With Women’s History Month coming to an end, Billboard Latin editors compiled a set of answers to questions meant to honor the female artists, songs, and albums — as well as some personal female heroes in their own lives — that have defined who they are today. Read our responses below:
What woman has inspired you in your career and why?
LEILA COBO: My mother is poise and grace under pressure; my paternal grandmother was grit, work ethic, and the drilling of power of education. All these traits define (I think!) who I am in my career, and they also define my sister. She is a world-renown surgeon, and her work –which of course has life and death implications– reminds me to strive to be humble and to never stop learning.
INGRID FAJARDO: My mother has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I grew up in Guatemala, where the music industry wasn’t significant, and our only connection to artists was through meet-and-greets at their concerts. My mom was always there, taking me to all the shows of my favorite artists — and of course, buying me all the CDs that I wanted, even though she didn’t approve of the lyrics! LOL.
GRISELDA FLORES: I come from a family of women, so I give credit to the women who raised me for inspiring my every move. My mother, along with my three older sisters, raised me. My amá was the sole provider in our house — so early on, I learned about the importance of hard work, to being independent. My mom isn’t a journalist, but she has inspired me in ways no other journalist can. She’s inspired me to work relentlessly, to be a profound thinker, to work with pride and humility, and never be complacent. We’re each other’s biggest fans and supporters.
JESSICA ROIZ: The reason I am such a big music junkie, and ultimately ended with a career in this field, is because of my mother — who not only instilled in me my love for my Nicaraguan roots, but also for Latin music. Her love for music derives from her father (my grandfather), who was a well-known musician in Nicaragua. Because of my mom, I discovered the mariachi of Juan Gabriel, the vibrant sounds of Grupo Garibaldi, and the romanticism of Julio Iglesias, among many other artists. Because of her, I know how to dance, and always return to music when I need to unwind and relax. She has the most encyclopedic knowledge of music, and without a doubt served as my first school. I must add, she also LOVES to write and tell stories. So, there’s that.
What song by a Latina artist always makes you feel powerful?
LEILA COBO: Gloria Trevi’s “Pelo Suelto.”
INGRID FAJARDO: Gloria Trevi’s “En Medio de la Tempestad.”
GRISELDA FLORES: Paulina Rubio’s “Yo No Soy Esa Mujer.”
What album by a female artist made an impact on your life?
LEILA COBO: Shakira’s Pies Descalzos was the first album by a Latin female artist that really spoke to who I was and that I truly related to.
INGRID FAJARDO: The first cassette I’ve ever owned was Gloria Trevi’s Me Siento Tan Sola. This album not only converted me into Trevi’s youngest fan, but is also a soundtrack to my childhood. I clearly remember going into my brother’s room to use his cassette player and closing the door to sing and dance for hours trying to copy her fun way of dancing every Sunday on “Siempre En Domingo.”
GRISELDA FLORES: I’ve been a fan of Natalia Lafourcade since day one, when she released her debut album in 2000. At 10 years old, I would listen to her songs on repeat thinking, “She gets me.” I had a crush on Gael García Bernal so her lyrics “no tengo un hombre ni a Gael Garcia me siento tan vacía…” really hit me, and I would sing that part a todo pulmón. But when she released Hasta La Raíz in 2015, it rocked my world. Natalia’s lyrics reflected maturity. She had matured and so had I. The songs narrated a woman who had allowed herself to be vulnerable, fall in love and out of love, embrace heartbreak and the lessons learned — and, ultimately, she had found herself.
JESSICA ROIZ: Selena’s 1993 set Live Selena, the album that earned Selena y Los Dinos their first-ever Grammy win. I remember not only listening to this album from top to bottom and recreating a concert in my living room, but constantly reading the CD’s booklet to learn all of the lyrics. Seven-year-old Jess was constantly in her feels singing to “Que Creias,” “No Debes Jugar,” and many more.
Which female artist will always unite you and your mom?
GRISELDA FLORES: Lupita D’Alessio, hands down. Lupita is like our alter ego. Her music makes us feel confident, brave, and like we can conquer the world.
JESSICA ROIZ: Without a doubt, Selena Quintanilla. We always saw Selena as part of our family — an older daughter, an older sister. Beyond her music, which we still sing con toda pasion, it was her aura, personality, and humility that really connected with us. My mother was the first person to break the news to me that our favorite artist had passed away, and until this day, has remained an emotional memory for the two of us to share.
Which Latina artist do you admire and why?
INGRID FAJARDO: My top favorite is Karol G; I have connected with her music since releasing the Unstoppable album. I love and admire everything she has conquered. As a hard-working Latina focused on her dreams, she represents me. She is unapologetic and authentic to herself, and of course, every anthem she has gifted us is always on repeat on my playlists.
What advice would you give young Latina artists or executives?
LEILA COBO: Find something you’re passionate about, and work relentlessly to be the best you possibly can be at it. Passion leads to success.
JESSICA ROIZ: No matter how many doors close, learn how to turn your struggles into opportunities, and create your own pathway. Open your own doors. And I agree with Leila, be passionate! The music and journalism industry, just as any other, can be very competitive but I think that hustling, passion, and being authentic are huge factors of success.
What new female artist are you currently listening to and why?
GRISELDA FLORES: I am mesmerized by Silvana Estrada’s artistry. Her lyrics, her melodies… she oozes pain, heartbreak, and melancholy, creating vivid imagery via poetic lyrics.
JESSICA ROIZ: Bad Milk. I first heard of her in 2021 when her single “Ego” popped up on my Spotify, and I’ve been hooked since. She’s an upcoming artist from Colombia who was discovered and taken under the wings of Ovy on the Drums. What I love most about her are her honeyed-soulful voice and deep lyrics that come in Spanglish! Her music, helmed by the Latin hitmaker himself, is a mix of R&B and sultry urban beats. She’s very refreshing.
I’m also digging Yahritza y Su Esencia, a family-led musical group helmed by 15-year-old Yahritza Martinez and her two brothers. I’m obsessed with their debut single “Soy El Unico” and can’t wait to see what the future holds for these talented kids. I’m pretty sure they’ll make music history.