Q&A with LA based Latin-American artist Ana Vasquez

Ana Vasquez is a LA based Latin-American artist who just released the video for her single 'My Way'. Ana was raised in a Spanish-speaking household and, to this day, one of her greatest inspirations is the late Mexican-American performer, Selena Quintanilla. We connected with Ana to find out how Selena Quintanilla has influenced her as an artist, how she connected with Sean2 of D.M.B Productions, and much more. 

Carlton Boyd

Tell us about the late Mexican-American performer Selena Quintanilla; how has she influenced you as an artist?

I was 5 years old when Selena passed. I still remember coming home from school and immediately seeing the Breaking News on TV and I was just so devastated. I loved everything about her! Her fashion, her dancing, her personality, and, of course, her music. We were a Spanish-speaking household and she was the "It Girl" of Spanish music.

To this day, I still know almost every single one of her songs. And it was through singing one her songs at home one day, when I was 7 years old, that my dad began to realize I had a voice. I get my singing voice from my father - he has one of THE best ears for pitch I've ever encountered - and that day, he began singing along with me; testing my range and having me try different techniques to hit the notes I was having trouble with. That next weekend, he took me up to our Church Choir and signed me up.

As I got older and I learned more about her story, I connected with her on a different level. She was born in the states and was influenced by very popular American artists at the time, like Donna Summer and Paula Abdul, but she still had to learn to stay connected to her own culture and roots. Even though I was raised listening to Spanish music, once I started school I started discovering popular American music that I still hold dear as well, but I always went back to my Selena songs and a couple other well-known Spanish singers.

It's over 20 years later and her image is even more prominent now than I remember back then! So many of today's new fashion looks are being influenced by her personal style. 
I've always loved her style, so now it's just become even easier to find cute outfits :)

Of all your performances, would you say that one was the most nerve racking? The national anthem at the Los Angeles Staples Center perhaps?

Absolutely! Dead-on. I was 16 years old when I sang the National Anthem at the Staples Center and it was for a Clippers Vs. Suns Game. I'm probably snitching on myself at this point, but I actually even slightly messed the lyrics up that night. I had sung the National Anthem dozens of times at my High School. Practically every single basketball and football game, I was asked to sing. I had to send an audition tape and then get through 2 live audition rounds in front of a panel of judges when I finally won the opportunity to sing at the Staples Center.

I had been practicing non-stop, but by the time I had walked out to mid-court, it felt like I had left my body. I still sang it the way I had always performed it, and, vocally, I nailed it, but it was a complete auto-pilot experience.
It wasn't until after the fact, when I was watching the video my dad had taken, that I realized I had messed up the words and I was so embarrassed. It stayed on my mind for weeks.

Thinking back to it now, I just laugh at myself a little and smile. I sang the National Anthem in the middle of the Staples Center at 16! I'm keeping that one in the books.

How did you connect with Sean2 Miles of D.M.B. Productions? Besides your blazing first two singles, 'Me Quemas' and 'My Way', what can we expect from this collaboration in the future?

Sean2 and I had initially met through some mutual friends who were working on getting some music mastered, but we didn't really get the opportunity to get to know each other. It was all just in passing. It wasn't until about half a year later that my good friend Viktorya, who is also working on some amazing music with Sean2, reached out to me about studio space for a video shoot. I was booking out a studio in Burbank at the time and Sean2 was working with an artist that needed to wrap a music video. I scheduled a shoot for them and once they had wrapped for the day, we finally got a chance to talk. We got on the topic of music and I played him some songs that I had been working on independently. We instantly connected and began running into each other more regularly through different social settings.

Finally, at the end of October of last year, I decided to reach out to him and I told him that I would love the opportunity to start working on some music with him. We set up a meeting for later that week and when we sat down, he asked me, why now? And I answered, that it was just time. I graduated school with a Bachelor's and I've got a steady job, but if I didn't give my passion -  what I've been putting second in my life for the majority of it - an actual shot, I would look back at my life and regret it. And that's the last thing I want.

Sean2 and mine's connection is amazing and we're able to really build off each other's creative energy when we're in the studio. We'll spend a whole day in there together and by the time we're done, we have an amazing track that's pretty much 95% completed. It's insane! And it never feels like a full day because everything is a continuous flow. From the beat, to the writing, to the recording; you would think by just watching us that we had created an outline the night before, but it's always made from scratch and that's what makes it so genuine and great.

We have some AMAZING tracks coming out soon! We love merging a variety of styles, as you can tell with "Me Quemas" and "My Way", so you'll definitely be surprised. We like to keep people on their toes. :)

What do you enjoy most about creating music?

I LOVE the process. Music is what keeps me sane. Before I ever started creating my own, I had songs dedicated to every emotion I was experiencing (I have a lot of emotions lol). I actually wrote my Senior Thesis on modern-day love songs and how they correlated to romantic relationships amongst young people. I've always "felt" songs and so once I dove into writing my own, it was an immediate breath of fresh air. 
When we're in the studio, I'm able to check out of from the rest of the world and channel into individual emotions. Sometimes it's on purpose, and we intentionally bring up an emotion, and other times, the emotion dictates the session from the start.
I love not knowing where I'm going to take my voice for a song or vice versa, where a song is going to take my voice. And once a song is completed, it's an instant sigh of relief. It's like therapy. 
And seeing people's reactions to the songs we make, seeing how they connect to the music is the ultimate cherry on top.

Would you say that the city of Los Angeles influences your music at all?

I'm born and raised in Los Angeles and I've had family live in all different parts. LA is made up of so many different communities and environments, that you can't help but meet all kinds of people and hear all different types of music. 
My musical style is influenced by many different personal experiences and those experiences were directly determined by my surroundings. 
I love LA. I love the freedom, the diversity, the history, the weather, the style; I could go on and on. My entire being is "LA" and if you ask any of my out-of-state friends, or even "out-of-So-Cal" friends, I'm their "little Spanish, LA girl."

I'm not afraid to explore different musical sounds or content because I've just always been surrounded by so much culture. If I can't do it in LA, where else? Culture is art; music is art, and I'm an artist - LA is my blueprint. <3

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