The premiere episode of the Spanglish Noise podcast is a balance of rhythmic dance tunes and inspiring romantic ballads, preparing listeners for the excitement of summer that awaits us around the corner. Joseph Mitchell and Nataly Sanchez share their insights on artists in the world of Latin music, from emerging actsElastic Bond, Leslie Grace, and Madai, to established artists such as Elvis Crespo, Tommy Torres, and Don Omar. Whether you’re a bachatero, rock en espanol enthusiast, salsa dancer, merengue hip-shaker, Friday-night club-frequenter, or simply lost in your headphones to the sounds of electro-cumbia – today’s episode was created with you in mind! You can also download the podcast on iTunes.
This week Spanglish Noise is blessed with the participation of the talented writers from Las Gringas Blog – La Roja and La Rubia – who travel accompanied by the sounds of Miami. Since it would be rude to not share anything in return, a few artists from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are featured in this episode as well. From heavyweight artists such as Gloria Estefan and Pitbull to indie-pop duo Hola Hi to Spanglish emcee Maria Isa, you are in for a show full of rhythm and energy. La Roja and La Rubia also attended the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, TN, and the Pachanga Latino Music Festival in Austin, TX, so you can expect a recap of their adventures in today’s show as well. Let us know what you think and thanks for listening!
New York’s own Liz Menezes is an indie singer-songwriter whose music, even though she doesn’t like to categorize it, is best described as Latin pop/rock. This trilingual artist released her first album, Yo, in 2011 and will soon be releasing a video to her song “Veneno.” The interview with Spanglish Noise gives us a glimpse into her writing process, influences, and even a tale of a memorable open mic night in Brazil. It’s not often easy being an indie artist, but in Liz’s case, her passion for music doubles as motivation – tune in at SpanglishNoise.com or download the podcast on iTunes!
JM: This is an exclusive Spanglish Noise interview with Latin singer-songwriter Liz Menezes. Liz is an indie artist from New York and she released her first album, titled “Yo,” in 2011. Today we’ll introduce you to her life and explore her music. (Sound clip of the song “Sere“). Hi Liz, welcome to Spanglish Noise. I want to start by asking you a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up and what were some of your musical influences?
Liz: Well I grew up in the lower east side of Manhattan, beautiful area of New York..very creative and a lot of artists..so it was a good childhood. Around that time I heard a lot of Whitney Houston, Mariah Cary, Boyz II Men..so those were, I would say..along with Elvis and things like that..and merengue because of my Spanish background..were a lot of influences to me. The first artist that I really looked up to was Mariah Carey.
JM: And why was that?
Liz: To me she’s an amazing artist vocally. The things that she can do with her voice and just the influence that she had on pop culture itself, along with Whitney Houston..amazing voices and what they could do with that as artists and performers I think has had a great influence on the artists we have now.
JM: What is your favorite musical memory from the past?
Liz: When I started getting into music, I had to have a recording of everything from the radio stations, so I’d bring my cassette and be recording artists and music of all genres..and one of the things that I remember was that I saved up money to buy a Scooby Doo..I would say like radio (laughs)..and I loved this Scooby Doo radio, don’t ask me why.
JM: Do you still have it?
Liz: (laughs) Nooo…no no no..but it was like a Scooby Doo head – I loved it. From there I upgraded to a two-cassette radio and I was able to record stuff and have these incredible mixtapes. Friday nights I would just stay up all night recording. So I would say that’s my biggest (laughs) silly memory…and then when I actually sat in front of a piano. I used to play Classical piano. I don’t anymore, I would like to get back into that, but I used to play Classical piano and I’m in love with that instrument, as well as the guitar.
JM: Was there an “aha” moment where you knew that you wanted to pursue music as more than a hobby?
Liz: My “aha” moment – and again don’t laugh (laughs) – was around 9 years old..and I decided, “I want to write a song about rainbows.” I actually wrote a song with melody and everything else. That was my pride and joy and I was able to sing it on key and that I would say would be my “aha” moment. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life..I want to be involved in music, I want to perform, I want to sing, I want to write..so since that age I would say that I already knew.
JM: How would you describe your music today?
Liz: I would say it’s a mixture of genres, I don’t like categorizing it. I lived in Brazil two years and Brazilian music, I would say Bossa Nova Jazz, greatly influenced me in regards to melodies, the way I sing, and there’s elements of that..there’s elements of Bossa Nova, there’s elements of Jazz, there’s elements of Rock and Pop. So I would say it’s all-encompassing; I don’t put limits on what I write. If I sit down with pen and paper and I’m writing, I don’t say to myself, “Ok! This is going to be a pop song”..or whatever have you..”It’s going to be a rock song”..I just write and then I sit down and just figure out what feels best to me in terms of melody, and go from there.
