Music

Kany García on Perfecting the Art of Hitmaking With a Purpose: ‘How Can I Not Speak Up?’

When Kany García was a child growing up in Puerto Rico, her father — a former priest who became a social worker — constantly took his three children with him to the many public housing projects where he worked.

“My dad normalized for us the idea of ​​entering, of participating. There was always that dynamic of service, of conscience, of empathy,” García says today. The ability to listen and connect have been constant elements in García’s music, in songs that are intensely personal, but also intensely empathetic and capable of connecting on many levels. In her 17-year career, García has placed 30 songs on Billboard‘s Latin Pop Airplay chart and eight albums — including five in the top 10 and one No. 1, 2019’s Limonada — on Top Latin Albums. They include her most recent, the self-titled García, released last month.

But at the same time that Garcia, the artist, has gained global success (she just announced a 20-plus date U.S. tour), she has also spread social awareness in many areas — demonstrating sustained and vocal activism, and social commitment that is rare in the world of Latin music. For her action and conviction, García will be recognized with the Spirit of Change award at the 2024 Billboard Latin Women In Music gala, airing June 9 on the Telemundo network.

Receiving the award, says García, “On the one hand, is like an embrace — and within the effort and struggle, it’s also an opportunity to continue inspiring new generations of women who are vocal[…] how have raised their voices for my generation and for generations before me.”

In addition to helping multiple organizations, García continually promotes gender equality, feminism and LGBQT rights, and speaks often about gender violence, both in interviews and in her own songs.

“I think everyone acts according to what they understand and what their personality is,” she says when asked if artists should speak out. “For me, it’s a necessity. It’s something that goes hand in hand with touring – where you have the opportunity to see firsthand the people who are affected by your music. You’re there, and you witness the reality of each country and say: ‘How can I not speak up? How can I not contribute? How can I not communicate?’”

García actively contributes to many organizations, among them the True Self Foundation in Puerto Rico, which works for the well-being and social mobility of communities of different sexual orientation and gender identity. But García also advocates daily for those things she feels deeply on a personal level. On her Instagram feed, she often raises her voice to comment on topics as diverse as social policy and femicides and constantly engages in social issues. For example, in December, she sang at the Bayamón Women’s Rehabilitation Complex in Puerto Rico — her second visit to the center — and she also visited the headquarters of The Happy Givers, which helps seniors.

But at this moment in her life, she says, what moves her most is “everything that has to do with gender violence and the rate of femicides that exists throughout Latin America. The issue of women has been paramount in recent years.”

And it is a topic that García addresses the best way she knows: with music.

In her song “Se portaba mal” (“She Misbehave,” from the 2020 album Mesa Para Dos), for example — which she recorded with Mon Laferte — she describes in detail the daily life of an abused woman to the strains of tango (“She behaved badly, very bad/ You had to grab her and pull her hair/ Punch her three times before going to bed/ And tomorrow, ‘Forgive me because I love you,’” go the brutal opening lines).

“For me, feminism will always be important in my music — because I live the issue of inequality daily,” she says. “I love that the songs are a bridge that allow people to sit down and talk, to be aware of what we are experiencing. For me it has always been an essential part of what I have done and what has given meaning to my songs and my project.”

Billboard’s 2024 Latin Women In Music airs Sunday, June 9 on the Telemundo network (9 pm ET/8pm Central) and will stream live on the Telemundo app and on Peacock.

Powered by Billboard.

Related Articles

Back to top button