Asked to describe her music in a few words, singer-songwriter duendita’s response is as frank as you’d expect it to be: “Bold and lamenting bangers!”
Born and raised in Queens, New York duendita’s work is a mesmerizing ode to soul music. She first ventured into music by studying choral music in high school and began producing on Ableton a few years later. “I love to sing, since I was a child,” she says. Her most recent EP, direct line to my creator, is a reflection of her time at university and, at the same time, deals with existentialism. “Why am I here? And why does it hurt so much?” she answers. The ten-track collection celebrates self-love, spirituality, and the artist’s immediate surroundings and the people closest to her. duendita, who is Puerto Rican-American and Afro-Latinx, also uses her art to celebrate her roots while addressing race and gender issues.
How does your identity inform your work?
My identity is an ever-expanding yet permanent window. I am informed by my personal experiences, historical context and understanding, but also my curiosity—to build present-day afterlives and possibilities for my body, navigating dangerous systems that would love to kill me! Or get me to end myself—like, even the music industry. Lately, I’ve been feeling a strong desire to survive, especially with the more incredible art I see and engage with and the people on this playlist. I can’t completely call them contemporaries when their work keeps me here like this!
How do you express your spirituality?
Praying, especially with loved ones. And lovingvery hard. I also think anytime you have one conversation with a group of friends, there’s a powerful, untraceable currency that arrives. It can get into a heavy vibe—I like to have people over and want them to be ourselves, doodle, smoke, cry; whatever is passing through.
What does self love mean to you?
I’m down to feel good in my body, all the time. Discovering and stretching agency to preserve, voicing boundaries in relationships, taking time to make my own decisions that I feel great about.
Tell us about your mixtape. What is the vibe and what was your intention behind the selection?
This playlist is a collection of songs that have helped me heal or that I deeply relate to. It happens to include some artists that I’ve met in New York City just because I work in music. But, first and foremost, I am a huge fan. I bought a huge portable speaker to blast their music: MIKE, Mereba, Caleb Giles, Jamila Woods, April + Vista, Slauson Malone, MorMor, and so many more. I did include my mom’s favorite song, Native New Yorker by Odyssey, because I’m tapping into that energy right now.
“Lately, I’ve been feeling a strong desire to survive.”
duendita is an American musician living in New York. After releasing her EP direct line to my creator, she is currently working on new music. This weekend, she will play at Berlin’s Torstraßenfestival.
Head over to our Mixtape section for more balcony friendly tunes.
Text: Ann-Christin Schubert