NICE TO MEET YOU

Bad Gyal on Lil’ Kim’s Legacy and The Power of “Pussy”

Bad Gyal. Photos by Lois Cohen.

This is Nice to Meet Youfor all your need-to-know information on the need-to-get-to-know new voices in pop culture. Think of it as a blind date, if the date were cooler than anyone you’ll probably ever go out with. Allow us to break the ice; we promise you’ll fall in love.

Bad Gyal never expected to blow up. The artist, whose real name is Alba Farelo, was raised in a small Catalonian town, where she contented herself with posting her songs to YouTube. Today, those songs—a collision of Spanish and Latin cultures with trap and reggaeton beats—have earned the 24-year-old a deal with Interscope records and a place among a new generation of artists carving out space in the male-heavy genres of trap and hip-hop.

It’s no surprise that the artist cites Lil Kim and Ivy Queen as her primary inspirations: much like her predecessors, she’s bad and she flaunts it. Take the hot summer fashion-filled music video for “Judas,” in which Bad Gyal, decked out in body chains, calls out a traitor before blocking his number. Or songs like “Pussy” and“Iconic”, off of her latest EP Warm Up, which call for sexual liberation and femme empowerment while throwing it back to the artist’s dancehall, trap, and reggaeton influences. On the phone from Barcelona, Bad Gyal talks to Interview about Lil Kim’s influence on her style, the making of her EP, and why we should all blast “Pussy” this weekend.

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On getting discovered: I’m from a small village. I moved to Barcelona a couple of years ago, but at that time I was living at home. I got a manager, he still my manager now, and he wanted to see how I danced, sag and all of those things. So we had to prepare a gig just for him. That was the first concert I did—it was daylight and it was horrible. Everything went wrong, we had a lot of technical issues. It was a good to start that low, because you you can just go up from there. 

On fashion and Lil Kim: I tried to study fashion, but uni wasn’t for me. One of the things that I love about being an artist is that I can get involved in everything—music videos, fashion, all of that is so fascinating to me. Of course, Lil Kim inspires me. She’s the icon right now. A lot of girls dress like her but don’t even know they’re dressing like her. I wore an outfit inspired by her 1999 Met Gala look on my “Blin Blin” video, and her Versace wig in the “Judas” video.

On the power of “Pussy”: I call myself Pussy que manda. To me, it’s never taboo to talk about this kind of stuff. When I started, I had already gone through the process of discovering myself and how I wanted to express myself. I know that for a lot of people, my songs are not “good” songs, especially because I’m a woman singing these lyrics. So I really appreciate it when people support me and feel empowered by my songs.

 

On the name ‘Bad Gyal:’  I discovered dancehall music on YouTube. You often hear lyrics like “mami, mami, mami” or “baby” in those songs. To me, those songs are saying, “you are bad. You can do whatever you want. You can dance the way you want to dance, you can dress the way you want to dress.” That spirit makes me feel free, and that’s why I chose that name.

On improving her craft: I just started taking singing lessons seriously because I want to evolve and I want to get better. This is my profession now, and I need to be serious with it. 

On her influences: When I was a little girl, my auntie gave me the Destiny’s Child CD, and I was tripping with that. In Spain they were the first R&B hip hop girls to get big. Ivy Queen is my reggaeton inspiration because she’s from era when the genre was so big and dramatic.  And right now, I think Anitta is awesome.

On her favorite piece of “Blin Blin”: My favorite pieces of jewelry are these two rings I have. They are rose gold with some bling bling on them!

On her LGBTQIA+ fans and their energy: They are the most passionate, crazy, and intense of my fans. Before COVID when I was doing concerts, they were the first ones in line in the best outfits. They’re so loyal to me and give me the best energy ever. 

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Styling: Ana Murillas
Styling assistant: Sofía Larrarte
Hair and Make Up: Fer Martínez
Art Direction: Tamara Perez Duran
Production: SAUVAGE.TV