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These Five Singers Prove You Don’t Have to Be Mexican to Love Mexican Music

Who says you have to be Mexican to love its music? Whether it’s rancheras, Norteño or banda, Mexican is infectious. These five singers had little to no ties to Mexico but once they got a taste of its culture, they were hooked:

1.Magdalena Serafin aka La Güera Chakaloza

La Güera Chakaloza
Photo Credit: La Güera Chakaloza / Facebook

Magdalena Serafin loves to tirar desmadre.

 She’s a Polish-born singer known as La Güera Chakaloza.

Serafin, who’s now based in Chicago, sings a mean corrido.

After impressing singer Larry Hernandez with her chops…

Credit: Thebrandon831 / YouTube

She had a chance to perform with Banda Los Recoditos.

Credit: La Guera Chakaloza / YouTube

The banda group invited her up on stage during one of their live performances. She’s since performed Los Tucanes, Larry Hernandez and Banda MS.

Earlier this year, she even met with one of Larry Hernandez’s mutual friends…

Credit: La Guera Chakaloza / YouTube

El Compa Negro.

La Güera and her band now gig regularly around Chicago.

2. El Charro Negro

Bobby Butler of Little Joe & The Latinaires
Photo Credit: Buena Suerte Records

Nicknamed “El Charro Negro,” Bobby Butler was one of the vocalists for the Tejano group Little Joe & The Latinaires.

Here’s Butler Singing “El Papalote.”

Photo Credit: CATOHERNANDEZ / YouTube

NICE.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson clapping

Butler later became a vocalist for the band Tortilla Factory.

Credit: TejanoLegend’s channel / YouTube

When Little Joe – a Tejano music legend – fired the Latinaires, the band rebranded as Tortilla Factory. Butler, who donned a charro outfit during performances, told the Austin Chronicle he first heard Tejano music in Arkansas: “I must have been 8 or 9 years old – me and Mom and my brothers out in the cotton fields picking cotton. At that time, they brought up workers from Mexico to help with the cotton harvest. They’d sing out in that sun all day, and I fell in love with the sound.”

El Charro Negro is still singing.

Tortilla Factory 40 Yrs Album
Photo Credit: Tortilla Factory

In 2013, Tortilla Factory released a 40th anniversary album featuring Butler, who is now into his 70s. He’s still got it. That’s him on the cover.

3. Dwayne Verheyden & The Texmexplosion

Accordionist Dwayne Verheyden
Photo Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / Facebook

Dwayne Verheyden was born in the Netherlands. How the hell did he fall in love with Tejano music? The way most kids usually do: his father was a huge fan. “It was kind of a normal thing for me, because I listened to this music everyday,” said Verheyden in a YouTube interview. So basically, the soundtrack to his childhood was Tejano legend Leonardo “Flaco” Jimenez.

Let’s hear what he’s got:

Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / YouTube

DAAAAAAAAAMN

Friday movie GIF "Daaaamn"

Inspired by Flaco Jimenez, Verheyden began playing the accordion at age 7.

Dwayne Verheyden as a child
Photo Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / Facebook

Now he fronts his own band: the Texmexplosion.

Verheyden met his hero a few years ago.

Credit: wsmvideoproductie / YouTube

Yep, Flaco Jimenez, who once said Verheyden plays his songs “perfectly.”

The Tejano music scene has embraced him.

Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / YouTube

He was named Best New Artist at the 2014 Tejano Music Awards.

4. Timoteo “El Charro Negro”

Timoteo El Charro Negro
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

There’s another singer who calls himself “El Charro Negro,” and his name is Timoteo (real name: Timothy Pollard).

He’s been on shows such as Sábado Gigante, Despierta America and even Caso Cerrado.

Credit: Timoteo El Charro Negro / YouTube

Born in Texas and raised in Long Beach, California, the 48-year-old was exposed to plenty of Mexican music during his youth. When he heard Vicente Fernández, he was hooked. “A few years ago, I was at a party at a friend’s house and I heard the powerful voice of Don Chente singing ‘Nuestro Juramento’ and ‘Lástima Que Seas Ajena.’ I was paralyzed. I still remember it and I get goosebumps. I knew that I had to sing that music,” said Timoteo to People en Español.

Here’s Timoteo with Chente.

Timoteo El Charro with Vicente Fernandez
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

They didn’t just meet, though.

Timoteo El Charro Negro and Vicente Fernandez
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

Chente invited Timoteo to perform a song with him during one of his legendary live concerts. Pass the tequila.

5. Mateo “El Gringo”

Mateo "El Gringo" at Mariachi Plaza
Photo Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

If you’ve eaten at a Mexican restaurant in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of East L.A., Highland Park or Echo Park in the last decade, chances are you’ve seen Matthew Stoneman perform at least once.

He’s the guy who looks like a science teacher with a guitar.

Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

Known as Mateo “El Gringo,” Stoneman learned to play guitar while in jail for theft. After his release, he watched local musicians performing for tips in restaurants. Inspired, Stoneman began performing old-school boleros in Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles.

He’s now the subject of a documentary, Mateo. 

Photo Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

The New York Times described the doc as a “deeply complicated portrait of an angel-voiced musician.”

Who else has embraced corridos and rancheras like a Mexican? Leave a comment below to tell us.

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Selena Gomez Releases New Spanish-Language Single ‘De Una Vez’ and Teases Full Spanish Album: ‘I’m Targeting My Heritage’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Releases New Spanish-Language Single ‘De Una Vez’ and Teases Full Spanish Album: ‘I’m Targeting My Heritage’

Photo via selenagomez/Instagram

Good news, Selenators! Word on the street is that Selena Gomez will soon be dropping her first-ever Spanish language album. The rumors started after Gomez dropped a surprising (and beautiful!) new Spanish-language single, “De Una Vez”.

