Ms Nina Will See You Now

"Value yourself, love yourself!"

Reggaeton’s main characteristic is – and always has been – its resilience. Originating from the streets of Panama, to now taking over nightclubs worldwide and breaking into the mainstream, the vibrant, upbeat rhythms are transgressing forwards into the inclusive and freeing realm of New Wave Perreo. There’s one, key individual who’s waving the flag for the re-defining movement, standing at the forefront of Madrid’s music scene, and she goes by the name of Ms Nina.

Born in Argentina, Jorgeline Torres grew up amongst the Internet age, finding solace in her Tumblr page where she channeled her passions for photography, graphic design and all-things-aesthetic. Escapism had an empowering force over the creative, marking the birth of Ms Nina, an alter-ego whom could re-imagine a fearless and extroverted Jorgeline.

Fast-forward to 2017, break-through single ‘Tu Sicaria’ brings a fresh, DIY element to Madrid’s scene and paved the way for debut project, ‘Perreando Por Fuera, Llorando Por Dentro,’ which navigates across a range of influences, from Cumbia to Salsa.

The current day captures Ms Nina accelerating towards her peak, helming the curation for Boiler Room x Ballantine’s True Music Studios’ 10 day stint in Madrid, whilst preparing for this year’s tour across Europe and the US. Through playful lyrics, bouncing rhythms and head-turning looks, Ms Nina creates a safe-space within Reggaeton, where one can leave their insecurities at the door and perrear into the early hours.

Clash sat down with the multi-dimensional riser for an honest conversation on her evolution so far, the importance of self-expression and how Ms Nina aids Jorgeline Torres through the struggles of mental health.

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CLASH: In one sentence, who is Ms Nina?

Ms Nina: Ms Nina can be a lot of things. Ms Nina is a spectacular woman.

CLASH: You moved to Spain when you were 14, how was that experience? Can you describe how both cultures influenced your adolescence, and perhaps in turn your artistry?

Ms Nina: I arrived in Spain when I was 14, then when I got older I moved to Madrid. Before, I lived in a village and the truth is that it’s very difficult to leave behind your whole life, and start anew in another country. But I’m not the first or the last, it happens every day and thank God I was with my family. Bit by bit, I found my path and what I wanted to do, to pursue music and art. I will always be grateful to my family for moving here because there’s more opportunity. I love Argentina but if I were there I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today because I wouldn’t of had the resources.

CLASH: What music was a young Nina listening to?

Ms Nina: Well, I listened to abit of everything. I chose to do this style of music because it’s the music I listen to, to put me in a good mood. Jorgeline, not Ms Nina, can be a very sad person and that’s why she likes to listen to upbeat music, to lighten her spirits, like everyone else. I listen to Salsa, Cumbia. I listen to Rock, I listen to Madonna, Hip-Hop, Tupac. I’m very open minded when it comes to music.

CLASH: Reggaeton is now a global sound. What do you think differentiates the genre from other styles?

Ms Nina: I think each music style has its own thing going on. Reggaeton, for what I love it for, has the flows and the lyrics, the rhythm that makes you want to dance and lose yourself. That’s what I like about Reggaeton, the lyrics, sexy or not, not all Reggaeton has to talk about sex, it can be romantic, but it still gets you dancing.

CLASH: We’re now seeing a lot more women emerge in the Reggaeton scene too, it’s becoming a lot more open.

Ms Nina: I love it. The music world has always been quite male-heavy. It still happens. I look at a festival line-up, and I see one woman amongst mainly men and I ask why? There’s lots of talented women. I think recently, in the last five years, there’s been a lot more women coming through, people that I know who have turned around and said ‘I’m going to do what I want because I also have the right to make music, and I’m going to say what I want, dress how I want, and I won’t be disrespected for that.’ What I loved about Madrid’s Boiler Room x Ballantine's True Music Studios was that I saw a lot of females DJing, bringing their groups together and playing out.

CLASH: It’s really important. For a lot of people, ‘Tu Sicaria’ served as an introduction to Ms Nina, how did it come about?

Ms Nina: It’s my hit. The idea came from a guy I used to mess around with, he used to joke around calling me his hitwoman. I was writing in the studio and it came to mind, just like that. It was a silly idea, but it’s my hit and I never thought that song was going to work. Never underestimate a song become maybe not now, but in a few years, it could work.

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CLASH: Your lyrics strike a balance between empowerment, romance and a sense of humour. Has this confidence in self-expression always been second nature to you, or has this evolved over the years?

