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Ximena Sariñana Wants To Know: 'Where Will The Girls Dance?'

Mar 10, 2019
Originally published on March 10, 2019 11:38 am

Before her music career, Ximena Sariñana was a child actress in Mexican movies and telenovelas. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she appeared in projects by her father, a director, and her mother, a screenwriter. Music was then just a hobby. But when she turned to it full time, the world noticed.

In 2008, her first album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album. A decade later, Sariñana now in her 30s, is entering a new stage in life and with that, a new album called ¿Dónde Bailarán Las Niñas?, or Where Will The Girls Dance?, out now.

Sariñana spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro from Mexico City about making the album, learning from her 10-month-old daughter, having fellow female musicians as allies and more. Hear the radio version of their conversation at the audio link and read on for the adapted interview transcript.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Garcia-Navarro: What does it mean to have space for girls to dance?

Sariñana: Here, especially in Mexico, where we have a really high rate of sex related crimes and gender related crimes, it was something that was in the back of my head when I was writing the album. The album is actually a really luminous, female-empowered kind of record. But at the same time, it just raised this question of where can we find these spaces where girls can be free and be whatever they want to be.

You dedicated this album to your daughter. She's influenced your music?

When I was writing the album, I was in a head space where I really felt very okay, very happy with who I was at the time. It was the perfect moment to become a mother and I really think that she completely gave a lot more meaning and a lot more intention to my work in general.

What do you hope she won't have to deal with that you had to deal with?

When you're a woman and you're starting in the music industry, there's a part of you that you kind of hide just because you're usually surrounded by a lot of men. So, the other side, the side, I guess, the more sensitive side of a woman, you kind of like want to hide it.

You don't want appear vulnerable.

Exactly.

Latin pop, as you know, has had major successes on the American music charts, for example of course "Despacito," produced by Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo. In fact, your song "Si Tú Te Vas" is produced by them. "Si Tú Te Vas" translates to "If You Go." Tell us about the song.

We really wanted to write a song about a breakup, but not your typical "I miss you terribly" and you know, "I'm devastated because you left." It's more of like a breakup in more equal terms, where it's like, "OK, so you're leaving me, I'm leaving you as well." It's like, both are losses, and I'm just going to have to carry on and be OK with that."

Yeah, it says "Don't doubt that I will forget you." Of course which is what I think you always want to say when you're walking out the door.

YouTube

There are several duets with women on this album. One of those collaborations was on the song "Pueblo Abandonado" or "Abandoned Village" with Chilean artist Francisca Valenzuela. I hear you two are very good friends and you get together to vent about...

Everything [Laughs]

...being musicians.

I mean, it's been really wonderful to have... I can say that I have a lot of girlfriends that do music and that are in the same state that I am in where you're the captain of your own ship, you make all your decisions, and you kind of go through the same things. It can be something as superficial as, "What's your best postpartum girdle," [Laughs] to things like, "It's very hard to speak my mind when I'm in a meeting full of other executives and they're all men" That kind of thing.

Do you still feel intimidated by that? I mean, you've been in the music business for a while.

Not that much. I think right now, I'm definitely in a more safe state where I just feel really confident on my own music and know that you can have ups and downs and successful and unsuccessful songs, and it's gonna be OK.

Is that your message: 'It's gonna be OK'?

I think so, for sure. I really think that everything's gonna be OK.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Before her music career, Ximena Sarinana was a child actress in Mexican movies and telenovelas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "QUE TIENE")

XIMENA SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Born in Guadalajara, she appeared in projects by her father, a director, and her mother, a screenwriter. Music was then just a hobby. But when she turned to it full time, the world noticed. In 2008, her first album was nominated for a Grammy for best Latin rock or alternative album. A decade later, Sarinana, now in her 30s, is entering a new stage in life and, with that, a new album. It is called "Donde Bailaran Las Ninas" or Where Will The Girls Dance?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "QUE TIENE")

SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She joins us now from NPR's Mexico City bureau.

Welcome. Buenos dias.

SARINANA: Buenos dias.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to start with the album title. What does it mean to have space for girls to dance?

SARINANA: Well, I think that here, especially in Mexico, where we have, you know, a really high rate of sex-related crimes and gender-related crimes - it was something that was kind of, like, in the back of my head when I was writing the album. And the album is actually, like, a really luminous and female-empowered kind of record. But at the same time, it just, you know, raised sort of, like, this question of, where can we find these spaces where girls can sort of, like, be free and be whatever they want to be?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO SE")

SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You dedicated this album to your daughter Franca. She's influenced your music.

SARINANA: Definitely.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What do you hope she won't have to deal with that you had to deal with?

SARINANA: When you're a woman and you're starting in the music industry, you know, there's a part of you that - you kind of, like, hide just because you're usually surrounded by a lot of men. So the other side - the side - I guess the more sensitive side of a woman, you kind of, like, want to hide it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You don't want to appear vulnerable.

SARINANA: Exactly.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Latin pop has had major success on American music charts recently - for example, of course, "Despacito." And in fact, your song "Si Tu Te Vas" is produced by "Despacito's" producers, Andres Torres and Mauricio Rengifo, right?

SARINANA: Produced and written - we co-wrote that song together.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Let's listen to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI TU TE VAS")

SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: "Si Tu Te Vas" translates to If You Go. Tell us about the song.

SARINANA: We really wanted to write a song about a breakup but not your typical sort of like, I miss you terribly. And, you know, I'm devastated because you left. It's kind of more of, like, a breakup in more equal terms, where it's like, OK. So if you're leaving me, I'm leaving you as well. You know, it's, like, both our losses. And I'm just going to have to carry on and be OK with that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI TU TE VAS")

SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. It says (speaking Spanish). Don't - you know, don't doubt that I will forget you.

SARINANA: Of course.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Which is what, I think, you always want to say when you're walking out the door.

SARINANA: Yeah. And, you know, nobody dies of heartbreak, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Books have been written saying the opposite.

SARINANA: Yeah (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But, you know, I think that's probably true.

SARINANA: Yeah, exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUEBLO ABANDONADO")

XIMENA SARINANA AND FRANCISCA VALENZUELA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There are several duets with women on this album. One of those collaborations was on the song "Pueblo Abandonado" or Abandoned Village with Chilean artist Francisca Valenzuela. Let's listen to a bit of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUEBLO ABANDONADO")

SARINANA, VALENZUELA: (Singing in Spanish).

FRANCISCA VALENZUELA: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That sounds like you're having a lot of fun. I hear you two are very good friends.

SARINANA: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you get together to vent about...

SARINANA: Everything.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Being musicians.

(LAUGHTER)

SARINANA: Yeah. I mean, it's been really wonderful to have - and I can say that I have a lot of girlfriends that do music and that they are sort of in the same state that I'm in, where, you know, you're the captain of your own ship. You take all your decisions. And you kind of, like, go through the same things. And it can be something as superficial as, you know, what's your best post-partum girdle (laughter) to things like, it's very hard to speak my mind when I'm in a meeting full of other executive - and they're all men - that kind of thing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you still feel intimidated by that? I mean, you've been in the music business for a while.

SARINANA: Not that much, I think. I think right now I'm definitely in a more safe state, where I just feel, you know, really confident on my own music and know that, you know, you can have ups and downs and, you know, successful and unsuccessful songs. And it's going to be OK (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is that your message? It's going be OK.

SARINANA: I think so - for sure. I really think that everything's going to be OK.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And on that note, that was Ximena Sarinana. Her new album "Donde Bailaran Las Ninas" is out now. Thank you very much.

SARINANA: Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO SE")

SARINANA: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.