Zahara: “They abused me when I was 12 years old, and in the face of the complaint the victim continues to be doubted. But now I am the one who tells my story”

Fitness

Zahara: “They abused me when I was 12 years old, and in the face of the complaint the victim continues to be doubted. But now I am the one who tells my story”

Zahara upsets and moves the world. With his new album, Puta , he not only makes a revolution on a musical level , but also on a personal level. “I wanted to possess the insult that we have all received at some time, and that marked my life, and make it mine, make it ours. And free myself.”

Zahara wears a white lace dress and sandals, by Ermanno Scervino. Photo: Lupe de la Vallina. Make: Julia Martínez. Makeup and hairdressing: Mara Fernández.

Zahara (Úbeda, 1983) no longer has anything to defend, he just wants to tell his story. But tell her. At school they called her “Merichane” , the name of the prostitute in her town, and that’s the name of the first single from this cathartic album. He suffered bullying, bullying and sexual abuse . Then, psychological abuse of toxic partners. Always accompanied by guilt, shame and an oppression that made her shut up and swallow … and hurt herself. But he has managed to place all that pain, and finally appropriate his story. Her story runs through that of many female victims, like her, of humiliations, insults, hasty judgments and much, much machismo . But she has already forgiven herself.

So when I sit in front of her in a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid , in front of that Zahara who is what I know and what I do not know at all, I wanted to hear everything, know her story told by herself, observe how she is A wonderful woman has gone through storms that many of us don’t even imagine and that has come out of them if not unscathed, yes triumphant.

How did you get here? Why this album and why now?

Zahara’s trip: everything you didn’t know about the musical revolution of the moment María Serrano | Video: Eduardo Garrido

It has been a mix between perseverance and stubbornness, but in any case it has been thanks to outside help … and music. When I started going to therapy it was because I wanted to fix my marriage, because I didn’t really know what was happening to me. But then other issues began to emerge, I began to delve into all the milestones of my life and, after a year and a half, my psychologist asked me: “How did you survive?” And although now it sounds cliché, I answered that thanks to the music. Music saved my life; in the songs I found a refuge that allowed me to be myself, to isolate myself from others, not to have to compare myself with anyone or listen to their criticisms and opinions. At the same time, it gave me so much security that I was able to go out on stage. Every time I have had a moment of heartbreak and sinking, the music has been the only one that has remained.

Do you think that we seek in ourselves a strength that we do not have, and we live disconnected from the outside, unable to ask for help?

I think there is a terrible thing, which is that intelligent people (or that we think we are intelligent) are the ones who ask the least for help. We think we know the why of things, and then we start to justify our own narrative, and therein lies the greatest danger. It doesn’t matter if you know why something is happening to you; that doesn’t change anything. The direct experience that I have with my family or with very intelligent friends is that they do not consider going to the psychologist because “they already know what happens to them”, without understanding that what they need are mechanisms and tools to manage what happens to them. The problem of our disconnection comes from that and from the social maxim of “you can”: they sell us self-sufficiency and individualism as something positive, instead of seeking connection with others.

You have become an icon of many things, a woman who knows what she wants and says it, sure of herself. But at the same time you say that if you are here, it is thanks to a company …

There are times when to learn to understand yourself you need someone to open that path for you. One of the most brutal things that happened to me in therapy was realizing how I talked about myself, how cruelly and unfairly I treated myself. If everything that I had experienced or had happened to me had been told to me by my friend “la Benito” [the writer Patricia Benito], what would she have thought or what would I have said to her? To learn to love myself the way I love others, the way I love Benito, I needed someone outside to help me do this exercise. We are human beings but we do not know anything about psychology, sociology or relationships. And I think that we are immersed in a very negative trend that is leading us to break the relationship with others and with ourselves, and in the end, to unhappiness. In my case, for example, there is a lot of “I can, I’m my own boss, I don’t need anyone”, but deep down what we do is contribute to the system, because since they have sold us that we work for ourselves, we do it in a more productive, more dedicated and better … we fall into the trap. It is the triumph of the system, which makes you work for it believing that you do it for yourself.

