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Rosalía: ‘If success ends up breaking me, well, that’s life’ | Culture

Something is glinting in the middle of Rosalía’s smile. It looks like a red heart, but when you get closer you can see the delicate wings: it’s a butterfly. Rosalía, born 29 years ago in Sant Cugat del Vallès, a town north of Barcelona, smiles spontaneously on this Monday morning in February. She has been home for nearly two weeks, and preparations for the release of her new and long-awaited album Motomami are in full swing ahead of the March 18 release date.

She is on time. The black van with tinted windows parks in the studios of an industrial building in Barcelona, and she gets out with her partner, Rauw Alejandro. No one was expecting the Puerto Rican singer to be there, but no one had noticed that it was Valentine’s Day either. He gets out first, extending an arm and taking her by the hand, helping her out of the vehicle. She is wearing a baggy pink sweatshirt, light coloured jeans and low white snow boots with fur trim. He sports a black tracksuit and green sneakers, and takes care of the suitcases.

Rauw Alejandro will wait out the five-hour session calmly, scrolling on his phone. He is polite and friendly, but does not want to talk about anything Rosalía related. Her little sister Pilar, known as Pili, is always by her side, one of her closest collaborators and an individual she defines as a “visual artist.” “When we were little, we used to draw together and then make dresses. We would cut fabric together. We still do it,” says Rosalía. Pili, who doesn’t want to talk much either, keeps an eye on everything and knows how to get the best out of her little sister, who moves easily through the photo shoot.

Rosalía poses for a photo session in February 2022.
Rosalía poses for a photo session in February 2022.Gorka Postigo

Rosalía has always set her own pace. She has done it since she arrived at the Taller de Músics music school in Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood aged 16, where founder Lluís Cabrera discovered “a great talent”. An “insatiable” student who played electric guitar and piano, knew jazz and spoke good English, she got into flamenco after listening to Spanish legend Camarón in a friend’s car at the park. “It was super old fashioned and at the same time it was the most modern thing we had heard in 40 years,” Cabrera recalls. Rosalía went on to the Escuela Superior de Música de Cataluña institution and was the top student in flamenco singing. Her final project became El Mal Querer.

I was very excited that this project was focused. I wanted the album to be like when a photographer captures a moment

Three years after that a smash hit that revolutionized Spanish music and catapulted the singer to international fame, all eyes are on her once again. “You’re never late if you go at your own pace,” she remarks. This is how it works: she is a global star, who calculates every movement with huge advertising and promotional campaigns. In a few days she will appear on Saturday Night Live. But she is also an artist capable of transforming herself at an astonishing speed to the needs of every genre she plays. On her new record, Motomami, she goes on an interesting journey with her own voice in different registers. “There are people who think that music can be made by algorithms. One doesn’t make a lyric, distort a voice or choose an asymmetrical structure thinking about numbers. It’s done for the feeling. You look for emotion,” she says.

Lights, cameras, wardrobe, background music, catering… There’s not a moment of peace in this warehouse. Rosalía greets us with two kisses and the first thing she does is talk about the new album, the result of three years of work. “It doesn’t feel like it’s been a long time, just the amount of time needed,” she says, while clearly aware of the pressure on her shoulders. Since El Mal Querer, she has joined Sony’s Columbia Records label, whose stable of artists also includes Adele, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé.

Rosalía's new album is due out on March 18.
Rosalía’s new album is due out on March 18.Gorka Postigo

For a Spanish singer, it’s unusual to say the least. Rosa Lagarrigue, director of Spain’s RLM agency, explains: “I think it is very brave of Rosalía and Columbia. I think it was a mixture of chance and luck, but you have to know how to grab luck and how to have the courage to take advantage of it. She has benefited a lot from this agreement and has proven to be more than worthy of the investments made in her. Her career has just taken off and it will be interesting to see where it takes her.”

Rosalía says she is taking it one step at a time. But between one album and another, she has kept up a steady stream of hits, collaborating with artists such as J Balvin, Travis Scott and Ozuna, and has guested with the likes of Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd and Tokischa. But for a world attached to single hits, Motomami is not a compilation, but an ambitious work of 16 songs about Rosalía’s journey over the past three years. “I was very excited that this project was focused. I wanted the album to be like when a photographer captures a moment. Something honest. I was looking for a way to capture my moment,” she says.

Rosalía’s moment just keeps growing. “I try to keep myself constantly learning and developing. It’s me and the music,” she says. “Without the main idea, without the need, without the desire, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the time, the energy, the dedication, it is impossible that I would have made this album. It makes me laugh that anyone could think otherwise.”

