So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte has taken on several iterations of herself over the past decade. During the aughts, she was best known as Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte: recurring guest on Chile’s competitive talent show, Rojo. But after thyroid cancer put her career on ice in 2009, she came back swinging in the 2010s as Mon Laferte: a newly recovered, alt-rock guitar goddess.
In 2012, Laferte kicked off a three-year stint as the teal-haired frontwoman of Mexican metal band Mystica Girls; then, upon signing a deal with Universal Music Mexico in 2015, she reintroduced herself as Mon Laferte, folk-rock balladeer. She was golden by 2017, after her fourth studio album, La Trenza, garnered her five Latin Grammys. The winning streak continued with her Coachella debut earlier this year and a Latin Grammy win for Best Alternative Album for 2018’s Norma last month.
Mon Laferte returned to the awards show this year under a sobering set of circumstances: just one month prior, her home country had become a conflict zone. “Chile hurts me inside,” she stated during her acceptance speech, which she dedicated to Chileans protesting government repression. “You bleed through my every vein, every chain weighs on me, that imprisons you.” She then walked the red carpet completely topless, with the following words written on her chest: “In Chile they torture, rape and kill.”
Still, the Chilean icon is looking to ring in the 2020s more fierce and socially conscious than ever. After releasing her reggaeton protest song with Guaynaa, “Plata Ta Tá,” the artist dished to Rolling Stone on her greatest (and most absurd) moments in the last decade.
My favorite album of the 2010s was: It is very difficult to pick one album, but the female presence in this decade was super important — from Ariana Grande, Clairo to Rosalía.
The best live show I saw was: Paul McCartney!
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: Playing Coachella
The biggest change in the music I noticed was: Listening to Spanish music all over the world! Wherever I went, there was dance music in Spanish.
The television program that I could not stop watching in the 2010s was: I don’t watch TV, but this last year I watched the whole series Orange Is the New Black.
The best new slang term of the decade was: Memes
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: I met John Frusciante and he helped me choose costumes for my show at the Forum in L.A.
The wrong step I learned most in the 2010s was: If you drink, it is better to put away your cell phone.
My favorite invention of the decade was: I don’t know, but it’s good to stop using plastics and be more aware of all this.
The song I wish I had written was: [Anything] by Beyoncé
Something great that I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I walked around a lot, through many cities around the world.
The strangest thing anyone said about me in the media this decade was: They said that one of my best friends (my drummer) was my girlfriend; that I wrote a tweet (fake) where I threw shade at Mexican people (WTF!); and that I was going to have a child. I just adopted a dog!
The rock star R.I.P. that made me the saddest was: Juan Gabriel
The horrible fashion trend of the decade I most identified with was: Latex clothes came back!
The most “2010” moment of the 2010s was: Seeing Tame Impala at Coachella
My greatest hope for the 2020s is: May we be more aware of climate change.