interview by JANA LETONJA

Singer and songwriter Aitana is the number 1 female Pop artist in Spain, endorsed by prestigious national and international awards. In 2023, she released her third studio album ‘Alpha’, which got 10 million streams within the first 72 hours upon its release. Aitana made her acting debut in 2022 in Disney+’s first production in Spain, the series ‘La Última’, and will star as the lead in Netflix’s upcoming film ‘Pared con Pared’.

Aitana, how did your love and passion for music begin?
Basically, I think the passion for music is something that you are born with, at least in my case. It is true that the songs that I sang the most or that I memorize the most or where I felt more connected with music were the ones played in the car, making long trips with my parents who played records of all types, from Los Chunguitos, Los Chichos, Enrique Iglesias or Estopa. I loved to sing, but I don’t feel that I was a girl that you would say “Oh, look how well she sings”. I sang and that was it, nobody noticed me or gave it more thought. 

When I was 12 years old, the school assigned us in a group to do a song together in class. It was called ‘We Are The World’ and I had to study a little part of it at home because I didn’t know English very well. When I was rehearsing at home, suddenly my father knocked on the door and said “Aitana, were you singing?” I answered yes and he told me that I was singing very well. I don’t know if my voice changed, I don’t know what happened, but I started to sing a bit better. I signed up for piano lessons, I started to sing in a choir, I went to choral singing lessons and I started to like it more and more until I thought “Oh, I would love to be a singer,” but it’s something I never said because I thought of it as something impossible.

full look DOLCE & GABBANA

You started your career with posting covers online and gained national recognition after placing as the runner-up on talent competition ‘ Operación Triunfo’ in 2017. How has this helped your development as an artist?
I have never posted videos on YouTube because basically I never knew how to use it. It was supposed to be easy, but I didn’t put much effort into it. I found Instagram much easier at that time when I was 15 years old, which was when I started to post some videos. I did it by cropping my face because I was ashamed that people saw my features, my gestures, so only my lips were visible, which was silly because if you visited my Instagram, you could see my face. I would always crop my face because I’ve always been pretty shy and I still am in a lot of things. 

I started to upload those 15-second mini covers because Instagram wouldn’t let me upload more and from then on, I started to get some followers. I think I had a total of 12.000 followers before I applied to ‘Operación Triunfo’. It gave me a brutal exposure at that time in 2017. I went from being known in my house, my family and a small village that I am from in Barcelona, Sant Climent de Llobregat with 4.000 inhabitants, to being known by many people in my country. That was shocking, it went from nothing to too many things, but obviously, it was incredible to have that exposure. 

Then I had to work on it little by little in therapy because it’s a lot of change all at once in your life and although it’s something you’ve always dreamed of, it’s not something I was prepared for. When you gradually start playing in small venues and you start climbing step by step, you get used to the idea of what’s coming or at least you learn by having all that experience. That’s something I didn’t have and although it may seem very nice at first, at a psychological level it’s very harsh. But of course, I appreciate it all very much.


Last year, you released your third studio album ‘Alpha’, which became a platinum record and received over 10 million streams in just 72 hours. With this album, you created an electronic and dance music-centered album, with which you explored new fields of sound. What inspired you to break away from your usual pop sound, and what inspired this album in general?
‘Alpha’ inspired me to make an album a little more electronic. I mean, it is super pop, but it does have inspiration from the music of the 90s and the 00s. I wanted to do something like that because I have three studio albums and each album is purely pop, but each one is completely different. The second one, ‘11 Razones’, was pop rock and has nothing to do with ‘Alpha’. I always liked to focus on one type of music within pop, it seemed more fun. 

In this third album, I wanted to do something that was more of a club thing, that I could dance to. Reggaeton is something that I love and fascinates me, but I didn’t want to do it because I don’t think I’m good at performing it, singing it, composing it or anything. It’s not my strength. I was thinking about what kind of music in Spanish could be suitable for me to do and that it could be played in a club. It was my mood, but at the same time I was also in a sad mood because I was going through personal things, in which I had some days better than others. I thought the fusion of dancing while crying was very cool, I visualized an album like that. I was in a very inspired moment and it’s an album that I literally made in a month and a half. 

