Chilean singer/songwriter and actress Mon Laferte is an award-winning artist whose sophisticated brand of Latin pop melds indie and roots rock, blues, bolero, cumbia, ranchera, and electronic elements with Chilean folk traditions. Beginning with Desechable, her 2011 debut for Warner, Laferte created an intensely personal, even idiosyncratic songwriting style that meshes seamlessly with her captivating stage persona and expressive, bittersweet alto voice. After more years of recording and touring, it was 2017's La Trenza (nominated for five Latin Grammys) and its smash single "Amárrame" (winner, Best Alternative Song), that established her in Europe and Asia. Two years later, Laferte won the Latin Grammy Album of the Year for the romantic and provocative Norma.
Born Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte in Viña del Mar, she began playing guitar at age ten, entered a musical conservatory at age 13, and later played gigs in Valparaiso. She released her first album, 2003's La Chica de Rojo, under the name Monserrat Bustamante. During this time, she also appeared on the television series Rojo Fama Contrafama and El Baile en TVN and in the 2006 film Rojo, La Pelicula. She began performing as Mon Laferte after moving to Mexico City in 2007, and after battling thyroid cancer in 2009, released the album Desechable in 2011. In 2012, she appeared as a judge and mentor on the second season of Factor X, the Chilean version of The X Factor. She also joined the hard-rocking group Mystica Girls for 2012's MetalRose and 2014's Gates of Hell. Amidst all this activity, Laferte continued her solo career, issuing 2013's Tornasol and 2015's Mon Laferte, Vol. 1. On 2017's La Trenza, she collaborated with Enrique Bunbury, Juanes, and Manuel Garcia. It peaked at number 13 on the Latin Pop Albums chart. Its lead single "Mi Buen Amor," featuring Bunbury, took home the Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Song.
During extensive touring that took her all over the globe, Laferte experienced the end of a long-term relationship. Moved by the experience, she began writing songs while traveling, based on her romantic relationships, carefully mining the details of her life. The end result, Norma, was cut live in a single day at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. Issued in the fall of 2018, it was her first concept album and comprised ten songs, each examining a different stage of an amorous relationship in musical styles that crisscrossed cumbia, son, danzon, salsa, bolero, and bachata.
In November of the following year, she took home a Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. The award was overshadowed by her protest that evening: On the red carpet, Laferte opened a long black coat and exposed her breasts to photographers; written across them were the words: "En Chile torturan violan y matan." ("In Chile, they torture, rape, and kill.") It was in reference to mass demonstrations in her home country, which began in October to protest economic inequality and civil rights after the government increased subway fares. That same evening, she released "Plata Ta Tá," an urbano track in collaboration with Puerto Rican artist Guaynaa. In the song, she delivered the lyrics: "This generation has the revolution, with their cell phone they have more power than Donald Trump...." In another verse, Guaynaa chants, "Go out, go out/go fight, go fight/Let's make the world listen." At the end of January, 2020, Laferte released the acoustic Sola con Mis Monstruos. It was a live set consisting of the artist delivering unplugged renditions of her best known songs; she closed the set with a cover of Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose." ~ Heather Phares