Letón Pé Is Bringing Caribbean Rhythms to Pop Music
Tell Me Más: Letón Pé's Tropical Freshness and Dedication Are Key to Her Rise
In our Q&A series Tell Me Más, we ask some of our favorite Latinx artists to answer the questions only their BFFs know about them, revealing everything from their most recent read to the songs that get them hyped. This month, Dominican Republic's rising star, Letón Pé' takes the test, and we are all ears.
Hailing from Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo, Letón Pé's is a star in the making. For those who have been witnessing her steady career growth, the rise seems imminent. At the end of 2023, she got a major shoutout from Rolling Stone and earlier this year she made her debut as an invited artist at the burgeoning SXSW conference. While she makes her way to the pop stage with electronic sounds, catchy lyrics, and magnetic stage presence, it is Pé's authenticity that truly shines. The Dominican artist has made a name for herself by infusing her music with light-hearted and refreshing tropical vibes, aka "frecura" (which roughly translates to freshness).
"I think one of the main essences that I want to export in my music is simply good vibes," the singer, songwriter, and actress tells POPSUGAR. "[So], that people can automatically feel that high energy, that high vibration, have a good time, [and] get untangled—buena onda."
Born Leticia Pelliccione, Pé had been working on her craft and performing on smaller stages for a few years, before eventually writing her own songs starting in 2019. The discipline and dedication she has invested in her art, starting with musical theatre, is apparent by the confidence and charisma she exudes when performing. Pé is commanding with playful and sensual energy, accompanied by well-rounded vocals. Her music and overall sound are characterized by an ease that captures the warm spirit of Caribbean weather and of her own upbringing.
"I feel we always need to carry the aspects of our culture with us, under our sleeve, because it's a sincere language, and you carry that culture with you."
"I feel we always need to carry the aspects of our culture with us, under our sleeve, because it's a sincere language, and you carry that culture with you," she says.
Some of Pé 's notable singles from her 2022 EP "La Caleta" include the title track of the same name —an electronic dance single, "Get out of the mud, hang on to me, I know this feels neverending," and "Mi Barrera," a soft pop tune where she sings about feverish desire among the palm trees.
This year, she's set to release a new EP that will continue to honor and celebrate her roots. Her newest single "Bailo Pa' Mi" is a vibrant merengue and dance electronic fusion with Spanish singer Ana Mancebo, where the singers quip about dancing with no partner and feeling free. For the single, she enlisted a member of merengue-royalty Omega's band known as El Verdugón, to play one of the instruments. For Pé, this single was special in the way that it allowed her to dive into the Dominican sounds she loves. It also gave her the freedom to experiment specifically with merenhouse—a fusion of house music and merengue that captured Latin American audiences in the 90's and early 2000s.
"I said 'my God' I want to do a merenhouse. That fusion is so dope and it had its moment and I don't know, it's like it was left behind," she says, while acknowledging some artists who continue to experiment with the sound like the Bronx duo The Martinez Brothers.
For her newest EP, she's hoping to continue experimenting with these beloved fusions. "It's Letón 3.0. Keeping with what people already know from me, but raising that hue, you know? Letting folks feel that locality," she says.
Pé's artistic side began to show as a kid when she'd sing in her room. Among her early influences and the music that was played in her household, she cites both U.S. and Caribbean artists, like Lady Gaga and Celia Cruz. And yet it wasn't until right at the end of her schooling — the Dominican equivalent to 12th grade — that she realized she wanted to seriously pursue an artistic career.
From then until now, it's been an educational journey of sorts. Before completely diving into her own music creation, Pé studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), a private conservatory in New York City. For a time, she says she considered Broadway but didn't really feel that there was space or enough diversity for her to pursue musical theatre.
"For all of the roles, they always wanted Caucasians. Today it's not like that . . . things have changed a lot, thankfully," she says. "But during that time, I deviated completely from musical theatre and that's when I started singing."
While studying in New York City, Pé says that she couldn't work on the side or get paid for anything that wasn't related to art because she wasn't a U.S. citizen—this was especially challenging considering how expensive it is to live in NYC. So, when she saw that a casino was looking for a singer to do jazz covers, she immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Once Pé returned to her native Santo Domingo, she spent more time singing covers in smaller stages and honing her craft. Eventually, an opportunity came up for her to record in a studio for a sample project. It was in this studio setting that she felt affirmed to really begin making her own music, after getting praise for the sample vocals.
Since then, Pé has been betting on her career, releasing several singles before the publication of her first EP.
"It feels like wow, like finally! Because you know, many times from the outside things seem fast," she says. "People say 'wow, you're doing great' 'tu ta encendía' (you are lit). Well, yes, I have a few years being very active, being lit, betting everything."
Pé's hard work has certainly been paying off, and she's making a name for herself with a signature sound that could potentially make her indispensable in the Latin American pop music stage. For her new EP, she says she's excited to continue working with this formula—leaning into the fusions that she's already being recognized for while experimenting with new sounds.
"Everyone has something different to say, but people will always appreciate honesty," she says. "The fact that you speak to what you've lived, basing it on your growth, and where you're really coming from." Read on for more details about what Pé has been keeping up with and how she stays grounded as her schedule becomes more and more hectic.
POPSUGAR: What's the last movie or series you watched recently?
Letón Pé" Movie —"Babylon." With series, well I'm always watching "Sex and the City" but the newest one was "The Last of Us".
PS: What was the last book you read?
LP: The last book I read, is this poetry book by Frank Baéz, he's a poet from here, and it's called "This Is the Future You Were Waiting For."
PS: Whose album are you obsessing over right now?
LP: So many albums! But right now, it's an album called "Estrela Acesa." The singer's name is Sessa. Another album that I couldn't stop listening to, I spent a whole year listening to it, it's by Paco Amoroso —"Saeta." That album is a gem.
PS: How would you describe your personal style?
LP: I would say elevated atemporal. Elevated minimalism. So, I really love the 90s. Like for example, in the first two seasons of "Sex and The City," the whole wardrobe I'm like "Why would you do this to me?" So, I would say minimal, modern, elevated kind of style.
PS: As your career takes off, what are your favorite tools or things to do to stay grounded?
LP: I know that I need to stop when I start craving the beach. Like every two months, maybe three now that things are getting too hectic. Every period of time, I have to leave the capital city of Santo Domingo and go to a beach town, it's like I need to leave. I also try doing everyday activities like waking up early and listening to Headspace.