Pedro G. Romero, an influential researcher of flamenco, popular culture and the artistic avant-garde, and the person who recommended the 14th century book that inspired El Mal Querer, remembers how she turned a slightly forgotten genre on its head. “She always said that if Beyoncé or Rihanna could do what they did with soul and blues to turn them into pop, why couldn’t she do the same with flamenco?” She is conscious that not everyone has the space to explore and be hugely popular at the same time. “For me the question is, ‘Wow, did you notice what’s not being talked about?’ There are a lot of women who don’t get the spotlight. There’s Björk, a fabulous artist, who had to fight [to be heard]. There are a lot of women creators who don’t get the credit they deserve. It’s a shame,” she notes.

Gorka Postigo
Gorka Postigo

Judeline, a 19-year-old Spanish electrosoul artist, is part of a new generation for whom Rosalía is “a very big inspiration”. “She has paved the way for a lot of people, showing that you can be young and make it big with a different sound and a different way of being. The spotlight is on Spain right now from other parts of the world thanks to her. She knew how to act to reach the US without being mainstream”. Romero agrees: “Many young people have realized that they can take off their provincial overalls and that they don’t have to appear on Radio Olé.”

The butterfly is the symbol of Motomami. “A butterfly, I transform myself,” she sings in Saoko, the song that opens the album and that in one month accumulated about 16 million plays on Spotify and as many on YouTube. As David Rodríguez, who worked on the album, says: “she made the decision to transform herself as an artist. A lot of people were maybe counting on El Mal Querer 2. She had a vision to do something different and new.”

This transformation has been anticipated since that first reggaeton track with J Balvin, Con Altura. She defends herself when accused of moving away from her flamenco roots. Bulerías is the only flamenco song on Motomami, and she draws a link between earlier reggaeton influences.

“Reggaeton is part of my adolescence. In the end, my career is going to be a love letter to the styles of music I love. In the future I will add whatever I come across. Flamenco is something important and my music is very grateful to it, but also to other styles. In music there is no right and wrong, good or bad. What matters is that the music reflects me.” Reggaeton, she adds, doesn’t ask for forgiveness or permission. “That’s why I thought it was a perfect fit for Motomami. In the end, it’s very direct and raw music, and people are not used to celebrating women who speak like that.”

The spotlights illuminate Rosalía’s face, which she covers with her hands, partially revealing the twinkling butterfly in her teeth. Her characteristic extra-long false nails are more moderate today, and her jet black hair flutters with her movements. Her body language is extraordinarily powerful and, beyond the aura of fame she exhibits a lot of tenderness. Rosalía naturally introduces words from other languages or dialects, which seemed to cause some anger online when she released 15 seconds of the song Hentai. “I’m exposed to friends from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the US… I celebrate it. The day it doesn’t happen to me I’m going to worry.”

Music critic Diego A. Manrique thinks that what made her special might have been swallowed up by these transatlantic influences. “She was like no one else. In Motomami she is part of a Caribbean trend and her trademark is diluted,” he opines.

Gorka Postigo
Gorka Postigo

For the butterfly to be born, a caterpillar must have existed before. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic caught Rosalía in Miami, in lockdown in the house of her manager, Rebeca León. During the first few weeks of restrictions she worked in a home recording studio. She had never been away from her family for so long.

The album is like a rollercoaster. It goes up and down. That’s how I feel sometimes

“The pandemic was very hard. I was almost away from my family for two years,” she says. “I was away from the neighborhood where I grew up. Away from my old friends. Far away from everything. I did it to fully commit to my record. It was hard.” She holds one’s gaze, and at times it seems as if she is studying you. The look pierces through, until she drops her eyes to describe even harder moments. “I set deadlines and I never reached them. Then my return home was delayed. There were moments when I was really alone.”

She realized how much she missed her family. “I was working 15 or 16 hours a day, but it was really hard. I had a really hard time.” From days in Los Angeles, she confesses, sprung G3, an emotional ballad where she sings, “I’m somewhere I wouldn’t take you.” The song ends with an audio message from her grandmother, also named Rosalía, where she says in Catalan that “family comes first”. Her mother inspired the new album’s title. “My mother has always ridden a motorcycle and I have a very clear image of that. That’s why I’ve been riding a motorcycle for years. I am a motomami because my mother was a motomami, and so was her mother.”

She says the album’s name plays on “duality.” Moto in Japanese means “strong” and relates to “aggression”. Mami refers to “fragility”. “The album is like a rollercoaster. It goes up and down. That’s how I feel sometimes.” She ends the album with Sakura, Japanese cherry blossom, with links to spring and femininity. The lyrics are a reflection on the possibility of breaking. “There’s only a risk if there’s something to lose,” she sings. She recalls the first piece of advice her mother gave her. “She told me, whatever I do in life, go for it full on. I don’t remember her words exactly, but I remember how they sounded. She told me that I had to put my all into it.” Before the photo session begins, she admits she is ready for things to get too tough to handle. “This environment is very hostile. It’s difficult to stay in the center of it. For these three years I have searched for my center. If success ends up breaking me over the years, well, that’s life and that’s the journey. Life and death are very close to each other.”

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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