Nella, Venezuelan Immigrant and Singer, Takes the Luckman

Nella retells life stories in between songs alternating between English and Spanish.

Jillian Bell, Staff Reporter

On her first tour in the U.S. to promote her new album “Voy,” rising star and Latin Grammy nominee Nella performed on Cal State LA’s very own Luckman stage.

Nella explained to the UT, during a one-on-one interview, why she chose to dedicate the song, “Los Nacidos” during her performance Saturday night to immigrants and an organization called Freedom for Immigrants.

“Even though it’s a love story, it talks a little of how it feels to be by yourself and losing loved ones,” she said. “I’m from Venezuela so I know how it feels to have to leave your country without even wanting to.” 

In a 2018 United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees report found that an estimated 3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014.

Issues of “skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine” caused this mass migration, according to BBC news.

“So [people are ] going to other countries looking for opportunity. Why would you close doors for those people who are coming to make a positive impact on your country?” Nella added. 

While using her platform to shed light on the crisis that continues in her homeland and hardships experienced by immigrants, Nella said she was excited to be acknowledged by the Latin Recording Academy. 

“I’m not going to lie, it’s something I’ve been dreaming of,” she reflected. “What I’ve been working on for so long – those years that are in silence – those are the important years, and I believe they’re now paying off.” 

Nella has lived in the United States for eight years and graduated from Berklee School of Music in New York City. There she met a fellow musician, 23-year-old Nicole Zignago, a native of Lima, Peru. 

Although Nella and Zignago had only met once in person, they kept in contact through social media. Zignago, also a graduate from Berklee now living in Los Angeles – was invited by Nella to the concert and for the first time ever, the two performed a duet together.   

“I really admire [Nella] and sharing the stage with her was such a pleasure and honor. I feel super grateful that she invited me to come sing with her… and for her friendship. She’s the most gifted and talented artist in the industry of our generation for sure,” Zignago told the UT. 

Nella’s fans who attended the concert were similarly moved by her success as a Venzuelan artist. 

Carlos Banegas, a 32-year-old fan, found out about Nella’s concert at Cal State LA via Instagram. 

“I’ve followed her for quite awhile and now she’s becoming a big star,” he stated. 

Banegas is from the same island as Nella, Margarita, and has lived in the U.S. for seven years. 

“The type of performance and atmosphere that she brings to the stage is quite different,” he added. “This type of music is not often as big as hip hop, rock, or pop music – of course we can identify because we’re from Venezuela – so the fact that she’s making it in different countries says a lot.”