Throughout her nearly two-decade long career, the alternative upstart -- who identifies as lesbian -- has always stayed true to herself and her identity, using female gender pronouns on many of her tracks as well as tapping an all-female team for many of her tours -- a response, she says, to the hypermasculine landscape of the music industry's live sector in particular.
For this week's #TBT Mixtape, Javiera Mena put together a Pride-themed playlist that speaks to the artists who inspired her fierce commitment to identity and visibility in her work, as well as a greater activism in LGBTQ communities around the world.
“I have included in this playlist artists that are making changes in the LGBT community,” she tells Billboard of the set, which includes tracks by La Prohibida, Mula, Cariño, Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys and more. “There is still a lot to do, specially in Latin America, and having a voice to the public, it’s our obligation to continue fighting for our rights and make it visible.”
Give the playlist a spin and also check out the artist’s track-by-track reflections on each song (and a few throwback snaps) below.
Javiera Mena, "Mujer contra Mujer"
“Recently I have made this cover of Mecano’s '80s song, a classic that has been always on my mind, the first song that talks about a love between two women. It was even forbidden in some countries when it was released. This song is still current today."
Ibiza Pareo, "Árido espejismo
“Argentinian Lesbian warriors.”
Pet Shop Boys, "The Pop Kids"
“Pet Shop Boys are one of my favourite bands and an inspiration to me.”
La Prohibida, "Ruido"
“I love her Italo disco sounds, I have had the opportunity to colaborate with her, and she is the Queen.”
“Puerto Rico lesbian warriors.”
Esteman & Javiera Mena, "Amor Libre"
“Esteman, Colombian singer, invited me to join this song -- a track with a powerful message about not having barriers to love.”
Kylie Minogue, "I Believe in You"
“Our disco gay queen.”
“Their lyrics are very fresh. I love the way they express bisexuality in this song -- they talk about it and normalize it.”
Javiera Mena, "Espada"
“I love when people say my song ‘Espada’ is a gay anthem. I use to listen to this song every year in Pride parties as Orgullo Madrid and CDMX, it makes me feel very happy and proud.”
Fangoria, "A Quién Le Importa"
“It’s known that this song it’s a big anthem for our community. The original version was in 1986 (Alaska y Dinarama). The lyric refers to freedom and individual independence. In 2017, it was elected as the World Pride Madrid anthem, and I was invited to collaborate with other artists as Chenoa, Marta Sanchez, and many more."