We recently had the chance to speak with one very cool Puerto Rican pop artist, musician and singer Raquel Sofía (who used to sing backup for Shakira, and was nominated for her first Latin Grammy last year!), about her passion for Latin music and the #VidaLexus RPM Tour.
HipLatina: Our focus is on empowering women, and you are one empowered Latina! What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Raquel Sofía: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a singer-songwriter. I’ve always had this urge to share my stories and a desire to have people connect with something that I’m singing. Everyone told me I was crazy, that music was such a difficult career to pursue, but for me it was the only career I wanted.
HL: What drives your passion for Latin music?
RS: I love how eclectic Latin music is, how it varies from country to country, but somehow also manages to bring us all together. I think it’s beautiful how Latin music is a huge part of our culture and our identity.
HL: What about the Lexus RPM project aligned with you and your music?
RS: The Lexus RPM project is very special to me because it has given me the opportunity to explore genres that are completely different to what I usually do. I’ve never recorded a Salsa or a Regional Mexican song and it’s very exciting to step out of my comfort zone and learn about new styles of music.
HL: How did your upbringing from a Caribbean island impact your taste and interests in music?
RS: In Puerto Rico, I was constantly surrounded by music. I grew up listening to salsa, merengue, and boleros as well as the more modern Puerto Rican bands and artists like Cultura Profética and Draco Rosa. The music that I make today has an underlying current that reflects the music I grew up with.
HL: You have performed with many big artists including Shakira and Juanes. Which artists have influenced your musical direction the most?
RS: Performing with artists that I’ve admired since I was young has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned so much from Juanes and Shakira and I apply everything I learned from them to my own career. I’m also hugely influenced by jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and songwriters like Jorge Drexler, John Mayer, and Juan Luis Guerra.
HL: HipLatina’s tagline is “Her Interest, Her Lifestyle, Her Inspiration.” We would love to hear about what those three things are for you.
Interests: Besides music, I love writing, so I started writing a blog called “Crónicas De Una Niña Tonta” where I share personal experiences and opinions in fun, essay type entries. I also have two dogs whom I love with all my heart and that I hang out with all time. Going to the beach or the park with them makes me the happiest ever.
Lifestyle: I’m very into health and fitness. I’m mostly vegetarian and I love cooking and sharing what I make with my followers online. I do yoga or Crossfit almost every day and I really believe that feeling good is major contributor to overall happiness. It’s not about being skinny— it’s about being strong, healthy, and confident.
Inspiration: When I make music, I’m inspired by love and heartbreak—both my own experiences and those of the people I meet. I try to write my songs honestly so that people can hopefully connect and identify by what I’m saying.
HL: Please share a little career secret we can share with the HipLatina audience.
Raquel Sofía: Confidence is the sexiest thing in the world. As women, we are always being told “what is beautiful” and we are encouraged to meet unrealistic beauty standards. I think authenticity will get you further than anything else. Believe in yourself and your craft and never stop working towards what you want.