A Luna Among the Stars

For most established artists working in music, an award nomination is always a joyous event. For an independent artist working in music, the nomination goes beyond joy as it can become a career-changing moment. Such is the case for Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, Camila Luna, who is currently nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for her album, Flora y Fauna. Gozamos spoke with Luna about the nomination, her music and her work with poetry.

The Latin Grammy Awards will be televised on Thursday, Nov. 16 on Univision.

Based in Miami, Luna always enjoyed music and art as a child, especially being raised in a musical family, but she was always more into books and reading and very shy.

“When I was a little girl I was a really big nerd. I was literally Matilda,” she says with a giggle.

She picked up the guitar at 13 and performed a few times in high school but her goal was to become a professor. It was then, during her University of Miami undergraduate poetry and language studies, that she felt she needed something else. She decided to delve deeper into music and announced to her parents that she wanted to be a singer so she warned them to be prepared. Luna recorded her first demo when she was 18 and that’s when everything changed.

At some point, mutual friends introduced her to musician and producer Jose Luis Pardo (Los Amigos Invisibles, Los Crema Paraiso) and after contacting him via email, sending him multiple demos and leaving “super cheesy voicemails,” she was finally able to pin him down and the two began work on her debut album, Flamboyan (2014). To both their surprise, the album was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Pop/Rock Album in 2015.

Luna’s music, with its alternative pop sensibilities and easy crossover possibilities, has spoken to millions as witnessed by the number of streams garnered with her singles “Siento” (currently at 3 million streams) and “Flamboyan” (over the 1 million mark).

Her follow-up album, Flora y Fauna, is a graceful embodiment of Luna’s proclivity for song writing. Her poetic prowess moves beautifully along with delicate pop elements, swaying listeners through a universe of dreamy, sensual and tropical sounds. And there’s all kinds of magic going on in the intentional, or not, subtleness of the whispers of funk and R&B.

Also produced by Jose Luis Pardo, the album features seven tracks plus a remix of the single, “Siento.” The album is now nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album alongside  seasoned artists Shakira and Alejandro Fernandez.

Are you more excited than nervous about your current nomination and how did you celebrate when you learned the news?

For now I’m more excited. All the stuff that goes on with the red carpet, though, that makes me nervous! I don’t have a manager, I self manage, so I’m preparing on my own. When I heard the news about this nomination, I was so surprised and so excited! I was with my family and boyfriend and we celebrated with some champagne.

You’re doing so well on an indie level do you feel that it’s necessary to get support from a label at this point?

For now, it’s going pretty well. I mean, this is the second nomination so it’s almost unbelievable to me. And I’ve been able to get there as an independent artist but there a lot of things that I know require a team at some point… like getting a bigger fan base, creating a tour, collaborating with other artists. Those things are way easier with a label so at some point I’d love the support that a label provides.  

What differences are there in the recording of Flamboyan versus Flora y Fauna?

This album, Flora y Fauna, is much more cohesive sonically. The first time around, on Flamboyan, I just went with an anything goes attitude. I allowed the producer to hear my songs and make them into magic.

On this second album, I really wanted to have different things so we coordinated our ideas. I also felt a change in my personality because I become more confident in my musical ability. I wanted to show people who I was as an artist at that moment.

Is this the type of music you see yourself continuing to make or do you think you’ll cross into and mesh with other genres you enjoy?
As an artist I’m always changing and finding inspiration in new things so I don’t think there’s one stable identity. I’m thinking maybe the next album will be as cohesive but maybe all acoustic. I love artists that remind me of this genre or that sound. I really like that. I’m inspired by rock artists from the past, like goddess Stevie Nicks… anything Stevie Nicks! And that may or may not be reflected in the music I currently have out, but the inspiration is there.

OMG we totally need a Latina Stevie Nicks!

(Laughing) Yes!

Luna is not only creating award-nominated music, she also continues her dream of becoming a professor currently completing her MFA in Poetry at the University of Miami where she also teaches writing.

The Latin Grammy Awards will be televised on Univision on Thursday, Nov. 16.