She also began posting videos of her performances to YouTube and gained a substantial number of social media followers. Rosalía relocated to California in late 2016 after signing to Universal, who issued her debut album Los Ángeles. The recording was a stripped-down affair of classic and nuevo flamenco songs recorded by maverick producer Raül Refree, with only a Spanish guitar as accompaniment. The pair were not only influenced by the historical lineage of early 20th century flamenco, but also by the stripped-down nature and emotional impact of Johnny Cash's American Recordings album.
To that end, the album's closer, a reading of Will Oldham's "I See a Darkness," was also covered by Cash. Issued in early 2017, Los Ángeles garnered universal critical acclaim, and a Latin Grammy nod (during the ceremony, she appeared in a tribute to Alejandro Sanz singing his "Cuando Nadie Me Ve" accompanied by a string section). Afterwards, she appeared on turntablist DJ Swett's Mudra album on the track "Retsu." Rosalía also took part in the recording/performance of Un Largo Viaje, by herself, Fernando Vacas, and Lín Cortés all fronting the Royal Gypsy Orchestra. In November, she followed her album with the single "Aunque es de noche," penned by San Juan de la Cruz and Enrique Morente. In the middle of 2018, Rosalía appeared on J Balvin's single "Billio" from his chart-topping album Vibras, and in its video. In November 2018, Rosalía presented her new full-length project, entitled El mal querer, fully written and produced by her and co-produced with El Guincho, who would also participate in the composition of some themes.
The album is presented as experimental and conceptual, revolving around a toxic relationship, inspired by the anonymous 13th-century Occitan novel Flamenca. On 30 May 2018 she released the first single of this second album, titled "Malamente," which reached number 12 in Spain's Top 40. The second single, "Pienso en tu mirá," was released on 24 July 2018. Both videos acquired a certain level of social media virality, praising the aesthetics and the poetic symbolism in both of them, albeit also generated debates, substantial discussion, and controversy regarding their depiction of Gitano and Andalusian culture.
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