Is Becky G the Next Big Bi-Lingual Pop Sensation?
The Mexican-American pop star on balancing the English and Spanish music worlds
Becky G is an untamable ball of energy. Blame it on her humble roots while growing up or the famous Latin verve, Becky knows that the best way to be is to bring her A game to whatever she does. Even if it means singing a Tamil song for us when we catch up ahead of her Amazon Prime Day concert in New York. “I have never been to India, I have always really wanted to go,” says Becky, as she breaks into “Kumari,” a 2005 hit song from the film Anniyan, sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Harini. She adds, “I actually have an aunty who is from India and many times she’s always like, ‘We have to bring you down to one of the weddings.’”
Twenty two-year-old Rebecca Marie Gomez was born and raised in Inglewood, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, in a large Mexican-American joint family. Like many teenage singers at the time, Becky started posting covers of popular songs on her YouTube channel around 2011, which led to her discovery by the folks at Sony Music. She was all of 14 when she got signed and her debut single, “Becky From The Block,” came out in 2013 on her EP Play It Again. The song, harking back to the 2002 Jennifer Lopez hit “Jenny From The Block,” captured all the dreams of a young singer straddling the music worlds of Spanish and English pop: ‘I won’t stop till I get to the top/I am so, I am so Becky from the block’… And my 30 uncles, you can meet them in an alley/And one day I’mma bring home a Grammy.’
Since then Becky has gone on to release over 20 singles, collaborating with big-name crossover artists such as Pitbull and Bad Bunny, among others. One can’t really say whether the shift in her songs’ music styles have mirrored global trends or heralded them – if “Shower” (2014) and “Can’t Get Enough” (2013) favored the EDM-pop vibe, the reggaeton grooves in her recent work are only getting stronger with each new song. It only makes sense–there has never been a better time to be a Latin artist in America than now. Her latest single, “Dollar,” featuring Colombian rapper Myke Towers which released just two weeks ago makes no bones about her stupendous journey in the past eight years — Becky from the block is now on her way to conquer the world.
Has her multicultural background lent a sense of responsibility to what she does? “Definitely. I think it’s one that I don’t want to shy away from. The biggest thing for me — the responsibility that I feel the most — is that I need to be 100 percent authentic and honest. I think that is a good example… that this is a way to live life because doing the opposite is not going to lead to any kind of happiness,” she says.
But it’s easier said than done when there’s immense pressure to churn out hits. Becky says the battle for her was difficult but kind of unique. “I didn’t feel that pressure when I went to Spanish music; I felt it before when I went to English music…I mean yeah there’s definitely this pressure to make hit songs to reach a certain level of success and if you don’t [make hits] you are a failure.”
On the Spanish side of the street, things have always been more collaborative than competitive. “I was completely embraced with the aspect of the artist that I wanted to become and as far as collaborations go, and us as artists, it is so family-like. You come to one of our shows and it’s like family reunions. Everyone’s jumping around. Everyone’s in the dressing room, we are having drinks… I love that.”
Given the enormous success of her Amazon Prime Day Concert performance, failure is the last thing that should bother Becky; she held her own amidst a heavyweight lineup featuring Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and SZA, and her five-song setlist was punchy and every bit entertaining. She kicked it off with her 2019 single “La Respuesta,” following it up with the broody “Cuando Te Bese.” The mid-set live debut of till-then-unreleased “Dollar” was a rare treat, and Becky G closed the party with her most popular bangers, “Mayores” and “Sin Pijama.”