Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

GLOW Artist Villano Antillano Finds Power in Community, Authenticity, and Being Fearless


It's no easy feat to be as fearless and uncompromising as Villano Antillano. But for one of Latin rap's first transgender artists, it's a necessity.

Villano has been carving out a path for herself and other queer artists in Latin rap, making music that brings her challenging, raw, unfiltered experiences to the forefront in a time when queer people still face so much adversity. And now, she's also one of Spotify's first GLOW artists.

Spotify GLOW is a new global music program celebrating and amplifying LGBTQIA+ artists and creators. It's our latest initiative through our Creator Equity Fund to support people of this historically marginalized community of voices and reassert our commitment to equity in audio. It ensures that queer creators, and their contributions to music and culture, are heard and honored year-round.

Born in Bayam n, Puerto Rico, Villano generated early buzz with hard-hitting tracks such as Pajara, Culo, and Mu eca -the last of which was recorded with non-binary rapper Ana Macho.

In 2021, Villano enjoyed viral success with her feature in the single Vendetta, and went on to be on Bizarrap's Bzrp Music Session, Vol. 51. This past December, she was a featured artist for Spotify RADAR US, and at the 2022 Latin American Music Conference, Villano was named one of its 2022 Wonder Women of Latin Music. She closed last year with the release of her debut album, La Sustancia X, a project that embodies the beauty and horror of growing up queer in the Caribbean.

For the Record sat down with Villano to talk about her music, her life as a trans woman, and what makes her GLOW.

Can you tell us a little about your journey into music? It's been a long development. As a trans woman and a queer person, I didn't really have access to this world until I paved my way into it. I was just in the trenches for the longest time, so I feel like my chances for opportunities were maybe lower than they would have been for people that aren't queer because we're just shunned out of all these places. So, now I feel like I can actually get things like people on demand, or a team and resources, and I'm just getting freaky with it now because I'm much more comfortable. But it took me a while.

Growing up, did you have any queer artists who influenced you? No, because they didn't exist in the public lens. We now know the story of Cristina La Veneno, who definitely changed the trajectory of my life when I found her on YouTube. But otherwise, I have very, very foggy memories of some slightly famous trans women who were public figures because they were so sexed up. I remember reading about them in the newspaper sometimes, but it was never treated with respect and dignity. There was no way they could have just been anything but a mockery on television and radio over here.

I would say, however, there were cis-het females who went above and beyond because they really f*cked with the queer community and the queer public. Those two would be artists like Iris Chacon, who was the pillar of everything aesthetic and one of my biggest references. I feel like she's one of Puerto Rico's biggest artists. And Ivy Queen, of course, because I feel like she really took it upon herself to give the community space within her crowd and her music.

How is music used to empower queer communities? I feel that art is a mirror of society. Since the advent of civilization, music has always been present, and it's tied to the art of storytelling and how culture is kept alive through tradition. So, I feel like those things are of very fundamental importance to humanity.

Music is also a mirror of our own experiences. I make music that makes me and other queer people feel empowered, and I created that feeling for myself because I needed it. I feel like we [the queer community] are a very empowered collective globally right now and we're growing. Regardless of whatever is happening, we're forcing people to take us into account. We're here and you're going to have to deal with it. I'm glad we're moving so far away from the patriarchy because it was about time!

What makes you GLOW? Wow. A lot of things. You know, I feel like I take joy and find beauty in the little, ordinary things and in being at a point in my life where I can take a step back. Before I had access to this life and before I was a cemented and fully realized figure, I was just a poor girl from Bayam n trying to stay alive. I didn't even have access to the minimal and limited resources we have here. So the power for me to obtain these things makes me GLOW. My community makes me GLOW, my friends make me GLOW, and the fact that I can give them a life that we never thought we could achieve before makes me GLOW.

If you had one thing you'd want listeners to take away from your music, what would it be? Fearlessness. I'm very into sci-fi and am reading the Dune novels, and I really just come back to that fear is the mind killer line. Because fear is the mind killer, and nobody should have the power to make me feel fear because nobody holds absolute power over me, you know? And I feel like I communicate that fearlessness into my music.

I feel like the life expectancy for trans people, specifically trans women according to the study, is around 35 years old. I'm 27. How, or why, would I let that limit me? It's a fact none of us can escape, so I feel like, in a way, it's what you do with that information. And what I'm going to do is not buy into this idea or narrative that there's something wrong with me or that I'm f*cked up or erroneous.

I feel like as a trans person who has medically and socially transitioned, nothing has gotten me closer to my consciousness than the fact that I have actually had to feel my existence from all spe
See more stories from spotify

More from Spotify


LE SSERAFIM Takes Its Daring Brand of K-Pop to the World as Our Latest RADAR Korea Group

From the very start, K-Pop girl group LE SSERAFIM made it known they would stand...


