In honor of Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month, The Orchard interviewed a few of our distributed artists to explore the importance of celebrating and continuing representation in their communities. We’ve highlighted artists including Ivan Cornejo, Alex Campos, Marissa Mur, Santa Fe Klan, Javiera Mena, Carolina Gaitán, and more. Each artist discussed the importance of representation and visibility in the media and music industry at large and their journeys of how that has implemented itself in their careers.
California-born 18-year-old Ivan Cornejo, signed to Manzana Records, is a Regional Mexican artist who discusses how his song “Está Dañada” unexpectedly led to an explosive career. His song blew up on TikTok and he was able to grow through massive fan engagement. One of his most memorable moments is collaborating with Jhay Cortez. Cornejo is inspired by a range of genres and artists alike such as rock, spanish rock and Nirvana, Tame Impala, Frank Ocean, etc. His inspirations don’t inspire his lyrics but do allow him to create his style.
Latin GRAMMY nominee Marissa Mur is from Mexico and her latest album release All Inclusive, is a journey of the Caribbean through its musical genres: merengue, bachata, bolero, calipso. She’s a singer-songwriter that likes talking a lot about love in all facets – from self love to relationship love to family love. She loves that through her music people can heal and dance and forget their problems. She first felt represented by artists like Ricky Martin, Shakira, Maná, and Caifanes. They all inspired her to fight for her dreams and be proud to be Latina.
“I think it’s important to feel represented and see yourself reflected in these kinds of people because they’re a fountain of inspiration that have allowed me to dream big and believe in the impossible throughout my life.”
Founded in 2011, The Suffers are a group that had their start in Houston, Texas. Their sound is a blend of R&B, jazz, disco, and contemporary gospel. Their latest project It Starts With Love is an album for “survivors, for the doubted and the written off” who demonstrate resilience against all odds. Members Jose Luna and Michael Razo are of Latinx/Hispanic descent. Jose Luna is a first generation Texan (Mexican) who first felt represented when he discovered Chicano soul and built community with non-Spanish speakers who are of Mexican descent in Texas. Michael Razo, a 5th generation Texan, grew up listening to Steely Dan, Ska, and Los Carnales. He also learned to play trombone and was inspired by artists in zoot suits because they demonstrated that “there are no rules” in music.
“We take everything from what we’ve grown up listening to into our music and put it into the package that we’re playing today.”
Santa Fe Klan
Santa Fe Klan takes pride in representing the Mexican community and his neighborhood La Santa. During his initial rise to fame he felt very emotional. YouTube, Facebook, and the internet at large gave him the platform he has today.
Klan believes that inspirations from artists are important because that’s what opens our eyes and doors to more musical knowledge, and no one should feel ashamed to say who they like and what they like. He admires Babo from Cartel de Santa. When he was younger everyone would listen to Cartel, lots of cumbias, like Chalino, is one of his favorite artists. “I always take Chalino Sanchez everywhere with me.”
Mixing funk and hip-hop, Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk, watched interviews and performances of his favorite artists, James Brown, Chucho Valdés from Cuba, Celia Cruz which led him to believe in himself as an artist. He says, “If they can do it, I can.” Cimafunk is also heavily influenced by his family who played Salsa, Reggaeton, Timba, and more on television growing up. Dancing, being a big part of the music and culture, is a big factor that is incorporated into his music.
Carolina Gaitán is a Colombian actress and singer. She began her career at a very young age when she won a singing competition that resulted in the start of an incredible music career, a national tour, and live and experience what it’s like to be an artist at 17 years old. Over time, Gaitán began exploring acting and completely fell in love with it – this led to theater and musical theater. The hit song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” from Disney’s Encanto was #1 on Billboard for more than 7 weeks which has revolutionized the world around the artist. She, too, was heavily inspired by artist, Shakira.
“When you discover what your restlessness is calling, whether to transmit, to communicate, to tell stories, to sing songs – that’s been some of my story…I think that’s what’s most important about representation – is feeling like it’s possible. Hopefully throughout my career and through my story, then I, too, can be an inspiration in this moment for so many Latin women, teens, and girls.”
Composer, singer, producer, Chilena, Javiera Mena has 5 albums – her 5th album titled Nocturna just released this past September. She first felt represented in the 90’s when she saw the song Bolero Falaz de Aterciopelados on television. She was also very intrigued by Andrea Echeverrí and how different her sound was since it had “a root like a bolero but was also super modern” Mena also felt very inspired by Colombian artists growing up since it’s a neighboring country to Chile. Today, she looks forward to working alongside a new generation of Chilean artists.
“It’s important to see yourself reflected in others because knowing that someone else could make art in places where it’s harder to make art like in Latin America because of our circumstances is important. In reality it isn’t easy to dedicate yourself to being an artist, so seeing someone who accomplished it and has a similar upbringing is a reference that makes you want to say “I, too, want to speak up. I’m also an artist! I want to go to these places with my music, with my art.” Seeing yourself reflected in someone else is super inspiring.”
Colombian singer, composer, and Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist, Alex Campos, recalls his first interaction with fans when he arrived in Los Angeles. Campos shares that to his surprise, it was through radio and social media that he realized that his music and Latin music had transcended across borders in a “very beautiful and special way.” His music has seen great success across Latin America, the US, Europe, and beyond. As a Latino, he feels represented not just by the music he makes, but also by the sounds of today which are echoing around the entire world.
“I celebrate and applaud all the work and art that’s made in Latin America. Nowadays, Latin music is trending, you hear it all over the world, and as a musician and writer, I celebrate that and applaud that given that this is a month that’s so special for us Latinos.”