JM: So do you have a band, or who’s playing the music on your tracks?
Liz: I don’t have my own band. I would say I have several musicians who play with me. They are incredible musicians which actually now play with other known artists. The first one that I would mention would be Eli Menezes, which is my husband..and he is the producer of my current CD. He is an incredible guitarist, bass player, producer/arranger. I have Jotan Afanador, who plays drums on my CD..and he’s playing with Romeo Santos, from Aventura…and I have Patrick Andy, who’s an incredible bass player from Africa. I speculate my musicians..when they’re in town and they’re not touring, they’ll play with me. (laughs). So that’s how it works.
JM: Do you feel there are any advantages or disadvantages to being a bilingual artist?
Liz: I actually sing in three languages. I feel that as an artist, I think all artists should really look into that, invest in that, and sing in different languages and try to do different types of music..because you never know who you’re going to hit, who you’re going to touch. Nowadays if you look at culture, we’re all mixed together. I think that singing in English to a crowd of Spanish individuals – and I’ve done so – they’ve actually received it well..and vice versa..and I’ve sang in Portuguese to both types of crowds and they like it as well. So I think that it has many advantages and you can reach more areas that way. You can touch Europe, you can touch South America, you can touch the United States, in many ways..to me music is limitless.
JM: Which of your songs has meant the most to you so far?
Liz: (Sound clip of the song “Alivio” plays in the background). There are two that I would say mean a lot to me. One of them is a slower song, which is called “Alivio,” which in English is “Relief,” and “Sigo Siendo Yo,” which means “I Will Always Be Me”..and those..both of those songs were based on personal experiences. When I sing them, it almost helps me release whatever it was that affected me. So it’s a liberating feeling when I sing those two songs.
JM: Are there any venues or audiences that have stood out as being particularly receptive to your music or most memorable in some way?
Liz: I will tell you a little story really quick..when I was in Brazil, I used to have Myspace, which a lot of artists have..and I was contacted by someone through Myspace, by the name of Marcos Luis, who has a one-mic night every Thursday in the city. He’s an actor, who actually appears in my upcoming music video, and he told me, “Hey, you know, I would love to have you. I heard your music, I really like it – why don’t you come in and sing?” And I said, “Is it OK if it’s Spanish?”.and he said “Yeah!” So I came and this was about..I would say..four or five years ago..and I’ve been doing his open mic, you know..on and off..throughout the years..and recently, in February, I went again..and I sang a lot of my Spanish songs, a lot of my Portuguese, and some of my new stuff. It was SO well received. People were SO into it. People were so participating, singing with me..I felt so comfortable and at home..and it was like people understood what I was trying to do as an artist, that people could relate to what I was trying to do. I think that to date, that’s my most memorable..
JM: That sounds like a fantastic experience.
Liz: Yeah, it was..it truly was.
JM: And what do you have planned for the foreseeable future? I know that you said you’re working on another album. Is there anything else?
Liz: Yeah no, I’m waiting for my music video to be completed..it’s due for release this month, for my song “Veneno” from this CD [Yo]..and I can’t wait for that to be done, for me to be able to show the public and for them to see..because right now all they hear is the music, but for everyone to see me in action (laughs) in the video..trying out my acting chops and stuff like that. I just can’t wait, that’s one of the big scenarios right now that’s happening. I’m in the process of writing my new material [for the second album] and starting to record probably in the fall. I’m aiming to do a pre-tour in Santo Domingo and Europe. It’s pretty busy, the schedule is pretty busy.
JM: And where can our listeners find you?
Liz: Well I have my website – it’s liz-menezes.com. You can find me on YouTube, under Liz Menezes Music. You can find me on Twitter under Liz Menezes Music..and on Facebook under Liz Menezes Music. My CD Yo is available on all digital downloads..CD Baby, iTunes, Napster..you name it, it’s on it (laughs).
JM: Do you have any last words you’d like to share with listeners out there?
Liz: I want to say thank you very much for supporting me thus far. Thank you for believing and coming out to the shows..and look forward to much, much more surprises..and look forward to a new release next year, because we’re going to keep on doing this. I’m going to the top, I’m going to try to go to the top. (laughs). So thank you everyone, I send you lots of kisses and hugs.
