When you think of traditional Mexican music, you don’t think of a saucy, sexy powerhouse Latina diva with a hip-hop swagger and a whole lot of heart. However, Victoria “La Mala” Ortiz is about to change that perception for good. The singer and songwriter transforms the Banda genre with her impressive vocal range, striking style, and urban savvy. She describes this enigmatic musical hybrid best.
“If 2Pac and Selena had a child, it would be me,” the singer declares with a grin. “I have old school influences with a new spirit.”
As a child in Mexico City, Victoria started singing nursery rhymes literally before she learned to speak. She can recall wild parties with either a live Banda or Mariachi band performing at her family’s home on a weekly basis, immersing her in music. Moving to New York City, she formally pursued her dream of becoming a singer, cutting her first demo in between late night club gigs throughout the Boroughs. Those songs eventually fell into the hands of tastemaker Pepe Garza. Victoria’s debut single “Ahora Soy Mala” hit airwaves and incited a flurry of requests.
As her star rose in Mexico, the States also started to notice in a big way. 2012 saw Victoria sing the “National Anthem” at the WBO championship bout on HBO and she went on to support the Banda genre’s most renowned talent Banda El Recodo at the Anaheim Convention Center a year later. Her music video for “El Corrido Del Amor” from Mala album even exceeded 1.8 million views on YouTube. South of the border, Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez proclaimed her Tourism Ambassador of the State and Mun2 dubbed her “Hot List Artist to Watch.” In 2015, Victoria made her debut in the US by being on the first Billboard, Latin Artist to Watch article as the only female and the only artist in her genre. She ended the year with being recognized in People En Espanol’s Hot List, again being one of only 2 female artists and the only one in Regional Mexican music. Most recently Victoria was nominated for Premios Juventud 2016 for Producers Choice.
Now, Victoria is about to take over the rest of the world. Her 2016 single “Vete Mucho” has the traditional sound of Mexican corridos but with Victoria’s twist. “I envisioned it to be a female empowerment anthem. It’s important for me to inspire and empower women. There is a generation of girls like me who are young, strong, independent, and need to be heard.
She shines a new light on Banda. Often associated with cartel anthems, the genre’s core has often been overshadowed by controversy in the past few years. “Some traditional Mexican music has been linked with so much negativity,” sighs Victoria. “I want to associate it with motivation, inspiration, happiness, and love, giving everyone a reason to feel great about themselves and life in general.”
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.