October 4, 2017
Victoria “La Mala” is an emerging recording artist and songwriter in Mexican banda music who is shaking up the genre with her brash style and unconventional image. “La Mala” (which translates to “the bad girl”) is a strong woman in a male-dominated genre.
She began to make a name for herself on the Mexican talent show “Duetos,” then recorded the Olga Tanon hit, “Ahora Soy Mala.” The song gained widespread popularity, and in 2014 she recorded her debut album, Mala. The following year, Billboard named her one of its “Latin Artists to Watch.” In 2016, she dropped “Vete Mucho,” and she’s been off and running ever since.
We caught up with Victoria recently to talk about her career, her role in regional Mexican music and her thoughts on the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month.
SoundExchange: You are a regional Mexican artist. Regional Mexican music is dominated by men. As a woman in a male-dominated genre, do you feel you have a new perspective to provide and an opportunity to give women a voice?
Victoria: I definitely believe that we are living during a time in society when women are demanding that our rights be respected and our voices heard. And these demands are being reflected in our music. I personally love to empower women through my music and tell stories that women can relate to, since we have such a different perspective from men.
Victoria: “La Mala” means “The Bad Girl” in Spanish. In a way, it was the fans who gave me the name “La Mala.” When my first single “Ahora Soy Mala” came out, people started calling-in to the radio stations requesting “La Mala’s song.” Then they started calling me “Mala” on social media, so I decided to adopt the moniker and turn a phrase that is usually associated with negativity into a phrase that describes a bad ass, strong, and independent woman.
SoundExchange: You’re working on your debut album. How would you describe the album musically? Are you sticking to your regional Mexican music roots or trying something different?
Victoria: I have always said if Selena and 2Pac had a child, it would be me. I grew up in Mexico City, but my parents are from Jalisco and Sinaloa where Regional Mexican music is not only listened to on the radio, but played live at every family party. So, Mexican music has always had a special place in my heart; it’s what I grew up listening to at home. But I also spent my summer and winter breaks from school in Los Angeles where my mom’s family has lived for over 40 years. While in LA, I’d to listen to more urban music–R ‘n’ B and hip-hop– with my aunts. So, in this album you’ll see both sides of me—a fusion of traditional Mexican and urban sounds.
SoundExchange: How long have you been writing music, and where did you get your love of music?
Victoria: I’m a young songwriter. I always loved to sing and perform since I was a child, but I just started writing a few years ago. I definitely got my love of music from my family. My mom sings and many members of my extended family are musicians. So, there were always artists, musicians, and songwriters who would perform live music at our family parties. Sometimes they’d perform an acoustic set and other times there’d be a complete Mexican banda or mariachi!
SoundExchange: We’re in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, so tell us – how important is your heritage to your music and your career?
Victoria: It’s extremely important to me that I represent my culture and where I come from and show the world how amazing it is! I love the live instruments and passion of Regional Mexican music!