At age 11, rising Venezuelan singer-songwriter Elena Rose began writing poetry as an outlet to express her emotions. “Everything I was feeling or what I thought someone else was feeling, I would write it down,” Rose told Billboard. “While doing poetry, I started playing around with rhymes and that’s when I got into songwriting.”
Now, at 25 years old, Rose has written songs for artists like Becky G, Rauw Alejandro and CNCO. But these opportunities didn’t come easily and it wasn’t until she moved to Miami in 2014 that she got her foot in the door.
“Since I was a little girl I had the dream of being an artist. I always wanted to be singing but while I was in Venezuela, I was under a lot of literal danger and my life wasn’t going to get any better if I stayed there,” she said. “So, I moved to the U.S. at age 19 with my sister who was 14. It was the universe telling me that I was doing what I wasn’t meant to be doing. I used the money I collected from singing at bars in Venezuela to come here and we started from scratch.”
Her big break as a songwriter came after Becky G recorded her song “Dollar,” which peaked at No. 27 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs (chart dated Nov. 1, 2019). “After I wrote ‘Dollar’ for Becky G, it basically changed my whole life. Now, I was being seen as a prominent Latin female songwriter which in the industry, has never been very usual.”
She wrote “Dollar” in a writing camp hosted by Sony Music Latin two years ago and has since continued to write songs for Becky, most recently “My Man,” and is credited on Alejandro and Camilo’s “Tattoo” remix. “Writing for others taught me to write for myself. I saw these artists opening their hearts to me, a complete stranger, and that’s when I knew I had to learn more about me.”
And that’s exactly what she’s been doing, now focusing on her career as an artist and making her debut with three empowering songs “Sandunga,” “Fenomenal” and “La Ducha” that put her soothing vocals to the forefront. Being in the spotlight comes with a lot of pressure, though. “There’s something beautiful about the comfort zone that you’re given when you write songs for artists,” she explained. “It took time to feel safe and confident as a singer. But now there is a nice type of freedom that comes with a responsibility, too.”
As one of the few female songwriters in the Latin music industry, Rose acknowledges her responsibility of calling out fellow male songwriters who pen explicit, misogynistic lyrics. Especially in the urbano genre.
“I’ve been in rooms where I literally walk in and say ‘what do you guys have for Becky?’ and it’s the most disrespectful thing and because they’re men, they don’t see it like that,” she said. “What I do love is that now I can be in a room and be a voice for the women who can’t be in the room and say ‘honestly, we would hate to listen to that.’ It’s just being real. But as a female I also want to curse and say sh—how men would say it because why can’t I? If it’s a real song and as long as we’re respecting each other, I want to be part of it, urban or not.”
Learn more about this week’s Latin Artist on the Rise below.
Name: Andrea Elena Mangimarchi Hernández
Major Accomplishment: “I recently was able to buy a house for my mom in Miami. It’s where we live and now we have a beautiful house where I live with my mom and sisters. I’m proud of that.”
Recommended Song: “‘La Ducha!’ It’s the first time that I bare my soul that way. It’s about loving yourself and embracing you are and shining with your own light. It’s very me.”
What’s Next: “I will be putting out new singles the rest of the year. They’re very different from each other but I’ll keep getting naked soul wise, music wise so people get to know me a little more, my different sounds and perspectives. I’m excited!” Elena Rose will also be part of Lollapalooza’s four-night virtual fest. She will be perform August 2.