JM: Thank you.
Liz: Thank you!
JM: (Sound clip of the song “Veneno” plays in the background). Be sure to check out Liz Menezes on the websites she gave earlier..Facebook, Twitter, her official website. While Spanglish Noise certainly shares the latest music by some mainstream artists, we always seek to promote the new indie artists such as Liz. You can find Spanglish Noise online at www.SpanglishNoise.com, on twitter – @spanglishnoise – or on facebook, Spanglish Noise. Consider signing up on the website for the latest posts delivered straight to your email or on iTunes, where you can subscribe to have the latest podcast episodes and interviews delivered right to your device. Thank you for listening and stay tuned for more next week!
Enjoy the Interview? Subscribe for the latest interviews and shows:
Madai is a hot new Miami-based talent recently signed to Pitbull‘s label, Mr. 305, Inc. Spanglish Noise was able to arrange an interview with the pop/dance singer where we discussed her Cuban influences, how she signed with Pitbull, the 2012 Latin Billboard Awards, and of course the upcoming debut album. You don’t want to miss out on yet another exciting new interview – tune in at SpanglishNoise.com or download the podcast on iTunes!
JM: I’m Joseph Mitchell and you are listening to an exclusive Spanglish Noise interview with Madai, who is one of the latest talents to be signed with Pitbull’s label Mr. 305, Inc. Madai has a voice and performance presence filled with power and confidence, while at the same time possessing the ability to surprise listeners with the soulful passion and insight of an R&B artist. (Sound clip of the song “May Day“). So welcome to the show Madai. I know that you were just at the Latin Billboard Music Awards last week. How was it?
Madai: It was great! I can’t complain, it was a really fun experience. I think this is my third red carpet. I had the honor of being able to do the official Telemundo after-party and being able to close the show – and it was an experience. I was really happy to see how everybody reacted – to my music, to my songs, and basically I have a new song that I debuted that’s going to come out, I think I’m going to start churning it out to my fans..around mid-May we’re going to start promoting it. I just wanted to see how people would react and they really really liked it. The song is called “This Night,” so we’ll be having it soon online.
JM: Before we delve into the music, I want top start by asking you about your childhood in Cuba. And thinking back to that time, were there any Cuban artists, traditions, or musicians, whom you found to be inspiring?
Madai: Ok. I would have to say that I grew up listening to a lot of salsa, merengue, a lot of that, what we call in Cuba – folklore Cubano – which is kind of like old African music, mixed with the whole Cuban vibe, which is a lot of drums and the salsa and the whole “spiciness” like I call it. Celia Cruz is one of the representatives that I would say I grew up listening to a lot and I always..I think that my passion for music, it came because my father used to dance when he was younger in school. He was in all different groups of dance teams and I don’t know, sometimes when I would see him dance, family parties or whatever, that attracted me because I used to love dancing with my father and then I liked the whole being the center of attention when it came to music and I would hear any kind of music and just start dancing and just singing the song. It didn’t matter where I was at – it could have been a birthday party, a wedding, or whatever – I was always trying to be in the center. I think my father’s passion for music and his dance really made me get involved in the music.
JM: So the music was always there inside.
Madai: Yeah I feel that the music was always there. My father always loved the music and the dancing, so I had that push. And my mom always loved music in the sense of singing; she secretly really loved opera and you know, I just feel like music was always installed in me by them, so I think that’s what makes me right now the person that I am.
JM: Those are great influences to have. I read that you came over to the US at around age 8 or 9?
Madai: Yes. I left Cuba, basically two months before turning 9, so that’s why I would say 8 years old and then people at my interviews say, well it’s 9 years old. But yeah, I came at 8 years old about to turn 9 years old and it was a crazy transition. I didn’t speak English and it was a little scary. But I guess that’s where I kind of drifted to the music in the way that..not really musically but my writing started getting developed when I got here. I used to write a lot about myself. You know, it’s a new country, you don’t really have friends and then you’re scared to meet new people…what they’re going to think of you, they don’t know you..as a kid you’re always scared. So I kind of reflected myself and shut myself down by just writing certain things, and started writing poems and they evolved to what I do now, which are songs and you know (laughs)…we’re here. Right now a few years later I’m a singer-songwriter and pretty blessed that I just took it upon myself to write and do this.
JM: And then going forward, what type of song and style are you looking to share with your listeners?
