Today we’d like to introduce you to Maricela Martinez.
Maricela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Hola, first of all I want to thank you for your interest in Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas and me. I was only 16 years old when I decided to drop my college classes back in Guadalajara, Jalisco. My father agreed with the only condition of me joining the Universidad de Guadalajara Music Department. He, with all of his musical talent, knew I had a musical talent already in my blood. So, I joined the University. I asked my father to teach me how to play the trumpet. I remember his face full of excitement. He was my full time teacher along with my Classical Trumpet teacher, and Crecencio Hernandez (a very well-known trumpet player in the mariachi world). Soon after, I found myself in love with this career and started working with my dad. To me, Mariachi was a man’s thing until one day my dad took me to a Mariachi Concert where Mariachi Perlitas Tapatias performed along very famous mariachis. That day was an eye opening experience for my sister and me. To me, it was very easy to learn “Polkas” and “Sones” (Mariachi Style Music). So without knowing, I was already in the business with my dad. I used to help with the clients’ inquiries and bookings. That helped me to gain knowledge to deal with potential clients and coworkers.
Years later, I emigrated to “Gringolandia” looking for opportunities and a “better life”. I started working and something in my heart told me “the American Dream” was the dream I wanted to live. As a musician is kind of easy to find work. Trumpet players are always needed in this genre. I was one of them so many groups invited me to gig around Los Angeles. I feel everyone loved my work, I used to sing and play and not everyone does that. I was invited to join Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, then Mariachi Mujer 2000, and Mariachi Divas before I had the great idea of forming a new aggrupation.
Working with males was always amazing, I always learned something new. BUT, I often found out that my fellow MALE coworkers would get better pay than I. I would play and sing my heart out and work as hard as them. So, opportunity knocked on my door and I took the challenge. I wanted to have a group with a wide repertory, great talent to play and sing, at a very affordable price so my “paisanos” could have the opportunity to listen to an All-Female Mariachi. Also, wanted my girls to get better pay, play as a team, and support one another.
Also, learning the language help immensely to get more work and opportunities like this interview. I’m very proud of my accomplishments and my Mariachi’s accomplishments, too.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Well, my dad always had my back. He thought me all the essentials to survive in this “Mariachi Culture Jungle”. It has been easy in the way that I have little trouble learning music and learning how to do business. We, as a woman, experience so much machismo and inequality in the Mariachi Culture. I perceived, back in my town, people denigrating mariachis in general. Being a woman is even harder. It was here in the “Gabacho” where I really started appreciating, valuing, and be proud of who I am and my roots. I’ve been very blessed to have a Mariachi dad, Mariachi brother, a Mariachi Sister, and a mother who believe in me and support me.
Many clients love our music and admire ladies who are really playing and singing NOT LIKE MAN, BUT LIKE GIRLS! Machismo is part of our Mexican Cultures, it has affected us a little but I/we have gained so much love and respect not only from clients but from fellow musicians. No, it hasn’t been easy but I really feel we’ve already passed the hardest part of being musicians such as finding our own identity as a group and as individuals.
Most of us have a huge challenge. That is being a mom! I started Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas the same month I got married. I tried to keep working as much as I could after giving birth because postpartum and depression hit me hard for years. My Mariachi gigs kept me alive and strong. Then, the children start growing and it gets only harder. I spend my free days answering calls, texts, and emails from clients while cooking, washing, and helping my three children with homework. Keeping track of booking jobs, school events, and doctor’s appointments has really been a tough challenge. I am the CEO, the secretary, the driver, the boss, supervisor, organizer, singer, and trumpet player. But, I am not complaining. Even though isn’t easy, I love being the boss, I love my job.
I am very humble to not only represent all of us women in general but also to represent this beautiful Musical Genre dominated by man at his fullest female expression. I truly believe the importance of passing The Mariachi Culture to younger Mexican and NON-Mexican generations.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business is part of the music and arts entertainment field. We perform form concerts to birthday parties, form Weddings to Funerals. We do all kinds of events. We offer a great quality of music, wide repertory, and beautiful voices. All of my girls sing and play. I’m very proud of them. They have a unique voice and style. I’m proud I have a great team, of being one of the few female groups in LA, and of being a Mexican immigrant doing business in the US creating jobs for my people. I’m very humble and honor to be a Mariachi Stuart to pass down the music to younger generations and cultures who have never seen an All-Female Mariachi. I’m proud of my Mexican culture, traditions. I’m proud to represent Mexico, it’s “Mujeres”, and its music.
We love seeing our clients enjoying our music.
What were you like growing up?
I always listen my dad practicing new songs with his trumpet. He would replay those songs over and over. That made me memorized lyrics and he would ask me to sing everywhere we’d go. I was always different, daring, and inquisitive. I was one of the best in all of my classes. A’s and 10’s from kinder to college. I recall myself always laughing, a very happy girl. Smart, intelligent, a leader of my classes, a visionary. I grew up wanting to be a Lawyer. Thank God, I found my real passion in life. It was right in front of me. My father, Martin Velazquez, gave me the most precious gift of life. My love for the arts and music. My passion and respect for MARIACHI!
Maricela Martinez / Nancy Muñoz