Spanish singer Natalia Jimenez is about to celebrate her 20 years of career and part of her success is thanks to one country, Mexico. And, because its people and culture deeply touched her soul, Natalia Jimenez is now giving them back a tribute album called Mexico De Mi Corazón (Mexico of My Heart).
“When I first got there, I always fell in love with Mexican music and Mariachi music and then with the traditions and in the end I ended up feeling more Mexican than Spanish,” Jimenez tells Billboard. “I had been planning the album for many years and I hadn’t done it because, I don’t know, I hadn’t dared, I didn’t know if maybe my fans are going to take it as something weird.”
Mexico De Mi Corazón is Natalia’s first album after Homenaje a La Gran Señora (in honor of Jenni Rivera). It includes 15 songs, 14 of which go with Mariachi and one in banda, all recorded with live audiences. The album/DVD has a list of collaborations that include Pedro Fernández, Carlos Rivera, Paquita La del Barrio, El Bebeto and Banda MS.
“What I learned in this album, above all, is that you don’t make dreams wait long. The process of choosing the was simply because many of them are songs that I like, that I have already sung,” she says.
Below, Jimenez chooses her top five songs from Mexico de Mi Corazón.
“El Color De Tus Ojos”
This is a hit Banda MS hit, and when we were looking for the catalog of the songs to see what we were including in the album, we decided to add banda music. Banda MS had never done a duet, then we said, “Well, maybe they will say no, because they have never sung with anyone.” Then we called them and they said yes! Icouldn’t believe it. I had never sung banda before, and having MS…I was delighted and I am sure that I will do more band [collaborations] in the future. We have some things planned for the future with MS, too.
“Te Lo Pido Por Favor”
“Te Lo Pido Por Favor” (“I Ask You to Please”) it is a song that I love. I chose it because that is the song that I sang to the Virgin of Guadalupe [at the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City]. I felt that being there that night, many good things would come to me, and it was as if through the song [I was able] to thank Guadalupe for the miracle. We did it with Bebeto because he is one of the rising Mariachi singers — he is super young and doing very well. I did not know him; I had only heard his music, but never met him. He did an excellent job with the song, everything was beautiful. He is a very nice guy, too.
I included “Algo Más” because Armando Avila, my producer and I always talked about that one day we had to hear these songs of ours in Mariachi. We made the arrangement — that song should have [been] in the Mariachi style from day one.
“Juro Que Nunca Volveré”
If we are going to sing with Paquita la del Barrio, we have to look for a song that totally tears and cuts your veins, and we found “Juro Que Nunca Volveré,” which for a long time we had not heard re-recorded, or versioned, or anything. The lyrics are great and I love it because it is a message that Paquita feels. When we recorded the song, it was very funny because I left the first verse — which is the most heartbreaking — to her. Obviously, I’m not going to sing it better than Paquita!
“Ya Lo Sé Que Tú Te Vas”
We were looking for who we could do the duet with. Immediately, I thought of Pedro Fernández, because he has a very high tediousness and sings incredibly, and what is a Mariachi album without Pedro Fernández? We called him, and he was excited. Back when we were at La Voz Kids, I told him, “One day I’m going to make a mariachi record and you’re going to be there,” and he told me, “I’ll be there.” And look, there it is.