Mexican pop star Ximena Sariñana is no stranger to South by Southwest. This time, though, she says she’s the most confident and comfortable in her own skin than ever. Her SXSW showcase will be at 11 p.m. Wednesday at Speakeasy.
“I think that’s a normal process that you go through as an artist and an adult,” she said. When she first started her music career at about 20 years old she was still figuring out her sound, she said, and felt a bit insecure.
But since then a lot has changed. She’s released four albums and has become a mother. She says the confidence and self-awareness she’s gained as both an artist and a person can be heard in her latest album “Dónde Bailaran Las Niñas.”
The album’s title is a nod to two Mexican classic albums—Maná’s "Dónde Jugarán Los Niños" and "Dónde Jugarán Las Niñas" by Molotov. The Maná record was a big part of Ximena’s childhood, while the Molotov album influenced her rebellious adolescence.
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In “Dónde Bailaran Las Niñas,” Sariñana experiments with blending her introspective songwriting with urban dance beats. “When you know who you are, you are open to trying new rhythms and sounds,” she said. “It’s really all about following your intuition.” She describes the record as a “danceable female positive album.”
Many songs playing at nightclubs don’t portray women positively, she said, so she was intentional about songs that would make women feel empowered by dancing and singing the lyrics.
The album’s title translates to “Where will the Girls Dance?”
“It’s also a good question to ask ourselves,” she said. “Where are those spaces where girls and women can feel happy, comfortable, safe and free enough to dance.” Dancing, she said, is “a moment where it’s just you 100%. Where are those spaces where girls can just be?”
Having a daughter has now changed her approach to music. “When you have a daughter, you want to make the world a better place and you are thinking about her and her future all the time,” she said. “I want her to feel proud of the songs I’m singing and hope she’ll one day sing them and feel empowered.”