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Literature

Camila Cabello Celebrates Grandmother’s Novel and Strength

MALAGA, Spain — Camila Cabello credits the strong women in her life for her success as an artist and a person. So it was only natural that she was there to celebrate her grandmother’s milestone — the publication of a novel.

The Spanish-language book, “Los boleros que he vivido” (“The Boleros that I Have Lived”), has been a decades-long dream project of Cabello’s grandmother, Mercedes Rodriguez.

The “Havana” singer traveled last week to Málaga, Spain, to celebrate and help promote Rodriguez’s book, which tells the story of a woman who separates from her husband after many years of marriage. The story across its 329 pages weaves through the woman’s efforts to reunite with her daughter and granddaughters in the U.S. — a tale that mirrors events in the lives of Cabello’s family.

“In the end I finished it very quickly, really, very quickly, because it’s the story of my life and I still have a good memory,” Rodriguez said.

As Rodriguez, 75, discussed the novel, Cabello held her hand. “My family is such a huge part of who I am, it’s such a big part of who I am as an artist, it’s such a big part of my music,” Cabello said.

Music is like a character throughout the novel — every chapter is named after a bolero, the music genre of romantic lyrics originated in Cuba that became very popular in the first half of the 20th century throughout Latin America. For Rodriguez, music is essential: “It is something that no human being can stop living with in order to be happy,” she said.

Of her granddaughter’s success, Rodriguez said, “It’s in her blood, she has photos at 2-years-old with a microphone in her hand and with the radio on.

“I hear her sing at a concert, for example, and I even get breathless, it excites me so much, I just can’t explain it to you,” She said. “It’s something I’ve never felt in my life, seeing her on stage singing or hearing a record of her.”

Rodriguez’s favorite Cabello song, “Never Be the Same,” stirs up intense emotions. “I can’t hear it because I make a fool of myself, I immediately start crying,” she said.

Other family favorites include music of their native Cuba, as well as Latin pop stars as Alejandro Sanz or Luis Miguel, and a superstar favored by Cabello’s grandmother: Ed Sheeran.

Cabello said that she feels a special bond with the women of her family, a lineage that stretches back to her grandma’s grandmother, who Rodriguez called Isabelita.

“I feel like I wouldn’t be like who I am today if it weren’t for the fact that my family has such strong women. All women who have had strong personalities and who have done things their way,” she said, citing how her great great grandmother was “thinking really ahead of her time in terms of sexuality and relationships.” (Cabello notes it’s a theme her grandmother explores in “Los boleros que he vivido.”)

“My mom has always been the same way, she,” Cabello said, referencing Rodriguez, “has always been the same way, my sister, who’s 15, is somebody like that too. Very independent thinkers.”

 

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