Becky G, 16, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, guitar player, and dancer, among other things. (Catherine Asanov)
Rebbeca Marie Gomez was born and raised (heck, this is still happening, actually) in Inglewood, Calif., a city in the South Bay region of Los Angeles.
Gomez, who is now better known as Becky G, is a 16-year-old rapping and singing sensation. On top of being a prolific songwriter, Becky G’s also quite the electrifying dancer. Just check out her YouTube videos and see for yourself.
Earlier this year, she became the youngest COVERGIRL ever and finished a collaboration with Pitbull (unarguably the hottest music artist around right now) in the track “Can’t Get Enough.” On top of this song, her EP Play It Again (Kemosabe/ RCA Records) includes 3 other fresh pieces: “Built For This,” “Zoomin’ Zoomin,'” and “Loving What You Do.” The EP is executive produced by Dr. Luke and features production and songwriting by Max Martin, The Jam, The Cataracs and will.i.am.
In an exclusive interview for Living Out Loud, Becky G touched on several topics, which included her passion for music, influences, working with Pitbull, upcoming tour, fashion, social media and much more.
Living Out Loud: Where does your passion for music come from?
Becky G: I grew up listening to all different types of music. My parents played everything from country music to rancheras, cumbias, old-school hip hop. I was always well-rounded musically, ever since I was in my mom’s tummy as they say. It always has been like that my entire life. My passion for music comes from that, from music being played in my ear 24/7.
LOL: Any particular artists who have influenced you?
BG: Definitely. I’m all about female empowerment. There are a lot of women who I look up to. One of them is Jennifer Lopez…There are other Latinas like Shakira, but also people like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. There are so many. Even male artists like Bruno Mars, Miguel, a lot of people I like.
LOL: How do you feel about being involved with COVERGIRL? How was that experience?
BG: Being involved with COVERGIRL is a dream come true. I bought my first makeup when I was 10 years old, and it’s funny because it was Cover Girl makeup. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it because it’s just crazy to me how life comes full circle. But it’s really a dream come true. Makeup is another way of expressing myself besides music.
LOL: How was it working with Pitbull?
BG: Working with Pitbull was really fun because he’s just an amazing person. How can you not love Pitbull? He’s so genuine and a real artist, and his music is fun to listen to. That came about because I was working with Buddha, who has done a lot of tracks for him. We came up with ‘Can’t Get Enough’, and then we came up with ‘The Hook,’ and Buddha said ‘Pit would love this! Let me send it over to him’. He sent it back with a Pit verse on it. We didn’t record it together because you know, he’s Mr. Worldwide. We finished the track and met after that. He was super excited and I loved the track. It’s a fun song, and it’s got the Latin, urban sound. It’s got the sound of Becky G.
LOL: Did he give you any advice?
BG: Yes. The first thing he asked was, ‘Are you learning?’ He said that in this career, you have to be a sponge – not to change for anyone, but to absorb as much as you can.
LOL: How do you feel about representing both the American and Latino markets?
BG: It means a lot to me. I’m proud of who I am. I’m Mexican-American, Latina, but also, a third-generation American. So I’m also speaking for this generation of these, Spanglish-speaking kids you know? My grandparents always speak Spanish and in my house we speak English, and that’s what I base my music on – my life and how I live it – and that’s why my music is so heavily influenced by both the Latin and American cultures.
LOL: Will you be going on tour soon?
BG: Yes. I’ll be going on tour at the end of February 2014 with Austin Mahone on the ‘Artists to Watch’ tour. It’s my first tour. The thing I’m really looking forward to is the food – I’m such a food freak.
LOL: What does fashion mean to you?
BG: Fashion is everything. From the way I do my makeup to the way I do my hair and dress myself, it’s how I express myself. It’s also influenced by my music. My style is urban pop, and my fashion is urban pop, but girly.
LOL: What’s your take on social media?
BG: Social media is everything nowadays. It’s me talking directly to my fans, not some old man at a record label talking to them. The Internet plays such a huge part. Some of you may not know, but I was discovered on YouTube when I was 14. If it wasn’t for YouTube, I wouldn’t be here that the Latin Grammys. That’s how my fan base is growing and that’s how I can be there for people, without having to meet them. I think that is what’s amazing about my connection to my ‘Beasters’, which is what I call my fans. They are the ones who, through social media, have put me at the levels I’m at. They are making me Becky G. I’m just doing what I love…To know that I’m building this family of fans, and meeting them when we do meet and greets, and all of us just getting along, is something very special. This is all done through social media. I’ll randomly Tweet, ‘Meet me here!’ and they come. It’s all because of social media.
LOL: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? Do you have anyone in mind?
BG: Honestly, I’m just a huge fan of everybody. It would be cool to work with somebody like Bruno Mars. I love watching him perform, and he’s a real artist. He’s very well-involved in the creative process of an artist, and that’s what a true artist is to me.
LOL: Are you still in school? How are you ale to balance all that?
BG: I’m homeschooled, which is very helpful with the things that I do. It allows me to take school with me on the road. I have a teacher I can email call, or Skype with 24/7, which I’m very thankful for. School is a priority for me because when I came into this, my dad especially, was always, ‘School school school.’ I’m still your average student, and I’m in high school now. It’s pretty well-balanced. I think I do a good job making sure I devote time to that but also staying focused on my career.
LOL: Do you have college on your mind?
BG: Yes. It’s weird because I’m 16, but I got a chance to be a guest speaker at a communications class at USC. That was bananas. It’s great that even though you’re not close to graduating, you can still sit in and take classes. Once everything settles I’ll definitely be going to college.
LOL: Do you have any favorite hangout spots in LA?
BG: Disneyland. Definitely. I’m obsessed. I’ve got my pass and I’m always there.