Two albums, two Latin Grammy Nominations, up against some of the most influential artists in the industry including Shakira, Mana, and Alejandro Fernandez. Miami’s very own Camila Luna is without-a-doubt doing something right and it’s only a matter of time before she has a Grammy of her own. Teacher, poet, songwriter, and musician, Camila has made strides in her career as an artist that some only hope to make in the first decade of their career, or in a lifetime. Her musical vibe is sensational and her personality genuine and authentic. We’re super grateful to have spent some time learning more about her. Read on to check out the full interview & make sure to check out her latest single, video the end of the article. Enjoy!
Talk to us about how you got started as an artist. Was singing something that you just progressively felt more passionate about as you grew up? When did you really realize or decide that this was without a doubt what you wanted to do?
I got started as an artist professionally when I was 18 and recorded my first single “Mi Soledad y Yo” with the producer Rodolfo Castillo. However, I started playing guitar when I was 13, piano when I was around 4-5 years old, and always was in dance classes, choirs, theatre and loved to paint. Even more, I started writing poems when I was around 4 or 5 years old (I was actually published around that time- a poem about a snowflake!) and always knew from that age that I would be a writer, and maybe be a teacher as well (now, I am getting my Master’s in Creative Writing/Poetry at the University of Miami and also teach poetry there). So all of these passions kind of combined when I was around 18 when I decided to sing and song write professionally.
What’s your thought process and inspiration for the songs you produce? Understandably, inspiration comes from many different places, but is there a sort of method to your madness, a way in which you channel your creativity to produce your music as you’re feeding off of your inspiration?
I can literally write anywhere! So I definitely don’t have a method besides not thinking about it until inspiration just comes to me. That’s why I almost always begin to write songs or poems in my Notes App on my phone, or record them as voice notes. If I think about it, inspiration will never come! “Tarde Tropical” for example was written in my dad’s office when I was supposed to be working there in the filing room!
You create your first album Flamboyán and immediately get nominated for a Latin Grammy… what’s running through your mind? What does it feel like to get nominated once again for your second album, Flora y Fauna?
I am still in shock from receiving a second nomination, but I also was able to take it all in this time without feeling as anxious or nervous as the first time. It still came as a huge surprise though, especially to be nominated with artists like Shakira and Alejandro Fernandez, and the first time with Maná.
When the creative juices aren’t flowing, the song isn’t moving along and you’re stuck trying to finish a track, what do you turn to for inspiration?
When it’s not flowing I simply stop because I know if I force it, it’ll just be worse. So I try to just live my life until a random source of inspiration arrives (a song, a motorcycle, a person, a situation) and I go back to the song.
Name a current artist whose music you can’t get enough of right now.
I love Rhye’s song “Open.” I listen to it every day! Also Ibeyi.
You can sit down and have a conversation with any artist, dead or alive (singer, writer, painter, etc.) Who would it be and what are some of the questions you would ask?
I would sit down with Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel and just have the craziest, most surreal conversation I’ve ever had. That would definitely be a source of inspiration for a while.
What does art mean to you?
Art is a huge part of my career, as it is constantly inspiring me. This album Flora y Fauna was actually based on surrealist art like that of Dali or Buñuel.
With your studies in poetry, do you find that most of your songs start off as written words first as opposed to feeling the music and then adding words into the mix? If so, does the tone of the poem or your writings in a way then set the mood for the song?
Yes, my studies in poetry have definitely led me to become very lyrics-based when composing my songs. I always start off my songs with words, and then add the music. However, because poetry is very rhythmic, usually I don’t even have to change the words that much for it to flow. And yes, the lyrics definitely contribute to the tone and ambiance of the music- they direct me to where the song needs to go.
As you continue to grow and explore yourself as an artist, do you feel like at the core, you’re sound and style are evolving? Will there always be a defining characteristic to your music, something that people will listen to and immediately know, oh this is Camila Luna, no doubt?
Yes, I definitely feel myself evolving and next album I want to do a 360 in regard to my music. However, I hope my true essence always remains (whether it’s my voice, or simply the vibe I add to my music) so people can follow my career and continue to feel that connection to my art.
But I want to feel as free as possible, as without evolution, there is no art, just marketing.
What’s been one of the most special moments of your journey as an artist so far? How so?
Probably both nominations, as they have given my career a boost like nothing else! They have both been surreal experiences where I can see a huge shift in my career, and have allowed me to connect to way more people with my music.
You can pack your bags and perform in any city or country in the world… where would you go and why?
I would go to Prague, or Madrid, or Paris! I have been to the 2 last cities already but they are so beautiful, and playing in Madrid was one of the best experiences of my life.
Being in Miami, obviously, Spanglish is a huge part of life for us. What’s your favorite and/or most used Spanglish word or phrase?
I have been known to use printear for “print” or parquear for “park;” there’s no avoiding being Miamian!
As an artist who is very well capable of writing and singing music in both English and Spanish, is there a preference as to which language will take precedence in a song? What’s the thought process like when making those decisions?
When I was younger I was extremely inspired by magical realism- the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges. That, coupled with my love for the music ad lyricism of Calle 13, was what led me to focus on writing songs and poems in Spanish.
Now, I really want to experiment with songs in English, but I don’t want to lose all the Spanish speaking fans of my current music. So I am definitely figuring that out at the moment!
Tell us something about yourself that you’re willing to disclose publicly, that not many people including friends and family know about you?
I can twist my hand all the way around (360 degrees!). I could be in a circus maybe!
With your new nomination and everything you have going on right now, you’re most likely insanely busy… what’s your favorite thing to do when you want to chill out and unwind a bit?
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu… all of that sums it up. I am a lover of film and series and I probably have watched every binge series you can think of.
Outside of music what are some other creative ambitions you’d like to explore at some point or another?
Right now I am studying at Adriana Barraza’s acting school in Miami and I am in love with theatre. It is the most fun experience I have had in a while and I definitely want to pursue film as well.
Unquestionably, poetry has been influential and invaluable in your journey as an artist. Is there perhaps something else outside of music and poetry that you feel has also contributed to your growth as an artist?
I think my family has contributed to my growth, not only because of their invaluable support, but because they give me constant inspiration- their jokes, the fights, the constant ebbs and flows of family really inspires me.
My brother, who has autism, has probably also made me much more sensitive to my surroundings, which allows me to perceive a whole lot around me.
With the year coming to a close, what are you looking forward to in 2018?
I look forward to continuing the promotion of my new single “Amor Frutero” and the music video, and eventually some time next year releasing new music!