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ACL 2019: Mexican singer Vanessa Zamora on how growing up in Tijuana influenced her music

Zamora released a new EP this year and will be opening for Kasey Musgraves in March of 2020.

AUSTIN, Texas — Mexican singer Vanessa Zamora is making music as it comes into her head, and it seems to be going well for her.

Zamora just released a stripped-down version of her album “Tornaluna,” called “Tornaluna Pocket,” she had a national television performance on Univision and next year she’ll be opening for country popstar Kasey Musgraves in Mexico City.

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But she really just wants to make her parents proud.

“I dedicated this album to my parents,” she told KVUE. “When you are a child and you’re growing up, your parents are your heroes. You just want to make them proud. You want to be the best version of yourself.”

While her first album, "Hasta La Fantasía," has a similar production to her newest EP, with a strong tracklist led by indie folk tunes, “Tornaluna” features a fuller production of ‘80s dance-inspired pop songs.

But when it comes to the acoustic side or the dance side of her music, she doesn’t have a preference.

“I think it just depends on the mood you are in,” Zamora told KVUE.


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As for her next step, Zamora is trying to experiment with R&B.

“I’m just focusing on doing just tracks, songs, and just not worrying about them having to be together, like in an album,” she said.

Zamora is starting to write music in English as well.

“I never say, ‘I’m going to do this genre,’” she said. “I just start doing the song and if in that moment I start doing a guitar riff or a synth, I just use it.”

Zamora is one of a number of solo Latina artists at Austin City Limits Music Festival this year – including artists from Mexico, Colombia and Spain.

She said growing up in Tijuana meant she heard alternative music from San Diego, as well as music from her native Mexico.

“Instead I was listening to 91X, which is a rock station in San Diego, so I listened to that, but [in the rest of Mexico] they didn’t have that,” she said. “So I listened to Sublime or 311 or Blink 182.”


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At her set at ACL on Saturday, she bridged that gap between Mexico and the United States, introducing herself in Spanish and later using English to speak between songs.

For Zamora, the music itself is the language. She proclaimed to the crowd on Saturday: “I love cowbell!” and, “This song is about flowing like a river – that’s it.”


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