, you know what I mean? It doesn’t make you a weak woman to choose to stay in a relationship, nor does it make you weak to walk away. Given the circumstances when you’re in that situation, it’s only up to you to decide. I find it so empowering that she is like, “This is my husband, and I’m not leaving. This is my relationship. I have the crown in this house.” I always thought that was so badass.
Talking about Jenni, you recently did a song with her daughter. What was that like?
We had so much fun with that song. It’s really amazing because Chiquis and are like family. We get together, we support each other in just about everything we do. I think that us doing a song together was never a question. It was always, what song is it going to be? We both sing Spanish music and we do different genres, but when she sent me “Jolene” in Spanish, it really called out to me. It was the fact that both of us were born and raised here, but we identify as Mexicanas. We all are Latinas. That’s what our blood is, and that’s what we represent.
Having this experience of growing up here, but identifying as Mexicanas, is such a unique experience. Her mom, as well as my mom, would play all different genres of music growing up, and Dolly Parton — Country music, in general — is something that we both grew up listening to because of our parents. So when I heard “Jolene” in Spanish, it’s just felt like the most Chiquis and Becky song ever because this is what we lived. It just felt like a little unicorn. It just felt like the right record. It was really unique and special.
I’m also completely obsessed with “They Ain’t Ready.”
Thank you so much! “They Ain’t Ready” is such a gem in my eyes because it was made some time ago, but it always felt very special to me. It ois very easy going, but still hardcore. There are so many different elements to it. There’s an R&B vibe with a little bit of a pop. It’s a fusion. I think that’s my signature, my music is always a fusion of a bunch of different sounds. Growing up in LA in Inglewood and listening to a lot of different styles of music — R&B, hip-hop and reggaeton — it has been really influential in the sounds that I create today. One day, I looked at my team and I was like, “Why aren’t we putting this out?” This should come out now.
You play a biker chick in that video and then you’re a mechanic in the “Muchacha” visual. There’s a bit of a link.
Yes, for sure. For me, storyline music videos are just so much fun. I feel like we live in a time where it’s really hard to capture people’s attention because they’re so used to their brains being stimulated in different ways. I think that a good song can be amplified even more with a video that tells the story of what an artist envisions in their head when listening to the song. That’s what “They Ain’t Ready” is. With “Muchacha”… the boys [Gente De Zona] were so cute.
They were really nervous about asking me to play that part in the music video, because most of the time artists don’t want to do such an involved role in a music video because that means they have to be on set longer. It’s more outfit changes, there’s more of this and that. But I love it. Maybe that’s the actress side of me. I really loved the idea of storytelling through music, through film, through TV. I feel like that’s where those elements really tie in for me.
How do you keep track of all of your collaborations? There are so many!
There’s always a timeline, especially right now. I’m just being extremely transparent. I think it’s important that people know that me and my team, we’ve made a lot of calls and had strategy meetings to discuss the right way to release music at this time. I think music is such a great form of therapy. It’s something that’s always been there for me, but I also would hate for anything that I release to be considered a distraction from the reality that America is facing right now. I think it’s important that we always tie it back to that.
I announced like on my social media that I wasn’t going to be promoting things or posting things as I usually would because it just doesn’t feel right in my heart. There is a lot of planning behind all of these releases and some are with other collaborators. I like to be mindful of how it affects them. I was always trying to have those conversations behind the scenes and be extremely mindful of the messages. The timing really is everything. I plan to tie these releases to greater causes really because that’s where my heart is right now. It’s really where it’s always been, but now I feel like it’s really important to be more vocal.
Are you making new music in quarantine?
Me and my boyfriend, we live together in an apartment. Although there’s not a lot of space, we do have a second bedroom. I’m turning it into a home studio just because I feel such a huge responsibility be a good example to my fans and not put people’s health at risk. I’m trying to practice what I preach and I literally I haven’t really left my home for months. I order my groceries online. I’m working in a home studio. I do all of my meetings and the press from home. I’ve shot music videos from home.
“My Man” isn’t the first at-home music video that I’ve shot. We shot “Jolene” at home as well. It has been really inspiring and quite humbling to be honest. To be this artist, who works so hard to establish such a level of quality and then replicate that quality at home… it really challenges you as an artist. But this is how I started. I was 14 years old covering songs in my bedroom and posting them on YouTube. It’s kind of refreshing and challenging at the same time. I think I’m managing as well as anyone can.
I think for everyone, regardless of their industry, there’s this feeling of sink or swim. It’s extremely intimidating. It’s extremely stressful. I think that it’s the greatest thing that I’ve been holding onto is I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not alone. I know that there are so many people in this country that can relate to that. I just keep pushing forward the best that I can, making sure that I’m safe as well as the ones that I care for.
Mala Santa was such a good album. Have you thought about the next project?
During this time, me and my team have been planning a lot. I feel like I’m working more now than ever. It’s like, “Well, she’s home.” That means I’ve got time. It’s a bit overwhelming but we’re already planning 2021. It’s actually really exciting because there are a lot of things that I’ve been wanting to get into, particularly on the acting side, that I haven’t really been able to do because of touring. Another thing that I’m super passionate about is producing content and projects that bring more opportunities to my fans and the Latin community.
There are a lot of things in the works that we’re planning for next year. In this time, I think there’s such a great opportunity to continue making music. For me, I’m a glass half full not half empty kind of person. I think that even with everything bad happening in the world, there is always something good to come out of it. It was like a reality check that I think a lot of people needed. Just thinking of that general concept and making music from such a genuine and authentic place, it makes me really excited. There’s definitely lots of music coming.
Thank you so much for your time. Good luck with all your projects.
Thank you. Same to you and stay safe.