Milena Warthon, Peruvian singer and winner of the Viña 2023 folklore competition, takes stock of everything he experienced this year, after his victory in Chile. Shortly after the end of December, the ‘Warmisitay’ singer talks about the responsibility of representing Andean culture for new generations and reflected on the lack of opportunities for women in Peru, a country that is still governed by a sexist society. Likewise, she spoke out about the recent incident in which she was removed from Kennedy Park in Miraflores, the confrontations between Peruvian artists such as Mario Hart and Leslie Shaw. In addition, she gave some details about her Christmas concert.
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—It will soon be one year since your victory in Viña 2023, how much has your life changed so far?
—Well, actually, this year has been one of many opportunities. We have had good work flow. Grateful for those opportunities, those doors that have opened and, furthermore, that we have been leaving the country. There is still a lot to work on, but without a doubt the seagull (de Viña 2023) opened many doors for me, many people have met me right here, in my country too.
—You also had presentations abroad…
—Yes, this year we went out, we went to Chile and Mexico. Also to Bolivia, where we did something on TV, I was on tour in northern Chile and in January I am going to return to Santiago.
—Did you invest the entire Viña del Mar prize?
— Yes, on my album that came out in May, well, making music is very expensive. We have invested a lot so that the album (‘Pop Andino’) comes out beautifully, on the charts, it has 15 songs, collaborations and the video clip.
—Speaking of Peruvians who succeed abroad, which singer would you like to represent Peru in the new edition of the Viña del Mar Festival?
—Anyone who is doing a good job. In reality, I think there are many good artists and without a doubt Viña is a great screen, but more than winning or not, it is a place where you can register your work and if it is good, there are results, as perhaps happened with me. (…) There are many artists of different genres, because apart from the folklore category, there is also the international category, which is normally for ballads or also for reggaeton, there is a lot of urban music.
—Would you dare to give some names?
—I wouldn’t like to speculate because I don’t have any details about who will be applying and it is an open call. So, someone who is already established and famous can apply, as well as someone who perhaps not many people know.
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—How do you handle the issue of negative comments and haters on social networks?
—I think they will always be there. In reality, there are times when they are more present than other times and with different things, it is a matter of understanding that it is not something that I have control of. I have no control over the haters and the people who want to bother, I simply try to ignore them and that’s how it is. Finally, if there is anything I can use to my advantage and turn it around (the situation). (Also) take advantage to continue advertising my songs, that’s more or less the strategy I usually have.
—You recently revealed that you suffered from anxiety disorder…
—It’s something that happens to more people than we can believe. There are different situations that can put us in an anxiety crisis when (there is) a lot of pressure, whether from the outside, or from ourselves. And it is always good to seek psychological, professional help. I think that the Peruvian is sometimes not so used to this, but it is part of the education that we should have, learning not to see that as something negative.
—Are you currently single or maybe you have a suitor?
—Right now I’m focused on my concert on December 23, I’m there like crazy, I’m already counting the days and also happy because a nice vacation is coming, so I’m already looking forward to the show, which is going to be this wonderful moment with me. public. After that I will go on vacation for a few days to be able to think about what is coming next year.
—Milena, on several occasions you said that you represent the Andean woman because of your roots, what would you respond to those who tell you that you cannot do it because you were not born in the mountains of the country?
—There are different ways of using the term, because the southern part of America has an Andean culture. First, on that side, but talking about a more cultural or ethnic issue as well. I think (no matter) where you live or where you were born, that’s something that just runs in your blood. I mean, I have an Andean family and no one is going to be able to deny that, so because it is on my birth certificate, in the history of my father and mother. If people don’t want to see that, it’s their fault really. I consider that I have no reason to be proving anything to anyone.
—Your family has ancestry from the mountains, do you know how to speak Quechua or would you like to learn this language?
— I don’t speak Quechua, my grandmother does, my dad understands a little, but I don’t. And yes, I would love to, because at one point I tried, but due to time issues I didn’t continue. And my grandmother taught me some things, that’s why I know some words, there are some specific phrases and from that I also get some ideas for my songs. It is a wonderful language that, without a doubt, has been lost over the years due to discrimination. Happily, I believe that there is hope for change and the possibility of revaluing that language. There are wonderful artists who are working with the language, as is the case of Renata Flores, with whom we made a friendship, with whom I have collaborated musically and whom I greatly admire.
—Following the line of your idea of representing Andean women, have you thought about providing help to these populations that, on many occasions, need support in various ways or perhaps creating a kind of foundation for this purpose?
—It would be nice, wouldn’t it? A nice project and I have thought about it because I believe that one can still leave their grain of sand to the world, to society in different ways, right? I know very well what my platform is and my platform is my music, with which I can reach people with positive messages and self-love. Also, if I can help someone, I will. Whenever I go somewhere, I have had the honor of being able to meet people from different realities than mine. And if I can lend a hand to someone, I will without a doubt, whether they are from the Andes or not. My point of view as an artist is more on the side of discrimination that still exists. talking about the woman, Peru is a very sexist country and this ultimately reduces opportunities for Andean women because they are discriminated against and repressed. How many girls still don’t go to school because their family doesn’t allow it. So I think we have to understand that the ethnic and gender issue is still often related to the socioeconomic issue. It is not because it is Andean, but because there is a much bigger problem. Just like there are also many people in the jungle who are neglected because they do not have the necessary opportunities. It is the history of our entire country and many places in Latin America.
—You had an incident in Kennedy Park in Miraflores for handing out flyers for your concert, did you feel discriminated against?
—I was not in contact with any person who has any type of decision-making power in the Municipality of Miraflores, speaking specifically, but with the Serenazgo, who in the end was doing their job, someone who receives orders. I don’t think it was due to an ethnic or racial issue. I did not feel discriminated against, but perhaps the Serenazgo staff did feel a little threatened by the level of commotion that was generated, the people are the ones that accumulate in the place. Previously, there were cases of discrimination, but in my case, no. And it’s important to clarify those things.
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—From what you can see, your audience is usually children, why do you think you managed to captivate girls and boys?
—I think it has been a very organic way, because my music is not made (specifically) for children. My music, being pop, the idea is that anyone can understand it, be it an elderly person, a child, a woman, a man, from any part of Peru. The world of pop is like that, they are synthesized messages. I think that’s what has also hooked the children, apart from the fact that they are positive messages of improvement.
—Touching on the topic of the local artistic environment, what do you think that Peruvian singers are confronting each other instead of supporting each other, as in the case of Leslie Shaw, Mario Hart and Handa?
—Actually, I’m not very aware of what the problem was. I did see some things on TikTok, but I don’t really follow these types of situations. So, what I think is that there is a lot of work to do as an industry and I hope that more doors open for any type of artists of any genre, because there is a lot of talent in this country that deserves to be seen. That’s the only thing I could say.
— Tell us about your Christmas concert…
—The Andean Pop concert: Christmas Edition is on December 23, at the Exhibition Park. So, I invite everyone to attend the show, which will also be the best gift for me to be able to see the Exhibition Park full of people with a lot of good vibes and wanting to sing. In addition, there will be Mauricio Mesones, Karina from Amaranta, Dilio from Antología, Renata Flores and the Kuskalla Duo. Tickets are available at Joinnus.