To review the musical trajectory of Kany García is to undo the steps of a career that It has been built through intuition and sensitivity about situations that she could well have experienced, but that are universal because they talk about women, love, heartbreak, desire, overcoming, sadness and, at the same time, being reborn.
They are 16 years that collect nine albums that tell the Kany that was and that is, songs that They put lyrics to situations that the women did not find an echo in the music, and that found a place in her voice.
Kany García is one of the few international artists who can be have the luxury of leaving and returning to Colombia, in less than a year, to offer two different tours. But his years in music and on stage give him material not to repeat a show.
This week, the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter arrived in the country as a guest of BIME, the industry’s professional event, in which she participated to talk about the role of women as role models and mentors. His schedule runs until May 14, when his tour of Colombia ends at the Movistar Arena. in Bogota. He visited Barranquilla, Medellín and Bucaramanga, and will offer shows in Cartagena, Cali and Pereira, as well as the capital.
In conversation with EL TIEMPO, the artist expanded on the topic of how women are in the industry and her tour in the country.
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How was it for you to start in music as a woman?
I must confess that it was complex for me because there weren’t as many female mentors or artists who were vocal. That made one feel a little weird, like a cockroach in the middle of a chicken dance, as we say. But it was wonderful to be able to feel the freedom to dare to speak about certain things with the naturalness with which we speak today. For example, my friend in the bathroom it was a song about female pleasure and dildo. I love how the industry has moved, how more women are writing and singing songs about different situations.
How has the evolution been in these 16 years of career as a woman within the industry? Have you felt the inequalities?
On a radio station I heard an advertisement for seven artists. Six were men and one was a woman. We experience inequality in absolutely everything, from ticket sales to spaces. In these years of my career I have evolved, I have had many experiences as a woman with horrible things that have been done to me and that I have done in order not to let her ride it and I have been gaining credibility that serves to be able to engage in these types of conversations that probably 10 or 15 years ago I was terrified of having them. During this time I have also learned not to get carried away by what the male industry has been, which is very trampling, this is where I come from. And for many years women have not worked collectively, but that has been changing and it has helped me a lot in the shows, where there are spaces for discourse, to talk about a woman’s reality through a song.
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In your case as a soloist, how do you work collectively with women in the industry?
There are lots of ways. From having women in the work team, those who are on stage and off stage. It is also important for me to have people from my LGBTI collective. It is to give them space, but make it meritorious. On the other hand, although I am a soloist, I am also a producer and I seek to work with women; and I’m a songwriter and I write with other girls.
“They have taught us that we have to give answers all the time, fight, but we also have to learn to recognize ourselves as vulnerable.”
Appealing to the topic of the talk in BIME, who was your referent?
In the panel it was interesting because the three guests agreed on a first mentor who is our mother. In our cases, they were not in the industry, but they were the ones who gave us the confidence to propose new ideas, they told us to do what you want, dare to sing, to write. Later, other women appeared in the industry, not necessarily artists, who had gone further than me and advised me. I remember once when I was experiencing something personal and one of them did not know how to give me an answer. I loved that she had the need to seek a mentorship to give me an answer. In that I recognize that women are in constant change and evolution. They have taught us that we have to give answers all the time, fight, but we also have to learn to recognize ourselves as vulnerable.
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Do you consider yourself a mentor to women who are starting out in the industry?
I feel that sometimes there are some attributes or names that were given to you without realizing it. At the moment I feel that way and it fascinates me because there is responsibility. It’s like when you have a microphone, there are ten people in front of you and you ask yourself, what am I going to say? What am I going to communicate? When there are women who are watching your way, a greater responsibility is created, so you have to be in constant learning. On the one hand reading and updating myself with books and, on the other, through the networking What is done with other women? To listen and learn from them.
Do you feel part of the process that began to open spaces for the songs to tell stories of non-heteronormative couples?
Yes, for me that has been vital, because I have experienced it firsthand. Writing songs that I can dedicate or that don’t have a genre, because now we are in a reality of a non-binary world. Also people from the trans collective deserve to have songs. As a composer I think: ‘I have ten songs to write for an album, that at least 3 or 4 talk about as many things to heteronormative relationships. And not only of the LGBTI collective. Why not a song about an interracial relationship? There are situations in which you have to be sensitive when writing and for me that is vital. In addition, the public appreciates it so much that one realizes the need to make them visible.
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In less than a year you returned on tour in Colombia, how do you feel?
It’s a privilege that an artist can repeat in a year without having released a new album, it’s crazy to me. But at the same time he talks to me a lot about the country, about the connection he has with me. He has forced me to change the tour and I love it because with a 16-year career you have the opportunity not to repeat the songs. Obviously, there are some obvious songs that I have to sing, but it is to find a way to do it differently. It is a tour that is challenging me a lot. There will be three cities that I will visit for the first time and others that I will repeat, giving myself the luxury of being able to be in larger spaces.
Tell me a little about the opening acts, all women and emerging artists…
When I started, most of the times I was the opening act it was men who gave me opportunities. For me, having them is a way of changing the discourse of what happened before, when we had to knock on the door of a male composer and singer-songwriter.
Last year he released a new album, ‘The love we deserve’, which he said is the least intimate and personal. How is that?
It’s been a long time since I sat down to write with people. And I had that need after the desert that was the pandemic. What was he going to talk about if he wasn’t living anything other than confinement? That is why it became an album that was not so personal, but one that was vindictive in one’s experiences. I say this because the name speaks of a process of introspection of who I am and what I am really willing to give at any stage of my life, not only emotionally, but also at work and myself as a woman. And that’s how it went basting song by song. Today I change what I said, because I feel that the album is quite personal, it has come to life with the passing of the tour and it sings to me.
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And what is the most personal or autobiographical song?
I’m going to choose fucking mother, because I think I keep closing cycles in my life that need healing or celebrations. And this song resorts to the latter, to gratefully acknowledge a person or a moment in my life that has already passed.
His most recent single, ‘La siguiente’, was a collaboration with Christian Nodal. How was she doing exploring her in the ranch?
Marvelous. It’s a genre that I love, that I feel comfortable in, and it’s likely that I’ll continue to do things there. It’s very much in my DNA and it’s really crazy because I didn’t grow up with this music, but music speaks to us all the time and breaks those barriers that a vallenato can be made by a Colombian, or that a merengue has to come from a Dominican. We are breaking with those discourses.
NATALIA TAMAYO GAVIRIA