February 21st, 2022
From TikTok to the Latin Charts, Malú Trevejo leaves no platform unturned.
photos by jason goodrich
styling by sam woolf
makeup by chantal marie
The women of Latin music are thriving, and Malú Trevejo is bringing it home to Gen Z. Trevejo got her start posting to Musical.ly as a young teen and soon earned worldwide acclaim on TikTok. While she could have continued dominating the platform’s dance scene, she had bigger plans ahead. Trevejo began releasing music in 2017, built a loyal following and became an unstoppable force in the music industry. Now, she’s all grown up and ready to release her debut album to the masses. We sat down with Trevejo at the Inked headquarters in NYC to discuss her inspirations, growth and her burgeoning collection of striking tattoos.
What was your upbringing like in Spain?
Growing up in Spain was cool, I like the food over there. It’s just a whole different vibe. I like living here more, but I like the food over there.
How did moving to Miami impact your work as a musician?
It allowed me to connect more with my Latin side and my Cuban heritage. It helped me to connect more with who I was.
Did you aspire to become a singer when you were younger?
Since I was 6 or 7, I would stand in front of the mirror with a microphone and start singing. I started writing songs when I was 14 and, at the time, they were pretty sad.
Who were some of your inspirations when you first started making music?
My first inspiration was definitely Rihanna. I also loved J.Lo and Shakira, who I listened to a lot when I lived in Spain.
How do you think your new music shows how you’ve grown artistically?
I started doing music when I was 14 and now I’m 19, so there’s a big difference. Now I know where I want to go and what I want to do. I want to continue doing different types of music and keep exploring. And then hopefully win a Grammy.
What was it like for you when you performed live for the first time?
I was nervous, but that would go away whenever I stepped on the stage. You’ve got too much going on to worry about anything else.
When did you start sharing your music on social media?
I started, like, four years ago, but I was a baby. I guess I still am a baby, but I’m, like, a grownup baby.
What was the first song you released professionally?
My first song was “Luna Llena.” It was just a fun kid song talking about the full moon and going crazy. But it did go double platinum.
What’s been your favorite part about having a large presence on TikTok?
My favorite part has been talking to fans when I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. And when they didn’t have anyone to talk to, I would talk to them. I feel like that’s been the best thing.
What are some of the challenges of being a musician with a large TikTok following?
Just a lot of people telling me I’m a TikToker and I’m not a singer. But it’s OK, because we all grow from something and I grew from making dance videos. Then I got the opportunity to put music out and that doesn’t mean I’m not a musician.
How has being a dancer on TikTok benefited you?
It’s helped me a lot because I’m just freestyling most of the time and having fun. With dance, the most important thing is having fun.
When did you first fall in love with dance?
I started belly dancing when I was 7. I just learned from watching Shakira’s music videos, and I still love belly dancing.
Tell us about your song “Complicado” and what went into making it.
I wanted to drop this song first because it’s more of a chill vibe and it’s different from the other songs I’ve been working on. The song is about relationships being on and off and never going where you want them to go. So it’s like, “Fuck it, let’s just ride with whatever is going to happen.” I did the song with Luar La L and we recorded the video in Puerto Rico. It was really fun and dope to do.
How does this song differ from the new music you’ll be dropping soon?
I have a lot of Brazilian funk songs and R&B. I don’t like sticking to just one thing. Honestly, my team has helped me a lot [as I] go in this direction, because sometimes I’m not very confident with myself. But I’m planning on doing a whole album and I’m just figuring everything out.
How does it feel introducing your fans to different styles of music?
It feels really good. My fans are, like, the cutest thing ever. They just go with whatever I do.
Will there be Spanish and English songs on the album?
It’s going to be a mix. Like me, it’s bilingual. You’re going to see English, you might even see a whole English song. You’ll see Spanish songs and you might even see both.
What’s a song you haven’t released that you’re excited about?
I have this song coming up with Myke Towers and it’s a remix of “My Neck, My Back.” I loved the song before and I like the beat, but I wanted to change the lyrics and concept. I bring more Latina vibes to the original song.
What do you look for when working collaboratively with another artist?
Just positive vibes, you know? I don’t want to do a song with someone who has bad vibes. I’d rather meet them and if they’re nice people, we can work together.
Do you plan to go on tour to promote this new album?
I want to drop all of my songs and then do a tour, because I’m not going to perform just one song. I’ve already done a couple of concerts—I’ve done Lollapalooza and I performed with Gente de Zona all over Spain. So I’ve got a little bit of experience now.
What do you hope that your fans take away from your new music?
For them to be able to see my growth and how much I’ve changed with my music. Before, I was a little lost and I wasn’t in a good environment. But now I know [where I’m going] and I’m around good people.
Is there anything you were able to explore musically?
I just have more freedom. Before, a lot of people were really judgy. Now, I have a team of people that lets me be me.
How do you feel being a part of a growing group of female artists making waves in Latin music?
I feel happy and I’m really grateful. I’m still nervous about it too, but I know that’s just part of the process. I’d really like to work with a lot of other female Latin artists in the future, especially Cardi B.
Tell us about your tattoos. Which one was your first?
My first tattoo was this treble clef on my wrist when I was 14. I did it myself at my house. Then I got these dog paws and this rose on my arm, those were my first tattoos.
My first big tattoo was my tiger with lotus flowers on my bicep. I liked these flowers because they can grow in the dirtiest water and still be beautiful. And tigers are just one of my favorite animals. After that, I got Medusa tattooed on my hand, but I gave her my face. That shit hurts like a bitch, especially around the knuckles. At this point I have about 15 or 16 tattoos.
What inspired you to get tattoos?
My mom has some tattoos. I don’t want to sound crazy, but I just started getting tattoos because I like the pain. I want to get my back tattooed next, I want a big dragon down my spine in either black or red.
Which is your most meaningful tattoo?
This one on my sternum. It’s my eyes and my religion. In my religion, “mother” is represented by the ocean.
What inspired you to get tattoos of yourself?
I don’t want to have anyone else’s face on my body. Because sometimes when you get a tattoo of your favorite artist and then you meet them, they turn out to be an asshole.
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