All this way, all this history, has crystallized in the album you just released, Bitch . Because right now?

There is something of a leap into the void. Deep down, it’s also a pandemic album, the result of the hiatus, of looking at myself and not finding things that I like. Not relating to anyone and being completely isolated led me to something negative, which was the withdrawal syndrome (missing my followers, the love of the public), but also something positive, which was feeling out of any possible judgment. . And that isolation and that freedom, that certainty that no one was going to witness my work, made me completely immerse myself in it, and then I thought: “I don’t care what people think of this. I don’t care who it offends, who bother. I don’t care. ” This “I don’t care” is part of the contradiction of the album, because at the same time I sing that I need people more than ever, I write a song for my followers,Taylor , and I open the channel. This mixture of emotions is crystallized in this album; because although in all I have been myself, even with my need to hide, what now completely disappears is complacency. With the album Santa , in which I use religious metaphors, I always try not to offend, but now, when religion reappears, although I don’t want to attack anyone, I realize that for me it is a character, and a character of mine against the one that I have had to face since I was little. And if my father, who is the most beautiful person I know and the most religious person I know, is offended by what I sing … that is no longer my problem. It’s okay. Because this album is not for my father, it is for me.

An album born out of the purest need to tell a story, your story. Didn’t you feel vertigo?

People say to me: “How brave!” And I answer them: “How unconscious!” Somehow I didn’t have the awareness that I was going to face the whole world, I didn’t have the determination to do something meaningful.

In fact, the first verse of the first song on the album speaks of that fear of not doing things if they are not perfect: “They have taught me very well to try to be the best / And very little to know what I want or if I want to be the best / And I hated what I loved the most just because I couldn’t do it. “

Exactly. But this album is something else. For example, the album cover had been with me for so long, it was so clear that I didn’t know what it was going to do. My parents were very impressed, and they were slow to give me feedback . And I just thought that I had chosen a cover in which it was ugly, because the whole trip before, of the image and the band of “Puta” and the icon and the tobacco and the child in arms, had been judged and made decisions seven months before. For me, choosing this cover that we had previously thought about, which was much more aesthetic, was a decision to go wild, which is what best represented the content of the album. But I had forgotten everything behind it, which I already took for granted.

The cover of Zahara’s new album, “Puta”, has generated a lot of controversy. GOZZ Records.

Didn’t you think about how people were going to take it?

Yes, but well in advance. In the end there is something precious, which is that when you are yourself and do something honest (I like to say honest rather than brave), people appreciate it and I take it into account. And this is the most honest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And it is what is connecting with the people who listen to the album.

With all the commotion that has been mounted with the cover from a religious point of view, do you think your experience has to ignore those who are offended?

I think there is an interpretation in religion that it is what has hurt us, or at least what has hurt me. I do not enter into judging whether religious texts are good or bad, but I cannot avoid going into the damage that has been done to me by how they have been transmitted to me, which is probably far, in fact, from the original message. The idea of ​​guilt and a way of transmitting morality disconnected from what I lived through was very important to me. Beyond this, I was also affected by what was instilled in me about the role that as a woman I was expected to assume in society and in relationships with men. When I was 12 they abused me and at school they started calling me a “whore” when I hadn’t even given my first kiss yet. At that time I prayed to God every day to ask for help, at the same time that I asked for help at school, where they ignored me. Therefore, the conclusion of that little Zahara was that she deserved it and that, somehow, God approved of what was happening to me: that it was a consequence of something that I was not doing well. Nobody came to explain religion to me in any other way: I was trying to be a “good Christian” but I was a bloody girl who had some terrible things happening to her. All this mixed with the idea that it was my fault and, therefore, I felt a terrible shame, which is why I never told my parents: I did not want to break the image they had of me. Nobody came to explain religion to me in any other way: I was trying to be a “good Christian” but I was a bloody girl who had some terrible things happening to her. All this mixed with the idea that it was my fault and, therefore, I felt a terrible shame, which is why I never told my parents: I did not want to break the image they had of me. Nobody came to explain religion to me in any other way: I was trying to be a “good Christian” but I was a bloody girl who had some terrible things happening to her. All this mixed with the idea that it was my fault and, therefore, I felt a terrible shame, which is why I never told my parents: I did not want to break the image they had of me.

