Andrea Silva, who now uses the moniker of Loyal Lobos,comes from Colombia, a country which has the reputation of ‘the sexiest women in the world culture’. As a woman, Andrea had faced several times difficult experiences. At age thirteen, a Facebook group called “I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks I’m dressed up as a slut” was created by two male classmates, slut-shaming a family photo of her where she was wearing a bikini. The artist, who moved four years ago to the US, has also acknowledged there the struggles of sexism and mysoginy, especially in the music industry.
As a woman, dealing with sexism and misoginy on a daily basis deeply affect your life. Today, Loyal Lobos is stronger and she embraces her body even if a deep pain remains. She metaphorically sings about those experiences as she’s calling for an end to viewing women’s bodies as inherently sexual. As she releases today the folk ballad ‘The Fall’, which is also the title track of her upcoming EP, we decided to ask her a few questions about her music and her important message.
HighClouds: There’s a clear evolution in your music, leaving the synth pop of your beginning to a more stripped down folk music. Why did you decide to abandon this side of your music?
Loyal Lobos: I don’t think I necessarily abandoned it. We just kinda took a break and I went trying for new things. I wanted to be able to perform a song by myself without needing any tracks or anything. Now, for my new stuff, I’m coming back to a lot of electronic sounds but having stepped out of it gave me a lot of perspective.
You say you come from the ‘sexiest woman in the world’ culture of Colombia. Can you explain us a bit more about that?
Well, I don’t really say that. I think people do. Women in colombia are pretty and sexy, so are men. There’s also sexy people everywhere. I just got tired of labeling. It’s not fun when it makes you self conscious and I think women experience that a lot and are objectified which doesn’t feel nice. Men deal with some too where they’re not allowed to be in touch with their emotions as much and it just all creates this dysfunctional dynamic in Humanity. I got tired of it was able to stop caring and own my body and self in a way that wasn’t to please others anymore.
‘Girls can be really mean about slut shaming and I think it comes from a place of insecurity’ Loyal Lobos
Did your travels and time change your mind on your native culture? Did you feel it was easier to be a woman in some other countries?
I couldn’t know for sure because I moved when I was 18 and got the closest to my music I’ve ever gotten so there’s a lot of different factors that made me feel better about being who I am. I do feel like times are changing and here in the US I’ve met really amazing people and both female and male role models that have influenced my life and music a lot. It still hurts to be alive sometimes. No matter where you are. I think everyone goes through it. Being sad is so real and people are not in touch with that enough.
I guess I can say that I love my country. I mean my family is there and that’s enough for me to love it. I never understood nationalism very well. A lot of people talk about Colombia like it’s one person, one unit and it’s not that. There’s pain, there’s violence, there’s war and it all really sucks. There’s A LOT of machismo, classism, racism, just like everywhere in the world but growing up there as a woman (because that’s all I’ll know from experience) made some things very difficult and painful. The level of violence within the people in the metropolis -not even the actual war in the rural areas- is very high and it is so deeply embedded that people don’t even notice it.
It is a fact that violence against women is a bigger issue. Last year, there was reported over 50.000 sexual abuse cases which 85% were against women. This gives us an estimate that 140 women are abused daily and this is only from the cases that decide to go forward. That’s a whole lot of rapes and it is not ok. I remember when I was growing up people had a term for basically rape called “vaca muerta” which was doing stuff to a girl when she was passed out and people would talk about it openly and blame the girl for getting that drunk. It makes me sick to be honest. I don’t think that defines where i’m from but it’s a big deal to ignore.
When you were a child, you were body shamed by 2 kids in your school because they found a picture of you wearing a bikini. How were you able to turn your shame feelings into body postivity and acceptance?
Oh yeah, it really sucked. It’s such a millennial thing and not very relatable to some people but being 13 it’s so hard. You are the most vulnerable to society and being slut shamed that way by older guys that just enjoyed verbally abusing women is just hurtful. The saddest part was watching other girls be the biggest part of that. Girls can be really mean about slut shaming and I think it comes from a place of insecurity because they are so scared of being called a slut that they think shaming others will put them in a different category. It’s kind of a hormonal battle at that age and both males and females don’t really know how to deal with the hormonal party that’s happening inside of them.
‘I love sex I love kissing and sometimes flirting. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be open about my sexuality’ Loyal Lobos
It took me years to be ok with my body and self and my sexuality to not feel guilty for the many times guys would make moves on me when I was too drunk to consent and it makes me really sad when I hear some more of those high school stories. It can really fuck up someone’s life. I was just able to feel ok like at my 20s actually. I think I found what I love doing and nothing also around me matters that much anymore. I’m able to understand all the elements that play into situations like that and instead of blaming one person or “man kind” I understand that just being is hard. People are traced the wrong way and we are all just trying to survive. It is still fucked up and it should not happen but at least I understand it’s not my fault, or one person’s fault, there’s so many factors that make society be that way and it just was me who had to be the whore of the school. I’m fine with it now, I love sex I love kissing and sometimes flirting. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be open about my sexuality, I don’t see it as a bad thing at all.
Breakup, body shaming, macho culture… Your story seems to be very singular. In your new single, ‘The Fall’, you sing: ‘Inspiration drive you mad and take you to a place darker than I’ve ever seen’. Is sadness an inspiration for you? Would you be able to write inspired songs if you were feeling happy?
Oh shit, I don’t know. I’m sad a lot. Just for being a woman I’m sad once a month because PMS is so real. And then i’m sad about Humanity a lot. And then i’m also really sad about my own stuff. This EP is about one person and a break up. Heartbreaks suck the most and this one was specially a very very hard one.
The new album I’m working on has some not so sad songs I think. Some are about sex and meeting someone you like, some are about my friends and some about another type of sadness like fear of time and growing old or not feeling beautiful enough for this world.
Lastly, ‘The Fall’ is the first offering from your upcoming debut EP due for September. What can we expect from this project?
It’s like giving birth to a baby that was in your womb for way longer that it should’ve and you’re just begging for it to come out (not that I’d really know the feeling because I have never had to give birth and it is way too scary for me to think of such pain).
The EP is about a very specific time in my life and that feeling of sadness has evolved and my sound and songs have too so I really want to put these songs out so they stop being mine and it can be someone’s emotional trip through them. I am also just very excited for the next step and for the album.
These five songs are all very emotional. We had a lot of fun mixing the acoustic guitar with some electrics that had chorusy tones and some melottron here and there. I wanted to create some ethereal vibes but with all analog instruments but still have the songs be folky and I guess some rock indie influences were inevitable . We recorded the songs at Palomino Sounds with Jason Soda who was the perfect guy for it and the players are some of my favorite. Kyle Crane on drums and Sam Wilkes on bass who are old friends of mine. Josh Grondin helped me produce and played electric guitar, my best friend Sam Valdez did some harmonies and Theo Karon mixed the EP after. It was a dream team of musicians.