ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Driving through Los Angeles, Ximena Sariñana is en route to her hotel. After a long flight from Mexico City, she’s in the city for a radio interview that will kick off her tour. And she’s finally starting to feel better.
“I’ve been in a rush to get rid of this cold,” she explains. “This is probably one of the worst times to get a cold because the tour is just beginning and I’ve got to be at my best.”
Back in Mexico, Sariñana is a star with a theater, movie and music career. But in the United States she’s a “new” artist who is beginning to make blips on the mainstream radar.
Her first single, “Different” from her album “Ximena,” is on heavy rotation on VH1 and is beginning to hit Top 40 radio formats across the country. She wrote or co-wrote all of her songs on the album.
The song opens with a playful whistle but is really an apology to listeners “about maybe not expressing myself clearly because of my different nationality.”
Sariñana worked on material for her new album over the course of two years, often finding herself rewriting a lot of the tracks.
“I think of albums as Polaroid pictures of who I was at that given moment,” Sariñana says. “All the songs are a bit dark. They capture a sort of general doom that I try to compensate with humor.”
Raised in a creative family – her mother is a screenwriter and her father is a film director and producer – instilled a love of the arts in Sariñana early on.
“I was 4 years old when I started acting,” she says. “I’ve always been on stage and I find myself very comfortable on stage. This tour is going to be my first time headlining and I’m looking forward to showing audiences what I’m all about.”
Sariñana discovered music at a young age. Influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and classical music, she began studying at Mexico’s prestigious Academia de Música Fermatta at age 15.
At 17, she honed her vocal skills during a five-week program at Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music and then began fronting a jazz-funk fusion band called Feliz No Cumpleaños (Happy Un-Birthday), which “made a bit of noise in the underground.”
“All of the work I did back then has helped me get ready for being on my own,” she says.
Despite her successes in Mexico, Sariñana has no expectations when it comes to her English-language debut and looks forward to branching out with new endeavors.
Ximena Sariñana WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 WHERE: Sol at Santa Fe Brewing, 37 Fire Place in Santa Fe HOW MUCH: $12 at www.ticketssantafe.org or 505-988-1234