French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux's latest album, Vengo, drops Tuesday, March 18.
To the surprise of no one, Red Bull Music Academy Panamérika is bringing to Los Angeles a yearlong concert series, which will celebrate today’s most outstanding Latin alternative music artists.
This is where French-Chilean rap/hip-hop stud Ana Tijoux comes into play. Tijoux, 36, is scheduled to perform on Friday, March 21 at The Echoplex, along with Boyle Height’s own Subsuelo and Latin genre-benders Kumbia Queers.
Tijoux rose to fame in 2007 when she collaborated with Mexican pop singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas in the track “Eres Para Mi,” which became an instant hit. Tijoux, however, cemented her solo career in 2009 when she released her debut album, 1977, that contains the widely popular “1977.” The piece quickly turned to be a favorite, and it was even showcased in “Breaking Bad” and EA Sports’ FIFA.
Subsuelo’s a global bass dance and visual arts collective. It features resident DJs Gozar, Ethos, Gazoo and Canyon Cody, and even a live flamenco band with La Tigresa, Gabriel Osuna and Gerardo Morales. It also includes visuals by Juxli and photography by Farah Sosa.
Kumbia Queers is an all-female sextet from Mexico and Argentina. How were they grouped? They were bored of the punk rock scene in the mid-2000’s and decided to focus on the sounds of cumbia; they consider themselves “1,000% tropi-punk.”
In an exclusive phone interview for Living Out Loud, Tijoux (while in Texas’ South by Southwest) talked about her latest album (Vengo), how technology has influenced her career, being a mother, and much more.
Living Out Loud: What can you tell us about the concept behind your new album, Vengo?
Ana Tijoux: It was spontaneous.
LOL: Discuss the lyrics of your song, “Vengo”?
AT: It talks about identity and the cultural upheaval we’ve experienced in South America, and also that need to re-learn everything once again both from the past and the present
LOL: What can the LA public expect from your upcoming Red Bull Music Academy Panamérika show on Friday, March 21?
AT: We’ll be presenting this new album live. I don’t know what they can expect, they should just come.
LOL: Your album will be out Tuesday, March 18. What can you tell us about working with National Records?
AT: It’s been great. They really have some good ideas about how to move forward. It’s a great alliance.
LOL: How would you say technology has influenced you throughout your career?
AT: When it comes to technology, the newer it is, the less I want to use it. Musically, it detracts from the quality of the work. I personally like to mix acoustically.
LOL: What’s your take on social media? Do you feel it helps artists?
AT: It depends on how you look at it. It can be. It depends on how you use it. You have to promote yourself, and also it’s great to have a dialogue with your fans that transcends music. It’s a great way to share ideas with your audience and fellow musicians.
LOL: How has your life changed after you became a mother?
AT: Drastically. Everything changed. It was like a bucket of cold water. It teaches you a lot, crash-course style. It’s difficult to understand unless you experience it, and this industry is not really maternally friendly. But I’ve learned a lot, and it’s been a great bucket of water.
LOL: You grew up in France, and you speak French, Spanish, and English. Has this cultural diversity influenced your outlook on life and your work?
AT: I believe so. When you’re fortunate enough to come from mixed backgrounds or travel, you get to learn things about other cultures and countries, which broadens your perspective. Many of the world’s problems come from ignorance, and not knowing about others. Also, musically, you learn so much from so many types of music worldwide. It inevitably influences the work and one’s outlook.
LOL: What were your musical influences growing up?
AT: Growing up, lots and lots of Arabic music from my school mates. Also lots of African music. I also got Latin music from my parents. It was a big melting pot of musical influences.
LOL: You collaborated with Julieta Venegas in the song “Eres Para Mi,” and you made it a hit a few years back. Have you contemplated another collaboration with Julieta or anyone else in the near future?
AT: No, Julieta and I are good friends, and when we talk, it’s mostly not about music.
LOL: What has the city of Los Angeles meant for you throughout your career?
AT: It’s a very cosmopolitan city with a legendary musical history. It’s very impressive every time I go and see so many creative people, it inspires you. Also you become friends with a lot of other musicians, so it’s lovely to reconnect every time I go.
LOL: Rap/hip-hop has been largely dominated by men, but in recent years women have been growing in the genre. What would you attribute that to?
AT: Women have always played a fundamental role in society, and it was only a matter of time until they began succeeding in the genre. Especially in Latin America, there are a lot of very independent women, and single mothers. Women fulfill many roles, and we all have things to say, so what better platform to do so than rap?
LOL: What’s on your agenda for the next few months?
AT: Eating healthy and being a mom. I always forget tour dates, so I post them. My memory is terrible. I know at some point we’ll be in California, Tijuana, and Monterrey.
LOL: What do you do in your spare time?
AT: Being a mom. Both in free and not free time.
Ana Tijoux, Subsuelo and Kumbia Queers
Friday, March 21 at 8:30 p.m.
1154 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026