The Mexico City-based musical wunderkind is W Records’ first Latinx Performer.
Elsa Carvajal—known as Elsa y Elmar—is a musical force of nature. Bucaramanga, Colombia-born and Mexico City-based, she shines at everything from songwriting to instruments, all while breathily crooning a relaxed pop sound that’s the sonic equivalent of a peaceful moment in the sun. Moreover, her impressive background underlines her talent: she attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, has won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and has been recognized by enormous music industry peers, like Coldplay.
Elsa y Elmar has a new chapter to celebrate: she is W Records’ latest collaborator. She recently recorded an exclusive song for W Hotels’ private label titled “Adiós Amor,” and feted the occasion with a listening event at W Mexico City. (“Adiós Amor” is a captivating cover of a Christian Nodal tune by the same name.) Elsa y Elmar now joins fellow W Records alums including Perfume Genius, Japanese Breakfast, Roosevelt and Amber Mark. She is, however, the first Latinx performer on our roster.
When artists link up with W Records, there’s always a socially-minded angle. With Elsa y Elmar, all proceeds from streaming and vinyl sales around “Adiós Amor” will be donated to La Casita de San Ángel, a Mexico City-based group that partners with businesses to find long term employment for adults with intellectual and neurological injuries. Additionally, Elsa y Elmar has recorded a second song for W Records called “Seguradetodo”; profits from this track, too, will be donated to La Casita.
Below, Carvajal sounds off on why music is such an important part of her life, the importance of aural versatility, and her favorite things to do at W Hotels.
W Hotels: When did you first realize you were interested in music? What was it that got you hooked?
Elsa y Elmar: I can’t remember an exact moment. Music, writing and singing have always represented what I do for fun. What got me hooked on music is that it gave me a sense of purpose, excitement and satisfaction that I cannot, to this day, find elsewhere in life! I feel powerful when I am able to transform a feeling into something that expresses it.
How would you describe your musical style?
This has always been a hard question for me to answer! I just do whatever I feel like doing. I believe I don’t fall into any one genre. My music style could be described as my way of writing and approaching creativity. Almost as a necessity; a responsibility to myself. I cannot make anything without a purpose. So, one day I might feel like doing reggaeton, and the other, I may want to try out some folk. I want to always stay engaged and interested in exploring. That’s my style!
Please tell us about “Adiós Amor.” You mentioned wanting to express vulnerability. What’s special about this song?
This song was huge in Mexico a few years ago. I hadn’t given it too much thought, until two years ago, when the song found me. I was playing my guitar at the time. Making a cover of a popular song is, in itself, putting yourself in a position of vulnerability because there is already such a dedicated understanding and fanbase. I also didn’t want to hide behind the noise of something over-produced. I wanted to be out in the open, and raw. This, to me, embodies vulnerability.
Please tell us about your involvement with La Casita de San Ángel; what is it, and how will your music benefit it?
One of the most amazing things of my collaboration with W Records is that earnings go to a charity of my choice. I grew up with an uncle who has Down syndrome, and I have always been conscious of how people view him. As a society, we haven’t normalized the reality of people with special needs being a part of everyday life. La Casita de San Ángel is an organization that trains and prepares men and women with neurological or intellectual disabilities to be an active part of their communities.
What was your favorite thing to do at W Hollywood, where you recorded “Adiós Amor,” after a long day of work?
Oh my God, definitely a hot bath with an awesome view of Los Angeles. This was everything!
Likewise, what’s your favorite thing to do at W Mexico City?
The spa is amazing! Also, I have to say, the staff at W Mexico City are among the friendliest and most attentive I’ve ever met at any hotel, worldwide.