Lao Ra has aired her latest track “Tell Me Why”, taken from her debut Jesus Mad Me Bad EP.
Born in inner-city Bogota – then considered to be one of the most violent cities in the world – Lao Ra’s first taste of music came through MTV, which she’d ritualistically watch with her brothers to escape what was going on outside. The world-building possibilities of transatlantic pop soon merged with a passion for the energy and attitude of punk, sparking Lao Ra to start writing songs at the age of twelve. She finished school and studied at a music college in Colombia, before working for a fire alarm company to make ends meet. Hoping that any English speakers who one day heard her music might pronounce her name properly, she broke it up into Lao Ra; her alias also unlocking a sense of confidence and girl-power which now cuts through her music.
Blending the tropical and topical, the Jesus Made Me Bad EP is a window into South America’s colourful, conservative and often contradictory culture. Inspired by everything from the multi-national beats of MIA to the warped pop of SOPHIE, the title track is an infectious call-to-arms against Catholic guilt, and not wanting to give explanation for your actions. Mixing Carnivalesque hip-hop beats and glitchy electronics, second track ‘Daddy Issues’ was designed as a playful portrait of the Latin father figure: “I see a lot of men who struggle with being a parent and don’t really know their role in family life. And as a consequence of dads being distant and absent, we don’t really know how we’re supposed to be treated by men and often end up fancying the bad boys, who are as aloof as our fathers.” Airing today and in part informed by ‘Daddy Issues’, final track ‘Tell Me Why’ distils a childhood spent watching US R&B videos into its depiction of a relationship reliant on melodrama.