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Interviews Patry White "The Dictator". Photo: courtesy of the artist. Patry White "The Dictator". Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Patry White: "I'm not going to stop until I get a Latin Grammy"

He welcomes me into his house with a foot in a cast and supported on an armchair. Apparently he broke a finger walking barefoot around the room. He laughs and tells me that he wanted to give a concert like that, but they have not left it. She does not like to be quiet, except after almost two years in standby because of a car accident that forced her to stop her career.

With confidence in herself and what she does, Patry White "The Dictator" returns to the scene stomping with her new album, Original sin, which seeks to transcend urban music in Cuba and also internationally. She is proud of Daring, the theme that "is sticking" and fuses reggaeton with flamenco and Arabic music, but even more proud of the video that accompanies it: a fashion film * loaded with symbology, directed by Asiel Babastro and competed with Gente de Zona, the Micha, Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno in the Pop-Urban-Tropical music video category in the recent edition of the Lucas awards.

You are back with a new album. What are you bringing?

Sin Original It contains 11 new songs and comes with a lot of fusion, which is what it takes now. In this album we will see a more mature Patry White, consolidated within the industry, which seeks to reach other markets outside of Cuba. I want that when people listen to the album they can enjoy the music, dance it and at the same time understand the message it brings.

What message does it bring Daring?

In part, she goes with me because I am a daring woman, but I address her to all women who like to party, go out, feel good ... It's a more commercial song than others on the album, like It does not touch me, that I dedicate to the learning that I did thanks to my accident, in which I almost lost my life. It is called like that because it comes to say that I do not have to die yet, that I have many things to do.

The symbology of the video is very strong. There are eroticism, crosses, military, nuns, bodies of naked women, cages ... What's behind all that?

Imagine yourself. Everyone sees it in a different way. Yes, there are erotic messages, but we do not get involved with the Church or with the military or anyone. Let everyone take their imagination wherever they want!

I had never spoken before with a reguetonera (with a reggaeton either, but I am more curious to exchange with a woman, to see what she thinks about such a masculinized genre). I am interested above all for the constant criticism that reggaeton receives in some sectors of public opinion more 'purist': that if macho, if vulgar ... Personally, the lyrics do not always seem so much more terrible to me than some of the most popular boleros or the rock classics. However, what I have not yet become immune (despite living in Cuba) is the bombing of macho violence that comes by default in each and every video clip. Be that as it may, reggaeton is dominated by men: most artists are male (only googling "reggaeton artists" and checking it out) and women are often trivialized or objectified in lyrics and videos. But Patry White says in Daring that she does what she wants with men ...

Are you talking about feminine empowerment?

I never thought so, but if you see it from that point of view I support you 100%, because I will always be in favor of everything that is good for the woman. In fact, here in Cuba they are beginning to open their minds, although there is still a lot of machismo. But women are more than prepared for anything, not just to clean and cook at home.

Of course. Have you had barriers in your sector because of being a woman?

The truth is that I am lucky because since I started I had a total success: I chose a good time in Cuba, in which no woman did urban genre. In Puerto Rico I was starting to like Ivy Queen, and seeing that opportunity I opted for urban music and started my career in 2010. I never went to work like other artists, I can say that I had the rather flat road. It is now that women are beginning to gain strength in the urban market, but I have been filming a lot.

Cover of the album "Original Sin", by Patry White. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Cover of the album «Original Sin», by Patry White. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Are you at your best professional moment?

Right now my career started again from scratch. It is not that I have gone backwards, but that everything I have learned and achieved is simply a step that has prepared me for everything that comes. Until I get a Latin Grammy, I will not stop. And someday I'll take it, why not. I know that I have the potential and all the tools to be able to get there. You just have to expand my product a little more.

It has a focus on industry and the law of the market: first, music as a product, adaptable to trends; in second, no intention to launch political or committed messages; and third, its trajectory understood as a door to "what is coming". She has security and believes in herself - "if I do not do it, who is going to do it?" - and that serves her more than enough to project herself not only in Cuba, where she is clear that she is "the protagonist" of urban music, but abroad.