I had a lot of songs finished before and I hadn’t released an album for 3 years, but those songs no longer reflected the moment I was living in at that time. I didn’t want to throw them away, so I kept them in a drawer, but I don’t know if they will ever come out. I did it all over again and I kept the best tracks that, without realizing it, were tracks that inspired me to do ‘Alpha’, like ‘Formentera’ with Nicki Nicole, which is a little bit more electronic. I had no idea that I was going to make my third album and this song came out, and it was like the inspiration for the following songs without me realizing it. I don’t think I have a very usual sound per se, I think everyone relates me as a pop singer and I think it will always be like that, but I’m evolving.

Throughout your career, you’ve been dubbed as the ‘Spanish Princess of Pop’. Does this title put any kind of pressure on you creatively, in a sense that fans only expect certain sound and music from you?
I don’t feel any kind of pressure, I don’t care that much. But at the same time, being called the princess of Spanish pop makes me feel very proud because pop is something I have listened to since I was a little girl and it is what inspires me, what I love. I obviously love all female pop artists. What I most listened to were artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Sia, Adele, all the artists that I have always admired. The fact that suddenly in my country people call me something like that makes me very excited. I feel that there are many more people who are pop queens and princesses. When someone tells me that, it makes me very happy and I thank them. Sometimes people have stopped me on the street to tell me this and it makes me very shy, but I think it’s nice.

full look MOSCHINO

You’ve recently toured around Latin America. How different is performing there compared to Spain? What stands out the most to you from performing live in Spain and in Latin America?
I started touring Latin America only at the end of 2022 and I had been touring since 2018, for four years before that doing my own tour around my country. The first time I went abroad was to Guadalajara in October 2022 and I will always remember it. It was very exciting because I went from playing in very big places, very big arenas in my country to a theater in Guadalajara that was around 1.500 to 1.900 people. Some would say it was like lowering the level, but for me it wasn’t degrading, it was starting from another place and that also inspired me a lot. I liked being able to experience that. 

I visited Mexico too and it seemed very crazy to me to have a sold out show at the Metropolitan in Mexico City. What I noticed the most is that people are great, they give absolutely everything, just like in Spain. In Spain, my fans are very passionate, they know all the songs. But in Latin America, it’s a different thing, different sensations. Every place feels different and I couldn’t tell you why. It was quite overwhelming for me to see myself in another country, singing in front of so many people and it’s still something hard for me to assimilate, it seems very crazy to me.

You will also have your first stadium concert at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu, which was sold out in 72 hours. What are you most excited about this milestone?
I think the Santiago Bernabéu concert is one of the most overwhelming things. In my country, it’s the coolest thing that can happen to you as an artist in terms of a show. In Spain, there is nothing else after the Santiago Bernabéu. It’s like the top of the top. 

My team had been proposing it to me for a long time because I did four shows in the Wizink Center in support of ‘11 Razones’ and now with ‘Alpha’ too. I came from doing several Arenas, which in terms of capacity added up to something like the Bernábeu, but when they told me about it, I said “No way, it’s impossible that it’s going to work, it’s impossible that I’m going to fill that role, I don’t know if I’m ready”. Those are insecurities that come to mind as an artist and as a person, but I got up and said “Yes, let’s go for it, let’s give it a go”. You must take risks in life, it’s not only worth existing, but you also have to grow. 