Ms Nina: That is Ms Nina. Ms Nina is an alter ego I created as Jorgeline. I was very shy, I didn’t speak in class, embarrassed to dress myself, I always felt insecure. I always felt inferior. The second that I invented Ms Nina, it was like a tool of mine to feel secure. I get up and play, I dance, I talk about sex and I don’t feel embarrassed, I respect everybody but I also demand that respect in return. Nowadays, I feel good about myself, in my music, my life, but there’s still a part of me that has those doubts. There will always be insecurities there. One is very exposed, someone can say something rude and it ruins your day, a track does well and you’re happy, a track doesn’t do as well and you’re not good enough. That’s how it is at the end of the day, but one has to be grounded and realise they are just one person, the world isn’t going to end because a track doesn’t do well, or because something gets cancelled. Enjoy life.

CLASH: What do you think triggered that change within you?

Ms Nina: I think the moment where I said “no more.” The internet was my escape, people made me feel good about myself and Ms Nina could do what she wanted. When I was Ms Nina, people were nice to me, when I was Jorgeline, people treated me badly. So I thought I’d try it out, and that’s when I started putting my work out there. The shyness had to go, and that’s how it went. I’m here today and I’m a greater woman, a greater person because that’s what we all are in the end, we’re just people.

CLASH: Do you have an early memory that captures first entering the world as Ms Nina?

Ms Nina: I played here in Madrid, a friend of mine helped me. I just grabbed the microphone, I didn’t know what I was doing but I didn’t care. I went, they payed me 50 euros and here I was. One day they hired me as a DJ, but I didn’t know how to mix even though I said I did. Imagine that! That’s how I did it, and how I started. I used to work in the kitchen before, and I saw myself working all day for little money, I was tired and I left. I haven’t returned since.

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CLASH: Would you say it’s important to maintain a distance between the artist and the individual, what you share with the world and what you keep private?

Ms Nina: Yeah, I don’t show my private life, I really look after it. I look after my boyfriend and my family because people get too involved. I look after Jorgeline, she goes to therapy once a month because I’ve got my own problems, I’m a human. And Nina says ‘value yourself, love yourself!’

CLASH: Absolutely. Your last track ‘LAS REINAS’ sees the union of yourself and JEDET, and you even joined Fangoria on-stage in 2019. When did you merge forces?

Ms Nina: JEDET is my best friend. She started off how I did, when I met JEDET she was a waitress. Look at her now! She’s her best version that she always wanted to be and I’m very proud of the woman she is today. It hasn’t been an easy journey. We made a song in the past called ‘Reinas’, we were inspired by ‘A Quien Le Importa’ by Fangoria. It was fun, we didn’t have money, I remember it cost around 150 euros to make. What’s crazy is that the track did really well, and Fangoria offered us to do a track on their new record and invited us on tour. It was really beautiful because we’re two different generations, but stand for the same movement in Madrid.

CLASH: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Ms Nina: Although people may not expect it, my dream is to collaborate with Tyler, The Creator. What a marvellous person.

CLASH: What has it been like to curate for Boiler Room x Ballantine’s True Music Studios? What aspects of Madrid’s scene did you feel were important to spotlight and why?

Ms Nina: It was really cool, I did a Boiler Room in London and I told them about Cocinando Con La Nina. I started to throw some artist names at them, there’s a lot of great people in Spain, there’s all sorts. It’s been a really good two weeks, the vibe, it’s a safe space, the people are so joyful.

The excitement, the strength people have in doing their thing. That’s what we need to support, the people who are keen and have a good vibe, because that’s what works. You can have a lot of talent but if you’re rude and big-headed… I’ve gone from wanting to meet people, to then meeting them and no longer wanting to listen to this music.

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CLASH: You’ve just announced that you’ll be joining Pabllo Vittar on his global tour! What aspects of the live experience do you enjoy most, and what do you want your fans to take away from a Ms Nina performance?

Ms Nina: I want people to feel good about themselves. My objective is for people to dance and have a good time. I’m nervous because it’s a huge opportunity, I love Pabllo Vittar. I’ve played in the US many times and it’s not an easy place, but if you go with Pabllo Vittar, loads of people are going to see you.

CLASH: What does 2022 have in store for Ms Nina?

Ms Nina: 2022, more music. I haven’t released a lot of music in the past, so this year I want to put out more music, collaborations and tours.

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For more information on Ballantine's True Music Studios, click here.

Words: Ana Lamond

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