Madai: Well at the moment I want to do pop/dance; basically the younger crowd right now is what I’m trying to target. As I grow up as an artist and my fans grow up, I want to be able to give the more, so hopefully later on in life I’ll be able to do the style of music that I love the most, which is more of an R&B feel, it’s what I like. So I think I’m going to end up doing R&B music later on, but right now I just want to give them a little more of the fun pop/dance music.
JM: When you say R&B, I heard your song “Soon“…would you categorize that in that category, or is that more pop?
Madai: “Soon” I think is..it’s a little project that I wanted, to make it more pop, but my direction was more R&B because I just wanted to show more of my vocals and be able to show a little bit more of soul, which is what I think R&B is all about..soul and power, and really feeling the music. I think, – like I always tell everybody – I think that it’s an R&B song gone soft, which makes it a little bit of a pop song.
JM: For the listeners out there who haven’t heard your other interviews yet, what were the important events or steps that led to your signing with Pitbull’s label?
Madai: Well signing to Pitbull, it was like a dream come true, and it was so amazing how it turned out because I came upon him through a fan of mine, a girl named Jackie – she’s a great friend of mine now. We met because she used to go to shows and basically I did a show close to her job and we kept in contact, and then she mentioned the fact that he sometimes went to her job and she was going to try to talk to him. And at the beginning I just thought, you know, she wants to really help out but I doubt that’s going to happen. You kind of lose some faith because it’s so hard to get to somebody that big..but basically she spoke about me very greatly and then we had meetings, three meetings before we signed, Pitbull, my father, my mother, and I. My parents have always been, you know, my representatives, and they have always been with me, and I think they will always be [with me] because they are the people who keep me the most grounded. Basically we had meetings, I sang to him acapella, “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, and also I sang “Hero” from Mariah Carey. We were signed maybe a month after because he was on tour, so it was just getting all of the paperwork done through the lawyers..and things are great! You know, he’s a great guy, very supportive, truly believes in me, and I am very happy to have somebody with such great caliber as himself believing in me.
JM: Sounds like a great mentor to have.
Madai: Yeah he is. He’s very driven, very focused on his job, what he does..he believes 100 percent in his music and he loves it. He eats, breathes, music..and that’s always what you need as an inspiration. As a new artist, he really inspires me 100 percent. And what’s more important to myself, as another artist that’s coming up, I love the fact that he’s very grounded and if he’s doing a red carpet, he will stop and say hi to everybody wherever he’s at. He always treats everybody very nice, so I feel that it’s very great to have somebody else like that. He’s a great mentor like you said.
JM: What can you tell us about what you’re working on at the moment?
Madai: At the moment I’m working on my album. We’re planning to make it titled “Madai.” Madai is my name and it’s basically, the first album is just letting the fans know who I am and getting to know me, so I feel there’s no better title than point-blank: “Madai.” I’m going to be working on the CD with The Jumpsmokers; they are producers from Chicago. And I just think it’s going to be really great! It’s going to be dance music, but with really deep lyrics and very important topics..not really important, but what we go through every day as young teenagers. People like to hear stuff that they have gone through or that they feel, that’s relateable, so that’s what I do with my music.
JM: Is there a tentative release date set for this album?
Madai: At the moment we don’t have a release date. We’re hoping at least mid of next year.
JM: Do you have any plans for performances in the meantime?
Madai: Well yeah, at this time we have a couple of presentations booked. Basically it’s like a small tour that I’m going to be doing in DR [Dominican Republic], Puerto Rico, I think we have a show in Atlanta, we have another one in Chicago, Las Vegas, and one in LA. Basically we’re getting a small tour going, just so I can showcase my songs and make this whole Team Madai movement that I have going on..to keep it moving and let everybody know a little bit about me and my music.
JM: That’s very exciting!
Madai: (laughs) Yeah yeah it’s fun! I mean, my favorite part is always being on stage and being able to give out my voice and what I think is my talent, which is just projecting and making somebody really feel the song, and my favorite part is just being on stage and seeing everybody having a good time and just enjoying what I do. To me, the most important part is the fans, and getting such great feedback.
JM: Seeing that you’re speaking with SpanglishNoise.com, do you feel there are any advantages or disadvantages to being a bilingual artist?
Madai: Some people might think it’s a disadvantage..I just think it’s great because I could always do, you know, any kind of music that I wanted – English or Spanish – and it’s easier to take on the world and have more people listen to my music, when it comes to being a bilingual artist. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, you know, I can just touch more people as I go.
JM: Which of your songs has meant the most to you so far?
