“Do you recognize the look?” asked Chesca, eyebrows raised.
She wore a long-sleeved black velour and distressed denim jacket with matching ultra low-rise jeans.
It was an homage to Britney Spears, her childhood icon.
“I grew up being very inspired by Britney Spears,” continued Chesca, backstage at LA3C festival in Los Angeles on Sunday. Her glam was monochromatic, a pink and peach combo, matching her pastel-colored hair.
“She is one of the most iconic performers of our time,” she said of Spears.
The Puerto Rican singer and dancer, a rising star, collaborated with designer Berenice Belen Ocasio on the ensemble — made popular by Spears in the early 2000s.
“I actually studded these myself,” she said of the gold and silver embellishments. “I had a vision of honoring her legacy. Since I was a little girl, I was always inspired by what she does. I studied her.”
Michael Jackson also was a major influence, she quickly added: “There’s videos of me at two, three years old imitating him. I’ve always been inspired by performers. It’s what I’m trying to bring to the Latin culture.”
Chesca, signed to Saban Music Group, rose to stardom during the pandemic with “Te Quiero Baby” and “Subelo,” two collaborations with Pitbull. She topped the Latin charts, also teaming with artists like De La Ghetto and Offset on “Como Tu Me Querias” and Arcángel on “Cara de Buena.” The work earned her a nomination for Best New Female Artist at Premio Lo Nuestro — Univision’s Spanish-language awards show honoring the best of Latin music — and a late-night debut on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
As fast as it all seemed to come, it wasn’t easy. A self-described hustler, Chesca, born Franchesca Ramirez Bravo, was ambitious from a young age. And when her moment came — at just 11 years old — as she was getting ready to sign a development deal with Sony, a boating accident changed the course of her life. Losing 70 percent of her hair, it was a long road to recovery, with 14 reconstructive surgeries along the way. But she held on to her dream, and on stage, in her wigs and costumes, she felt unjudged.
“I’m a survivor,” she said.
“It’s just a part of me being independent and trying to figure it out for myself,” she continued, reflecting on her drive. “I don’t come from a rich family. I really had to work really hard. I was a waitress. I’ve had, like, so many jobs. I’m so grateful to be doing what I love.”
Her latest release, “Activa,” is a power anthem, a reggaeton sound featuring rapper Villano Antillano and singer Corina Smith.
“I wanted to write a song about women empowerment that wasn’t necessarily talking about a relationship or a toxic relationship,” Chesca explained. “It was more, like, empowering females to feel empowered on their own.…It’s about empowering ourselves. Sometimes you look at yourself in the mirror and you feel down, and this and that. I just feel like we need to remind ourselves that we’re queens.”
Antillano, who joined Chesca on stage at LA3C, said she rewrote her verses after hearing Chesca’s.
“She pushed me to step it up,” said the rapper, who’s also Puerto Rican. “She tore, so I went back and stepped it up.”
The song is another single from Chesca, who has yet to drop a debut album.
“I think we live in a single world,” she said. “It’s hard for up-and-coming artists to release albums in my opinion. I’m hoping that I get that really big song that can just hit the masses and really get my name out there.”
Chesca is her alter ego of sorts. Franchesca, who lives between Puerto Rico and Miami, is someone else altogether.
“They are two completely different people,” she went on. “Franchesca is super simple, doesn’t wear any makeup, likes to stay home, Netflix and chill.”
Chesca was born an entertainer.
“Right now, I want to make a difference, especially when it comes to performances. I want to give the Latino community a different taste of what it is to be an artist.”