Upcoming Latin musician Desta French, based in London, has released her latest track "Aguanta". Desta has previously had support from the likes of Jamz Supernova, DJ Target, Dummy, Clash and Noisey and her COLORS performance is currently at 1.6m views. In a Modèle interview below, we talk with Desta about "Aguanta" and what it's like being one of London's Latin music representatives.
Born and raised in a London where there is still no box but “other” to check for Latina/Latino/Hispanic members of the culture, the half-Colombian, half-Italian Desta is on a mission to find a voice for the UK's Latin population. New single “Aguanta” is Desta’s toughest track to date, blending trap beats with an atmospheric Latin guitar riff - it sees Desta deliver her first all-Spanish offering.
Desta explains: "Because of the lack of visibility of the community, and where that sits in British music culture, and where I sit in this culture here (in my community and in this city). It’s hard to know when or how to make the decision to let your heritage be a part of your art. Because there are not that many people like you, you don’t know how familiar you are to others, or how connected people would feel to that. But fuck it, now’s the time to create a place for myself."
Describe your most cherished childhood moment?
"We used to travel to Italy in the summer, (where my dads from). Even though I was only a child, I remember having a sense of freedom there. Lots of open space, the sea, beautiful food...even as a kid I remember valuing that so much."
What's it like being a Latin musician in London?
"It’s exciting because it’s unchartered territory. I don’t remember knowing about any artists from the U.K. making Latin music growing up. There are people that have been doing their thing on the scene like Mike Kalle and Ando Y Mello who are sick, but it was underground so we have always lacked that mainstream support."
"It can feel daunting because Latin artists are having to really carve out their own platforms and ways of getting heard. I see it as a challenge and it also allows you to get really creative with how you go about the business side of things."
How do you keep your music signature to yourself?
"I don’t find that hard because I've got this weird internal compass that just gets turned off when I find myself making something that sounds too much like something that’s been done before. It’s a blessing and a curse. Now, since I've started incorporating more traditional Latin American sounds in with my RNB and Other London influences, it just feels very unique to me without ever thinking about it too much."
It's said you are "on a mission to find a voice for the UK's Latin population", how do you intend to do this in your music?
"I never set out to do that, I just wanted to make music that felt the truest to my soul. No rules or restrictions on where I wanted to go. No consideration to what’s popping or not, so I don’t really know how people will react. It’s been positive so far. However, I do hope that just being me and doing what I love might be able to create some visibility for my community and open some doors for other artists who might have had a similar necessity to explore their culture and authenticity within their music."
Explain your motivations behind the latest single "Aguanta"?
"It’s a record about escapism, which is a thread that weaves through my up and coming EP, ‘San Lazarus’. I was going through some really very heavy stuff at the time and I found myself turning to nature. The inevitability of the seasons and the tides and all it’s cycles and it helped me a lot. It gave me the strength to just have faith and trust in the providence."
Describe the production process behind "Aguanta"?
"I made ‘Aguanta’ with an amazing producer, Morfius who’s been working on a Latin album himself with Mike Kalle, so he was already very familiar with Latin sounds and incorporating that into his music. I showed him a few songs and he pulled up some samples. If I remember correctly we chose the guitar riff first and it was pretty quick and organic from there! The whole lead up to the chorus was a happy accident while freestyling on the mic. I love it when that happens."
What is the one message you would give to your following?
"I literally love everyone that follows and supports what I do so much, it’s not even a joke."
What's it like knowing you've ranked in over 1.6 million streams via Colours Youtube?
"I don’t even really think about it. I was really fortunate to be given the opportunity so early in my career, but I've got a lot of groundwork to do and I’m so focused on what I’m doing next. It is pretty sick though."
What's next for Desta French after 'Aguanta'?
"My EP ‘San Lazarus’ drops on July the 24th. There are a few features I have coming up, some videos and lots more music. I just want to go on tour badly too."