Meet The Songwriter Behind Lele Pons's Latin Pop Hit, "Celoso" [ANATOMY OF A SONG]
Alejandra Alberti, better known as Ale Alberti, is an artist-turned songwriter with an emphasis in Latin Pop. Born in Nashville and raised in Miami, Ale dances between writing in English and Spanish, though her music resonates whether you speak the language or not. Though she now is based in Los Angeles, Ale continues to explore the duality of her music by bridging the gap between Latin and American music. Most recently, she co-wrote YouTube comedian-turned-model-turned-pop sensation Lele Pons's hit, "Celoso," which currently sits at almost 100 million streams on Spotify alone. Don't be jealous–she's willing to share her songwriting tips for success.
Read below as Alberti talks bilingual songwriting, working with Lele Pons, and taking control of her career.
BRAIN: The Thought Process
OTW: We're excited to get some insight into the making of "Celoso." Let's start off with the differences between writing songs in English versus writing songs in Spanish.
Ale Alberti: I'm fully bilingual. I was born in Nashville and grew up in Miami, so I've been writing both throughout my career. I kind of took off more in Latin music because I was living in Miami, and the connections I had starting off were mostly Latin. A few opportunities came up for me in Mexico as a writer, so I packed my bags, moved to Mexico City and worked there for five years. That's where my career took off, but I've been in LA for about four years and my American side has grown a lot more. So I've kind of been doing both at the same time.
OTW: Is there a side you prefer?
Ale Alberti: No! I love them both, they're just so different. When I write in Spanish my brain has to change to Spanish, and then when I write in English it's just a different type of writing. It's so natural to me because I grew up like that. Spanish was my first language, and then when I went to school I learned English. So I've kind of dabbled in both since I was born.
OTW: What got you started in songwriting in general?
Ale Alberti: Well I first started off as a singer, and as an artist. Since I can remember I was singing songs, even before I could speak, and I have videos of myself at home singing. My parents were very supportive of me, and when I was in Miami I got into music through a talent manager and then started writing with people–those rooms took me to writing for others. When I was younger I decided the artist life wasn't for me. I love to create and I love to write songs, but the artist life wasn't cutting it for me. So I decided to fully go songwriter pretty early on in my career.
OTW: "Celoso" has six writers credited on Spotify. Could you take us through the session?
Ale Alberti: I had worked with DVLP, who is one of the producers on the record, and he calls me in for a lot of his projects. I showed up and he had a beat, and there were three producers in the room. Then Fuego and I went in and did the topline. It's funny because I'm usually a concept girl–I love going in with titles (I have about 200,) and when I heard the record I was like, "This feels like it should be 'Celoso!'" So we started on the hook, and they really loved the melody and Fuego and I went in on the lyrics. The "rom pom pom" part came after the hook, and once we cut it we went back in the room to knock out the verses. It was actually a really really quick session. We probably wrote that within an hour or less. Then I cut it and Lele went in about three days later with her vocal producer and she cut it. It was a pretty quick process, we wrote it and three weeks later it was out and running.
HEART: The Core Emotion
OTW: Lele Pons is blowing up. How involved was she in the songwriting process?
Lele was very present. She had a big insight into what she wanted to talk about, the kind of artist she wanted to be, and the power and the control of the female in the song. So she's very new at writing but she did give a lot of insight and a lot of feedback.
OTW: How did you connect with Lele?
Ale Alberti: It was through DVLP. He brought me in to that session, but I kind of already knew everybody on the team. Now we're working on her new stuff.
OTW: What are the challenges for a YouTube personality like Lele Pons in crossing over to music?
Ale Alberti: Probably the challenge of people respecting you as an artist. That's important for someone who starts out on the Internet whether it's acting or doing something else. Transitioning to music is a respect thing, and I honestly think she did a great job. The expectations were really high for her and she didn't want to put out a record just to put one out. She is focusing on putting out an album, and she knows what she wants and she is going for it. The beauty of all of this is that she can do it all. Nowadays it's like, why only be one? If you can act and dance and sing, you should definitely go for it.
OTW: There has to be a lot of pressure to make all of that happen when you're a YouTube personality and it's amazing that she has the talent to make it happen.
Ale Alberti: Yeah she's a huge music fan too. We were talking in the studio and she was like "I'm a huge fan of Shakira, I love listening to her music and going to her concerts." She's probably one of the biggest music fans of the artists I've worked with. So she has it in her, she's practicing and she's super focused.
LEGS: The Means To Take Off
OTW: “Celoso" is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. What do you think made the song take off?
Ale Alberti: I personally think it's just such an easy record. It's not overly complicated, and even though it's in Spanish, it still feels good to people that don't speak the language. A lot of my friends who don't speak Spanish heard it and were like "Yo! I love this!" It has parts that everybody can dance and sing to. As a writer sometimes you shoot for something like that and it's hard to get, but when it does happen and it's born that way it's just an easy record.
HANDS: Advice For Songwriters Who Need A Lift
OTW: What's your advice for up and coming songwriters?
Ale Alberti: The most important part is to be very patient. I've been doing this for 15 years, and there are ups and downs. You kind of have to keep doing it and be patient and consistent. I'm in the room every day. I'm meeting new artists and producers, I'm calling managers, and I'm pitching my own records as well. I think being proactive is really important and not just waiting around for people to do things for you. Take control of your career, keep doing it and believe in your talent.
Who are your Ones to Watch?
For the Latin scene, Wendii. She's 17 and signed to RocNation. Also Jay Ulloa, he does both music and acting and he's killing it. On the American side I love Lennon Stella, as well as Elley Duhé. In a year everyone is going to know who they are.