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by Megan Armstrong

The 21-year-old L.A.-based artist is proudly Latina, and she wants to share herself with the globe.

It is not a coincidence that Andrea Molina was born on 13th May 2000. Her father’s stage name is DJ 13 (“Trece”), to start with the most obvious parallel, but where the year 2000 universally signified a brand new millennium—a fresh start with endless possibilities—it nods here toward a passing of the torch. Andrea Molina is now 21-year-old artist Dru Flecha, and she is at the cusp of carrying forward her dad’s hip-hop pioneering legacy en route to blazing her own path.

“I saw a thing with LeBron, JAY-Z and Bad Bunny,” Dru, who sings strictly in Spanish, says from her home in Venice Beach, California. “We wouldn’t have thought that was possible when my dad was doing his thing. Bad Bunny is fully Latino, fully Spanish, and people love him. Americans love him. Even if they don’t understand what he’s saying. It’s just amazing. I love seeing so many Latin artists get out there, and I really hope I get there because I know that I can really do something cool in the Latin world but also represent in the U.S. and all over.” 

The 13th day of every month in 2021 has signalled a new single from Dru, as she steadily builds her catalog and profile ahead of her debut album Guayabo. June 13 welcomed “Bom Bom,” a summery reggaetón bop sent to her by none other than Dad. Earlier this year, DJ 13 released a compilation album titled Aristocracia featuring prominent and promising artists, including Dru, from their native Venezuela. That has now evolved into an Aristocracia label, and “Bom Bom” is its debut release.

“She’s a multi-talented artist who grew up in a multi-talented artist household,” DJ 13, born Carlos Julio Molina, says of his daughter. “Music is where everything comes together. I think she is an artist with a very strong identity. I think she represents a new wave and this new generation of artists that I think is always thinking outside the box, and they’re just wired differently than the generation I came up with in the ‘90s. It’s so amazing to see that process. From when she recorded her first song when she was two years old, and she’s always been in the studio, and so, her perspective of the whole culture is from the inside. It’s her DNA.”

Aristocracia was produced by DJ 13 from his Los Angeles home with a beat-maker in Venezuela and Venezuelan artists. “Bom Bom” was also made remotely. They were never all in the same room. It showed music’s ability to root them in their beloved home country without having to physically be there, as Venezuela has experienced a mass exodus in recent years.

Music acting as the connector has been threaded through Dru’s whole life. Dru was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to her musical dad and architectural mom. “When my mom was pregnant with me, they were living in a house where it had a whole studio,” she says. “So, as soon as I was born, there were always 10 people at the house working.” She attended her first-ever concert at two years old. She had an in with the artist performing—hint:  her dad—and the best seat in the house. Because of the swelling violence in Venezuela at the time, DJ 13 never let his baby girl out of his sight. As a result, she was stationed in her stroller on the stage with him. “She took her first steps on stage,” he says, noting that he began taking her on tour with him when she got a little older.

When she turned 12, an inheritance left behind by her grandfather allowed the family to flee Venezuela. Her parents were divorced by then, so her dad moved to Miami, while she went with her mom to live in Paris. By 14, Dru was going out and drinking or hosting parties at her otherwise empty apartment when her mom traveled for work. “I liked it,” she admits of the teenage debauchery, “but at the end of the day, I was going home alone and sad.”

In Paris, there was a wedge between Dru and music. There was perhaps an even bigger wedge between Dru and herself. But when she would visit her dad, who had since remarried, and his family in Miami, she would remember why she loved music in the first place. Eventually, at 17 years old and just shy of high school graduation, she decided she needed to go live full-time again with her dad. (Note: Dru has a tight relationship with her mom, too, and this epiphany had nothing to do with favoring one parent over the other but rather a calling to resume music.) She moved to L.A. to live with him in 2018.

“I told my dad, ‘I already know what I want to do; I’m going to focus on that,” she says, explaining her decision to drop out of high school. “He was like, ‘Alright, we’ll make this your college.’ So, that’s what I’m doing. I feel like I’m living college right now.”

And a growing number of fans are getting enrolled into the School of Dru with each new single release. First came “Bandolera” in October 2019 followed by 2020 offerings such as ‘Bang’, ‘Cama’ and ‘Con Nadie’. This year, though, is when she has truly gained momentum with singles ‘LoveFi’, ‘Tiempo’ and ‘Blah’. The more Dru has poured of herself into the music, the more drawn in people have been.

If that’s the formula, then people are going to love Guayabo. Dru estimates she’s halfway through writing the album, and she’s leaning more into a producer role, too, like her dad. Dru, of course, shows her dad all of her music and takes his perspective into account. 

“He really just likes everything that I do because he’s my dad,” she says, and he acknowledges that he’s “just a proud dad” (“I don’t know which hat to wear, the proud dad hat or the producer hat”), but he did give her some poignant advice when she told him about the album: “He keeps saying, ‘Be hungry.’ Be hungry, be hungry, be hungry. I told him about the album. He literally got ‘be hungry’ tattooed on his belly.”

He doesn’t need to worry about Dru’s hunger. “I have a huge connection with this album,” she says, “and so I’ve never been this much of a perfectionist about my music. I know I’m gonna put my heart and soul into it because I just love albums. Singles are fine, but when you can explain something and have a whole visual for it, it’s so much better to tell a story. It was just a question of coming up with what story I wanted to tell. I don’t think I could have been able to do this before because I was young. There were a lot of things I could have told in a story, but I think right now, it’s the juiciest. It’s perfect because I also have a lot of memories from my past, and I’m going through such a—like, I’m 21. It’s such an important age. It’s the perfect time to tell my story.”

Guayabo will follow Dru through her childhood in Venezuela, adolescence in Paris, and more recent past in Los Angeles with an Alice in Wonderland feel.

“Paris was my Wonderland, and I got lost, and I’m trying to get back,” she says. “OG me is Venezuela. I gotta stick to that because if I don’t, who am I? At one point, I forgot. And that’s the lesson. I forgot who I was and how important I was to myself because I stopped loving myself. I’m a bad bitch, and you can’t fuck with me. I have that in my blood.”

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