Ximena Sariñana: Bilingual Musician Extraordinaire

Ximena Sariñana is a Mexican actress, singer, and songwriter, born in Guadalajara, Mexico. A natural-born entertainer, Ximena has been involved in the arts from a young age, and began her acting career at 11 years old in the Mexican telenovela Maria Isabel. Since then Ximena has appeared in 11 films and 3 prime time telenovelas, establishing herself as a household name in Mexico. But Ximena had even more to contribute creatively, and in 2008 she released her debut solo album, “Mediocre,” to an enthusiastic reception. Rolling Stone praised it as “one of the strongest debuts from a female singer-songwriter since Norah Jones’ ‘Come Away With Me,’” giving it 4 stars. Ximena went on to release two more albums, “Ximena Sariñana” in 2011 and “No Todo lo Puedes Dar” in 2014. In addition to balancing all of her creative energy, Ximena also serves as a judge for Mexico’s Got Talent.

How do you feel that your music has evolved since you first started creating it?

X.S.: I really feel like I am in a completely different place musically than when I first started making music when I was fifteen years old. First off, I feel much more confident on my relationship with music than when I first started writing, and every record gives you a new insight on this relationship as you are producing it or touring it.

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I am a firm believer that creativity is a muscle that needs work and stimulation and if you aren’t constantly working at it and feeding it , it dries out.

It’s clear from your first three albums that you’re capable of transforming yourself and discovering new sound. How important is this transformation process in the creation of music?

X.S.: I really feel that transforming your sound with each record is key, because it means that you are still open to learning new things, and still interested in evolving as an artist. I don’t think you ever stop evolving as an artist because you are constantly living new experiences. I think artists that stop evolving simply got lazy and stopped trying and this is suicide for evolution and creation and true art.

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What is it about music that made you want to make it your career?

X.S.: There is so much information and new things to learn in music that you need a whole lifetime or three lifetimes to learn everything you need to learn in music.  I am a very curious person and I really feel that music offers me so many new and interesting territory: there’s music theory to learn, new instruments to try, the engineering, software and production world, the arrangement area, songwriting…it never stops and I love that about my career.

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How do you feel you are changing as an artist right now?

X.S.: I am currently starting work on what will be my fourth studio album. I am at the very beginning of the process which means that a transformation is about to happen. It is one of my favorite moments of what I do: right before jumping into a journey that you have no idea where it will take you.

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You’ve been involved in both acting and music from a young age. In your opinion, how are acting and making music similar and how are they different?

X.S.: I think there are a lot of similarities between acting and interpreting music. When acting a role, you really have to take from your own experience and find some empathy with the character that you are performing. I think this process is similar to when you are singing a song. You really have to connect with what the song is about and make it your own so that you achieve actual communication with your audience.

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You are fluent in both English and Spanish and you’ve produced albums in each of them. Both English and Spanish have different “feelings” – they allow a person do express themselves differently. How does the language of your music affect how it turns out?

X.S.: Writing lyrics in two languages is probably one of the hardest but most rewarding things I have ever done. I really feel that both represent who I am. For me it’s like using a box of crayons to paint a picture or watercolors. It’s more of an aesthetic decision, although sometimes there are chords or melodies that have a mind of their own and immediately call for one language or the other.

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Your father is a filmmaker and your mother is a screenwriter. If your parents hadn’t been creative people, do you think you still would have wanted to be an actress and a musician?

X.S.: I don’t know. It’s really hard to tell because my parents have always exposed me to their art and art that they admire. My dad has one of the biggest record collections I have ever seen and since I was young they took me to concerts, films, theater and ballet, so I really had a lot of creative input thanks to them. I do think that even if they hadn’t been filmmakers (my dad worked in a bank before deciding to pursue film and my mom was a gym instructor when they were both at school and they both sold jeans as newlyweds) they still would have exposed me to their hobbies, and art has always been a passion of theirs.

For a full mindmap behind this article with articles, videos, and documents see #musician

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You really have to connect with what the song is about and make it your own so that you achieve actual communication with your audience.

In your experience, how much is creativity effortless and how much is it work? Can a person get better at being creative?

X.S.: I am a firm believer that creativity is a muscle that needs work and stimulation and if you aren’t constantly working at it and feeding it , it dries out. There are times when I really feel like I am going through a creative drought, but I still make myself sit at the piano, or write a poem, or play with an instrument. Creativity is sort of a sourdough starter that you are constantly taking from to make your music, but you have to constantly feed it by consuming art and working at your craft.

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How might the music industry change in the future? Do you see yourself being a musician your entire life?

X.S.: I don’t know if I will be in the music industry forever, but I do know that I will be a musician all my life. I don’t conceive my life without music. It’s what I do best and it’s what I enjoy the most. I don’t know if I will earn money from it forever or what the music industry is going to become.

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You have had a lot of experience with the creative scene in Mexico City, both through acting and music. What is the music scene like there? What music do you think young Mexicans identify the most with right now?

X.S.: Mexico City is one of the most alive cities in the world. There is so much going on at all times it is hard to keep up with everything. There are a lot of Mexican and international musicians, especially from Latin America living in Mexico City, playing every week and putting out new music all the time. I think it’s one of the most inspiring moments to live in Mexico. Mexicans are very much in tune with what’s going on in the music scene in the world and we connect with a lot of the electronic scene that is popular everywhere, but we also have a strong history of melodrama in both film and music. We still love our romantic and heartbreak songs, no matter the age.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.
About the Author /

Nisreen Al-Basha has zigzagged her way through several majors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before happily coming to rest on Sociology. She is passionate about innovation, design, education, sustainability, business, tech, and of course the intersection of all of these things. She wants to help move the world forward and is happy to meet other people who are trying to do the same. As far as I know she is friendly.

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