There is not a single day that goes by without someone saying to me if I am going to drop another date for the Bernabéu. I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know if I’ll do another one later. I hope so because it would be crazy, but I told everyone that it was going to be a unique moment in 2024, the last one. I think it’s going to be the most epic day of my career, without a doubt.

full look MILÓ MARÍA
ring MAM

jacket and shorts MIU MIU
t-shirt LEVI’S

Being nominated and winning awards sure feels good and means a lot, but what do you personally view as the biggest reward for your artistic work?
I think the biggest reward for my artistic work is that I feel like a very self-sufficient woman, very empowered precisely. Thanks to the fact that people have seen something in me since I was a child and I have been able to work in what I like, it inevitably makes you gradually more sure of yourself. I feel very lucky as a woman, to have my own economy, my house, my things being so young, and on top of that working in something that I love.

It gives me a lot of peace to think that I have been very lucky in life, that things have to be worked for, but we also have to admit that sometimes there are lucky breaks and I certainly had it at the time when I got in ‘Operación Triunfo’ and I still have it today. That’s a nice reward in life, but obviously another reward is to be able to live every day knowing that I’m doing what I love the most. My parents have always kept my feet on the ground. I come from a very good family, very hard-working, and they have brought me up with admirable values. I am thankful that I have not only been lucky since 2017 when I entered ‘Operación Triunfo’ and had that exposure, but that I have been very lucky throughout my life.

What are your short and long term dreams for the future of your career?
I don’t really think about the long term objectives because things always end up changing. Because of my work, I have to organize an agenda at least once a year, but then everything always changes. So, my objectives are to be able to internationalize my music more and reach more places. I think it’s nice to cross borders and also, I love traveling and getting to know other cultures. It’s what I’m most looking forward to, traveling, knowing new things and expanding my music.

full look MUGLER
boots LE SILLA

In 2022, you made your acting debut in Disney+’s first Spanish production, series ‘ La Última’, and we’ll also soon be able to see you in Netflix’s film ‘Pared con Pared’. What made you start pursuing acting and is this something we can expect more of from you?
I was training for half of 2021 and part of 2022 because it was something that really caught my attention and I was offered several projects before that I said no to because of lack of time and preparation. When I had more time and was offered these two opportunities, I ended up accepting them because I really liked the projects.

It’s been a year or more since ‘La Última’ and it’s a beautiful project that I will always carry in my heart. And ‘Pared con Pared’ I shot literally a week after ‘La Última’. It was very strong to enter the world of acting doing both projects so close together and playing two characters so different. They were incredible projects in which I felt great to be able to get into the skin of a character and make it so much my own. In ‘Pared con Pared’, Valentina had very much of my insecurities, things I had already lived and that seemed nice to me. At the same time, I was still working as a singer and I had no weekends because I had to shoot a video clip or do a campaign or do a shoot. I absolutely had no social life, but I was happy.

I’ve already been offered some other projects, but right now my priority is to be a singer. For me, that’s my number 1 thing in life, it’s what makes me happiest. I love composing, I love singing, I love being on stage. But if a great opportunity comes my way and I can have the time to prepare for it and do it with all the love in my life, then I will be the happiest to do it.

full look BLUMARINE

What can you share with us about your exciting projects for 2024, besides your first stadium concert and your first role in a film?
It’s already been very exciting in 2024. I’m going to travel a lot, but I’m loving it, I’m super happy. What I think people can expect from me this year is that I’m not going to stop. I’m going to compose non-stop around the world, I’m going to meet many producers, many artists and enjoy my work like never before.

I’m going to do a tour of festivals in Spain and Lisbon, and a couple in Mexico, which will also be the first time doing it because I’ve always been quite scared of them due to my insecurities, but I’ve already jumped into the pool. It’s something I really want to experience and see how it goes. I always thought that my music wasn’t made for festivals, but I think I have to experience them on my own to judge it. And of course, I will finish 2024 with the Santiago Bernabéu concert and a great party afterwards.

talent AITANA
photography JUANKR
make up ALEX SAINT using YSL Beauty
hair JESUS DE PAULA using GHD, Redken and Cool Producciones
production ROOM SERVICE 039
styling assistants NOCA NOVOCANO and ELISA SANZ
interview JANA LETONJA