Couldn’t you tell your family?

I had a very good relationship with my parents, but at the same time shame pervaded everything. I was even afraid of creating a trauma for them; not because my parents had made me believe that, but because through the way they had instilled religion in me, I thought it was my fault. At home I was listened to and respected, and I had no doubt that they would believe me, quite the opposite. But I never dared to say it because it was my fault; not even put into words would he have said “this has happened to me”, but “I have done this.”

When you suffered bullying you did decide to tell it. Didn’t you get help?

No, and it is very striking. I did say that the girl group I was with the most suddenly rejected me. So I got together with the ones we called “the fools”, but they also rejected me, which was a great humiliation. On this second occasion I did not tell it anymore, because I felt that no one loved me and that I had to be doing something wrong if they rejected me. It was terrible, very traumatic, because they were my only friends. I spent many years alone; during recesses I would stay alone in class locked up studying (and crying) or I would have breakfast at the place where the teachers went to smoke. When I was completely alone I got together with what I call “the evil twins”: they were smaller than me and had a lot of evil, but they were the only ones who spoke to me. In the end, They also rejected me and began to call me “whore”, and the emptiness and sadness were total, to the point that I began to be afraid because they were violent, also physically. They were very aggressive. At that time, in 7th grade I think (the dates are mixed, but I think I was between 13 and 14 years old), I went to talk to my tutor, to tell him what was happening to me. He looked at me over his shoulder and all he said was, “You’ll know who you’re hanging out with.” This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. and the emptiness and sadness were total, to the point that I began to be afraid because they were violent, also physically. They were very aggressive. At that time, in 7th grade I think (the dates are mixed, but I think I was between 13 and 14 years old), I went to talk to my tutor, to tell him what was happening to me. He looked at me over his shoulder and all he said was, “You’ll know who you’re hanging out with.” This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. and the emptiness and sadness were total, to the point that I began to be afraid because they were violent, also physically. They were very aggressive. At that time, in 7th grade I think (the dates are mixed, but I think I was between 13 and 14 years old), I went to talk to my tutor, to tell him what was happening to me. He looked at me over his shoulder and all he said was, “You’ll know who you’re hanging out with.” This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. In 7th grade I think (the dates get mixed up, but I think I was between 13 and 14 years old), I went to talk to my tutor, to tell him what was happening to me. He looked at me over his shoulder and all he said was, “You’ll know who you’re hanging out with.” This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. In 7th grade I think (the dates get mixed up, but I think I was between 13 and 14 years old), I went to talk to my tutor, to tell him what was happening to me. He looked at me over his shoulder and all he said was, “You’ll know who you’re hanging out with.” This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me. This only came down further and came to reaffirm that the things that happened to me were my fault. That sentence sentenced my life. Not only was all this happening to me because no one loved me, but I was looking for it, I deserved it and I was not worthy of anyone’s help. What’s more, if I asked for help they would laugh at me.

Do you really think bullying is so difficult to detect?

I always say that you have to pay a lot of attention. We are not aware of the extent to which we can sink someone’s life with a single sentence, especially at certain ages. And I didn’t even remember that phrase from my tutor; came up in therapy after much research. And with everything that happened to me afterwards, I honestly thought that the bullying was the least of it.

Zahara wears a beige blazer and sports socks, from Gucci. Photo: Lupe de la Vallina. Make: Julia Martínez. Makeup and hairdressing: Mara Fernández.

Nobody from your school stage has contacted you now, when you started talking about it?

Nobody. Neither of my school stage nor of the later stages. Just the other night I had a beautiful conversation with my parents in which they also told me how they lived it, what things I expressed then and what not, and they also asked me if someone from that time had contacted me. Although when Merichane , the song that started it all, came out, I got so many messages that I still haven’t caught up …

There are many who appreciate you talking about certain topics and who feel accompanied by you, but also many who criticize you. How do you get it to not affect you?