Madai: Hmm..there’s a couple of songs that I’ve done and they’re not necessarily out there..there’s so many good ones, but one of the songs that I have, it’s on my youtube page, is called “You Didn’t Understand” (sound clip of “You Didn’t Understand” plays softly in the background). I think it’s..I really like that song because I wrote it..I mean most of my songs are about me and stuff that I’ve gone through, but some are about my friends’ relationships or little things like that. But “You Didn’t Understand” really touches me and it’s basically just a relationship that’s gone wrong and you just want to walk away from it before it becomes even worse. You want to walk away from it in a very clean and classy way but, I mean, sometimes it doesn’t work out. I would say “You Didn’t Understand”. I love it; I love that song..of the ones that I have out there! (laughs)
JM: It seems like you’re really on a good track right now. There’s a lot of opportunities unfolding before you and you have some great producers that you’re working with, lots of great music. Looking back, what advice would you offer to the next generation after you?
Madai: Just basically, when you want something..which I always tell everybody it doesn’t have to do with the music, it has to do with everything. Anything that you want in life, you have to stay focused, go for it, and just believe in yourself, because at the end of the day if you don’t believe in yourself, you’re really not going to go anywhere. I would say just keep on with your drive and believe in yourself. That’s the number one thing that has kept me [going], ever since I could remember, that’s the thing. All my friends say “it’s awesome that you’re now with Pitb[bull]” and “look how far you’ve gotten,” but a few years back people thought you were a little bit crazy for thinking that you were going to do the music thing when you weren’t in the honor roll of the school..and, you know, it was kind of a little crazy to have gone from straight-A student to, “Hey, um, I’m just going to focus on the music 100 percent.” But that’s the way I think it is. You should always focus on everything, give a 100 percent, maybe even more. Focus, focus, have drive..believe in yourself..and that’s all. As long as you have those things, you’ll be fine. (laughs)
JM: That’s all great advice.
Madai: Well guys, this is Madai and I would love for you to follow me on twitter, @OfficiallyMadai, check me out on www.MadaiWorld.com, or just check me out on facebook, Madai World, but I would love to have your feedback on my music and everything. Love you guys!
JM: Thank you for tuning in to another Spanglish Noise interview. You can find us online at www.SpanglishNoise.com, also on facebook, or on twitter – @spanglishnoise. More exciting interviews with artists and producers are on the way, so tune in each Wednesday for the latest. In addition to the website, you can also search “spanglish noise” on iTunes to subscribe to the latest interviews and podcast episodes. Thank you for listening and I will see you next week!
Enjoy the Interview? Subscribe for the latest interviews and shows:
Vazquez Sounds is composed of siblings Angela, Gustavo, and Abelardo. They are from the hot Mexican border city of Mexicali, Baja California. The trio’s strong musical background and influence comes from their parents. Their mother is a singer and their father is a music producer who has worked with successful Mexican music groups like Camila. They have gotten a lot attention by doing their own incredible cover renditions of popular songs like Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’.
I first heard this great musical group on my Spring Break trip to Mexico. The song “Rolling in the Deep” came on but instead of hearing Adele’s very recognizably strong voice; the song was being belted out by this little girl. Angela’s captivating voice maintained the same vocal richness as Adele while mixing in her own melodic style. I was impressed to say the least.
I came across the threesome again upon their most recent cover release; Let it Be by The Beatles. In this song Abelardo and Gustavo do a splendid job of reactivating the instrumentals of the already iconic song. Joining in, Angela once again showcases her mature vocals that do a great job of capturing the song’s deep emotion. Vazquez Sounds is worth keeping an eye out for because I can only imagine them getting better as they gain more musical momentum.
Malamanya is a hip up-and-coming Latin band from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul with an affinity for Cuban son. This young group – with most members still in their twenties – has been taking the local scene by storm with their passionate interpretations of both classic and original songs. Perhaps most important of all, they are having a lot of fun with the music and are creating a Latin buzz in a city where the Latin scene is still in its infancy. They have one EP released, with a second album in the works. Today’s interview with lead singer Adriana Rimpel explores the band’s origin, reception, and dreams for the future. This is one “Bad Habit” that should not be ignored. Tune in at SpanglishNoise.com or download the podcast on iTunes!
JM: You are listening to an exclusive Spanglish Noise interview with Addriana Rimpel, who is the lead singer of the Minneapolis-based band Malamanya. I’m Joseph Mitchell. With a name that means “Bad Habit,” this group is anything but bad. They are very unique in that they bring diverse backgrounds to the group and none of them are Cuban, although they love the sound of Cuban son. The group is very young, with most members in their twenties, and they truly bring a new sound and approach to traditional Latin music. So let’s speak with Adriana. Let’s start by giving the listeners a better understanding of your background: where did you grow up and who were your influences?
