Growing up in a small town on the Texas border, the biggest radio stations were in our sister city on the Mexican side. So I grew up listening to the latest hits on Mexican radio – from rock en español to Latin pop. Tejano music was at its peak, and just a touch of country music rounded out the soundtrack of my childhood.

Our Austin Gente series, which explores what it means to be Latino in the U.S., releases the latest installment this Sunday. It focuses on how all kinds of music help shape Latino identity.

We chatted with singer/songwriter Gina Chavez, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Haydn Vitera and Joanna Saucedo of the local son jarocho group Son Armado to get their insights on the connection between música and Latinidad.

Haydn Vitera is among the featured artists in Austin360’s Austin Gente video/story series. Photo by Nancy Flores/Statesman

“I’m a rocker. I’m Latino. And an American,” Vitera told us during the filming of Austin Gente. “I don’t have to be just one thing.”

Look for it online Sunday at and in the Austin360 arts and entertainment section of the Austin American-Statesman. In the mean time, take a sneak peek at some of the behind-the-scene footage and images we shot when the artists recently dropped by the Statesman studio.

Joanna Saucedo, of Son Armado, dances on the wooden platform, called the tarima,
Photo by Nancy Flores

Videographers Kelly West, Efren Salinas and I were spoiled with private concerts backstage. I even got to carry Vitera’s famous electric violin the “Viper.”

Cedar Fever was rampant during our filming, and all the artists affected were troopers for fighting through it. We also learned a fun fact – there’s actually a brand for a soothing throat spray called “Entertainer’s Secret.” Who knew.

Many thanks to all three powerful artists who are representing the Latino community in their own unique way.