Francisco Victoria, sipping on coffee at a vegan eatery, was ready to talk music on a recent balmy morning in a trendy LA neighborhood. It’s been a year since the Chilean-born pop singer released his first album, Prenda, a collection of commanding pop songs that garnered him more attention than ever thanks to his cool, upbeat love songs.
At 23, the singer/songwriter born Francisco Rojas spoke about the year since the release of Prenda, how it changed his worldview, what it was like to work with indie pop star Alex Anwandter as his producer, and why the new single “Querida Ven” (Dear, Come) is a call to action among the LGBTQ community.
“I felt right releasing ‘Querida Ven’ at this time because so many things have happened since Prenda was released,” Victoria said. “I’ve grown, I’ve seen so many things since then. Going from a small town to a bigger city [such as Santiago], you see and face a lot more.”
More importantly, Victoria says, his latest single, which is part of his new album slated for release in 2020, is also an urgent message of unity among the LGBTQ community to stand more united than ever on LGBTQ issues and beyond in themes such as immigration as the fight for basic human rights remains a priority.
“In Chile, the LGBTQ community is segregated,” Victoria said. “The rich are not with the poor. People fight for things, but it’s difficult to understand why some people fight for things that do not matter.”
Working with Anwandter, also from Chile but now living in LA, was an experience that helped Victoria grow as an artist.
“I learned that you should constantly be thinking about what has not been heard and what you should be saying,” Victoria said, referring to working with Anwandter, who he said is like a brother to him. “He questions everything.”
Musically, Victoria grew up with a mother who was a music teacher and a father who played drums, so having been exposed to iconic songs from decades before he was born was his exposure to a variety of music, even Britney Spears. When it comes to Latin music, one of his favorite bands is Argentina’s Miranda!, so teaming up with Juliana Gattas, whom he calls a good friend, made for the perfect collaboration, he said.
“Music from Miranda! and artists such as [Mexico’s] Julieta Venegas became part of my early life, part of my own soundtrack,” said Victoria, who adds that he is writing and proding the next album by himself. “It’s a major privilege to now be collaborating with Juliana and it’s also a way of having dialog between different generations within the history of Latin music. I feel the responsibility of building something new.”
Gattas’ unmistakable vocals and Victoria’s baritone, almost tenor voice gives “Querida Ven” a musical punch that’s inviting as much as it’s haunting with the opening lyrics, “When I look at the people on this block they go with me and they are dead, they are dead.” It is ultimately a song, Victoria said, with a message about things being horribly wrong and at the same time putting emphasis on that uncertainty and division as a way to encourage hope and united action.
“We need to [continue to] fight,” Victoria said, directing his words at the LGBTQ community and others. “We can do that through music, dancing and speaking out.”
“Querida Ven” will be released on all major music platforms on Friday.