To those unfamiliar with Mexican singer/actress Ximena Sariñana, it will come as a shock to know that the appearance of such a tiny, unimposing figure such as herself could set a record for a capacity crowd at La Cita in downtown LA. Hundreds of dedicated fans stood in line a full hour before doors were open to the public for her performance at Mucho Wednesday's weekly dance party where she premiered a number of songs from her highly-anticipated sophomore album.
“It's just natural to take a little more time,” she says referring to the three-year gap between her Spanish-language, Grammy-nominated debut album, Mediocre, and her self-titled sophomore release. In a nutshell, she “went from being in Warner Mexico to being in Warner US and trying to do an English record.”
The switch goes beyond simply singing in a different language. Sariñana's new songs sway more towards the pop realm, as evidenced by the layers of drums, bass and synths in “Different,” “The Bid” and “Shine Down,” sounds which were only hinted at on Mediocre.
“It's like starting all over again,” she says of the switch. “It was a difficult decision I was faced with maybe a year or two years ago. I could do another record in Spanish because I have all these open doors for me. Everybody's expecting me to come up with a second record and I could have greater freedom than the first one because of how great it did. Or, I could try breaking into another market, which is going to be really, really hard, where it's not as easy, where people don't know me as much as they know me in Mexico.”
Her performance at Mucho Wednesdays should assuage her fears of breaking into the US market. The crowd welcomed the new songs with the same excitement they had for all their favorite songs off Mediocre such as “Normal,” “Vidas Paralelas,” and “Mediocre.”
Mexican rocker Gustavo Galindo joined Sariñana onstage for a handful of tracks including “Cuento,” from the film Amar Te Duele, and “Wrong Miracle,” a song she wrote with her friend Matt Hales (a.k.a. British musician Aqualung) for his kids. She also performed the only Spanish song on her new album, “Tu y Yo,” which she recorded with Mexican artist Natalia Lafourcade.
The night ended not with an encore but with Sariñana dwarfed in an ocean of people at the merch booth, where she signed autographs and took photos with adoring and grateful fans. Need there be any more proof that she can make it in the US as she did in Mexico?