Unlock Your Podcast Potential With Spotify for Podcasters Masterclass

Coming up with a great idea for a podcast might feel like striking gold. But taking those next steps to create and host the show, build an audience, and even gr...


Cristobal Tapia de Veer, Composer of the Viral White Lotus' Theme Song, Reveals His Process and Expectations for Season 3

Plenty of TV sitcom theme songs stand the test of time. The singability of The F...


Creadores Latinoamericanos Muestran Su Creatividad con Video Podcasts

Muchos presentadores de podcasts est n acerc ndose de una nueva manera con los fans, a trav s del video. Los video podcasts introducen una dimensi n adicional d...


Criadores latino americanos mostram sua criatividade com podcasts em vdeo

Muitos apresentadores de podcast est o se aproximando dos f s de uma nova maneira: por meio do v deo. Os podcasts em v deo oferecem uma uma dimens o extra de in...


Latin American Creators Show Off Their Creativity With Video Podcasts

Many podcast hosts are getting up close and personal with fans in a new way-with video. Video podcasts introduce an extra dimension of interactivity and closene...


Turn It Up: Our Songs of Summer Predictions Plus the Hottest Summer Trends

From the dance floor to sandy beaches, people are celebrating the start of summer with sultry songs and temperature-raising tracks-and Spotify is getting right ...


Louis Theroux Serves Up a Unique Combination of Flavors' in His New Spotify Exclusive Podcast

During his career as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, broadca...


An Update on Changes to Spotify's Podcast Business, June 2023

Below is an adaptation of an internal update on Spotify's Podcast Business from Sahar Elhabashi, VP, Head of Podcast Business. In early 2019, we saw an opp...


Celebrate Pride on Spotify, Where Everyone is Free To Be'

From punk to ballroom, EDM to drag, music and culture from LGBTQIA creators have helped shape and inspired our world. At Spotify, we're creating a platfo...


Charlotte Cardin Kicks Off CAN You Hear Me,' Spotify's New Series Dedicated to Canada's One-of-a-Kind Music Scene

In celebration of Canadian artistry, For the Record is launching CAN You Hear Me...


Blend With FC Barcelona and See How Your Musical Tastes Compare to Your Favorite Players

The men's and women's FC Barcelona teams are celebrating title-winning s...


Prepare-se para o The Town, o Festival de Msica de So Paulo, com playlists exclusivas

Com menos de 100 dias para o The Town, o maior festival de m sica de S o Paulo, ...


Get Ready for So Paulo's The Town Music Festival With Exclusive Playlists

With under 100 days to go until The Town, S o Paulo's biggest music festival, we're joining forces with the brand to launch The Town hub on Spotify and ...


Celebrating Central Park With Spotify and KIDZ BOP

Photo credit: BFA/Darian DiCianno/Deonte Lee/Matteo Prandoni New York City residents and visitors alike have made countless memories in each of Central Park...


GLOW Artist Sycco Shares How She Found Her Voice

Dive into the psychedelic pop sounds of Ripple or Dribble to immerse yourself in the bright and colorful world of 20-year-old Sycco. The artist, who has Tor...


Podcast Q&A and Polls Help Creators Talk to Fans Where They Are

Looking back, it's clear the early days of podcasting were uncharted territory. Avid listeners would finish an episode and engage with each other elsewhere-...


Spotify Camp Nou Glows' With Spotify and FC Barcelona's LGBTQIA+ Creator Takeover

LGBTQIA people are in music, art, television-and on the football pitch. So earl...


Spotify's New Interactive Experience Helps Latin Music Fans Find Their Flow

It's hardly hyperbole to say that Latin music has taken over the globe: Latin music streams on Spotify have increased by almost 170% in the last five years....


The Transformative Power of Spotify Songwriter Sessions

When you're an emerging writer, the toughest thing is getting into the room, starts Aaron Buckingham, a lead on Spotify's Songwriter and Publishing Rel...


How Spotify Blend Creates a Connection Between Fans, Friends, and Artists

Whether you're an artist, a listener, or a bit of both, there's one thing that has been true since time immemorial: Music should be shared. If you'r...


The Crossover Effect: Artist Collaborations Thrive on Spotify

The crossover collaboration is one of music's great traditions. When artists from different genres, regions, or simply different career stages bring their t...


RADAR US Is Back With Peso Pluma, the Emerging Hitmaker Taking Msica Mexicana to the Global Stage

As M sica Mexicana (Mexican music) increasingly captivates fans around the world...


Raissa Anggiani Berhasil Raih Kesuksesan Melalui RADAR Indonesia dan Buka Peluang Bagi Angkatan 2023

Raissa Anggiani tidak butuh waktu lama untuk membuat pendengar Indonesia terpuka...


