In 2021, on the televised Grammy Awards, Lido Pimienta stepped into a magic-box set worthy of Yayoi Kusama to perform “Eso Que Tu Haces.” A typically protean single from her commanding second album, Miss Colombia, it morphs from sinuous balladry to soaring pop to swaggering hip-hop without any jarring, or even evident, seams. Another song, the elegantly fluted “Nada,” was named one of the best of 2020 by Jon Pareles of The New York Times. It’s all held together by the persuasive power of Pimienta’s voice, an instrument of rare presence and depth.
After a formative EP in 2010, Color, made with her then-husband, Pimienta came into her own with maximum fanfare in 2016 with La Papessa, which won the Colombian-born, Canada-based musician the country’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize. A true auteur’s vision, the album was created solely by Pimienta, who had studied both art criticism and music production since her debut.
Sung in Spanish, with lyrics centered in the queer BIPOC experience, Pimienta’s music draws from both global and indigenous Afro-Colombian styles and modern electronic ones, resulting in a sound that floats with deceptive lightness from limitless heights to bottomless depths. Seldom is art at once so unflinching and yet so lushly welcoming to the ear, and even more seldom is it admitted to the Grammys. But that is the undeniable nature of Lido Pimienta.