Adriana: I grew up in St. Paul, on the West Side of St. Paul. I was born there and the way that I came into music..well I’m the daughter of two musicians, so my mother was a singer and my father was a drummer. My mother tells me that I always sang, that as an infant I’d sing myself to sleep, and so singing has always been as natural as breathing. Well, my father was Haitian and he was a drummer there and moved to Texas, actually, where he met my mother. My mother is half-European and half-Mexican and was a waitress in Texas. They met up and there you have it,.here I am! (laughs).
JM: So what led to your interest in Latin music?
Adriana: I guess I don’t know if I really had a choice – it was always playing. Growing up, any kind of party or any kind of festivity..growing up on the West Side, it’s pretty eclectic, so there are a lot of older Mexican families that grew up there, but a lot of Puerto Rican families as well, and my mother was very much involved in the Latin scene when it was here in the 70s..from Macalaster College, she went to Macalaster..and so she made these different bonds and friendships with many different Latin people here in Minnesota. My personal interest is that it reminds me of happy celebratory times growing up and I don’t really think about it.
JM: How did Malamanya come to be a group? Your members certainly have many diverse backgrounds.
Adriana: Yeah, well Tony Shreiner, who’s the bass player of Malamanya..he was given a magical disc and it was actually a podcast from the Vanguard Squad, I want to say. It was a podcast called “Negocios Lindos” and on that it had a mix of many of the songs that we perform now, but a healthy mix of Afro-Cubano music, as well as music from the Nuyorican salsa scene. So he became obsessed with this – I feel like I tell his story sometimes for him, so hopefully I get it right (laughs) – but he was really enamored with this music and met up with some other musicians who were enamored with it as well and who felt a strong draw to it, even though they weren’t from those backgrounds culturally and didn’t even speak the language fluently. His interests brought together a lot of other people locally to be a part of the group and I can’t say how everyone else joined it, but I know that I joined it in..it was somewhat of a fluke that I am even in the group. The previous singer was given an opportunity to study flamenco dance in New Mexico, and so they needed to find another singer. I went to a small creative arts high school in St. Paul called “Creative Arts High School” – a very creative name (laughs) – but I went to this high school. Six years later, I ran into a student who had heard a track that I had made previously when I was in this school and asked me if I still sang. I had never sung with a group before, so I said, “I guess I still sing, but I’ve never had this experience or opportunity to collaborate with musicians.” He encouraged me to try it out and to link up with Tony Schreiner, which I did.
JM: And what had you sung before Latin music?
Adriana: I grew up a lot listening to the radio, to KDWB; I feel like that’s pretty normal and standard. So I didn’t have as much access to underground music, you know, I didn’t have cable growing up either. The internet wasn’t as big as it is now, so I was pretty limited to what my sister was listening to or my friends..and most of my friends were also listening to pretty mainstream music on the radio. So what I sang was an example of that. It was more R&B, I really loved Destiny’s child when that came out..listening to Mary J. Blige and a lot of romantic R&B songs. So my songwriting abilities were mostly in that style.
JM: Was it difficult to transfer over to Latin music?
Adriana: Yeah, yes and no. I think there’s certain feelings that get transmitted in Spanish; Spanish is my first language. I went to school and my school, and even though it was an immersion school, spoke mostly in English, so I ended up forgetting a lot of Spanish and having to relearn it in some ways, but I still thought in Spanish, if that makes any sense. So I think there’s certain ideas and emotions you can transmit in languages, in specific languages, and I think there was a part of me that couldn’t express myself adequately in English. So even though I have to double check and make sure that everything’s grammatically correct, I do feel like there’s things that come to me more naturally in Spanish than in English, and vice versa.
JM: So back to Malamanya for a minute, what was your first performance and how did it go?
Adriana:Well, our first performance was at the Terminal Bar about 2.5 or 2.75 years ago. And that was a very nerve-wracking experience for me, but it went well. I think people were really surprised in how good the group sounded, even though none of us have a Cuban background. It was really complementary for me because a lot of people wouldn’t have guessed that that was my first performance. So I felt pretty good and kept doing it.
JM: And how has your music been received by audiences in the Twin Cities?
