“When I feel free, it’s when I’m myself”

During the 2022 tranche of Billboard Latin Music Week’s Women on the Rise panel — which, as moderator Elena Rose said, was full of “bosses and bad b—-es” — four rising artists discussed a variety of topics. While talking about everything from how their careers have evolved over the past six months to what freedom means in this industry, one question in particular deserved the most impactful answers: “How do you contribute to their culture?”

It was especially important that the panel, held on day two (Tuesday, September 27), was moderated by superstar songwriter and artist Elena Rose, who last year sat on the panel herself. This year, it welcomed Mariah Angelique, reggaetonera and Miami native, Emilia Mernes, Argentine multi-caesura, Tokischa, Dominican singer-rapper, Denise Rosenthal, Chilean singer-songwriter and actress, and Lili Zetina, Mexican regional pioneer.

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Regardless of personal backgrounds, Rose summed up the panel best when she said, “We’re not going to talk about women, we’re going to talk about warriors.”

Below are the most empowering quotes from each rising artist.

Tokischa on freedom: “For me, when I feel free, it’s when I’m myself. For me, freedom is being comfortable with what surrounds me, with what I do, feeling unique. To feel special and loved by myself because one of the steps to freedom is self-love, and if I love myself and understand myself and know myself, and know what I need, I know where I’m going to walk and how I’m going to do it.”

Denise Rosenthal on the representation of women in Chile: “There are a lot of women out there making amazing music and I think the message I would give them is to keep looking, to keep trying to find yourself. When we find our identity and the tools we need to communicate honestly, it is very profound. Sometimes it’s very painful, because sometimes you have to deconstruct yourself in order to be able to rebuild yourself… For me, the most important thing is to create and establish objectives and to work on them and not to stop before. But we must enjoy the journey. Sometimes we are so focused on where we want to get and what we want to achieve, but for me, I love the process of getting here.

Emilia Mernes on balancing personal life and fame: “The hardest thing to deal with as an artist is separating our private life from the artist who transforms and takes to the stage. I got a lot of negative comments on social media just because I’m a woman …Sometimes I believed everything people said and it affected my self-esteem, I doubted every time I started walking on those stages and it destroyed a lot of my personality, so I had to work hard to As Angelique nodded in solidarity, Rose offered this advice: “Most of the time, I just have in mind that I’m a the person who works and represents my culture… We are all in the same boat to represent and work.

Mariah Angelique on an off-stage message: “Everything changed very quickly in the last year. I live at the airport… but this is what I always wanted to do. Really the message that we all want to convey is that we are powerful, we are capable and we can say and do whatever we want and we can be successful.

Lili Zetina on her contribution to her culture: “In my case, I want people to understand that I come from a ranch, I didn’t know how to read until I was 13…even my family didn’t believe in my dream. I had to leave the ranch, cross a desert and come here — even have children. Sometimes we think we have kids that we can’t pursue our dreams, but after having three kids, I started singing and grabbed that American dream. I lost a child, he is my angel… I am a single mother but now we have a better life.

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