At HIGHXTAR. we celebrate the arrival of summer with our fifth Digital Cover with one of the most promising young artists of the moment: Ona Mafalda. The artist has become one of the figures with the most potential on the national scene.
After releasing the previews ‘Ya no quema‘, ‘A Otro Lado‘ in collaboration with pianist Sofiane Pamart, ‘Mala Suerte‘ and ‘Mi Parte‘, Ona Mafalda presents her first studio album: Ona. A project with which she explores new sounds and with which her new identity is born.
The dark pop singer met with the HIGHXTAR. team to talk about her professional career, her first album, her darkest side and her plans for the future. To mark the occasion, we shot an editorial in which Mafalda elevates LOEWE Paula’s Ibiza look. All with total LOEWE looks.
HIGHXTAR (H) – A question we miss these days: How are you, but for real?
ONA MAFALDA (O) – If you had asked me two or three weeks ago I would have said: not great. But now I have to say that I’m very well. The shoot has gone very well, this weekend I’m playing with Coldplay, and I’m looking forward to the summer, so I’m very happy.
H – We met you with the song ‘Don’t Let Go’, how and when did you start in the world of music?
O – I started when I was 16, which is when I started writing my own songs. And actually one of the first ones I put out was ‘Don’t Let Go’. And it all started a bit because I went to so many gigs and so many things growing up that I wanted to be part of that world. I didn’t really know what, but I wanted to be a part of it.
H – How has your style evolved since you released your first EP ‘Dancing without meaning’ until now?
O – I think my sound is much more experimental now, and it’s true that they used to call it ‘dark pop’ and I think it’s still dark pop, but at the same time I think there’s a bit more electronic, a bit more indie now…
H – And the change from singing in English to Spanish? Why?
O – It was because I wanted to start let’s say a new chapter in my life and I wanted a new challenge, and being Spanish and speaking Spanish I really wanted to try it and now as you can see I’m a bit addicted because the whole album is in Spanish.
H – At that time you were Mafalda and now you call yourself Ona Mafalda. Why have you changed your stage name?
O – I had been wanting to add or change my name for a long time, but I always said that the moment would come when it was right, and just before starting this album I was already thinking about the name Ona because it means a wave in Mallorcan, and I think that in my life I have lived through many cycles, a bit like a wave. So I feel that it reflects a lot of what I am doing and what I will continue to do, so I wanted to add it and not eliminate “Mafalda” completely, because it is Ona with Mafalda, the two of them together.
H – Your recently released debut studio album is also called ‘Ona’, why did you decide to call it that?
O – Because the album is Ona, it’s the birth of the new me, let’s say. And it’s true that before I was thinking a lot about names because normally I always call an album a title of the songs or a lyric, or something that has to do with the album, but, for this one, after thinking about it so much, I decided that no, that “Ona” is what this album represents.
H – How has the reception been?
O – Very good, I am very happy.
H – What was your inspiration for the creation of the album?
O – Well, in this one I’ve been much more vulnerable with myself and it’s very honest with myself, let’s say. It’s true that my previous projects have been more reflections of things that have happened around me, but for this one they have really been experiences that have happened to me and things that I have been learning. The biggest message of the whole album is that it is true that life can sometimes be complicated and can send us things that create this challenge, but I think that this challenge is to learn and to move forward and not to regret, and everything goes on. You don’t have to look back, let’s say.
H – How has the creation process been, and has it changed a lot from the beginning until now?
O – We started it a year and a half ago, and it’s not that it’s been changing, but it’s been growing. Duerme’ was the first song we did on the album, and from there we kept trying, experimenting with ODDLIQUOR, who, it’s true, has quite a sound, let’s say “his sound”, and with mine, we’ve really worked very well.
H – Did ODDLIQUOR, the producer of ‘Ona’, play a big role in the development of the album?
O – Yes, we’ve both been together since day one. It’s true that other producers have come in, but we’ve been together since day one, so it’s as much my project as it is his.
H – Fluidity, delicacy, lightness… What did you want to convey with the imagery of this new stage?
O – I really wanted fluidity, a bit like that: like water, like a wave, like everything that flows, that moves forward… Continuing the message that everything will be fine and that you don’t have to look back. That’s why I liked the fact that we took the photos with the colonies in the water, because everything also connects with that a little bit.
H – You started with pop and you are evolving towards new, more experimental sounds. Do you think it is important for an artist to constantly renew himself?
O – Every artist does what they want to do, but for me personally I feel that every time I release something new I learn and grow, and it’s a challenge every time, isn’t it?
H – What or who has influenced you to reach this darker side? What is the reason why?
O – Because I’m dark (laughs). As much as it doesn’t seem like it because everyone says I’m very educated and whatever, I have quite a dark side and I really like it and I enjoy exploring it.
H – Would you say that this album marks a before and after in your professional career?
O – I don’t know if I would say before and after, but I would say that it’s like a new step and a new stage. And you can feel the new stage, not only because of my name but also because of the music and all that.
“Para mí personalmente siento que cada vez que saco algo nuevo voy aprendiendo y voy creciendo, y es cada vez un challenge”
H – What does family mean to you?
O – Everything, it’s super important. I’m very family-oriented and I love spending time with my parents, with my siblings, with my grandparents, with my cousins… It’s super important.
H – Do you think you are still prejudged in any way because of your background?
O – I think it has its advantages and disadvantages, because sometimes people create prejudices or things like that but I think it’s a bit like that with everything, I think that no matter where you come from there will always be someone who has a prejudice or something. But I don’t let that stop me or anything, and I just keep doing my thing.
H – Your mother has always been a reference in the fashion world, what have you learnt from her in this respect?
O – I’ve learned to be you, to always do what you feel comfortable with yourself, to wear what makes you feel comfortable, to follow what represents you, not because you follow what’s in fashion, or not because someone is telling you that you have to wear this… Well, a thousand things. Always “be true to yourself”.
H – How does your style change when you are on stage and when you get off stage?
O – It’s true that when I’m not working I’m much more chill, trousers, t-shirts, sweatshirts. But when I’m on stage it’s true that I like to give it a bit more pop and drama because I feel more powerful.
H – What’s the last Google search you did?
O – I don’t know, let’s see… That’s a very good question, how embarrassing. A rollercoaster tattoo, because I’m thinking of getting a rollercoaster tattoo, because the music life is a rollercoaster (laughs).
H – Have you ever looked yourself up on the internet?
O – Yes, do we have to? No (laughs).
H – What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
O – Something like, “Wasn’t Mafalda a comic book? Is he a real live person?”. It’s like, “Is this person real?”, that’s the funniest thing.
H – What’s the latest YouTube video you’ve seen?
O – I watched Jorja Smith’s the other day, the one she just released called “Little Things”.
Photography: Luis Rubiera
Creative & Fashion: Alfredo Santamaría
Make Up: Isabella Ching
Fashion Assistant: Nicole Katzky
Photo Assitants: Mario Val
Interview: Mar Piera
Production Assitant: Mar Piera / Ana Díaz / Paloma Molinos
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