Little do many of us know, that amongst the sandy beaches and picturesque highlands of The Dominican Republic, lies a burgeoning contemporary music scene. One of our favorite musical exports from the island leading the charge and helping to redefine the country’s musical landscape is the one and only, Jarina De Marco.
The Dominican-born bombshell is a true creative force – singing in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French) and leading all aspects of her musical projects including song writing, production, visual design and direction. Her inherent talent and distinct musical aesthetic has caught the eye of some of the most famous producers on the planet, such as Diplo, who quickly signed her to his label Mad Decent. With a string of releases, an acclaimed EP, and multiple jaw-dropping music videos under her belt, Jarina’s artistic vision has kept our attention every step of the way. And if that isn’t enough, she’s also an activist too.
Born and raised by two musicians, Jarina’s early years were spent traveling through remote parts of the Amazonian rainforest and Dominican countryside where her parents introduced her to indigenous sounds and ways of life – as well as the importance of protecting them. Her parents’ activism and resistance to then brutal dictator, Joaquín Balaguer, forced her family to temporarily relocate to Canada and taught Jarina the significance of standing up for what’s right. It wasn’t until Balaguer’s death when Jarina was 11 years-old that she was able to move back to her native country, equipped with a new perspective that profoundly impacted the woman and artist she is today.
In 2016 when Jarina made her musical debut, she took the opportunity to show the world exactly what kind of woman she really is by using traditional Latin rhythms with electro dance pop beats as the vessel to carry her politically charged and thought-provoking messages. Her debut single “Tigre” (what a fantastic name ;)) calls out badly-behaving men who disrespect women and caught the attention of the hit comedy series Broad City, kicking off a collaboration that spanned multiple seasons, as well as Latinx drama VIDA, which used the song during a highly publicized queer Latin sex scene.
Her second single aptly named “Release the Hounds”, was a protest song she wrote in support for the people of Standing Rock’s movement to protect their land against the Dakota Pipeline. And since then, Jarina has tackled everything from embracing being single (“Billingual”) to complexion-based discrimination known as colorism (“Identity Crisis”) to the power of enforcing your boundaries (“Knock Out”).