How Nathy Peluso Reclaimed Her Rebellion on New Album ‘Grasa’ With Help From Fito Páez, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes and More

Nathy Peluso doesn’t mind being excessive. The Argentine singer spreads the audaciousness on thick with “Grasa,” her sophomore studio effort, and her first full-length project in nearly four years. Deriving from Argentinian slang, “Grasa” loosely translates to “vulgar,” a term Peluso reclaims to fuel her most defiant collection of songs yet.

“That word evokes a feeling of strength and rebellion within me,” she tells Variety. “I like that, but at the same time, I feel like it has a negative connotation that I wanted to change the perception of. This is an era of feeling good and free.”

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By marching to the beat of her own drum, Peluso rose to prominence in 2020 with her debut album “Calambre,” which blended folkloric Latin music with elements of rap, R&B, soul and funk. The following year, the record earned her a Latin Grammy for best alternative music album. Peluso’s genre-bending sound also caught the attention of collaborators like Christina Aguilera, Becky G, Karol G and fellow Argentine, Bizarrap.

Having the support of such global acts has empowered Peluso in her own artistic evolution. In Karol, Peluso found the comfort of female friendship, one that’s “lasted over time,” she says. “Karol is honest and genuine… She’s one of my friends in the industry whose achievements make me happy. I always let her know that and she does the same for me.”

With the fame that followed her breakthrough with “Calambre,” and the accompanying pressure to maintain the momentum, Peluso sought out advice from Argentine rock icon Fito Páez. At the time, she was having second thoughts about the music that she was recording for her follow-up. “I realized that I wanted to make another album after I finished one that I felt wasn’t right,” she recalls. “Fito is a great friend and supporter of mine. He just told me to listen and pay attention to what I wanted to do. When a person whom you have always loved and admired gives their blessing to what you were thinking, that’s reaffirmation.”

Peluso scrapped what she had previously recorded and started her album from scratch. Pulling inspiration from mafioso movies like “The Godfather” and “Scarface,” Peluso’s “Grasa” embraces her natural swagger with the same fearlessness that put her on the map.

“Grasa” is front-loaded with fierce Latin rap anthems like the empowering “Legendario” and “Aprender a Amar,” a fiery ode to self-love. “I’m fascinated by a lot of different types of music, but rap, you can’t take away from me,” Peluso says. “When I was trying to make an album about who I am and revisiting my roots, it was inevitable that I was going to use rap to say all the facts that I wanted to say.” She adds, “Sometimes when you’re singing, you can’t say so many things.”

Peluso packs lyrical heat alongside Argentinian acts like Duki, who she calls a “boss” of the Latin hip-hop scene, in the mighty “Manhattan,” and Ca7riel and Paco Amoroso for the knockout “Todo Roto.” “I like their grasa, their funkiness,” she says.”

In a tender moment on the album, she teams up with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes for the introspective “El Día Que Me Perdí Mi Juventud.” In addition to his own musical project, Hynes has produced songs with Solange and Harry Styles, but makes a rare detour in Spanish-language music to join Peluso.

“Wow!” she exclaims about her experience with Hynes. “He is the music of our present. He is a musical treasure. It was an honor to work with him. On top of that, he’s an angel and very respectful. It was very easy, beautiful and unforgettable to make this song with him in London.”

Throughout the rest of the album, Peluso lets her limitless perspective of Latin music run wild. In the alternative bolero of “Corleone,” she sings about not letting the weight of the world get the best of her. Peluso later basks in the swinging salsa of “La Presa” with members from El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. She also dabbles in funk carioca for the first time with Spanish-Brazilian artist Lua de Santana in the frenetic “Menina.”

“I was looking for a timbre like [Lua’s] that evokes in me the power of Brazil,” Peluso says. “It’s a timbre, a melody, and a spirit that you can’t find in any other part of the world. I realized that Lua had that essence in her voice. I invited her to make the chorus for this song and she did it perfectly.”

“Grasa” will also roll out as a visual album with music videos where Peluso will flex her interpretative dance skills. On that same note, Peluso is plotting a tour that will bring the LP to life on stage.

“Grasa” also translates to “grease” and with that, Peluso isn’t afraid to get dirty while cooking up her plans for the future: “I feel like I’m in a gasoline-fueled moment where only good things can happen,” she says. “I’m going to keep making music because I’m feeling very inspired. My function in the world is to explore music and try to create music that surprises, moves, and gets people excited. I feel like I’m connected with [that purpose] and I have to keep following that quest.”

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