EXCLUSIVE SXSW Interview: Una Canción Bonita Dishes On Her Debut Album “EL VIAJE”

Mexican artist Una Canción Bonita, otherwise known as Karely Rincón is releasing her debut album this April 5th, and I caught up with her at SXSW to talk all about it! EL VIAJE is a self-described alternative Latin pop piece of art that touches upon different stages of Rincón’s life, documenting the highs and lows through music. Rincón was incredibly upbeat, and infectiously energetic as we got to talking. Our conversation touches on her introduction into the music industry, her love of the ukulele, and all things EL VIAJE. 

To start us off, how are you feeling about SXSW? Are you excited to be here and bring a sort of Mexican Flair to Austin? 

I’m so excited! This is gonna be my first time in Austin, I got invited also in 2020 and for me, it also was a great opportunity, and having this opportunity again is very exciting. And also I’m so excited to be in Austin, I’ve heard that it’s a really cool city! So I can’t wait.

SXSW Is definitely a really different experience, it’s just the best of the best in town–and you’re part of it! So I want to ask, you’re name is Karely Rincón, how did you come up with Una Canción Bonita? 

I started my project a few years ago and everything started because of my Instagram nickname. I didn’t want to use my name, I don’t know why. It sounded cooler if I used another nickname. And I was thinking about the name of a song that I like, but everything was sooo long. And then I was like Una Canción Bonita, actually, I like it! And then when I started with my project, I opened a face a Facebook fan page. And I didn’t want to use my name also. Like I was afraid, actually. 


Yeah, I didn’t want to show my name because it was my first time showing my lyrics and, my songs. At that time I didn’t have anything recorded yet, but I wanted to start. I was living in the United States. So it was like, okay, nobody knows me here. Maybe in Mexico. Yeah, my friends and my hometown and everything. But I rather not show my name. And then I was thinking about a name and it was like, okay, it will sound good if I just put the same name as my Instagram and everything started like that. 

So speaking of your debut album EL VIAJE, it comes out in a month. So first of all–congratulations on it! How long has it been in the works? 

Ummm, like a long time. [Karely laughs]

Like how many years? What’s the oldest song?  

The oldest song is “Me Gusta”, which actually is turning six years today. This album is a place where I wanted to express myself and discover my sound. And also I didn’t want to put limits, no boundaries on what I wanted to say. You know, like a lot of artists all the time brings like an idea and they say like, okay, I’m going to talk about this in this album and this is what I want to make. In my case, it was just like, I want to write and I want to express in this album everything I feel and I felt because, for me, this album is more like closing the first stage of the Una Canción Bonita era. 

 Like closing the chapter? 

Yeah, everything I wanted to explore in my lyrics, in my feelings, in what I want to do in this industry. Because when I started, I didn’t know anything. So everything was new for me. And actually when I decided to start it was like, okay, I’m not going to put any pressure on me. I just want to feel and I just want to express what I feel. 

So where did the name EL VIAJE come from? 

It is called EL VIAJE because at that time I was traveling a lot. And for me, it was just [about] the ups and downs of life. My mantra is just to like the moment, enjoy what you have at this moment. And I didn’t want to think about where this was going to take me…I don’t want where I’m going, but I just want to enjoy this this moment of the trip.

So, how would you describe your music to someone who maybe has never heard it, and is excited about the album? 

Well, I will describe my music as a Latina alternative pop with reggae sounds. Colorful mixes. I try to not think about what the people are going to like, not because I don’t care. I absolutely I care. And I love when people tell me I like your sound or I love these songs. I absolutely love it. And at some point as an artist, you are looking for that approval. But something that I also like about my music is that it’s something that I like. And every time I go to the studio with my producer he also gives me the freedom to tell him like, Hey, what if we put this in this song? So for me, every song is a bunch of colors, sounds, flowers, hearts, you know.

I love the way you describe music, it’s so colorful. 

Yeah, so like I will describe my music as a colorful Latin alternative pop.

So, what made you want to pick up a ukulele? 

So that is why I started. I was living in San Francisco. I’ve been writing songs since I was seven years old. So when I was little I wanted to be a singer. But then I grew up and it was like, no, maybe being a singer is not for me because I’m not into the role model or beauty model. So I decided to give up on that idea, but it was something that all the time was there. 

