She's revolutionized flamenco, making it accessible for a new generation, and she's catapulted to global stardom. Yet, Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía on Tuesday night often put her hand over her heart, a humble gesture expressing her gratefulness to an enthusiastic crowd at ACL Live at the Moody Theater during a taping of "Austin City Limits."
"It means so much to me to be here because I'm very far from where I'm from," she told the cheering fans. "And it's not just me, but all of my people," she said, pointing to her six backup dancers clad in sheer red outfits, as well as four backup singers and one multi-instrumentalist.
Rosalía, who's garnered more Latin Grammy nominations than any other female artist, successfully debuted at Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 6 and returns for a Weekend Two performance at the fest Oct. 13.
At the taping, Rosalía fired up the crowd with her fusion of classic flamenco, electronic beats and doses of R&B. She's managed to strike the perfect combination of you-can't hear-anywhere-else music, highly choreographed performances with a female-power attitude and singing chops to silence any naysayers.
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Early in the set, she performed "Barefoot in the Park," a James Blake song on which she was featured, and gave some insight into the making of the bilingual tune. The two wrote the song in Los Angeles, she said, during their first morning meeting. "I'm usually not that inspired in the morning after first waking up, but we did it."
Rosalía studied flamenco under José Miguel Vizcaya, a professor at the Catalonia College of Music. Knowing all of flamenco’s rules, she has said, helps her understand how to break them.
She acknowledged the flamenco master onstage and credited him with teaching her everything she knows before singing a goosebump-inducing a capella version of an early 20th century flamenco classic, "Catalina." The nod to her roots was a window into the world that shaped the artist.
"I'm passionate about flamenco," she said, adding that she's been engrossed in the music for more than a decade. At one point during her impassioned "Catalina" performance, the audience roared, and she rested her head back, as if to soak up the magic.
Rosalía wrapped up her set with back-to-back energy jolts including “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi,” a song she performed at the MTV VMAs earlier this year, as well as "Con Altura," her song with J Balvin and El Guincho. That hit has more than 900 million views on YouTube, making it YouTube's most-viewed music video by a female artist this year.
"I love your energy," she told fans. She rewarded the crowd by coming off the stage and into the crowd to give away a flamenco fan to a lucky admirer.
"Next time, if you invite me, I'll bring more," she said.