I have protected myself a lot from all the criticism and I have managed not to find out anything. There have been moments in which I have wanted to read some comments, when I have been with my family, with my second family that is my band (the producer, Martí Perarnau, and the director and my artistic partner, Guillermo Guerrero) or with Benito . But we have done it from the humor, because there are things so surreal … What seems impressive to me is that in the face of the complaint the victim continues to be doubted: that borders on contempt. But I am not going to let him hurt me or occupy a place that is not real, because what has prevailed has also been understanding and understanding. The vast majority of messages have been of love and accompaniment. And if there is something that I have learned in therapy, it is that where you are not happy or do not feel good, get away. I’m not going to observe how people lynch me, because on a bad day a comment can sink me, and right now I can’t afford it. What I have to do is take care of myself.

Does what keeps awakening the album no longer cause you discomfort or anxiety?

At first it was a bomb, but now I feel super good. Besides, I’m already playing it live and it has fulfilled my highest expectations. If composing it was a vital necessity, sharing it too: it was the true way to make it mine. And deep down, you only care about things when you make them public, only then can you affirm that what others think about something that is yours does not concern you. The album has fulfilled its function of catharsis and self-pity, and in the live shows there are three moments that give me life. As each concert is a technical and musical choreography, of sounds and movements, it requires total concentration, but in those three moments I lose control: when I sing Ramona, Joker and Merichane. I don’t care what happens, I go crazy, I let myself go and that makes me see the need I had for this album and how happy I am now, after having made it. I have taken everything off.

Seeing you live is a unique experience, and you have also evolved a lot.

I do everything: besides singing, I dance (choreographies and freer moments), I play the drums, I’m crazy with my sampler (“my space station”), there are more theatrical moments … It’s a brutal liberation. Especially the last 25 minutes of each concert are crazy. Sometimes then I think: “What just happened?” And each time it goes to more, and each time it is better.

Regarding the title, a knife has gone through us all when they have called us “whores”, or when they have done it with our mothers, with our sisters. Is putting on this album Puta a way of appropriating what hurts you?

Calling me “whore” is the way some have to box me in or try to get me into a fold. Since they can’t control me, because I’m free and I do what I want and I sleep with whoever I want, they try to put me on a leash and humiliate me, and the only poor way they have to do it is by calling me “whore.” So in addition to making the insult visible, and that whoever says it sees the impact it has, I appropriate it to deactivate it. Being able to name things helps us manage them. If when you call me “whore” you are actually calling me “free”, then I tell you: “whore and reputa”. It is not that he trivializes insults; It is not the same that I call my gay friend consensually “fag” to be yelled at in the street to intimidate him, just as it is not the same for me to wear a band with the word “whore” to go alone down the street and yell at me. And it’s not magic either: it continues to hurt me, but now that word has other nuances, and before it only had one, which made me feel insecure and conditioned my way of relating to men … and women. That insult accompanies me when I go to the bathroom, when I go on stage, when I buy bread, when I am with my son: that insult has hurt me, but now I use it as a shield.

You use more words of fear than of anger or pain. Don’t you feel anger and anger anymore?

It’s already happened and I’m over it. When I talk to my therapist I am always very calm, even when I told him about the child abuse I suffered. Then she asked me if I had ever told this to someone crying, screaming, with the emotion that they deserve. And I realized that no, that I had learned to live with it and tell it as if it were someone else’s story, without connecting with it. So I did get pissed off, cried and screamed. When I released the album and I knew that this story was going to reach everyone, I had to work on two things, which are the same: if I didn’t care if they believed me or not and if I was going to be able to deal with how they were going to manipulate my history. In my same process with the psychologist, I knew she was ready when she asked me what would happen if my parents didn’t believe me, and I told her that I didn’t care. Not because my parents didn’t matter to me, but because telling my story was more important. So he “gave me the green light” to release the album. I have lived through suffering and anger, and I have learned to place them in a place that I can live with, because if every time I sang this album I fell apart, I would not have released it. The things that I have lived are not going to disappear – which is what I have tried all my life – nor can I pretend they had not happened: they travel with me, they are “my shitty suitcase”, which I open and show you in “my I would not have published it. The things that I have lived are not going to disappear – which is what I have tried all my life – nor can I pretend they had not happened: they travel with me, they are “my shitty suitcase”, which I open and show you in “my I would not have published it. The things that I have lived are not going to disappear – which is what I have tried all my life – nor can I pretend they had not happened: they travel with me, they are “my shitty suitcase”, which I open and show you in “myshit showroom “, but I have it placed in its place, a place that has been very worked and studied. And that is why I realize that the subject of religion is not in place: because it continues to piss me off, it is not in a health place .

