In our musical tour, we have interviewed great artists around the world. Our latest artist to be interviewed is Leticia Rodriguez who is promoting her new album “La Americana”. We invited her and she accepted pur invitation. The rest is for the public to read and enjoy.
1. What inspired you to record La Americana?
There are over a dozen LPs in my safekeeping, recorded between the early 1930s-1950s of my tía, Eva Garza, and if you heard her voice, or the music of these composers or compositions, gathered over time, you too would be inspired to share this music. The words are poetic, the musical compositions are lyrical and rhythmic and Eva had a phenomenal voice. I consider it an honor and responsibility to share the legacy of great music with others, especially younger audiences
2. How long did it take you to record La Americana?
La Americana was recorded over a span of eight months,
pre-production took about a year. As it turns out, it was to my advantage to have this done over time. The album got better and better each time we re-entered the studio.
3. Will you be doing any tours concerning La Americana?
For the time being, I will be in Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston, promoting the CD. I am currently putting together tours outside Texas for 2013. I plan to tour both West Coast and East Coast, and then set my sights outside the United States after that.
4. What inspired you to decide to become a singer songwriter?
I am not a songwriter. I am an entertainer. I perform music, dance, film and theatre. I’ve also directed, produced and parented. (Parenting being the hardest.) When I begin songwriting, I’ll let you know. I never say, never.
I began singing, because I felt a calling. I had also sung with my family, when a child, and felt comfortable with the transition.
5. Who were your musical idols and how were you able to use their
music to form a style of your own?
My family were my idols growing up; my Tía Eva, my brothers, David and Philip Rodriguez, even my cousin, Felipe Gil (son of Eva Garza, in Mexico). I was also influenced by countless other female singers, all eclectic; Grace Jones, Joanie Mitchell, Mary O’Hara, Celia Cruz,
Omara Portuondo, Vicki Carr… This list is endless, but forming my own vocal style comes with doing the practice. It is still developing.
6. While there are US Latins who say that Spanish and English are
their first language. There are US Latins who say English is their
first language while others say Spanish is their first language. How
were you able to remain true to the Latin culture which is part of the
US Fabric in spite of the obstacles placed by the ruling cultural
elite of the day?
English is a language of commerce, Spanish the language of love. I prefer to love, rather than engage in trade. As for the rest, it is a daily struggle for me to confront the conflicts existing in society and amongst Latinos regarding identity and cultural challenges. I think it best to be open minded, and embrace all cultures.
I live in a predominantly white neighborhood, and once years ago, in a local interview, I told the reporter my job was to provide color for the neighborhood. While there is an acceptance of color today that wasn’t there before, we also have the Tea Party. There is always work to be done.
7. You have done theater productions such as Leonard Bernstein’s “West
Side Story”. How was it like doing West Side Story?
Like any teenager, it was a dream come true to play Maria in high school. Many years later, I reflected more on the portrayals of Puerto Ricans and Anglo-Americans in this play. They are stereotypes of an era, and meant for entertainment, it exaggerates and misrepresents at times both cultures. I try to look at the positive; Leonard Bernstein brought his version of Latin music to a mainstream public in the 1950’s, and opened up ears and eyes to the beauty of Latin rhythm. Today, representations of Latinos in theatre and music are moving along with greater authenticity.
8. You were the founder and director of Performance Encounters. What
is Performance Encounters and what was your experience directing it.
Performance Encounters was a theatre company that created plays about relevant cultural and social issues. The work often explored cultural identity issues amongst Latinos, but was not limited to this. I loved my job as Founder and Director.
I am currently discussing the reopening of my play, “Canciones For Generations,” in Oct 2013. So, in certain ways, I’m still involved in the company’s former works.
9. What is your message to the world including its youth?
Do what you love, and love what you do. Think not just outside the box, but outside of yourself. This world needs caring; do what you can, then do some more, but never take yourself too seriously. Laughter makes the world go round.
Thank you Ms. Leticia Rodriguez for your accepting our invitation to be interviewed. For my readers, I recommend La Americana for your CD Collection. It is great and down to earth music.