Elena Rose is the living embodiment of the word singer-songwriter. The Venezuelan-American artist is nominated in the first ever Songwriter of the Year category at the upcoming 2023 Latin Grammy Awards. Rose is the sole woman in the category. Having co-written hits for artists including Selena Gomez, Becky G, Bad Bunny, and Jennifer Lopez, she is now at a beautiful moment in her career: her own music is blossoming.
“It’s an honor for me,” Rose tells LATINA. “This nomination means I have grown so much. Every single step has led me to today, and I’m grateful for it.”
Before Rose became an in-demand songwriter, she was a Miami-born dreamer who grew up between Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Reflecting on her multicultural upbringing, she cites women like Celia Cruz, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Whitney Houston as her inspirations. Like some of her idols, Rose performed in bars with the hope of making it as a singer. Her dulcet voice caught the attention of a producer, who asked her to record demos. From there, Rose got more involved in the song-making process and discovered her knack for writing.
“It kept falling in love more and more with every opportunity brought to me, with every door that would open,” she recalls. “[Songwriting] was a talent that God gave me so that I could put out my message; it became stronger than the fact that I could sing.”
Credit: Courtesy of Margot
One of Rose’s first big breaks as a songwriter was contributing to Selena Gomez’s first Latin EP, “Revelación,” in 2020. She was brought onboard by Neon16, the creative label run by Puerto Rican producer Tainy. Thanks to hits that Rose co-wrote like “Baila Conmigo,” Gomez earned the first Grammy nomination of her career, a year later. Becky G was another Latina who supported Rose’s burgeoning career. Rose co-wrote Becky G’s global smash “Mamiii,” with Karol G, and later featured on the song “Flashback.”
“I’m very grateful for Becky,” Rose says. “She’s an amazing girl and a hard worker. I have so much to thank her for because my career really took off [after writing for her], and I grew and learned so much.”
At the same time that she was booking songwriting sessions, Rose was working on her own music. In 2020, she released her debut single “Sandunga.” Over the next two years, Rose grew her own following with the release of songs like the sultry “La Ducha.” Her persistence paid off — last year, she signed a record contract with Warner Music Latina. In a full-circle moment, the women Rose often co-wrote with, Becky G, Maria Becerra, Tini, and Greeicy, joined her on the “La Ducha” remix.
“It felt like it was time,” Rose says about becoming a solo artist. “I like to sit down with my feelings and understand where they’re coming from. That one really felt like it was coming from God and that I was ready and that I just had to enjoy it.”
This past year, Rose has released songs that touch on self-love, healing, and empowerment. In the heartfelt track “El Hombre,” she celebrates men who reject machismo and embrace their vulnerability. Through the reggaeton-infused “Linda Natural,” Rose encourages women from all walks of life to embrace their beauty and bodies. She also pushes boundaries with the alluring “Disculpa Amiga,” which tells the story of a mistress who is apologizing to a wife for her indiscretions.
“People are scared to love, so that’s why I like to talk about situations very transparently in my songs,” she says. “[To me, love is] non-judgmental and unconditional. It’s real freedom. I create this safe space when you’re listening to my music, when you’re at my concerts, and when we have conversations. You can trust me, and you have a friend in me.”
Now Rose is using her music and platform to highlight a place that is very dear to her heart: Venezuela. In the feel-good “Caracas En El 2000,” she teamed up with fellow Venezuelan acts Danny Ocean and Jerry Di to salute the city that they called home. “We feel grateful about where we are from and that we have power to bring this culture to the rest of the world,” she adds.
Rose will be attending the Latin Grammy Awards on November 16, in Seville, Spain, to see if she wins Songwriter of the Year. She also revealed that her first album will be due out sometime next year.
“I’m enjoying this new phase of my life where I am able to work with other creatives. I understand what I was missing [in my music]. Now I can stand up for my message, be the one in front, and feel strong about it and determined.”
Lucas Villa is a freelance music contributor for LATINA and his work is featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Teen Vogue, MTV News, and W Magazine.