Are you successful outside of Cuba?

Daring It has had very good acceptance in places where we never thought that Cuban urban music would come, like the Arab countries. We have proposals to tour this year in Dubai and Iran. In Europe it is also consumed, especially in Italy and Spain, where we also want to go this year. What you have to do is be aware of the trends to be accommodating the product to what people ask.

But Cuba is full of reggaeton. Is everyone doing so well?

No. You have to be very careful with the street reggaeton, the one that people are scary or more censored. Especially for the lyrics and the content, which the children repeat after listening to the songs because they want to be like the artists. You have to elaborate the issues better, take a little more time ... You can not do anything.

Is it difficult to continue your career in a market so saturated and after almost two years away?

Well, I already have a name that will protect me all my life, because my career has been solid and I have my stamp. I am not afraid to enter the market again, because I know what I do and I know what I like. Also, people know me and love me. In social networks everyone was waiting to see when I reincorporated after the accident.

Is fame dangerous?

Too. I played young, at 22 years old. Imagine with that age fill places with 10 thousand or 15 thousand people. I could not go out, I still feel like I'm in the eye of the hurricane, but you have to know how to live with that and have your feet on the ground, without believing more than anyone because in the end you're there thanks to a public that supports you . Now I live fame in another way, knowing that I have influence over people and maybe I can help them. My idea with the video clip of It does not touch me is to donate everything that is collected to people who have suffered accidents and have consequences, and I want to direct it myself.

What was your training?

In a House of Culture. There I started until I met my teacher, Jorge Reyes, who "discovered" me and started giving me lessons in singing and percussion. Thanks to him I started to meet many people and from there everything worked. I never passed a school as such, I can not write music, mine is rather empirical. Even so, I am endorsed by the Cuban Music Institute as a singer.

She is convinced that her character marks a style as much as an icon - "even in China they cut my hair to the side" - as musically; However among her references are not many who resemble her, nothing: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Maroon 5 and Manna are, for her, some of the "greats" of music. Listen to pop and alternative, "especially American artists."

Patry White "The Dictator". Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Patry White «The Dictator». Photo: courtesy of the artist.

You make urban music but you do not listen to urban music. Why?

Yes I listen, but few songs catch my attention. Now in Cuba there is very little quality in this genre. The reguetoneros are always covered, in tiraderas **, in "tell me what I will tell you". I try to get out of that vicious circle. I get along well with everyone, but I never respond to the throws, because it seems unprofessional. The biggest pull is to see the result of a job.

Why do they call you "The Dictator"?

In the urban genre everyone has a surname: Osmani García "La Voz", Jacob "The Immortal", Prince "The Tiger" ... I was told that I always send a lot and someone-I do not remember who-started to tell me that As always, I was a dictator. But I have nothing to do with any dictator (laughs).

Here it can be half controversial, right?

Yeah sure! In fact, it was funny when I performed at the Lucas gala a few years ago. In full Cuban television they introduced me as "Patry White", and people shouted "La Dictadoraaaaa!" (Laughs). But I do not think that what I like is to send, I just like things well done. More than bossy I am demanding with my work: it is the only way you have to obtain good results.

* The fashion films they are audiovisual productions, like short films, at the service of a brand, characterized by a communicative style in which the aesthetic of the message about the product and / or the brand itself predominates. These videos are created almost expressly for dissemination through digital media, seeking virality.

** La tiradera, is an expression and musical subgenre in itself that adopts in the reguetón the word «diss", (that comes from diss song or diss track, word created from disrespect), is a song of dissatisfaction, created with the sole purpose of verbally attacking and insulting a person or a group of people. Typically the chutes are the product of rivalries, (beef, in English) between different singers.

Berta Reventós Journalist and political scientist. Cultural lover From Barcelona, adopted by Havana. More posts

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