“El Imperio,” the title of the latest single from Argentinian soul singer Florencia Andrada, translates to “the empire;” it’s a term that came up in a conversation between Andrada and a friend about the differences between men’s and women’s attitudes toward achieving goals. When Andrada wrote the song, though, she was responding to the men who don’t respect the boundaries of women, “a guy that doesn’t understand that he’s not welcome anymore in that group or in that space or in that environment,” she explains on a recent Zoom call from Buenos Aires.
Out on October 22 via Los Angeles-based label My Grito, “El Imperio” is about the imminent fall of the empire. “Day by day, we are getting a bigger crowd of women telling you that, if you are going to be that ugly kind of man, there is no place for you here,” she says. “The empire is over.”
The video for “El Imperio,” which premieres today on Audiofemme, was directed by Alejo Bustos in April of this year. Its plot and style came together as a result of the pandemic. “We supposed that we would be able to film outside and with a lot of people,” says Andrada, but rising cases of COVID-19 led to harsher restrictions in Argentina at the time they planned to make the clip and that forced the team to rethink the concept.
Andrada liked the idea of a woman getting “some kind of revenge for her friends” in the vein of Quentin Tarantino films and low-budget action flicks of the 1970s. There’s also a slight nod to Stanley Kubrick in the video’s aesthetic, something Andrada was especially pleased with.
For the singer, making the video for “El Imperio” was a creative departure. While Andrada has appeared in videos before, there was an acting component to this one that was new for her. “It was all in the room and it was very intense,” she says. “It was a lot of people with masks and me.” Andrada is happy with the results. “I feel it’s like a short film. It has a vibe,” she says. “It’s not only a music video. It’s a short film with a story.”
Andrada released her first album, Otra Realidad, in 2012 and followed it up with A Pesar de la Tormenta in 2016. “El Imperio” is her first single since 2019, when she released stand-alone tracks “Reírme con Vos” and “Por Amor” (a rocksteady remix that appeared on a recent My Grito comp). Over the past decade, she has developed a style that draws from classic soul and funk, her big, bold voice set against intricate arrangements that are heavy on rhythm and horns.
Although she grew up in the 1990s, and says that decade of music has influenced her whether or not she is conscious of it, Andrada has a particular fondness for music and aesthetics of the 1960s and ‘70s that’s reflected in her soulful sound, as well as her recent video. “I like the retro or vintage aesthetic, but I don’t like to dress up purely like that,” she says. “I like the mixture.”
Andrada wrote her latest song around the middle of 2020 and recorded “El Imperio” in multiple recording sessions between late 2020 and early 2021 at Estudios del Parral in Buenos Aires. “It’s a great studio because they have a tape machine, so we recorded in a live analog kind of way,” she says.
But, like the video, the recording of “El Imperio” was also impacted by COVID restrictions. Andrada has long played with a large band and gathering limitations meant that they couldn’t all get together for a session at the same time. They would split up the sessions for rhythm section, horns and backup vocals. “It was weird, but we made it,” she says.
More recently, Andrada was able to tour the United States, something that had been on hold since her 2020 live schedule was canceled. “It wasn’t the best time to go, but we didn’t know if it was going to be forever or what, so we decided to do a tour,” she says. “We had an amazing time. Musically, we met some amazing people.” Andrada toured without her usual bandmates, instead playing with local musicians at her stops in Los Angeles, Miami and New York. “It was a great experience for me to get in the city, have one rehearsal and play with people I’ve never played with before,” she says.
Now, with summer on the horizon in Argentina, Andrada is looking forward to heading back into the studio to work on her next album. In the meantime, “El Imperio” builds on Andrada’s already fierce catalogue with a resounding battle cry for a new era of empowerment.