Victoria La Mala: In Her Own Words
With In Their Own Words, we talk to artists, and cut out our own conversation to let their words stand by themselves. In this edition we talk to Roc Nation Latin artist Victoria La Mala who is leading a revolution in the regional Mexican space with her unique style.
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Victoria La Mala isn’t one to conform. Need proof? Take a quick listen to her ethereal, DGAF “Vete Mucho” song and you’ll get a glimpse into the creativity of young regional Mexican artist. She’s a proud mexicana, she doesn’t take BS, and she doesn’t abide by the rigid rules of the traditionally male-driven genre of regional Mexican. Below she offers more insight into who she really is beyond the music along with an exclusively curated playlist—Selena y 2Pac’s Daughter—where she picks her favorite songs by the legends.
Performing at SXSW was an amazing experience. I have never been to Austin or to SXSW and I was a little nervous because my sound is very traditional Latino but with a little twist. But people received me with open arms, it was incredible, and the energy was amazing. Music is universal. No matter what [language] you sing in, what kind of music you do, where it comes from, as long as it’s from the heart it touches people.
I met Jenni Rivera when I first got to L.A. at an award show. It was an incredible experience because I met her a week after she had tweeted about me saying that she heard my song on the radio. She wrote, “Felicidades, buena cancion! Excelente voz. (“Congratulations, good song! Excellent voice.” have that tweet saved like a treasure. She really is a legend. The regional Mexican world is such a male dominated genre that she really opened it up and gave so much strength and empowerment to women. So for me she is a role model, that’s what I want to do, empower more women and knocks more doors down.
I’m very proud of where I come from. My parents were always really proud of the music, the food, and the culture. We are warriors. I think that’s literally in our blood. I think that’s something really amazing. That’s why we are such strong people. That’s why when things come our way we don’t give up and we just keep pushing and moving forward.
The first time I saw Selena on TV I was a girl and I just thought she was so beautiful and so talented and her clothes were so amazing. To me she was a real life Mexican Barbie. I would see her and be like, “Wow there’s somebody on TV that represents, not only in Mexico but here, who I am, and she’s making it cool.” She opened so many doors and she was one of the few artists that started in the regional Mexican genre but crossed over and she is relevant to this date.
I feel really proud to see that women are making noise in regional Mexican music. To me, it’s always very important to represent and have that flag of female empowerment and saying, “I’ve been told so many times ‘You’re a girl, nobody wants to hear girls in Mexican music. You’re a girl maybe you should just find a guy that’s gonna pay for all of your stuff.” I just always wanted to do something for myself. I just always wanted to represent my country, my people, where I come from and it’s amazing to see that women are pushing it forward.
Originally, I was thinking I wanted to do something that was like R&B because those artists were really big influences of mine. I listened to everybody from Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, all those R&B singers from the ‘90s. I would sit in my room with my little CD boom box and imagine myself being an artist.
I came to New York alone, and when I started making regional Mexican music it really made me feel close to home, to my childhood, and my family. I was like, “Maybe this is my purpose.” Maybe I had to leave Mexico to come to a place where I was going to realize that I wanted to show and represent that where I came from can be cool too. In the beginning a lot of Mexican people would tell me, “You can’t sing Mexican music like that and I would be like, “Why?” “All those little riffs and all those things you’re doing with your voice that doesn’t go with banda that’s just for pop music and soul music but you can’t do that here.” I would tell them, “But that’s how I sing and this is who I am and all I can give you is who I am.”
I just kept going because I felt like there were a lot of people like me that grew up with that really traditional family, roots, culture, but we were also really into mainstream music, pop culture, American staples in music. And I just thought “It’s so funny because I always mentioned Romeo Santos and now he’s my boss. I would love to do something like Romeo Santos did for his culture and for his music and for his people. People that would be like “Oh what’s bachata, what’s that?” He made it so cool. He made it for everybody. I think that it’s because he loved it so much and in his heart he really felt like, “You know what, my music is cool let me show the world that it is cool.”
My mom is such a strong woman. My mom is really one of the people that have inspired me the most in the world. She came from a ranch in Mexico. She ended up doing some of the first Mexican movies ever made in the U.S. and when people told her, “You’re never going to do anything besides be on the ranch.” And, later on in life she was a single mom for many years and she was able to work and give my brother, sister and I an amazing life. I admire women like her. I feel like that’s why I want to empower other women. Through my music I want to inspire other women, other girls, and let them know you’re strong. You can do anything you want and you can do it alone. If that’s what you need to do you’re going to make it, just push through.
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