Adriana: I feel like they like it – I hope they like it. I see some people come back, we have a fan base that comes to a lot of our shows, which is really exciting and flattering. I think that’s really encouraging, when you know people know your songs and they’ve seen you and they still come back..you’re like “huh, guess it didn’t suck!”..you know, they’re interested, they come bar, and I feel like we’ve been received really well. Last summer we did a residency at a small bar in South Minneapolis and we played every week there and that grew really quickly and that created some buzz around us. I think in many ways we were compared to groups who have been doing this for way longer, which is flattering, but I also felt a little bit embarrassed because I didn’t feel like we were at that level to be, you know, kind of compared side by side. I feel like there’s a lot of excitement with this new group Malamanya and that that’s how the community is receiving it, “Oh there’s this other group in town, who’s playing more Afro-Cuban rhythms” or..who knows. I feel not so much that it’s the same audience that goes to the other groups, but more so that people are stumbling upon this for the first time and I think that hopefully that when they come to our shows, they feel invited to continue to participate and to be part of this experience that we’re trying to create.
JM: Have you talked with the group about where you’d like to take the project down the road?
Adriana: Yeah, I think we all would love to have the opportunity to tour and to test it out in other communities..and continue to write more music, and continue to write original music, and come out with another album.
JM: When will that be?
Adriana: Hopefully this year, we have some dates to record in the summer, but of course we don’t want to rush it if it’s not ready. You know, there’s time.
JM: What are your upcoming plans for the near future?
Adriana: Well we have a set of shows that we began..actually in April we’ve been playing every weekend. So there’s some festivals coming up. We’re going to play the Memory Lane’s Block Party, which is exciting. We’re also going to play the Ordway Summer Dance Series. So those are two outdoor things that we’re looking forward to. And then we have some shows at different venues – the West Bank, and also in St. Paul.
JM: So really important, where can your existing and future fans find you on the web?
Adriana: They can find us at Malamanya.com. Thanks for inviting me to be part of the show!
JM: Thank you for coming. (Adriana leaves). Thank you for tuning in to the latest interview. You can find us online at SpanglishNoise.com. We’re on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find us on iTunes by searching “Spanglish Noise.” We hope you’ll tune in next week for the latest interview with Nataly Sanchez and Joseph Mitchell. I leave you with a sample of Malamanya’s song “Dimelo.” Enjoy.
Enjoy the Interview? Subscribe for the latest interviews and shows:
Leslie Grace is a young budding Latina artist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She began her musical career performing for her local church group where she exercised her singing talent in both English and Spanish. While Leslie Grace has now begun to move out of Gospel and more towards the musical genres of Latin and R&B, her strong soulful voice continues to be present in her more recent work.
Her song “Will U Still Love Me” fuses Leslie Grace’s R&B singing style with Bachata music. The song begins with a strong Oldies vibe then flows right into a very distinguishable Bachatamelody. She does a wonderful job of artistically mixing her English and Spanish lyrics creating a great Spanglish-Bachata track that is easy to fall in love with.
Stream: Leslie Grace – “Will U Still Love Me”
Another song worth checking out is her very latest, “Day One.” In this piece, Leslie Grace seems to effortlessly hit a wide range of vocal notes that I would describe as a mixture of both the soulfulness of Alicia Keys‘ song, “Unthinkable” as well as the deep passion of Amanda Perez‘s tune, “Angel.” Make sure to keep an eye on this young artist, as her talent begins to flourish in the Latin music scene.
Following the overwhelming popularity of Musicologo and Menes‘ Imperio Nazza Mixtape, they decided to follow up with a new Gold Edition Mixtape. The concept of mixtapes featuring a wide range of artists is a return to the early days of reggaeton, when compilation albums were common and there seemed to be a strong sense of community between the artists. Gold Edition features 19 tracks by some of the hottest artists in the genre, from heavyweights Daddy Yankee and Tito “El Patron” (formerly Tito “El Bambino”) to newcomers J Alvarez and Farruko. The result is one hour of pounding dembows, flying hi-hats, and the energized lyrics of 23 Puerto Rican singers and emcees – all eager to prove why they belong on this project. If you are looking for a hard-hitting beat and tales of dancing and parties, then this should be your first download for the summer.
Sassy and seductive, Beatriz Luengo is a free-spirited Madrileña singer who has been pursuing her career in the United States since 2010, accompanied by the producer Yotuel Romero of the Latin Grammy-winning group Orishas. The experience of spending a few childhood years with a circus has left this artist with a playful nature and love for entertainment, music, dance, and perhaps most important of all – the spotlight. Her U.S. efforts were rewarded in September of 2011 with the release of the album Bela y Sus Moskitas Muertas, which has an easy-going pop sound influenced by reggae and hiphop. The album also features a wide range of guests, including Ziggy Marley, Yotuel (of Orishas), and Jesus Navarro (of the band Reik).