Zahara wears a floral dress, from Kolonaki Madrid. Photo: Lupe de la Vallina. Make: Julia Martínez. Makeup and hairdressing: Mara Fernández.

It is not usual either to have the honesty to say: “I haven’t posted this topic yet, I know I’m not right about it.” Singing and composing, like other artistic expressions, can be therapeutic, but is there confusion when it comes to replacing therapy?

Much confusion. In your creative process, you open many doors and it is essential that someone help you look at what is behind it. If you start to analyze the lyrics of those who write songs, you will see that there is a lot of disorder, and that music often does not heal anything, but the other way around: it opens wounds and leaves you weak. You need someone by your side holding your hand to death, because if when you take everything out you are alone, you will never be able to close it again. Thinking about the more traditional or more toxic masculinities, I always said that you shouldn’t keep anything, that you had to put everything in front of you, but deep down I was sinning from what I criticized, it was contradictory once again. But we don’t know how to do it, and we don’t have to know how to do it! There are people who know a lot and who have studied a lot so that we, By writing four books or four movies or four songs, we think we already know everything. As my otorrine told me, which I went to because I was sure I was going deaf despite the fact that all the data said otherwise, we have to stop inventing theories to justify the things that happen to us.

You have said that while preparing for a Musical Culture class in Operación Triunfo, you came across the book Girls are rockers . That’s where you decided to put a woman’s voice in your music?

It was the book that led me to think that I could make this album. Documenting myself to know the role of women in music, I was amazed by this book (on which I based two classes of the eleven I gave), which tells of the limitations imposed by women and the music industry on women. To achieve the same, women have had to work twice as hard, and their role has always been relegated to the background, especially after the boom brought by the Beatles, when authorship and the profession of composer and author that existed in 60’s. Then women couldn’t get on stage to rock, and they became groupies. And despite this, women fight and fight to be, even when they suffer rape by their managers, abuse by their gang and a systematic lack of recognition. I read the book crying, and when I listen to the song Me and a gun , by Tory Amos, I realize that it is the story of how she was raped. It was his first single, from his first album. And then something clicked inside me, and I thought, “This can be done, you can talk about personal history.”

And that’s when you told Martí Perarnau about it?

I had been talking to him about what I wanted to do, that I was going to tell a bit the common story of women, and he was very serious and told me that I had to tell my story. It makes me a little angry to admit it, but it was Martí who encouraged me to do it: to each person what they deserve. He was my cheerleader , he was to death supporting me and accompanying me, from the beginning, even before I conceived him. That’s why I never gave up or wondered if what I was doing was right or wrong, I simply believed in what I was doing and had the person I admire the most by my side, encouraging me, telling me that everything I did was brutal and that I never it had been done before.

Beyond your personal history, was your claim understood?

When I told Martí and my manager, who is also a man in this very masculine industry, they were amazed. I taught them Floating, Merichane and Song of Death and Salvation , in which I tell my suicide attempt … and they loved them. They wanted us to record the album as soon as possible, without discussing anything I was telling me, asking me not to stop. For me that was very important, that the men around me did not start with the “not all men”, “not all men are like that”.

Rebelling also against the monolith of “the music industry”, hasn’t it made you dizzy?

It is not the first time that I speak directly about my record company, Universal, because it is with which I had problems. I have not dealt with the others and therefore I do not speak about them, but it is that there I worked with people who did not know about music, but about business. They were expert sharks in intimidating, who also tried to make me pass their idea as mine, without listening to me or taking me into account.