And then I studied like four careers and I finished one; marketing. And at that time I was actually working so hard. 

I stopped writing for a few years and then I was living in San Francisco at that time and I really enjoyed going to concerts and I started to have a lot of musician friends. And then when I listen to their songs, I [found] that my songs had also something that made them special. Then I was like, okay, I’m going to start. And then I was like maybe I should start playing an instrument and just making songs for me…And I decided to give up the idea of fitting the beauty rules in the industry. I’m not going to think about that. I’m just going to enjoy it and I want to play and it’s going to be just for me, just for fun. And then I was like, okay, what is going to be the easiest instrument that I can play? And I thought about [the] ukulele at that time.

I resonate with that a lot. I play the ukulele, love the ukulele. Everything you said was just really inspiring. May I ask how old you are? 

Yeah, absolutely. Thirty-five years old. I’m old. [Karely laughs]

Oh my gosh no! You’re not old! [laughing]

How old are you? 

Well, I’m twenty-six but I think I look really young. All my favorite artists are in their thirties so that’s not anything! 

Well, another thing just going backward a little bit, one of the things that was making me doubt my decision was my age. Because when I decided to start playing ukulele was twenty-six. Maybe it inspires you or not–

It inspires me! 

Because twenty-seven was the best year of my life so far. I had a lot of fun and it was awesome. But it was also a moment in my life that I was like, What am I doing? I’m about to turn 30. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not even doing something I love… And then all these thoughts about music and about the industry, about the concerts I went to and the people I was meeting and I was like, maybe I should start doing this and just enjoy it and see what happens.

Yes! I constantly feel like I should have started on things way earlier. But seeing that you’re performing at SXSW is just so cool, amazing! So talking more about the album for a moment, what song are you most excited for people to hear? 

Right. Okay. So, the album is a compilation of the singles that I’ve been releasing all these years. And there are a few more new songs on the album, and there is one that I’m going to sing that is a mashup and it’s called “Me Gusta/ Me Gustas Tu” which is “Me Gusta”, but it’s a mashup with the Manu Chao song “Me Gusta Tu”. 


I’m so excited to sing that song because a sax player is gonna be with me, and I love it!  

That’s amazing! So speaking on that, obviously you’re music is in Spanish. So who are some other artists that have influenced your music? 

Juan Gabriel is my favorite singer and composer. He absolutely has been an influence on a lot of my lyrics. Natalia Lafourcade is one of the first female singers who showed me how to express myself. I really admire her a lot. Carla Morrison absolutely, I will say that as well when I saw her playing live for me [it] was like, wow. She’s amazing and she’s inspired me a lot…her lyrics, her personality, you know, like I admire her a lot, that she’s been navigating all these years in her career as an independent artist is wow. My favorite Mexican artist would be them, and they have inspired me a lot on this album and also in my lyrics.

I’m so excited for your album! Closing the conversation out, I’m curious–in EL VIAJE what was the most challenging song to write? 

The hardest one…I’ll say…the hardest one…Every time I write a song it is because I feel it. It’s not like, oh I want to write about something and I just have to think about how it’s going to feel. No, like most of my songs are more like, oh yes, I like how it sounds. Or I’m just walking my dog and I start a melody in my mind, and I’m like okay, I need to write this! That’s how I’ve been creating the songs. 

But I will say that the hardest it will be maybe “La Inspiración” because when I wrote with it, I wrote like a letter, like a big letter. So I needed to cut some parts of the song, and I like a lot of verses, a lot of words I used when I wrote it.

(For those wondering, Karely has a Poodle and Maltese mix, and he was adorable!)

Una Canción Bonita’s album EL VIAJE will be available on all streaming platforms this April 5th, and be sure to follow Karely to keep up with everything Una Canción Bonita



  • Camila Dejesus

    Magazine & Media Editor, Camila Dejesus has been writing since she was a child and enjoys all forms from creative writing down to narrative analysis. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's in Television and Radio Production and works full-time at Latinitas Magazine. In her free time, she loves writing stories, water coloring, or playing songs on her Baritone Ukulele. Now, her greatest passion is finding new topics that will engage and inspire Latinx youth.

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