Silvana Estrada: the singer-songwriter who follows in the wake of Chavela Vargas

Silvana Estrada: the singer-songwriter who follows in the wake of Chavela Vargas

Silvana smiles after sleeping for a few days. In the last month he has traveled between Mexico and Spain, and has also had to hold long press days to promote his latest single, Withered. He assures, yes, that little by little he has been getting used to the rhythm that his career has acquired: “We are all learning to generate moments of rest within this maelstrom of work that is to launch an album, maintain those spaces to eat well, sleep Well, to be with the family ”, says the singer-songwriter in conversation with Culto.

The destiny of the native of Coatepec, Veracruz, was traced from her childhood. He was born into a home where music reigned: his parents were orchestral players. It was her passion for literature, melodies and the need to bring out emotions that led her to become a singer-songwriter. “When I discovered the universe of songs, which was this place where I could mix my two passions, the freedom of music and words, I could really express what I wanted to say and decipher myself,” she says from her home in Mexico City.

Already as a jazz student at the Universidad Veracruzana in 2016, life made him run into a workshop with the American jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter – known for working alongside artists such as John Mayer, Frank Ocean and Norah Jones-. “Hey, we should make a record,” Hunter told Estrada. And so the first journey began: at the age of 19, he set out to record his first LP, entitled The sacred.

After the project -where he shared responsibility with Hunter- the training of artistic creation prevailed and he left the university. He left for New York to record his EP First songs (2018). While there he found out that The sacred it was desecrated by an outsider to the production and had leaked into networks. After months of availability, it was downloaded and the album was officially released in 2020.

Despite the difficulties in those early years, Estrada’s career grew and attracted the attention of the media, so much so that El País called her the definitive granddaughter of Chavela Vargas. She has also been recognized by her compatriots Julieta Venegas and Natalia Lafourcade, with whom she has forged a friendship: the tradition of her country’s roots has determined a personal and creative complicity.

Among the latest works that Silvana Estrada has presented is Withered, the single that highlights how his third studio album will be. It is a song that nails in its lyrics the reproaches of heartbreak after a break.

How was the creative process with which you were born Withered?

Withered it’s part of a series of songs that are on my new album and that were really part of a process where I got out of a relationship. A little grief. It was like this space where I took the time to investigate my feelings, to look within. At the same time, it has a bit of the humor of Mexican music, like the pride of “I would have known, I would not have written anything to you, nor would I have kissed you.” For that it was important, within this inner exploratory universe, to search in my Mexicanness and in that Mexicanness I found authors such as José Alfredo Jimenez, Agustín Lara, Alvaro Carrillo.

One way he has used to present himself is as “an old soul.” Where does this label come from?

I say that I am an old soul for several things. I think the first is the music I listen to. It is music of people who are no longer alive. For example, I hear a lot from Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Violeta Parra, Mercedes Sosa, Soledad Bravo. I really like old voices. And I read things too. Like I have an eagerness, not really for antiquity or old age, but for the timeless.

Apart from Violeta Parra, do you have any other special relationship with Chilean artists?

I have several people that I love from Chile, some current and others not. I love Vicente Huidobro. I love him, I love Violeta Parra, I love Nicanor Parra. And of musicians that you are listening to, and in fact you are in Mexico, Benjamin Walker. He is a very dear friend. I respect his work a lot, I really like how he sings, how he composes. I feel that in Chile there is a very beautiful way of expressing oneself. The same Mon right?

Could we see any Chilean-Mexican collaboration with any of them?

I think so, I think soon. With Benjamin there is a plan out there.

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Silvana Estrada: the singer-songwriter who follows in the wake of Chavela Vargas