Ana Bárbara, Adriana Rios, Ivonne Galaz and Lupita Infante shared stories behind some of their hits and more during the BMI’s “How I Wrote That Song” panel at Latin Music Week on Tuesday (Sept. 21).
During their lively and oftentimes emotional chat, the regional Mexican acts reflected on the state of their thriving part of the industry, shared the barriers they’ve faced, and how they wrote some of their most memorable songs.
In a genre traditionally dominated by men, women often have to work twice as hard. From icon Ana Bárbara and Pedro Infante’s granddaughter Lupita to newcomers Ivonne Galaz and Adriana Ríos, four women who proudly represent regional Mexican, the women spoke about their challenges, reality and current state of the industry.
Below are takeaways from the “How I Wrote That Song” panel:
On the need to write songs:
Ana Bárbara: “It was my way of expressing myself. I thought, ‘How do I release what I feel?’ I started writing songs without knowing that would become my career. Now I do have more life experiences that inspire me, but it all stems from the same root.”
Ivonne Galaz: “When I wrote my first song based on my life and I realized people connected to the lyrics, it was because I was doing something right. So seeing people connect made me realize, this is for me.”
Biggest challenge for a woman today in regional Mexican:
Ivonne Galaz: “People’s ignorance. A lot of people don’t want to listen to our songs simply because they are ignorant. What they don’t understand is that us women very good at communicating, we’re very direct. So you’ll want to pay attention.”
What topics inspire you nowadays?
Adriana Rios: “Two of my songs that speak on social justice went viral. There’s ‘Dónde Están?’ about the murder of women in Mexico and specifically about a case in Tijuana that I wrote with the family’s permission and it became the song that’s filled me the most.”
Ana Bárbara: “Heartbreak. I can’t help myself”
Ivonne Galaz: “I also get inspired by social justice issues because I think people want to hear songs they can identify with. I rarely write about love or heartbreak. I’m too young. Whenever I do start writing a love song, I never finish it.”
Lupita Infante: “Songs about love. Actually, I just wrote a love song for my 2012 Mazda, which has leather seats. But that’s just my personality.”
On finding your identity:
Ana Bárbara: “Before I was more careful with how I looked and all the details about my outfits because of the culture and the artists I listened to like Los Tigres del Norte, Pedro Infante and Antonio Aguilar. I admired everything macho, the horses, and I wanted to honor that.”
Adriana Rios: “Because I am from the border and grew up in Tijuana, I never saw anyone wear a sombrero (cowboy hat). Although I do respect that style, I wanted to do something different.”
Lupita Infante: “I’m bicultural, Mexican-American, but I feel more Mexican and people criticize me saying, ‘You’re not Mexican.’ But when you grow up knowing that your grandfather is Pedro Infante, finding your identity isn’t easy. I just remember wanting to have that ranchero style that represented our genre. And because I’m in mariachi, there are so many rules with our outfits.”
Ivonne Galaz: “I always wanted to be different and not follow whatever was considered traditional. I don’t like that. I used to listen to Chavela Vargas and other artists that have different styles and weren’t afraid to reveal their true selves. You always have to be yourself.”
The star-studded 2021 Latin Music Week lineup – headlined by Daddy Yankee, Karol G and Nicky Jam – also includes participation by Anitta, Elena Rose, Natti Natasha, Jhay Cortez, Kany Garcia and Tainy.
Under the slogan “The Beat of Latin Music,” making its mark as the longest running and biggest Latin music industry gathering in the world, this year’s event will continue through the end of the week as Billboard launches its En Vivo concert series in partnership with Samsung, Amazon Music and Bacardi.
The 2021 Latin Music Week takes place form Sept. 20 to 25 at the Faena Forum in Miami, and coincides with the 2021 Billboard Latin Music Awards broadcasting live via Telemundo on Sept. 23. See the list of our finalists here.