We’re coming up on nearly a month of state-ordered quarantine and although it has monumentally sucked, artists are still finding ways to connect with their fans. Dominican singer-songwriter Amara La Negra is encouraging fans to stay safe and remain creative while in quarantine.
The Love & Hip Hop: Miami breakout star has released a new single called “Ándale,” on which she makes her rapping debut. In tandem with the release of “Ándale,” La Negra has also launched the Ándale challenge on TikTok.
The Ándale challenge follows suit of several TikTok challenges, like the “Savage” challenge, which used a song, by the same name, produced by Dallas’ own J. White, and which became a huge hit that even stars like Haley Baldwin couldn't resist. Participants in the Ándale challenge will follow a series of choreographed steps and attempt to make their video go viral. On April 20, La Negra will pick a winner and gift them $500.
“It's kind of hard to [interact with your fans] when you aren't able to have that one-on-one connection with your audience,” La Negra says. “But thanks to social media, I at least am able to engage with my audience. But it's never the same, because I love to see the energy of the people, you know?”
La Negra made her U.S. debut with the release of her single “Insecure” in 2018. She is known for her Latin sounds fused with island influences. With “Ándale,” La Negra marks new territory by stepping into rap.
La Negra says she was inspired to create a hip-hop track by her time on Love & Hip Hop: Miami and by being surrounded by talented hip-hop artists.
“I wanted to do something that was more out of my comfort zone,” she says. “Everybody knows me for Caribbean music, for doing happy, bubbly feel-good music or reggaeton music. I have most definitely been influenced by hip-hop culture, so I decided to do ‘Ándale.’ To be honest, I love it. It was the first time that I did a rap like this, but it turned out to be great.”
Much like all of us, La Negra is finding that a lot of her plans have been put on hold due to coronavirus-related cancellations. She had plans to shoot TV projects in L.A., but now those are indefinitely postponed. She also wanted to record new music, but she is opting not to go to the studio during this time. As of now, she is unsure of what she will do after quarantine orders end.
In the meantime, La Negra is partnering with Boost Mobile and Miami rapper Pitbull for the Step Up to the Mic campaign, which is set to launch Wednesday.
Step Up to the Mic entails aspiring singers, songwriters, poets and instrumentalists uploading video content to Triller, a video-sharing social platform. Some participants will then be selected to be mentored by notable musicians.
“It’s like American Idol on social media,” La Negra says. “I think that this is just an innovative and cool way to just go with the times. Everything now is based off of social media, so why not use a platform that truly gives new artists an opportunity to get fame?”
When she is able to record new music again, La Negra is not sure what kind of sound she will aim for. She has no plans for a full-length album but is considering recording an EP on which she experiments with new sounds.
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“This is a new genre that I'm trying,” La Negra says. “This has never been my forte. I don't consider myself a rapper, it just so happens to be that I can rap. But I definitely think I would love to do an EP with more hip-hop influence, but in an ‘Amara La Negra’ kind of way, with Latin flavor.”
While it seems uncertain as to when the coronavirus will be contained or when quarantine orders will end, La Negra hopes her music will help people get through these uncertain times. She also hopes that artists don’t lose their inspiration despite not being able to access all of the means they need to create.
She encourages people to continue to upload content, whether it be to TikTok, Triller or other social outlets.
“This is my way to provide people a safe way to be with their families,” La Negra says of her social campaigns, “and to keep active while you're home during isolation.”