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Bad Gyal Talks Getting Grandma’s Approval, Her Debut Album & More

When Bad Gyal (born Alba Farelo Solé) saw her grandma — her dad’s mom — supporting her at one of her shows, nothing else mattered. “I thought, ‘I can relax now,’” the Spanish hitmaker says in a one-on-one candid conversation with Billboard‘s Leila Cobo. “If she approves it, if she is looking at me with eyes of hope and understanding it’s me, then everything is fine.”

It’s safe to say that today, it’s not just her grandma that approves of Bad Gyal’s music, which is often a blend of dembow, reggaetón and dancehall. In fact, Bad Gyal, who first got on people’s radar with her own take on Rihanna’s “Work,” was most recently an opening act on Karol G‘s massive Mañana Será Bonito U.S. Tour, and has now collaborated with the likes of Ñengo Flow, Anitta, Nicki Nicole and Ovy on the Drums. Boasting more than 13 million listeners on Spotify, Bad Gyal hustled to carve a lane for herself thanks to a commanding stage presence, her infectious beats and cheeky (often explicit) lyrics.

Which makes sense that she’d drop her debut album, La Joia (via Universal Music Latino/Interscope), at this point in her career. “I felt it was [the right] time when I had more experience in songwriting, in the studio, in choosing the producers, in the material that has been made, what’s better, what’s less important,” the 26-year-old singer-songwriter explains. “Over the years, you gain experience and you know yourself better.”

Knowing herself is also what allows her to exude confidence knowing exactly what she wants and doesn’t want. “I have always been certain that I’m going to do what I want to do,” Bad Gyal says categorically. “I have earned my position and people respect me a lot.”

So, when Rauw Alejandro wanted to twerk with her onstage at one of his shows in Puerto Rico last month, she respectfully declined. And, as expected, that specific moment vent viral on TikTok, with some praising her reaction as a girl-power move. “For starters, I think it was a culture shock. Usually, if I’m going to perform with a man, I do some rehearsal. But that wasn’t the case there so it caught me by surprise,” she says. “Secondly, I have never twerked with a man on stage. In the future, I might.”

Watch Bad Gyal’s interview above where she also talks about how “Chulo Pt. 2,” in collaboration with Tokischa and Young Miko, came about, juggling multiple jobs to earn a living (while also studying fashion) and all the details about her new album, which released Friday (Jan. 26).

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