CHESCA ON OVERCOMING CHILDHOOD TRAUMA BY STEPPING ON THE STAGE
A 10-year-old lead singer at her father’s side. Crisscrossing the 100 x 35-mile island of Puerto Rico. Belting out Alanis Morissette and No Doubt covers. That’s how Franchesca Ramirez Bravo began her musical career.
As she was about to sign a recording deal with Sony at age 11, a near-death accident put her career on hold. Beyond the trauma of the injury, children teased her incessantly. Unable to hide the reconstructive surgeries that marked her years of adolescence, CHESCA suffered the emotional pain of bullying. A change of environment was needed. She packed her bags and moved to the USA in search of a new beginning and opportunity in the music industry.
CHESCA—signed with Saban Music Group—was nominated for the New Female Artist Award at Premio Lo Nuestro in 2021. Her rising stardom has led her to collaborations with other Latin artists like Pitbull, Arcangel, De La Ghetto, and Nio García. She topped the Billboard Latin Airplay chart with ‘Te Quiero Baby’ and ‘Súbelo (Further Up)’.
Her outlook is bright, and there seems to be nothing slowing her down. So, what’s next for CHESCA? She has new songs to be released alongside Alejo and three mystery gals. The Puerto Rican singer aims to work with Drake, Bad Bunny, Cardi B, and Rosalía.
How’s your summer going?
So far, so good! I’ve been super busy doing what I love. I performed my new single ‘TU2RU’ with Nio García at Premios Tu Música Urbano. Spent some time with family and got a new hair look, hahaha.
Ah yes! You released ‘TuTuRu’ earlier this year. I loved the video, lots of raw emotion in there. How did this new version and collaboration with Nio come to fruition?
I met Nio very organically. He mentioned liking my performances and that we should collaborate someday. That day came faster than I expected.
I’ve learned a bit about your childhood and the obstacles you lived through. Tell us more about yourself.
Ever since I discovered Michael Jackson’s music, I instantly wanted to become an artist. My dad had a cover band, and I became his lead singer at age 10. Unfortunately, a year later, I suffered a tragic accident in my dad’s waterski boat. My hair was caught up in the motor, ripping my scalp and leaving me unconscious with a skull fracture. I underwent more than fourteen reconstructive surgeries to recover all the lost skin and hair.
Let’s talk about your international successes, you’ve already put on shows in Europe and Asia. What was it like to sing abroad? What type of music did you perform?
It was a very special time in my career because I was looking to find myself and work on my craft as a performer. I performed English covers and original music in the American Pop lane.
How has your career progressed in the last few years?
Significantly. For many years I struggled with rejection and confusion. Finding who I truly was. I was a Latina woman who couldn’t speak English fluently, trying to fit into the American Pop music industry.
You must’ve felt comforted coming back into your Latin roots. So, what does CHESCA bring to urban music?
CHESCA brings a fresh look into the urban Latin scene. CHESCA puts on a real show. She is fearless on stage and gives it all. I believe fans can feel that about me when I’m up there. All that pain I went through is behind but still very present in my performances. Since I’ve been so close to death, I always perform like it will be my last show. I want to add that I believe women in the industry should support each other way more. We’re all queens and unique in our own way. Female empowerment and lifting each other up is something I want to promote.
Do you have a personal favorite from your singles? How about any current projects that you are excited about?
There are a few, like ‘Cara de Buena’, ‘Calor’, ‘Soltera’, and ‘El Cambio’. I have a new song coming out with Alejo called ‘Piensas en Mi’. And another song with three other females that I’m very excited about.
What songs are on your recently played playlist?
Drake’s album, all of Michael Jackson’s work, and just random chill songs, haha.
You look amazing! In your music videos, award show performances, concerts, and this spicy photoshoot with Jacob Dekat, you show us an extravagant signature look with pops of color, lots of prints, textures, wigs, and high heels. What inspires your taste in fashion?
I believe my inspirations come from many different places. I’ve traveled the world and been inspired by various cultures. Especially Korea, Shanghai, and London.
Is this a look that you bring into your everyday life? What do you like wear on a regular day?
Definitely not. CHESCA is a unique character. She is my alter ego. I’m a simple gal who wears jeans and a simple cute top. No makeup, and mostly I wear hats to keep the sun away from my face, haha.
You are always looking flawless. Do you have any beauty tips for your fans?
I have a few musts: drinking tons of water, avoiding tanning your face, and having monthly facials. Some of my favorite products are: Soap & Glory face masks, La Mer moisturizer, Jade Rock for facial massages, and Cetaphil skin cleanser.
You are a singer, you are a dancer, what other talents are you hiding? And what are your favorite pastimes?
I’ve been told I’m good at tennis. I’m also a hell of a manager, haha. One day I’ll manage artists.
Photography and Creative Direction: Jacob DeKat
Interview: Ruby La Cruz
Stylist: Marchella Salazar
Make up: Nanette Solivan
Hair: Wallie Cruz