Elena Rose Talks Staying Home, Beauty Standard Struggles, & Self-Love
When you take a look at Elena Rose, you get major Marilyn Monroe doppleganger deja vu—but mixed with some serious Latina edginess and boss bitch vibes. You might not ever believe that, like so many of us, Elena Rose worried about not being “hot enough” when she was younger.
“I felt like I didn’t look regular. I know I don’t have the ‘normal’ things that a hot girl would have, you know,” she explained to Galore. “For many years, I didn’t think I was someone that could draw attention for who I was.”
But babygirl is seriously drawing attention these days—not only for her bombshell looks on the ‘gram, but for her serious music-writing chops. Elena has written for some of your fave artists, like CNCO, Becky G, and more. And now, she’s coming out as a solo artist, with her new track “Sandunga” and its accompanying camp AF music video.
We chatted with the up and coming Latin pop bombshell all about how she’s spending quarantine, her internal struggle with accepting who she was, and what to expect from her in 2020.
You have written and co-written some of our favorite latin pop songs. How did you get into writing music?
I always liked telling stories. I love poetry, and I’ve always loved to sing. Growing up writing and singing, music has always been a part of me. So, I knew eventually these worlds would collide. I started professionally song writing about 2 and a half years ago. I was invited into a writing camp and finally understood what it meant to write a song with structure and the publishing side of the business. I sing and write with so much emotion, that the minute I entered that studio I knew that this was meant to be for me and everything has fallen into place since then.
What have you been writing about since we have been in quarantine?
Whilst it’s a really scary time for everyone and an unprecedented experience, I have taken the time to just take a moment to stop. My life is usually so busy with studio sessions that I have found a silver lining to be able to just take a pause during this quarantine and just be with myself. I have had the time to write and experiment without feeling the pressure of society or the world on my shoulders. The fact that I feel that everything has stopped to take a breath, I feel that I am breathing that too in my music. I just feel I am being childish and fun and careless. I’ve also been soul searching a bit and have touched deep into my emotions, and I’ve been trying to keep finding who I am.
What made you want to flip the coin and be on the other side as a performer now?
It always initially was for me to be a performer. Since I was a kid I imagined myself in front of many people showing them who I am and making people feel something. It took me a while to feel confident in who I am. I know I have different qualities. To me, I felt like I didn’t look regular. I know I don’t have the “normal” things that a hot girl would have, you know. For many years I didn’t think I was someone that could draw attention for who I was. I spent so many years building up my confidence and learning how to love myself for the way I looked and was. My intention was never to go out and not be able to defend who I was. I’ve had so many artists that inspire me to just be who I am. I want people to feel that through my music they can be themselves, so if I wasn’t myself I was going to be a hypocrite. Now I want to perform because now I feel confident of who I am as a person and what I can bring to the world. I want to be able to set an example that it’s ok to love yourself exactly how you are.
How would you describe your style?
During my childhood, we moved around a lot and have lived in so many different cities. I had the amazing blessing to be around so many different cultures and styles of music that I have felt drawn too. I just feel that I have been influenced by so many of these different experiences. Where I do find myself in all of them is just when I feel free. I describe my music as very free and real. It doesn’t matter what beat or genre I use in that specific moment, I feel I can write and sing on top of any type of style of music, just because when I do it, I’m just singing free and being myself. But I do find I naturally gravitate towards a more Latin urban vibe sonically.
Who are your idols?
I’ve had my moments. Right now honestly, my inspiration has not been in the music lately. Except like, Bad Bunny, which obviously who the fuck does not love him and think he’s the best? But, because I’ve been working so much within my soul and from a very spiritual and personal perspective, I have had other types of guides. I watch a lot of coaches and spiritual yogis, just people that complete my soul. People that inspire me to feel strong and make me keep going. People like Tony Robbins, Sadhguru, my mother, my colleagues. Those are the people that inspire me right now.
What was the last song you played?
The last song I listened to today? Holy shit, “Safaera!” “Mami, ¿qué tú quiere’? Aquí llegó tu tiburón. Yo quiero perrearte y fumarme un blunt.” Bad Bunny, yeah for sure bro. But, I also wrote a song a couple of days ago that I have not stopped listening to and singing. I can’t wait to show you.
Tell us about the new music we can expect from your upcoming EP?
Sandunga is so much fun, and it’s so empowering and so feminine. I also can’t wait to share the next songs coming after it. You can always expect from me in my music that there is always a rawness and a feeling no matter what. You know, it may have a positive vibe or maybe it’s a little more negative. But I promise it’s always true to what I’m feeling at the time. Each song is uniquely different with a distinct sound. I am constantly working with different producers to challenge me and change the vibe. But yeah, it is just real, straight up emotions and myself and my music. That’s what you can always expect from me.
“Sandunga,” the title track and newly released video, is epic. What does “sandunga” mean and what was the vision behind this?
Sandunga can mean different things depending on where you come from. For me, growing up and spending most of my childhood in Puerto Rico, we would use the word “sandunga” to talk about having fun and partying and being yourself and just letting loose. Just like hard core
dancing. It’s also like with flow, you know like with piquete. You gotta do it with attitude and bring it! That’s what sandunga means to me at least.
You are a mix of Marilyn meets Amy Winehouse. Who would be a dream dinner date, dead or alive?
I would much rather have dinner with Post Malone. I would love to have dinner with that guy, bro. Because I think that we would totally vibe and that we would have cool stuff to talk about and write an epic song. So, yeah!
What one word describes Elena Rose?
I think one word that best describes me is “compassionate.” I feel I am always a compassionate person first before anything else.
What is next for you in 2020?
Well, with everything that is happening with the world and the coronavirus putting a stop to normal life as we know it, I am definitely working on myself, my heart, my mind, my soul, my music, my surroundings, my family. I want to be present, so I can be my better self. I feel this whole quarantine thing has been such a big blessing, a forced one that at the beginning I didn’t understand. I have been so used to working so hard for the past couple of years. The fact that I get to pause and look at everything that I built and feel even more grateful has inspired me to just keep pushing myself, but not in an exterior way. So, I am able to just like keep bettering myself. I’m taking the time to write more music, be present and be grateful. I am finally going to put out my first song in 2020 along with others and i’ve been waiting so long for this day to come. I can’t wait!
PHOTOGRAPHY / CREATIVE: PRINCE AND JACOB
MAKEUP: BROOKE HILL
HAIR: NANCI LEE SANTOS
STYLING: BIANCA AGRUSO