Did that lead you to found your own label, GOZZ Records? Did you need to found it to be the owner of your voice, of your image?

Now I realize how strong it is that I had to found my own label in order to sing what I wanted to sing. And now that I see where we are, what we have done with this album, the campaign we have carried out … I think we are six crazy people with very clear things, with very good numbers, very high sales and a real presence in the culture. Although I tend to see the negative, it has been incredible to realize what we are achieving with our pure creativity and our desire. We are kamikazes who go to death with our ideas, and now I see that it was key to take that step forward when I took out Santa. So I spent all the money I had to make the idea I had come true (now I save something to raise my son), which was to release physical records, make a video of each song and bet on good promotion, that of talent. They called me crazy, but it has been beautiful and it continues to inspire me, because it has allowed us to develop an artistic project that is ours, in which we are the ones who test what works and what doesn’t. And if a label looks at direct profitability, we go more to positioning and growth, to the brand. And I knew it would work, that people follow what they see is done with care and love, what is real.

Zahara in a white lace dress, by Ermanno Scervino. Photo: Lupe de la Vallina. Make: Julia Martínez. Makeup and hairdressing: Mara Fernández.

Now your talent is managed by you, you choose what to tell, how to tell it and at what pace. To the point that you’ve created a podcast!

Yes, there are six episodes on Podimo. The thing is that when we started creating the album, Martí told me that I had to control my story, that I couldn’t let others speak for me or have their opinion tell more than my story. So at first I created a video explaining what Merichane meant, and that’s where the podcast was born. And that does not eliminate that each one listens to him and transports him to experiences, memories or emotions different from mine; but this is not the album of imagination, poetry and levitation, as Juno is: this is the album that tells reality, and I don’t want there to be double interpretations. My story is this, and I will explain it to you. He did not want there to be a hint of doubt, and that whoever wanted to know the truth could access it. That’s why he even goes mad to edit the podcast … I didn’t want anyone to get their hands on my story. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything like this again in my life.

Musically, what has led you to these new sounds, to this influence of electronics, of making music with a Moog synthesizer, a Roland Juno and a laptop?

My own personal journey. When I was on tour with the Astronauta album , I discovered electronics together with Martí and my prejudices began to fall, that I had them. I am a reflection of society and as such I had prejudices with autotune , with electronics (which bored me) and with many other things, even though I was aware that it is useless to have them. But I face them. Martí taught me that electronic music is a place full of life, that I had only associated with mainstream music or bakalao , and I began to dive into instrumental electronics, John Hopkins records, and marvel at how things happen continuously that I am not able to decipher. The Juno Disc It was born from electronics and from the combination of organic, electronic and processed sounds, which then passed through an acoustic room to be re-recorded: it is a mix of all worlds from deep love to electronics.

Are Juno and Puta both fruits of the pandemic?

Exactly. Juno is also the fruit of its time both for the moment it is born and for how it is recorded, because it is produced while it is being composed, in full confinement. Martí at home has a Juno and a Moog, which are two synthesizers, and his computer with Ableton, which is a music editing program. And there are no more items. In six months we devised, composed and recorded an album, which we later produced. But to give you an idea, Merichane comes from guitarrazos, then a strange rapping melody on top, arrangements by Martí, who introduces the synthesizer, and then me singing on top. Mixing and producing was obsessive to perfectly square which sound entered at each moment and which one disappeared, because each sound occupies a plane and depending on that plane, it causes some sensations or others. For me Sansa , for example, had to be overwhelming, and the plane in which the voice ends with all the instruments is part of the composition, because what I’m singing makes sense when the abrasion of the sound eats up what I’m saying. It is an artistic decision, in which composition and production are united.

How was the songwriting process locked up at home?

Of the 11 on the album, 10 were composed during the coronavirus. I suffered a depression and then I was paralyzed, I could not write. Ramona was the first, because I moved from home and changed my life and I sing to the goalkeeper who invented gossip about me: she is a rare bird on the album, something different from anything I have composed before. It’s what I call a “manners song”, which had already started with songs like Café Verbena or Free Fall , but now I’m influenced by Kae Tempest, for mixing the music with that “spoken word”, almost rapping. In Ramona I am unable to express what I have to say without whispering. In Song of Death and Salvation and Joker there is also a more urban reciting, there are phrasing and influence from Kendrick Lamar and other rappers.