Raissa Anggiani Finds Success Through RADAR Indonesia and Paves the Way for Its 2023 Class

It didn't take long for listeners in Indonesia to be enchanted by Raissa Ang...


RADAR Poland Returns With 5 Artists Who Embrace a Truly Genreless Sound

RADAR serves as Spotify's program to spotlight rising talent from around the world, supporting emerging artists on their journey to global stardom-including...


Spotify's AI DJ Brings a Personalized Listening Experience to Fans in the UK and Ireland

In February we unveiled DJ, a personalized AI guide that understands you and you...


Eurovision 2023 Wrap-Up: Loreen Wins Big in Liverpool and on Spotify

Each spring, millions of music fans are glued to their TVs, mesmerized by the fabulous spectacle of song, dance, and theatrics that is the Eurovision Song Conte...


Spotify Rolls Out 11 New Languages to Users Around the World

At Spotify, we're committed to bringing the best in audio to our users around the world. That means ensuring our experience is accessible in the languages o...


Spotify's Innovative Fuego Playlist Turns Fans Into Music Curators

Spotify's Fuego has been red hot since launching last year, with surprise updates each week redefining how listeners discover Latin music. But continuously ...


Toronto Singer-Songwriter Katherine Li Delivers All the Feels as May's EQUAL Global Artist

Within the span of only a few months, 19-year-old singer, songwriter, and social...


Spotify Original Podcast Stolen' Adds a Pulitzer and Peabody

Earlier this year, thanks to its impactful reporting, the Spotify Original podcast Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Universi...


Naples' One-of-a-Kind Music Scene Is Having a Championship Year

Naples is having a magical moment in 2023. As the city celebrates a title-winning football season, its thriving music scene has also claimed a big victory: Napl...


Ride on the Coastal Cowgirl Trend With Paige Lorenze's Music Playlist Picks

Coastal cowgirl: It's a vibe. This aesthetic, inspired by a mixture of slow-paced country living and sun-soaked coastal dreaminess, has been trending on soc...


Miley Cyrus's Flowers Makes Spotify History as It Reaches 1 Billion Streams

It's official: Miley Cyrus's hit song Flowers danced itself into the record books yet again, reaching one billion streams faster than any other song i...


Thorn Joins the Spotify Safety Advisory Council

At Spotify, we've had long-standing policies against content that promotes, solicits, or facilitates harm, including child sexual abuse or exploitation. It ...


Discover the Songs that Help Superstar Driver Lando Norris Get Ready for Race Day

He might only be 23, but McLaren Racing's Lando Norris is already one of the...


May the Fourth Be With Your Spotify Listening

Check your calendar: The annual moment for date-related puns, internet frenzy, and fandom has arrived. May the 4th, aka Star Wars Day, is a celebration of one o...


A Small Light' Producer Este Haim Shares the Classic Songs That Inspired the Star-Studded Soundtrack

Yesterday marked the premiere of A Small Light, a new limited series on National...


Our Generation Comes to Life With IRL Event Space From Illustrator Eliza Williams

Story photo credits: Alice Backham If you're ready to reset your expectatio...


Conoce Sonido Perpetuo, nuestro nuevo estudio pblico para el talento emergente de Medelln

La historia musical de Medell n se ha forjado con pasi n, creatividad y talento,...


Check Out Sonido Perpetuo, Our New Public Studio Built for Medelln's Emerging Talent

The musical history of Medell n is one of passion, creativity, and talent rooted...


Rising Together To Celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Spotify

May marks Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APIHM), and Spotify is using this moment to continue to support Asian and Pacific Islander representation on ...


EQUAL Marks Two Years of Celebrating Women Artists And Spotify Announces the Next EQUAL FEST

From Japan to Argentina, Malaysia to the U.K., women artists, engineers, and pro...


Sweden's Best New Artists Celebrate Their Grammis Nominations With New Spotify Singles

On May 3, Sweden's music industry will come together for the 40th edition of...


Celebrate Country Legend Willie Nelson's 90th Birthday With New Spotify Singles

Often spotted with a bandana on his head and a guitar in his hands, Willie Nelso...


Punjabi Music Gains Worldwide Recognition

Punjabi music is enjoying a remarkable rise in popularity-and not just with listeners in India, but also among the diaspora and broader global audiences. Of the...


Tune In to the Hottest Arabic Playlists Spotify Editors Curate for the World

No matter where you live, music has the power to transport you home. And for those living apart from their extended families and places of origin, that feeling ...


Spotify Reports First Quarter 2023 Earnings

Today, Spotify announced our first quarter 2023 financial performance, showing outperformance across nearly all key performance metrics. Take a look at the high...


Spotify rapporterar intkter fr frsta kvartalet 2023

Idag publicerar Spotify sina finansiella resultat f r f rsta kvartalet 2023. Klicka h r f r att ta del av hela den finansiella pressreleasen och kolla in h jdpu...