Soon after the single dropped, rumors of a full Spanish-language studio album began to swirl when murals promoting “De Una Vez” and a yet-unreleased single “Baila Conmigo” popped up across, Mexico.

To make matters even better, Selena already dropped “De Una Vez”‘s music video.

The lush and imaginative video has been garnering praise for its inclusion of Latin American visuals and symbols. Gomez hired Tania Verduzco and Adrian Perez to direct her video–a husband and wife team who hail from Mexico and Spain, respectively and go by the moniker Los Pérez.

Of hiring Spanish speakers to direct her video, Gomez revealed to Vogue online that the decision was intentional. “If I was going to completely immerse myself into a project inspired by Latin culture, I wanted to work with native Spanish speaking creators,” she said.

And indeed, Verduzco and Perez tried to infuse as much Latin spirit into the video’s conception as possible.

“Magical realism has always been part of the Latin culture, whether it be in art or telenovelas,” Gomez told Vogue. “I wanted [to capture] that sense of a supernatural world.”

They accomplished this sense of magical realism by utilizing motifs from Mexican folk art, like Milagro, which is symbolized by the glowing heart that is beating within Gomez’s chest throughout the video.

“We wanted to play with powerful language and images. We designed the heart—we call it the Milagro in Mexican culture—and its light to be a metaphor for the healing throughout the story,” Verduzco told Vogue.

Selena Gomez fans are especially excited about this project because Gomez has long hinted at her desire to release a Spanish-language album.

Back in 2011, Gomez tweeted about her plans to eventually record an entire album in Spanish. “Can’t wait for y’all to hear the Spanish record;) it’s sounding so cool,” she wrote.

She retweeted the sentiment on Thursday with the comment: “I think it will be worth the wait”–which many fans took as confirmation that a full studio album is on its way.

It’s worth noting that Gomez has already dipped her toe into the Latin music scene with 2010’s “Un Año Sin Lluvia” and 2018’s DJ Snake, Ozuna and Cardi B collab, “Taki Taki”.

As for the difficulty of recording songs in a second language, Gomez said that it was a practice that came naturally.

“I actually think I sing better in Spanish. That was something I discovered,” she said in an interview for Apple Music. “It was a lot of work, and look, you cannot mispronounce anything. It is something that needed to be precise, and needed to be respected by the audience I’m going to release this for.”

She continued: “Of course I want everyone to enjoy the music, but I am targeting my fan base. I’m targeting my heritage, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

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Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Bad Bunny is on top of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it appears to all of us on the outside enjoying his record-breaking year. Not only did he release three albums in 2020 but he also landed his debut acting role in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and from his Instagram stories, he seems to be in a happy, contentful relationship.

But like so many others, Bad Bunny has his experience with mental health issues, of which he recently opened up about in an interview with El País.

Bad Bunny recently spoke up about his struggle with depression.

Despite his immense success that’s catapulted him to, arguably, the world’s biggest superstar, Bad Bunny admits that sometimes he still feels like the young man who bagged groceries in a supermarket.

The reggaetonero revealed in an interview with El País that right as his career really started to take off, he was not happy. “You asked me before how I hadn’t gone crazy. Well, I think that was the moment that was going to determine if I was going to go crazy or not. From 2016 to 2018 I disappeared, I was stuck in a capsule, without knowing anything. The world saw me, but I was missing,” he said.

Although no doctor diagnosed him, he is sure of what was happening. it only did he feel lost and empty but he had stopped doing many of the things that brought him joy, like watching movies and boxing. Without realizing it, he had also fallen out of contact with much of his family, with whom he was typically very close.

“And that’s when I said: who am I? What’s going on?” he told El País. When he returned home to Puerto Rico from spending time in Argentina, he was able to get back into the right state of mind and remember who he was.

Despite his success, Bad Bunny still worries he’s in financial trouble.

Although today, he is the number one Latin artist on Spotify and the awards for his music keep coming, there are times when Bad Bunny still thinks that he has financial problems.

“Not long ago, I was 100% clear in my head what I have achieved, maybe a year or six months ago; but until then, many times I forgot, I felt that I was the kid from the supermarket. He would happen something and say: “Hell!” And then: “Ah, no, wait, if I have here,” he said, touching his pocket.

Much like Bad Bunny, J Balvin has also been candid about his own mental health struggles.

Bad Bunny is just the most recent to speak to the emotional havoc he experiences despite being a global superstar. And, thankfully, like many other celebrities, he’s been able to find refuge in a reality that allows him to keep his feet on the ground so that he too can enjoy the achievements of his career.

Much like El Conejo, J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. But he’s long addressed the importance of caring for one’s mental health. During his Arcoíris Tour, he encouraged people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and let the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

We need more men like Benito and J Balvin to speak up about their mental health struggles, to help destroy the stigma that exists within our community.

And in the same interview, he also spoke about why he works to elevate the Spanish language.

As for the possibility of singing in English, the answer remains the same: a resounding no.

“You have to break this view that the gringos are Gods…No, papi,” he told El País. And, although he’s collaborated with artists like Drake, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, he has always sang in Spanish and with his famous accent.

“I am very proud to reach the level where we are speaking in Spanish, and not only in Spanish, but in the Spanish that we speak in Puerto Rico. Without changing the accent,” he said.

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