When the submission for a slot on August’s JBE Virtual SummitFest came in, the first thought was that when foreign language music goes to radio, it rarely makes a dent in the collective consciousness. But after spending just a short bit of time on Silvana Estrada’s YouTube page, the JBE staff was sold on this vibrant and talented artist from Mexico. The capper was the song destined to be her first official release on Glassnote Records, “Para Siempre (Forever),” a stunning, haunting and heart-wrenching rework of the song from labelmate Chvrches’ 2018 release that loses nothing in the Spanish translation.
“My music is made of who I am,” Estrada, the daughter of two luthiers from Veracruz, claims. Who she is was initially formed by listening to the musicians who came by the family home to try out new instruments and her parents’ musical tastes. “When I wasn’t hearing musicians playing snippets of classical pieces… I was listening to my parents singing traditional Mexican songs or Latin American popular music.”
Estrada’s path from her parents’ home to a career in music was never in doubt, as in her younger years she became fascinated with Jazz, being inspired by Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, only to turn away from English-language songs in her teens in order to find her own voice in her own songs. After meeting Charlie Hunter at a Jazz seminar in Guadalajara, the guitarist suggested they record together, resulting in Lo Sagrado, a collaborative album recorded in her parents’ home. That was followed by a trip to New York where Estrada immersed herself in the city’s music scene, further extending her world view of her art. After returning to Mexico, she continued to build her confidence, repertoire and career, releasing an EP, embarking on a sold-out tour and gathering accolades worldwide, including Spotify choosing her as one of their inaugural 2020 RADAR artists.
As her SummitFest performance showed Triple A, the power of Estrada’s music is the intimacy of her voice. Her vocal expression and range cuts through any language barriers, lifting the heart and soul merely through the emotion conveyed by her power and phrasing.
“I’m making the music that I honestly want to do,” says the artist. “I sing my songs and I feel good. And the miraculous thing is that they make the people who hear them feel good too.”
With the release of “Para Siempre (Forever),” Silvana Estrada finds herself in rotation at WXPN, KXT, KTBG and KAXE, with additional spins on WFUV, 88.5FM/LA, KCRW and more. With the foundation down, the stage is set for the release of her first full-length, Marchita, due soon on Glassnote, where she will prove that music truly is the universal language.