Jackie Mendoza's Galaxia de Emociones - Out Now!

With her hypnotizing voice and vivid lyricism, Jackie Mendoza makes fantastical, intimate electro-pop propelled by ukulele-based dance grooves. Having grown up between her birthplace of Chula Vista, California and Tijuana, Mexico, the 29-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist bridges these two worlds with dynamic soundscapes that pull from Latin pop, electronic music, and indie pop. She creates a musical universe that exists beyond strict borders of genre and geography, giving her the space to traverse the vast expanse of her interiority.

Mendoza first started performing in 2014 as the vocalist for Brooklyn dream pop bands Gingerlys and Lunarette. She then broke out as a solo artist with her 2016 pop hits “Islands” and “La Luz,” which showcased her imagery-packed, yet deeply introspective lyrics. On LuvHz, her 2019 adventurous debut EP that was initially inspired by a painful breakup, she turned her personal experiences into songs that observe greater truths about the world around her. As a result, the project became a broader reflection on varying forms of love, in relationships with your partner, your culture, and the natural environment.

Mendoza expands this approach on her debut album, Galaxia de Emociones (Galaxy of Emotions), which sees her exploring a great range of feelings, from depression, celebration, outrage, numbness, hopelessness, and thrilling love. She uses each emotion as a portal to convey the intricacies of her experience as a queer, first-generation Mexican American woman, who actively defies and criticizes machismo and the Christian culture she was surrounded by. Brought up in the suburban border town of Chula Vista, she recalls being told by her parents to not mix English with Spanish, but speaking “spanglish” quickly became inevitable. It wasn’t until high school, that learning to play ukulele and singing in school musicals allowed her to authentically express herself.

“This album is about finding the courage to not only face my emotions, but also sharing them by singing them out loud.” Mendoza says. The project was co-written and co-produced by Mendoza and Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Panda Bear), with a contribution from Grammy winning producer and accordionist Ulises Lozano.

As Galaxia de Emociones cruises from shimmering indie pop to accordion-laced electronic norteño, Mendoza proves there is both power and tenderness in embracing the fullness of your being and not doubting your instincts that might have been discouraged by society. She says it all in the opening song, “Natural,” which blooms with spacey synths and twinkling ukulele plucks. “There is no use in controlling what comes natural to you,” she sings in Spanish in a spellbinding loop.

The experimental trap track “Mousetrap” captures the bitterness of a separation, which prompted Mendoza to move out of New York City, her home of eight years, back to San Diego, where she grew up, during the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the off-kilter pop song “Let’s Get Maui’d,” portrays a dream-like, escapist vision of love, inspired by a phrase Mendoza heard while watching 90 Day Fiancé.

For every imaginative track, though, there’s another that’s firmly rooted in vulnerability. On the haunting alternative R&B song “Pedacitos” (“Little Pieces”), Mendoza soberly reflects on how depression and addiction have affected her friends and family, some of which have died by suicide, and how that in turn has affected her. “You’re a mirror / Of my future and my past / I see it and it breaks,” she sings in Spanish over flickering synths.

“Oh, Cielos” (“Oh, Heavens”) is a biting critique of the people in power who “[trick] us again with venom and power,” she sings in Spanish on the track. Similarly, “Hay Frijoles en la Casa (Stomps)” (“There Are Beans at the House”) sees Mendoza refusing to follow patriarchal values. The song was inspired by the International Women’s Day marches and protests against femicides in Mexico, making for her most radical songs yet.

The album ends on a hopeful note with “Ya Somos Estrellas” (“We’re Already Stars”), a glowing song that imagines outer space as a haven of belonging. “Who said there’s no room for you here? For your words and for your dreams?,” Mendoza sings in Spanish on the track. “It’s about immigrants, but also being queer and feeling like you can’t be yourself in a space,” she explains. “So I wrote that we’re all just stars floating in space, where there are no borders.” With her new album, she hopes that listeners can connect with her words and look within to explore their own galaxy of emotions.

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Jackie Mendoza - Galaxia de Emociones