Latin Artist on the Rise: How Singer-Songwriter GALE Is Turning Her ‘Superpower’ Into a Fruitful Career
GALE was seven years old when she wrote her first song. She thought she might be a super-hero.
The salsa track, entitled “Amor Sincero”, was dedicated to a boy who didn’t like her back. “When I was done writing it, I was like, “Wait! Did I just create something that didn’t exist just by using a melody or chords?” She recalls. “I thought that I had a superpower.
The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter found it easy to express herself through music, having grown up in a creative environment. Her father is also an accomplished musician, and he performs at local events with his band. Her grandfather was a professional cuatro player. Her mother was an actress and a theater performer. “I was always free to experiment,” says the 29-year-old, who’s written songs for artists such as Fanny Lu, Juanes and Manuel Turizo, and is currently working on her first album.
Her father had been preparing her since childhood to perform professionally at Escuela de Musica. GALE says that her father used to make me perform at every family reunion. “He would tell me, ‘If this is what you want to do your whole life, you need to practice.’ I was like, ‘I just want to go play hide and seek with my cousins!’ But then I’d sing 10 songs and I’d enjoy it.”
Now, GALE has become a go-to songwriter for a handful of artists — and on Nov. 17, she won her first Latin Grammy, thanks for songwriting credits on Christina Aguilera’s Aguilera, which scored best traditional pop vocal album, and is also nominated for best Latin pop album at February’s Grammys. It’s possible to work hard and make it happen. It’s grounding.”
GALE, who grew up listening and singing to Avril Lasvigne, Selena Quintanilla and Shakira, has been focusing on creating a path for her since moving to Miami from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. She explains, “First, it was clear that I had to put my all into making things happen.” “What I had always wanted was to own my own project as an artist, and that’s exactly what I was going do. But how do I get there? I decided to start writing with other artists and develop those relationships. Then, you’ll get a publishing deal.
She began door-knocking to show publishing companies the songs she had stored in her closet. Her first big break came in 2019, when peermusic invited her to a session with Colombian artist Fanny Lu, which is when they co-wrote “En Mis Tacones.” Since then, she says, doors opened thanks to “word of mouth because producers started recommending me, Fanny Lu wanted to work with me again.”
She was eventually offered a publishing deal by Warner Chappell Music, and a recording deal with Sony Music Latin. She was able to co-write the Ozuna-assisted song “Santo” with DallasK Berrios and then she was able to land a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. 12 on Billboard‘s Latin Airplay chart in February.
She recalls meeting Aguilera at a writing session for “Brujeria.” I’ve practiced all your songs …’ but what I really meant was, “Thanks, you have beautiful voice as well.” She laughs.
Thankful that songwriting for other artists has opened doors, she’s now also focused on her own project, with plans to drop her debut album in 2023 — which would include her three singles, “Inmadura,” “Prolemas” and “D-Pic.” Describing her style as “Bad Bunny meets Dua Lipa meets Avril Lavigne,” her first songs showcase her raw, edgy songwriting skills and her pop-punk and rock influences. Instead of collaborating with other artists, she decided that her first songs would not feature them. She says, “It’s me saying, ‘This is who I’m and this is it. I hope you like that. Collaborations will happen because they are valuable and important. But for now, it’s me.”
Below, you can read more about this month’s Latin Artist on The Rise, in her own words:
Name: Carolina Isabel Colon Juarbe
Recommended Song: Oh snap, that’s hard. Although my singles are different, they are all similar in that they are raw and honest. If someone prefers the romantic, nostalgic sound, then I recommend “Inmadura.” But, if they are more into the sexy, sexy era, then I suggest “D-Pic.” “Problemas” is the perfect blend of pop, rock, and urban music. If I had to choose, I would pick “D-Pic” because it is a statement. This is a true representation of me as an artist.
Biggest Achievement: Beginning to perform songs that were written from a vulnerable place and performing them in front of an audience. Latin Music Week in September was my favorite performance. It felt magical. It was incredible to feel the connection with people. I thought, “D–n, I am ready to this.” Before I went onstage, I called my father and he said “Mi amor , Don’t worry, you can’t see anyone from the stage because of the spotlight. Just do your thing.” I first see faces of everyone when I get up on the stage.
What’s next: Currently, I am finishing my debut album. It’s special because it was born after a breakup. This is the exact moment I decided to end my relationship with the person I knew from the beginning that this person wasn’t myperson. But I wanted it to work. All these songs came to me after I split with them. They represent different stages. It hurts to hurt someone. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions.
The album is very exciting to me. It will be out in the early to mid-next years. I will definitely be doing more shows next year. Fiestas De la Calle San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, is my January performance. It’s a huge event. It’s a legendary event in my country.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.