In Floating , the first song on the album, there is also a confession, in which you seem to take your share of the blame: “If I still can’t breathe / I can’t love you (…) I’ve loved you like you only love a slave.”

It is something completely unconscious, that comes out of that initial vomit when I finally write again. When I finish the songs I realize that within the aggressiveness and confession, of everything explicit, there is something fundamental that really shows who I am, which is this “forgive me.” Although many believe it, it is not because of my last relationship, it is a much more ancient forgiveness. It is a forgiveness in the way I speak and speak badly to myself, in that absurd way of loving the other so that he meets the expectations I have, or that he loves me as I am not capable of loving myself: putting the other to fulfill or make up for the deficiencies and needs that I had. But love is not finding a person who supplies anything, but who accompanies you. And then I say: “I realize that I am wrong, everything is wrong:

Zahara, on the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid with a Gucci hat, Mirto shirt and a Gant blazer. Photo: Lupe de la Vallina. Make: Julia Martínez. Makeup and hairdressing: Mara Fernández.

In Merichane you touch on many themes, such as eating disorders or abuse, and also one that is repeated on this album (and on Santa), which is the liberation of “Catholic guilt”.

I realize that religion is present; it just happens. I talk about what is around me because it is integrated into my way of being. From now on I start a new path, I have to decide what to do with this so that it stops pissing me off, tormenting me and creating anxiety. As I was saying, I don’t have it on.

“I wish I had fallen asleep in that bathtub / In a premature goodbye to sadness”, you sing in Song of Death and Salvation , also with a lot of religious imagery. “What was between the legs, that only caused pain and problems.” Is sexuality another oppressive topic for you?

Sex is very present, it is recurrent in my songs, and my relationship with it has changed over the years. I have not had a healthy relationship with sex until very recently. It was something that had hurt me and that I was using to hurt others. I got carried away thinking it was going to make me feel good, but it made me feel bad. It was a contradiction. Finding myself in my life with sexually healthy people, without complexes, who set limits, who say what they like and what they don’t, who don’t try to please at all costs … it changed my life. Until then I had no references, just an idea that I had to be complacent and give myself. And, in my personal case, surrounding myself with people who were right in the head, without trauma, who did not use sex to hurt or hurt themselves. As women, I think we grow up with an insane obsession with virginity, with keeping it, and we understand sexual intercourse as a loss. It is a vision from which we have to free ourselves, get rid of stigmas and taboos and learn to express ourselves also in the affective-sexual sphere.

The end of the trip is perhaps the most surprising in the midst of that sometimes rabid electronic music: a song called Dolores , convinced that the history of this genre “very mistreated and associated with something rough” is also the story of “all women who , when they are free, they are judged, they have been groped, labeled hysterical and victims of their time. ” Do you start with the worst of your childhood and end with the best?

It is the most important song I have written, because it is the one that I see the most as an exercise, an artistic creation, and not as vomit. In all the songs I’m narrating something in the first person, and I’ve always wanted to make a song record, but Martí told me no, just one song. It is a genre with which I have grown up: in my house they always sing verses, and my grandmother Isabel sings Soy minero, Maria de la O, Green eyes … It is the soundtrack of my childhood. It is a genre that I have admired, that it seems to me that it has been very badly considered, it has not been respected and it has been despised as a minor genre. When my grandmother Isabel shows me a video of my First Communion, in which I sing Cocinero, Cocinero , I decide to compose this song for her, Dolores, which is about a woman who invented myself to tell the story of the copla through her: a free woman, as is the copla, until the Franco regime arrives and uses it to be the voice of Spain, Spanish music . If you notice, there is a contradiction in the folkloric, who sing about staying home and setting an example, but they are the freest, they are lesbians, lovers, travelers. They are obliged to give a speech that they do not live. And in that sense, the song is a woman who is not so far from myself. But she is a freer woman than all men.

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