Whether old or new, there are some songs that we can’t get out of our heads. Sometimes we’re singing it non-stop, while other times, we’re producing full-blown music videos with ourselves as the stars. And if you’re anything like us, you can’t stop wondering what inspired these canciones. Since we can’t just text artists and ask them how a certain song came about, we’ve done the dirty work to find out just how a song came to be. Get up to speed:
1. songs slide 01
“No Me Queda Mas” by Selena
Did you know this song was written about Selena’s sister Suzette? Selena’s lead keyboardist Ricky Vela loved Suzette, but when she married someone else, he wrote his feelings down in a letter. He kept his letter and his feelings to himself until A.B. Quintanilla, Selena’s brother and producer, was running out of songs for the upcoming album. At the top of the US Hot Latin Tracks charts for seven weeks straight, that was quite the way to make a confession.
2. songs slide 02
“Adorn” by Miguel
In an interview with Radio.com, the Mexican singer declared the song to be an ode to Nazanin Mandi, his girlfriend of seven years. He also explained that the word "adorn" is "one of those powerful words that is barely used," but that he liked the idea of "bestowing your love upon someone, kind of laying it on them." Wouldn't we all love to 'Adorn" Miguel?
3. songs slide 03
“Who Says” by Selena Gomez
The almost 21-year-old pop princess told MTV News that the song inspired her. Gomez felt like her fans needed this song at that moment. She said, "With bullying, with cyberbullying, with all the negativity that is in high school and dealing with things, you're already trying to figure out who you are; it doesn't help when people are constantly trying to tear you down." And as if we couldn't get enough, there's also a Spanish version called “Dices”!
4. songs slide 04
“My Baby You” by Marc Anthony
Although the Puerto-Rican singer is a papi of five, “My Baby You” is dedicated to his first child, Ariana. He even mentions her at the end of the song saying, "Ariana, I feel so alive." Apparently, she is his greatest love of all. I wonder how Cristian, Ryan, Emme, and Maximillian feel about this.
5. songs slide 05
“The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars
Who said nothing good comes out of frustration? The singer went into the studio thinking that he wanted to record something epic that would be greater than The Beatles. After 5 hours of nothing, Mars gave up and said, “Today I don't feel like doing anything at all.” At that very moment, he realized he had been overshooting and over-thinking. Ironically, that’s when he got to work on “The Lazy Song.”
6. songs slide 06
“Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez
Doesn't this song make you just want to get up on your feet and shake it? The mommy of 2 manages this with every one of her songs, but this one was made with that specific purpose in mind. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Lopez said "I love the message of the song... that when something bad happens, your life is not over. You have to get up. You're gonna live. You're gonna to be okay. You're gonna dance again."
7. songs slide 07
“Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
While the former Disney star is now doing better than ever, this song was inspired by very dark moments in her life. In a Seventeen blog post, Lovato confessed that the song is so special to her because it was inspired by her journey and the struggles that she dealt with when she went to rehab. She actually recorded the song twice: once when she entered rehab and once when she checked out. She decided to keep the original version because it felt more genuine.
8. songs slide 08
“Hips Don't Lie” by Shakira
I bet the belly-dancing Colombian never thought that what started as an inside joke with her band would turn into such a hit. She would say to them, "Listen, hips don't lie. If they're not moving, this isn't working. If they shake, we're in good shape." The song set a single-week record for digital sales. Clearly, there were a lot of hips moving to this one.
9. songs slide 09
“El Niagara en Bicicleta” by Juan Luis Guerra
This Dominican legend is famous for songs that speak about politics and the state of his country. This particular song came to him after a stay at the hospital when he was sick with bilirrubina. After realizing just how much of the hospitals equipment was either missing or broken down, Guerra recognized there was a huge problem with the state of public health services in the Dominican Republic. His experience led him to write this song, so maybe it wasn’t all bad.
10. songs slide 10
“Las Cosas Pequeñas” by Prince Royce
A Bronx-native, Prince Royce decided to film the video for “Las Cosas Pequeñas” in Central Park because he used to go there to write his songs. He used to dream about having his songs played on the radio and being “pegao.” Royce calls it a beautiful place that brings back many memories for him. It’s safe to say that the 24-year-old has definitely made it. What better way to honor that than by going back to where it all started?
11. songs slide 11
“Amor Prohibido” by Selena
Let’s not pretend like we didn’t pick up an impromptu hairbrush microphone to this song and imitated Selena as we danced in front of the mirror. Written in less than a day, this song is actually based on the true-life story of her grandparents who were forbidden to see each other because they belonged to different social classes. Sounds like forbidding relationships is a pattern that runs in the family. Lucky for Chris Perez, Selena followed in her grandmother’s footsteps and married him anyway.
12. songs slide 12
“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
“Beautiful” was written by Linda Perry, who told Aguilera that her singing was not emotionally convincing. Before recording the song, Aguilera started to cry from the memories of her father physically abusing her. She told Perry to postpone the session, but Perry refused and made Aguilera perform the song in tears. Apparently, the song convinced the right people because it got Aguilera a Grammy for the Best Female Pop Vocal.
13. songs slide 13
“El Gran Varón” by Willie Colón
Released in 1989, the song made a huge statement about AIDS and homophobia with the story of Simon, a gay man whose father did not accept him. Due to the times, the song was very risky. The New York City-based salsero wrote this powerful song with no hope of it becoming a hit, but found so much success with it that the song became one of his greatest songs ever. It was even inspired Simon, El Gran Varón, a movie released in 2002.
14. songs slide 14
“Pedro Navaja” by Rubén Blades
The Panamanian based this song on Mack the Knife, a song most popularly associated with American singer Bobby Darin. The song was produced by Willie Colón, who is yet another Salsa legend. Reaching similar success to Colón’s “El Gran Varón,” this song inspired a movie as well, in which Andrés García stared as Pedro Navaja himself. A sequel titled El Hijo de Pedro Navaja was released in 1986.
15. songs slide 15
“Taboo” by Don Omar
El Rey came out with one of the hottest songs of the summer with this one. However, the song was not an original idea. It is based on Los Kjarkas's “Llorando Se Fue.” With similar lyrics but a very different tempo, Taboo became Don Omar’s third number one single on the Billboard Latin Songs. This lambada-infused hit was supposed to have been in the album iDon 2.0, but was instead featured on Meet the Orphans since the album was never released.