One of the upcoming artists from Mexico and a strong advocate of feminism, inclusion, and LGBTQ+ rights in the current music industry is Flor Amargo, born Emma Mayte Carballo Hernández.
Flor is making her mark in the industry by simply being authentic and loud — breaking molds and creating paths for herself and those who will come after her.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Flor Amargo about her upcoming material, her fight against machismo, what she learned from being in The Voice Mexico to the transition of being the unapologetic artist she is becoming, all on top of her next step post-pandemic, which is her upcoming Auditorio Nacional show in Mexico City. This show is set at a low price to be able to hopefully reunite with all her fans — of course, if the pandemic allows it.
Meet Flor Amargo:
Tell us about your story and how Flor Amargo came to be. How did your sound come to be?
My story is very difficult. It’s like Mission Impossible. It is hard to be Flor Amargo. I fight a lot with the machismo here in Mexico; this fight with the idea that the woman needs to be always sad and always be using distress and have a certain voice. I stopped when I realized that I do not want to be that woman; I don’t want to be that artist. I need to be someone new. But I didn’t know how to begin my career without being that artist that the company wanted for me. And one day, I was walking down the street, and I heard neurotic music — something like that, it was a band playing on the street. And that’s when I was like, “I need to do that!” and so that day, I began to start my new path in the streets and in the subways. And that made me the happiest artist in all the universe because that’s when I realized that it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman, or if you’re dressing in a certain style, or looking “bad.” It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters and what people care about in the street is the heart — it’s the passion. And that’s my mero mole. That’s my don. That’s my talent — to feel the emotion and the energy.
How has the transition from being on The Voice Mexico to exploring the general music market as Flor Amargo?
It all started when I started to believe in myself and when I began to think positively because many people said that I was never going to go anywhere in music. They would tell me, ‘you’re going to fail.’ And then I had a concert in the Teatro Metropólitan (Mexico), and I sold it out! It was three thousand – close to four thousand people shouting, crying, and laughing with me. It was amazing! I would have had a tour, but because of the pandemic, everything stopped. In the next year, my tour will hopefully start where we left off.
What did The Voice Mexico teach you as far as the music industry goes?
They taught me never to believe — NEVER believe what the people tell you. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone famous or the greatest artist in the universe. Never believe them. You have your truth inside of you. The Voice would always tell me, “don’t do it like that, don’t be like that — be quiet.” And that’s when I realized that that’s the most difficult thing to learn as an artist — to be authentic. It’s the most difficult. But you need to be authentic to live your true life and to improve yourself and be happy. Because if you’re going to be the same as the other people want you to be, you’re never going to be happy or improve yourself or grow. That’s what The Voice taught me.
Tell us about your upcoming instrumental album and Spanglish album — what are you exploring in each?
The first one is an instrumental album that I am producing with my wife, Lolita. We were like, “okay, we need to do an album for the Latin Grammys, and we have this opportunity to make some crazy instrumental without a voice.” Letting the music speak. Then we started to play piano with Alex Mercado, a great pianist from Mexico. He made arrangements for the melodies and harmonies. And my wife was on the computer, and we would be going crazy working on the magic. The other album is named La Reina del Barrio, it’s a cumbia with Spanglish, and it will be released in May or June. It’s an album that we are also working on — a beautiful album of cumbia with lyrics that talk about the woman, the power of the woman — the power of the sounds and rhythms in your spirit.
How was it coming out in a country that doesn’t share much of their openly gay musicians? How do you feel?
It was one of the most amazing things in my life. I was always behind my precious secret. But then Lolita told me, “do you want to be like the other people that will never tell the truth and live life in the normal system — of capitalism, or will you be a leader and tell the truth?” In Mexico, there are not many artists out as lesbians. This is the age of liberty! To be gay is not to be contagious. But the liberty is. And I want to spread liberty. People told me in the beginning, “No! You’re the worst. You’re a woman! You’ll raise hell!” But no, I prefer to be in hell — being myself with my truth. There are many ways to love in the universe. And I want to tell the world that I love a woman. It makes me so proud to be a woman and also a lesbian in a world of men. This is my life, and it’s to be free. In Mexico, it’s very difficult, but my followers now know and are aware that they are more than a body. You’re a soul. Free the soul. Don’t be afraid!
Any struggles with this transition and in music in general as both a female and lesbian in Mexico?
Ooo! Every day. There are like three or four important festivals in Mexico with only two or three women [performing] and HUNDREDS of men. In Mexico, only Lila Downs is the one representing the Mexican culture — the skin color of our country. All the others are different. It’s very difficult for me because I have this hair, this nose, this body, and the people want me to get surgery on my nose – but I don’t want that. I am not dispuesta to give that to people. That’s the reason I want to speak in English so that this or next year I can go to Los Angeles and make a new career with my instrumental and Spanglish albums. I want to look for an opportunity because in Mexico it’s so difficult. I want to take my music to Los Angeles.
What’s your advice on Latinx going through the same and want to come out?
We need to do that. I know the people tell us ‘No! Don’t say that! Don’t talk about that! You’re only your music!” But the people in the LGBTQ+ community are being murdered! We don’t have many opportunities. We can’t love each other in liberty in many countries. We are silenced. But if we come out, we can see that we are a lot. We’re not alone. We’re a union. The union is the force. It’s what the people need to get out of this. We need gay leaders; we need the lesbian community to have representatives in Mexico. We need to make way for the new lesbians. My advice is that we need you.