Ximena Sariñana's 'Be Free' Approach Sparked the Making of Her New Album 'Dónde Bailarán Las Niñas'

Ximena Sariñana
Courtesy of Warner Latin

Ximena Sariñana

It started off as a joke, Ximena Sariñana said, referring to the title of her first album in five years.

Then the Mexican pop singer realized that ¿Dónde Bailarán Las Niñas? (Where Will the Girls Dance?) made sense by the time she was done with the album, featuring 11 tracks of bright, introspective songs about life's moments, big and small.

"The album's title is a very important name for Mexican pop music," Sariñana said. "There's the Maná song and Molotov had their version as well. I guess mine was the girl version of the title and it made more sense as the album was completed."

In essence, the Latin Grammy-nominated singer said, the project's title refers to a symbolic soundtrack rooted in place and time where "girls are dancing and dancing freely and being okay with whatever happens."

It is that freedom, the Guadalajara-born singer said, that also parallels her own life as a woman with a career, married with child and, like many others, she balances life as best as possible. Much of that theme emerged in the making of the Latin pop album, which includes producer/songwriter team-ups with Colombia's Juan Pablo Vega, Icon Music and "Despacito" producing team Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo.

She calls Vega the "perfect teammate" since they had known each other for years, but even though the other collaborators have major reputations as seasoned producers, she wasn't sure if everyone’s styles would be a match.

Off Sariñana went to Medillín, where she had an intensive four days with Icon Music, creating a new song each day and ultimately calling the experience "very natural and we were in tune with each other."

In Los Angeles, where she grew up in addition to Mexico, Sariñana capped off work with Torres and Rengifo, resulting in the catchy "Si Tú Te Vas," in addition to the ballad "Cobarde" by the producing/songwriting duo who understood her style, vibe and voice.

The new album is eclectic, very rhythmic, and the lyrics have colloquial nuances, Sariñana said. Other voices on the album include Girl Ultra and Francisca Valenzuela in the tracks "No Sé" and "Pueblo Abandonado," respectively.

"As women, we have tended to feel like outsiders in the industry because most of the people that we have worked with throughout our careers are men, but that's definitely changing," said Sariñana. "There are a lot more female solo artists in charge of their careers, calling the shots, writing more music, producing and being captains of their own ships. This is the most comfortable that I've been working on an album."

The self-exploration as part of the musical journey also touched on a personal crusade, the singer said, as she embraced growing artistically, anchored by a newfound confidence as she let loose and enjoyed the process.

As the daughter of the director and screenwriting couple Fernando Sariñana and Carolina Rivera, the singer has appeared in several films, including Todo el Poder and Amar te Duele, in addition to roles on TV. Her focus, however, shifted to music.

After attending Mexico City’s Academica de Música Fermatta and Berkelee School of Music in Boston, Sariñana, through Warner Music, released  three albums, including Mediocre in 2008, garnering her two Latin Grammy Awards. Her self-titled English-language album followed in 2012 and No Todo lo Puedes Dar was released in 2014.

Although Sariñana prefers to focus on music today, it is in her music videos where she gets to use her acting chops and doesn't rule out doing more theatrical work in the future, when the right opportunity comes along, she said.

"When you are honest with who you are, it makes you more unique," Sariñana said. "I hope people can listen to my music and see that this girl was being honest and making my own path."