Erika Vidrio, the most recorded female songwriter in the male-dominated regional Mexican genre, has felt creatively liberated since she came out more than a decade ago. “It had a very positive impact,” she tells Billboard. “I write with more freedom, although creativity has no gender or labels.”
But even then, Vidrio — who got first “big break” in 2008 when Conjunto Primavera recorded her song “Sentí” and has since been recorded by a myriad of chart-topping artists such as Christian Nodal and Banda La Trakalosa — is still at odds with an often machista environment the genre has embraced.
“It’s like they’re saying, ‘I accept you but don’t talk about the topic,’ even when the gay community is an avid consumer of regional Mexican music,” she adds.
In honor of Pride Month, Vidrio opened up to Billboard about her LGBTQ+ idols and why it’s important to teach her kids that love always wins.
How did the decision to come out impact your art?
It had a very positive impact. I write with more freedom, although creativity has no gender or labels. It’s an incentive for people to understand who inspires you and what moves your heart.
Did you have an LGBTQ+ idol growing up?
Since I was a teenager, I admired the strength and how defiant Chavela Vargas was in our society. I’ve loved Juan Gabriel since I was a little girl. As a songwriter, Chavela was one of my biggest inspirations, but even more as a person. I loved her freedom on and off the stage. Actually, neither of them ever gave up their essence in order to “fit in.”
Would you say the industry is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community compared to when you first started your career?
In general, I think there is more acceptance and there are more spaces to talk about this topic in order to generate more empathy. But in a genre like regional Mexican, which is the genre I work in for more than 15 years, there still exist prejudices. It’s like they’re saying, “I accept you but don’t talk about the topic,” even when the gay community is an avid consumer of regional Mexican music.
What would you say to new artists who are unsure about coming out?
Coming out of the closet is a very personal decision. Every story is different, but I feel that an artist should never be scared of showing their true essence.
Any up-and-coming LGBTQ+ artist you’re excited about?
Pablo Alborán, Vanessa Martin and Georgel.
This year, I’m celebrating Pride because…
I’m celebrating it for my kids. So they understand that defending love doesn’t hurt anyone and that, on the other hand, hate hurts everyone.