How Eslabon Armado’s ‘Ella Baila Sola’ Became a Música Mexicana Anthem

by info.vocallyrics@gmail.com
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Back in February, Pedro Tovar, frontman of Eslabon Armado, posted a short clip of himself grooving to the group’s song “Ella Baila Sola” (“She Dances Alone”) in his car. The teaser included a verse from Peso Pluma — the 24-year-old singer and rapper just beginning his ascent into stardom as an ambassador of música Mexicana’s historic impact on global music charts. The reaction was immediate.

Eslabon’s label, Angel del Villar’s storied Del Records, went into overdrive to prepare for the all-hands promotional campaign that would ultimately power the song to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 — the first regional Mexican song to reach the Top 10 in the chart’s 65-year existence.

Eslabon has been paving a lane of its own since its debut record in 2020, “Tu Veneno Mortal,” which included the streaming hit “Con Tus Besos.” At the time, Pedro and his brother and bass player Brian Tovar were both under 18. Still, they were already widely considered pioneers in the evolution of regional Mexican music — or música Mexicana as it is referred to today. (Eslabon is managed by Pedro and Brian’s mother, Nelly.)

Pedro had written the ballad — a mix of the age-old corrido (Mexican folk) style with new-age flair — in his bedroom one evening while writing songs for the foursome’s latest record, “Desvelado,” which wound up hitting No. 6 on the all-genre-inclusive albums chart in the U.S. earlier this year. He started with the chorus – lines about alerting a friend to a beautiful girl across the dance floor – until it turned into a duet. 

However, the collaborative aspect of “Ella Baila Sola” began months earlier, when Peso’s manager and head of his label, George Prajin, sat down with the Del Records team to pitch him as a potential collaborator with artists on Del’s roster. “Eslabon Armado was at the top of that list,” says Prajin.

Pedro, who preferred to sing the song over the phone rather than send a recording, sang “Ella Baila Sola” to Peso while he listened on the other end from an airport waiting room. After hearing the song’s now infamous hook — “Compa ¿Qué le parece esa morra?” (“Bro, what do you think of that girl?”) —  the two scheduled studio time with Ernesto Fernandez, an engineer and producer at Prajin’s Parlay Studioz.

“I remember being in the studio and just listening to the song again and again and it was clear for everyone that it was a complete record — it wasn’t missing anything,” says Fernandez, who mixed, mastered and co-produced the song (Pedro also received credit as a co-producer). “The basis was formed by recording the instruments — Eslabon’s specialty being guitars, while Peso brings trombone, charchetas and the tololoche — one by one… the fusion of these styles is what made this song a hit.”

With the song completed, Del Records’ Eddie and Bruce Ramos stepped in to quench Gen Z’s thirst for short-form content. The indie label boasts its own production house (Del Studios) which shot the song’s viral music video — a masquerade-themed ball filmed at a mansion in Beverly Hills. Boasting over 10 million subscribers on YouTube, Del Records releases all of its music videos as part of a deal with the platform – a sweet spot for Latin audiences who favor platforms like YouTube and TikTok as a means of discovering new artists, per recent studies by Chemistry Cultura and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Social media and marketing teams also strategically extended the outreach to young influencers and podcasters on TikTok, where the song caught fire, soundtracking nearly 5 million videos.

“We’re really lucky to be working with family,” Pedro told Variety earlier this year. “We try to stay consistent and not depend on the song… I just try to remind myself and everyone who surrounds me to keep level-minded about the quality of work [we’re] putting out. That’s the most crucial step in what we’ve managed to build so far.”

With five individual artists in the mix, negotiations took place between German Barajas, Del’s head of legal and publishing affairs, and Prajin Music Group for Peso Pluma, for the single’s use across career-launching campaigns like Eslabon Armado for Ford — a deal that involved a meet-and-greet, a music sync and capturing original content. Both Peso and Eslabon’s presence extended beyond social as they made historic TV appearances, becoming the first artists of their genre to visit “Good Morning America” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Meanwhile, “Ella Baila Sola” went on to be certified 21 times platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA in July.

Has the success gone to their heads? Absolutely not. Pedro adds, “Even though it feels like this song is just getting bigger and bigger, the goal now is to continue creating great songs.”

SONGWRITERS: Pedro Tovar

PRODUCERS: Pedro Tovar and Ernesto Fernandez

HITMAKERS: Ernesto Fernandez, Co-Producer, Audio Engineer
Eddie Ramos, Del Records Senior VP of Marketing Strategy and Partnership
Bruce Ramos, Del Records Senior VP of Digital Monetization
German Barajas, Head of Legal and Publishing Affairs for Del Records
George Prajin, Peso Manager, CEO of Prajin Music Group

LABEL: Prajin Parlay/Del Records

PUBLISHERS: DEL Publishing (DEL Melodies)

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