Bienvenido a la Artist Spotlight of Francisca Valenzuela, American-born Chilean Singer/ songwriter multi-instumentalist, model, fashion designer and published poet at the age of 12
So, fairly accomplished. Also entertaining as heck. How much fun is this?
Quiero Verte Mas, from her second album Buen Soldado there, but I’ll go back a bit and start at the beginning. Born in San Fransisco, Valenzuela’s family returned to Chile when she was 12, (after her first collection of poems, ‘Defenseless Waters’, was published.)
She had studied the piano and guitar since childhood and at 17 travelled to the Berkeley college in Boston for an intensive jazz program. On returning to Chile she began playing in bars and clubs performing in English. She said that at the time “…it was like ‘Why are you singing in English?’ then , when I sang in Spanish they would say ‘come on, you’re also Gringa, sing in English!”
It was a Spanish language song Peces that was her big break. She had pressed copies of it herself and it found it’s way on to Chilean radio, eventually making Rolling Stone Chile’s best 100 songs of 2006.
That success got her a record deal and her first official single Dulce reached number 2 in the Chilean charts. In turn, that brought her to the attention of Julieta Venegas, who hired her as her support act in May 2007, nicely building buzz for the release of Valenzuela’s debut album Muerdete La Lengua in June of that year. Murduete La Lengua (loosely ‘Bite Your Tongue’) let’s you know what Fiona Apple would sound like in Spanish, it’s very, very influenced by Apple to the point of almost being an homage.* By 2008 the LP had gone gold and she had toured across south and central America with a stop off in Los Angeles for good measure.
In 2009 she kept busy with a couple of tracks on compilation albums and two collaborations with Chilean rapper Bitman including this one which was released as a single.
Valenzuela released her aforementioned sophomore album in 2011 , going platinum in her home country and again making gradual international inroads such as playing SXSW. This was a much more assured album where she found her own style. There’s more of a latin feel to it , as opposed to the more US influenced earlier work.
After finishing promotional duties for Buen Soldado. she took some time off music to both model and design for a Chilean clothing store
For the release of her third album Tajo Abierto she started her own label ‘Frantastic Records’ and went for more a push internationally, touring Europe for the first time and releasing the English language single Almost Superstars in Spain.
Tajo Abierto is interesting because it’s stylistically all over the shop. I like that, it’s more interesting to me to see a performer just go “Yeah, I want to do a disco song today” it means they’re worth keeping an eye on. I’d rather have the occasional one I don’t like in exchange for the occasional home run rather than 10 “sounds like them” songs. It means she’s still got potential to surprise and I look forward to seeing where she goes from here. Hopefully you enjoyed some of her stuff as well.
*Thanks to Poopculture for pointing out the Fiona Apple thing. Up untill last night I hadn’t heard her.a