A Conversation With Gloria ‘Goyo’ Martinez About ‘En Letra De Otro’ and Her New Single

Goyo HBO Single BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Goyo.

Gloria “Goyo,” Martinez, best known for her vocals in ChocQuibTown, the Colombian hip-hop band, is adding television production to her resume. 

This Friday, Goyo’s HBO Max special for “En Letra de Otro,” a concert-centric series focusing on Latine artists created in partnership with HBO Latino, is going live. The docu-series will give people the chance to see Goyo’s perspective, which is her stage name, and blends with Gloria’s (her birth name) aspects. 

Though she told BELatina News recently that both her names are representative of her core identity, Gloria will provide a more raw insight into how she’s experienced her journey as an Afro-Colombian woman.

As she entered a different sphere of the entertainment industry, she also released “Na Na Na,” her new single as a solo artist — and she will perform it on the series. 

Learn more about what’s going on in Goyo’s life below. We have the full-on scoop — and it’s inspirational, to say the least. 

Tell us how you view yourself and everything that has unraveled in your life recently.

I always tell people that I try to make the most of the opportunities I’m given —  to not only talk about my music and my art, which is something I value very much, but also to talk from my experience as a woman. I speak on anything from being Afro to everything being an artist entails in today’s society because I think it’s valuable. I’ve seen that many women before me have done it and have opened many doors. I’d like for people to see me as one of those women who also inspires others. Many of them left a lot of responsibility behind for us, so I take great care of that.

What is one of the parts of “En Letra de Otro” that’s important to you? 

There is a part where I say, “prieta como yo, la Goyo, que los procesos culturales siempre apoyo. Tomemos una foto a esas mujeres prietas que han dado la vida por nosotros. No vamos a seguir más el puesto en el bus. Ya hemos sufrido mucho con la esclavitud, me burlo en tu cara y ahora quien mira, quien como cosa rara…”

Who inspired you to recite these powerful words?

It was being able to take people to the experience of being Black, touching on the theme of Rosa Parks when I say I’m not going to do the job on the bus anymore. Also, how to find those routes that connect us and make us follow a story and not write a story from me. Instead, we are tying all these stories together so that they can continue to talk about vindication, inclusion, and respect.

What empowered you during the filming of “En Letra de Otro?”

There are moments where the song “La Noche” by Joe Arroyo will play, and for example, ending with “Pa’ Que Retozen” by Tego Calderón, which is so powerful, so I wondered how I was going to make that power come through so that people could feel that. But, for me, that gave me more excitement than nerves. I was 100 percent invested — at times, I even wanted to be on the other side listening to what I did. I mean, it takes you out of your comfort zone, it makes you nervous, but at the same time, it excites you.

How was your experience in the studio as you filmed “En Letra de Otro?”

Well, I can tell you that I had a lot of fun. I love the recording studio, and those weeks that I was there — night after night —  giving it my all,  there was laughter with my brother and my friends who came to visit me at the studio. When we were doing “Na Na Na,” it was on fire. Some rappers from my town even came to visit. I was very excited about the creative process and felt a great vibe. 

What was most difficult for me was how not to get carried away in the directing part of the series — the visual aspects, after all, tell the story. So, it was becoming comfortable with what they proposed to visualize something that had not been filmed yet. But I brought a team as well, and each song made a different world out of each piece, and I was very moved. I even brought Camila, who is from Medellin,  to collaborate. She designs urban clothing and previously participated in a fashion series. Once I saw her, I loved her, and I contacted her in Colombia.

In addition to this, it allowed me to connect with art at all levels, from the visuals to the sound and even the vocal part. It was very nice.

Being that you released a single as a solo artist, what does this mean for ChocQuibTown?

The mission is to continue creating and find a way to continue to share music remains. I think it’s the core for me, where I hope there will always be music to give. Now, it’s not only speaking from our perspective and speaking from Goyo’s individual woman’s perspective but entering into Gloria’s world – and what Gloria thinks. It’s also something that enriches and changes my day-to-day life because right now, it’s time to think about many projects and not just one.

What is the meaning behind “Na Na Na”?

The truth is that it was about when you listen to your friends’ stories or your own story, where something happened, and you want to say, close the door or leave. Or those moments where I wanted to say something different or would have loved to have said no and not continue to wait. So, for me, [the song] is an opportunity where we as women can reinvent ourselves and come out of the ashes when we are burning. Something we’ve all dreamt about at some point in our lives. 

You are someone so many people, especially Latinas, look up to you. So, we want to know if there’s anything you’d tell those women who don’t know how to navigate the pressure they put on themselves to achieve whatever their success is.

You have to be careful with pressure. But I think that the important thing is knowing how to use your energies to your advantage. Sometimes, the pressure or nervousness that one has, similar to crashing, makes you like a propeller. In other words, I read you; you have to know how to feel it and live it. When that emotion passes, learn how to enjoy the moment. That’s the challenge.

Any final words you want to leave for the BELatina News audience?

Share my music — that I do it with a lot of love. I hope they receive it just as I am sending it to them.