UMS Artist Spotlight: Jackie Mendoza

Jackie Mendoza by Tayo Okyekan

We had a chance to catch up with Underground Music Showcase artist Jackie Mendoza before this weekends festival to chat about a variety of topics including the growth of Latin music and wha it means to be a Latina artist.

Ultra5280: There has recently been a huge shift in the popularity of Latin music in the United States, what do you think attributes to the success?

Jackie: More Latin artists have been highlighted in the mainstream media and bigger artists have been collaborating with Latin artists too. 


Ultra5280: What are some of the struggles you still see as a Latin artist and what obstacles have you had to overcome to be where you are at today?

Jackie: I think any POC would face similar limitations like stereotyping or lack of visibility. I’m lucky to be able to share my music with people of all cultures and I’m proud to be labeled as a Latin artist but sometimes it feels like it’s tokenized. I’ve also been criticized for singing in Spanish and for “taking advantage of the ‘Latin trend’ ”, but this wouldn’t come into question if they knew my story. 


Ultra5280: Do you see the genre expanding? Why or why not?

Jackie: Yeah! It’s expanding because people from other cultures are incorporating the Spanish language and Latin sounds into their music. It’s cool to see how reggaeton has completely taken over mainstream hip-hop and pop. We also hear a lot more Spanish and even non-Spanish speaking artists are singing in Spanish too. 


 Ultra5280: If you could collaborate with any Latin artist past or present, who would it be and why?

Jackie: I would love to collaborate with Juana Molina. I would learn so much from her and I have a feeling we could make cool and weird music together. She’s mastered the art of looping and I make most of my music from loops and small little hooks. I think our ideas would flow and meet at unexpected points. 


Ultra5280: Where do you see the shift in Latin music in the next five years?

Jackie: I think there will be an even bigger blend of Latin music with other types of genres. 


Ultra5280: You recently signed to Luminelle Records, how has that impacted you and who are some of your influences?

Jackie: Signing to Luminelle felt like the official start of a new stage for my music. Now I have a full team of awesome people supporting me and helping me move forward. I’m really excited to be on a label with artists I admire and love. Anemone and Munya have become influences for me since I joined Luminelle; Munya’s songwriting and Anemone’s energy on stage. 


Ultra5280:  Finally what can Denver expect from Jackie Mendoza next weekend at the Underground Music Showcase?

Jackie: You can expect my silly dance moves, techno beats, a swirly-sounding electric ukulele, and lots of singing :)