A Day In The Life Of Becky G, Pop's Newest Princess

BuzzFeed - Latest 2014-09-08


Becky G, 17, is standing in the middle of a crowded living room in Los Angeles’ Lawndale neighborhood, where everyone is talking about her underwear. She’s wearing a dangerous-looking skirt: vintage and covered in metal spikes, with a sheer panel that shows off her entire leg, ankle to hip. It’s nine in the morning and her mom is there, as is her aunt, one of her cousins, her style team, and a seamstress. They’re all studying her intently.

“Less butt,” Becky’s mom says. The stylist, looking on from another angle, considers a different undergarment. “The American Apparel kind,” she says. “It has fuller coverage.” Everyone nods and hands fly, each carefully marking what should show and what must be covered.

The stakes here are a bit higher than your average prom — Becky is a pop singer and rapper, preparing her red carpet look for MTV’s Video Music Awards. In a couple days she’ll be attending the awards show for a second time, but this year she’ll be promoting a bonafide hit — her song “Shower,” released in April, climbed to the No. 16 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart over the summer. (In May, she reached No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart with another song, Pitbull collaboration “Can’t Get Enough.”)

But playing out against a backdrop of family photos and a plaque announcing that “Mi casa es su casa,” the scene at her home feels extremely familiar. The intersecting precepts of a traditional family upbringing and burgeoning pop stardom have come to define Becky’s life. She lives with her parents and her aunt and cousins are next door. From her 2013 remix of J.Lo’s “Jenny from the Block”: “I still walk to the Kelso Market / Even though I get to walk them red carpets.”

This duality hasn’t gone unnoticed by Becky’s label, RCA, which is banking on the fact that in Becky, pop listeners will find a relatable human to adore. And not just pop listeners in general, but a growing number of young people who can see themselves in a young, second generation Mexican-American woman who speaks both English and Spanish, and sings about both crushes who make you sing in the shower and “praying the rosario.”

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Becky G was born Rebecca Marie Gomez, in 1997. At age 9, she had what she’s curiously described as a “mid-life crisis.” At the time, she was living with her family in her grandparents’ garage and wanted to help out, so she began writing her own music, performing at local venues, and going on auditions to act in commercials. She started uploading videos of her remixes of popular songs to YouTube. In the video of her version of Jay Z and Kanye West’s “Otis,” released when she was 14, Becky raps about signing a bad music deal in the sixth grade, costing her family money. “I’m just keeping it real,” she says, making her way through an empty building as boys in masks break TV sets and glass tanks around her. “I never lie to my fans.”

It’s that video that caught the attention of Lukasz Gottwald, the songwriter and producer who’s made hits for Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Rihanna under the name Dr. Luke. “Towards the end of that video, if you look when she’s sort of in that last room, she says something like ‘Power 106 did the verse without rehearse,’ and at the end, she looks at the camera,” Gottwald says over the phone from Los Angeles. “And you just see this crazy determination. You know? [Laughs.] She’s serious.”

In the Lawndale living room, Becky’s been up since 1 a.m. the night before, when she was in the studio putting finishing touches on her forthcoming debut album. But if she’s tired, it doesn’t show. “Coffee is my water now,” she says, not entirely joking.

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

The skirt fitting kicks off a long day — Becky has a press junket and a performance at an official VMAs pre-party to prep for. Her mom, Alex, combs through looks Becky’s stylist has pulled for the week, holding them all up. Alex is fond of using the words “fresh” and “dope.” She has a son starting his freshman year of high school, and, as she’ll readily tell you, glowing, he’s taking AP classes and trying out for the soccer team. She’s proud of all four of her kids.

One of Becky’s managers, Ben, deems one outfit — a denim two-piece number — “very Latina.” It’s the only time during the day that Becky’s background is explicitly mentioned, but “being Latina” is folded into her work and her image. Or, rather, the implications of “Latina” as a brand. As Variety Latin



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Date tagged:

09/08/2014, 09:43

Date published:

09/08/2014, 09:31