Today’s video “Lengua” comes from this new album and features the Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy and the production of Mexican “mix-master wizard” Toy Selectah. The song begins in none other than Spanglish – take a look at the opening lyrics:
Hoy me levanté y puse la radio Tu voz sonaba en estereo Me pregunté: “where you from?”
You, you cost me lots of pánico Todo se vuelve tan satánico Y a mí me gusta lo más básico
The fusion of reggae pop and Spanglish lyrics is sure to get your feet moving and your mind racing. Beatriz Luengo provides the perfect soundtrack for a sunny afternoon and it is easy to see why the video attracted over one million views in the first two weeks! Have a listen:
The music in Monica Lionheart‘s song “Let Go” delicately weds dissonance with tranquil beauty, as her indie-soul vocals bring warmth to any instruments willing to provide an accompaniment. For those unfamiliar with her name and solo efforts, perhaps you have heard of her groups Zigmat and Pacha Massive. Monica’s music features eclectic arrangements and instrumentation – a feature that applies to this song as well. From the strumming guitarist who can’t decide on major or minor chords to the soaring strings, this piece is ripe with possibilities as diverse as the four seasons of upstate New York where the video was filmed. Monica Lionheart brings a new voice and perspective to the music scene – don’t let this artist pass you by! You can sample her 2012 album Indian Summer by clicking here.
(Press play as you read). The lights dim. (Count to ten.) Electronic chirps start rising from the depths of the headphones, accompanied by the low flicker of a deep raspy synth. Materializing out of the darkness he appears, bobbing his head to the rhythm and dressed in full reggaeton apparel – dark over-sized shades and fitted cap of choice: witness el cantanteCarlitos Rossy. The words “el dembow la transforma” (“the dembow transforms her“) tumble from his mouth and nothing will ever be the same. Even though there is a slight pause before the dembow enters the scene, you already sensed that it was coming. After all, what is a reggaeton track without its most distinguished guest?
Carlitos Rossy is not new to the genre, although he has yet to experience the mainstream success of artists like Daddy Yankee or even J Alvarez. Much like the video, he has elusively remained in the shadows, slipping in and out of sight over the years. He most recently worked his way into the spotlight with MTV 3, where his song “Victima del Sentimiento” found its way into their hands. Following the video’s success, he released another one for the song “Se Te Escapa,” produced by Mikey Tone – a producer new to Spanglish Noise – and directed by the unstoppable Fernando Lugo. Together they paint a portrait of a woman full of independence and beauty, but addicted to a narcissistic life filled with music and adventures. To some she is a femme fatale; to others she is a lost soul. Whoever she may be, Carlitos Rossy has seen her and passionately shares her story with all who will listen.
Natti Natasha, born Natalia Alexandra Gutierrez Batista, is a 25 year old artista from the Dominican Republic. She was recently announced as “Don Omar’s new artist” under his independent music label, Orfanato Music Group. Together they have made various duos that have an air of Spanish pop while maintaining mid-tempo reggaeton undertones.
Dutty Love, with its Tropical- Caribbean melody, showcases Natti Natasha’s strong yet sensual voice. This song is a top feature on the compilation album Meet the Orphans: The Next Generation and has reached number one on both the Latin Song and Latin Tropical Airplay sections of the Billboard charts. Her next project is a music video for their newly released single “Tus Movimientos.”
Some words that come to mind: flirtatious, sweet and sexy!
Cumbia Tech: the evolution of Cumbia according to El Dusty – or if you prefer his formal name – DJ Dus. This electronic mastermind is a member of Texas’ Peligrosa, which is a collective of DJs, producers, VJs, and photographers, who are redefining the sound of parties nationwide. Blending elements of Latin, Electronic, Indie, Soul, and HipHop, El Dusty and his crew consistently explore combinations of rhythms and sounds that have been largely untouched to date.
DJ Dus’ single “K Le Pasa” has taken the Cumbia sound of older generations and decked it out with the new-school electronic production of the Latin millennial. The result is magnificent; from the drunken-sound of a staggering accordion to the wall-vibrating fervor of an all-out electro-cumbia rave, the only moment of clarity is when the merengue band stops by approximately two minutes into the song. This track extends an invitation to everybody, so grab your headphones and have a listen!