Natalia Lafourcade enchants the crowd at Apogee Studio.
Video directed by Angie Scarpa, all photos by Larry Hirshowitz

Natalia Lafourcade: KCRW Live from Apogee Studio

Intimate performances, fresh sounds, and candid conversations with a view.

Editor’s note: Following the publication of this article, Natalia Lafourcade’s “De todas las flores” received the Latin Grammy for Record Of The Year alongside additional awards for her LP of the same name.


After establishing her pop bonafides as part of a short-lived group called Twist in her late teens, Mexican singer-songwriter-composer Natalia Lafourcade broke out at 20 with her eponymous debut LP. Her assured blend of straightforward rock and muscular folk atop crisp pop beats delivered hits including “En el 2000,” and “Busca un Problema.” It also earned her the first of her many Latin Grammy nominations. She’s since taken home 14 Latin Grammy statues, making her the most awarded female artist by the Latin Recording Academy.

2015’s critically acclaimed and double-platinum selling album Hasta la Raíz finds her crafting a more lived-in sound which falls somewhere between dream-pop and traditional folk. She counts Lila Downs, Devendra Banhart, and Julieta Venegas among her many collaborators, and she’s performed to sold out crowds all over the world — including The Hollywood Bowl where she was accompanied by the LA Philharmonic. You’ve probably cried at least once while listening to her duet with Miguel on the Oscar winning song “Remember Me” from the 2017 Disney-Pixar film Coco


“Remember Me” courtesy of DisneyMusicVEVO via YouTube

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Ahead of Lafourcade’s appearance at SoCal’s Besame Mucho festival — happening Saturday Dec. 2 at Dodger Stadium — we invite you to experience her performance in the far more intimate setting of Bob Clearmountain’s Apogee Studio. Accompanied by the small-but-mighty band of Jorge Gamboa (double bass) and Emiliano Dorantes (piano), Lafourcade (vocals, guitar) presents highlights from her freshly Grammy-nominated 2022 LP De Todas Las Flores. Here she engages with yet another side of herself as a performer: the platonic ideal of a jazz lounge act.“Vine solita,” “Pasan los días,” “Pajarito colibrí,” “Mi manera de querer,” are all presented as straightforwardly as possible, allowing each instrument multiple occasions to shine. And her stripped down take on “Hasta la Raíz” reveals new layers of a beloved classic.

Let it envelop you via the player above, and carry on for Lafourcade’s conversation with KCRW’s Raul Campos where she examines the finer points of living in Veracruz, engaging in extreme alone time, and always finding her way back to songwriting (give or take a lost phone).

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Raul Campos: So you’ve been taking a little time off recently. How’s life in Veracruz these days?

Natalia Lafourcade: Veracruz is my paradise, my precious universe. I went to this amazing little town where I grew up. I was finally able to go back home. I really needed that. It was like, how do I cook something for myself? I know it sounds stupid, but what do I want? What do I do with my free time at home? 

There were rumors that you might give it all up, never perform again?

No, no, no. That’s impossible [laughs]. It actually was funny, because there wasn't a day that I wasn't thinking about coming back to the stage or going back to the concerts. That's why for me, at a certain point, it was hard. But there was a moment when I was able to really enjoy my own time, to build something different in my reality. I was able to try dance classes. … I was painting, I was seeing friends, I was going to the beach. I was going to nature, going for  walks. Getting married, and spending time with my husband. 

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Your 2015 album Hasta La Raíz was so universally beloved and critically acclaimed. Why did you take the approach of spending seven years writing and creating the songs for last year’s album De Todas Las Flores, as opposed to trying to follow it up right away?

I was having something like what you're saying. I was like, ‘Okay, let's move on. Let's do another thing.” And those other things for me were these great composers that I love from Mexico from Latin America.  I wanted to try this music. I felt like I needed to keep learning, not getting stuck into one specific thing. I felt like maybe if I try [working with] these composers, I'm gonna learn something new. And I just move on through that. And then another project I was doing was Musas. Then I was doing Un Canto por México and I was touring. And while I was doing all that, I was sometimes writing songs and also forgetting that I had them in my phone. [At one point] something really sad happened and I lost one phone with music that I wrote [in it].

… I would just still be touring, doing different things, and the music was going to those [phone] recordings. And I forgot. I wasn't searching for the music to have an album until a friend of mine said, “I kind of miss you like what you have to say.” And for me it was like, “Oh, you're right. It's been seven years.”

Where so many of your past projects have been about people, this new album is very focused on your environment. What caused that evolution?

It was a journey. [Leading up to the making of the album] I went to Peru to walk in the mountains. … I didn't know how beautiful that was going to be internally, like how it was going to be working inside my own heart, my soul, my inner universe, and garden, and world. And that's why at the end, I decided to go there alone. De Todas Las Flores is because for me, it was like going back to my own place. I didn't realize before how much I was giving to the world, but I was missing the part that was me. So it was beautiful, it is beautiful, and it ended up in the music.

More: Explore KCRW Live From sessions

Credits:

KCRW Music Director: Anne Litt
Interviewer: Raul Campos
Director, Editor, Color: Angie Scarpa
Directors of Photography: Dalton Blanco, Vice Cooler
Camera Operators: Dalton Blanco, Vice Cooler, Angie Scarpa
Recording / Mix Engineer: Bob Clearmountain
KCRW Engineer: Hope Brush
Executive Producer / Broadcast Editor: Ariana Morgenstern
Producers: Anna Chang and Liv Surnow
Digital Producer: Marion Hodges
Digital Editorial Manager: Andrea Domanick
Art Director: Evan Solano

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