When GALE released her album, Lo Que No Te Dije, into the world last spring, she thought she’d be ready to move on to her new work straight away. “But I can’t get enough of it, I love it so much,” gushes the 30-year-old Puerto Rican singer and songwriter. “I’m so proud of that work.”
While she’s previously penned hits for the likes of Christina Aguilera and Selena Gomez, Lo Que No Te Dije is her first solo venture. Translating as What I Didn’t Tell You, it’s a brutally honest ride of an album that transverses genres as it does moods. “La Mitad” is a poignant power ballad that navigates the realities of a breakup, “D Pic” is a fuming punk track that revokes unsolicited dick pics, “Nuestra Cancion” is a jubilant rave ride that celebrates shared moments, while “Killah” is a seductive salsa-infused jaunt.
The album has been a critical success, earning her a Latin Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and receiving plaudits from the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard.
The majority of the album was written after GALE came out of a long relationship: part relieved, part angry, part heartbroken. One of her lowest moments was discovering that her then-boyfriend had read her diary; a betrayal that she transformed into the emotional motor of the album.
We sat down with GALE at the Latin Grammys and asked how it feels to bare all.
This album was an emotionally intense album. Does it ever feel painful to perform songs from it – or is it cathartic?
It’s cathartic in every way. It’s like therapy: what I needed to say, how I needed to do it. It was my process of getting through it, not even getting over it, just getting through everything.
The album has already been out for months, and tens of thousands of people have listened to it. How do you feel sharing lyrics that are so personal with the world?
When I look back in a couple of years I’m gonna be happy that I choose to be an open book for this moment. It’s so hard to be vulnerable, and I’m so glad that I’m able to do so. It’s important as an artist and person, to do all these things and put them in songs.
It’s like reading your diary…
I started to write a journal at 6 years old, and my first song at 7. That was a way to stay true to who I am, and everything I was going through. I feel like I did this on this album and hope to do it on what’s to come…
You’ve just joined Colombian singer Juanes on stage at the Latin Grammys, where you were nominated as Best New Artist. Juanes has won more Latin Grammys than any other artist – how was it to perform alongside him?
It made me… feel closer to that Grammy! Just kidding. It is such an honor, he’s so great as a person, the most amazing rock star, very humble, caring, and great at what he does. It’s a full circle moment, as he won Best New Artist back in 2001, and now he’s sharing the stage with all the Best New Artist nominees this year.
Let’s speak about what’s to come: you’ve started working on new songs, like “Movie,” a defiant track about not giving a fuck.
I’m writing a couple songs, it’s going to be so good. It’s going to be very pop but grunge, just power.
You’ve previously described yourself as Avril Lavigne meets Bad Bunny. If we’re talking grunge, are we going to hear more of that Avril influence on the new work?
Avril is always in my blood! I literally just described the music as “powerhouse” and I like that. We’re writing something very new, and when we speak again I’ll have something very solid to say. But I’m very excited!