Part pop, part soul and all Latina, Selena Garcia is a rising star in the pop world that most people have probably not heard of yet. That will soon change. Her self-titled EP has already been compared to the likes of Sara Bareilles and Amy Winehouse. Combine that with her killer good looks, song writing talent and sultry voice, you have a complete package.
According to Garcia, she discovered her singing ability on an old VHS tape that her dad recorded of her singing along to Cyndi Lauper. “I’d sing along with my mom as a kid. I did do choir in high school, but it was the one class everyone else took to get an easy A. People were twirling their hair and barely singing while I was the only one happy to be there” Garcia said.
Selena first started performing as a solo artist her senior year at Chico State. “I was a closet singer still even in college. I didn’t admit I wanted to be a solo singer or performer at that point” said Garcia. After that first solo performance at Chico State, she saw her name in print in the school newspaper. It was that moment that she caught the bug and knew what direction she wanted to go in life. After graduating Chico State with a BA in Music Business, that bug pointed her inspired Garica to move to Los Angeles.
Despite having moved around as a teen, she was not without fear when relocating to Los Angeles to pursue her career in music. “I am the kind of person that if it scares me, I do it. It is little harder to perform in LA than I thought it would be in comparison to being able to do music somewhere else. I originally looked into London, but I am terrible in cold weather” says Garcia. When she arrived in Los Angeles, she was in search of music business jobs while writing music at the same time.
So when did you decide to just pick up and move to LA?
I moved to LA in 2002 and didn’t tell anyone I was going to pursue becoming a solo artist. I looked for music business jobs but was writing at the same time. I actually started writing when I was thirteen years old in Alaska.
So how did you discover your poppy, singer songwriter sound?
It’s hard to say really. It just came out. I would literally start writing, singing, playing and it just happened.
Do you write all your own songs?
Yes, I write my own lyrics, co-wrote…it just depends. I used to write the lyrics first then bring it to someone more proficient than me on an instrument to hammer out the chords. Now, I do both. On my latest EP, “Can’t Wait For You” my piano player wrote the music for it. He played it for me, then I went back and did the melodies and wrote the lyrics.
So was being at Red Gorilla Fest here in Austin your first time really taking your show on the road and trying to make it outside of LA?
In the first part of the year I did a Northwest tour, which was super fun. We got a great response and turnout. I realized how great it was to play outside of LA because most people are jaded there. Everyone knows a musician or has a friend that plays, so they are going to shows all the time. They don’t appreciate it they way they people do outside of LA. I only want to play LA like twice a year. I’d rather play elsewhere.
Can we expect an album to stem from this current EP anytime soon?
No. Actually I have already started a new project in terms of what I want to do next. I learned a lot from this project.
What have you learned exactly?
I learned a lot about the process of it all. I didn’t sit with the mixes as long as I should have. I mean I heard them, did the car test with them, but I still feel we should have sat with them longer. Listening to them now, I hear changes I want to make. I have also grown as an artist, in terms of what kind of sound I want. That’s going to change a little also.
Are you still going to sound like Sara Bareilles(ish) ?
Wow, you too huh? (Laughs) I get that a lot.
What’s your reaction to that comparison? Does that bother you at all?
Honestly, it doesn’t. I have heard it all. The one I get the most is Sara Bareilles though. Recently I got if “Amy Winehouse cleaned up their act and Fiona Apple took anti depressants, then you’d have Selena Garcia”. Some people throw out Norah Jones. I’m cool with it all.
What are some of the inspirations for these songs on your current EP?
They are all about something in my life and things I have been living.
Look, I have heard the album and the lyrics tell me that there’s something juicy there. I’m not accepting a “PR” or coached answer of any kind. What’s the story really?
Well “Don’t Worry It’s Not Love” is sort of a pro female anthem…is about a guy. It’s a sort of girls want to have fun too thing. I mean just we hang out with you (guys) doesn’t mean we love you or are looking for anything more. It’s a get over yourself kind of thing. It is about somebody.
I’m not asking for names, tell me the story. I’m sure it will be really relatable for our women readers and entertaining for the men as well.
All the songs except for “Sunny Days” and “100 Pictures” are about a guy. Those songs are about me. With “Sunny Days”, I was kind of in a dark place when I wrote that one. “100 Pictures” is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Back to telling me about the boy.
Is about a guy that I don’t’ talk to anymore. This was someone I knew for years. The song “I Can’t Wait for You”, I’m just going to sum up real quick. I really fell hard for this person when we just friends. We used to share music. It’s important for someone who I am going to be with to love music the way I do. We used to work together, but then he left the company. Once he left, we started writing each other frequently and instant messaging each other for a long time. He had a girlfriend, but in the process of it all I fell for him. He claims his feelings were mutual. Long story short, he screwed me over in the end. We never did anything. We never met up. I hadn’t seen him since he left the company for two years. Hence, the first line in the song is “Leaves are turning, I can’t believe it’s been two years”.
What about “Never Say Never”?
That song is about an old flame, a different guy, one whom I met when I was sixteen. I did something I’d never do years later with him. That’s all I can say other than a lot of people have told me they relate to never say never. I was surprised by that.
Why were you surprised? Do you assume you are the only one who’s done something they know they shouldn’t have?
Even though it’s such a cliché thing, you really never should say “never”. Until you face certain situations, you really could find yourself doing something you never thought you would do. People have told me they get it (“Never Say Never”) and that is the biggest gift for me.
So how was your trip to Austin, playing Red Gorilla Fest and being here during SXSW?
It’s been awesome. I actually have friends who live here. The musicians I have met here have been amazing. I would love to come here and just collaborate and play a show here to see what happens. I have yet to experience the real Austin. I have only had the South By experience. I hope to come back this summer.
What’s coming up for you for the rest of 2009?
Well I am going to work on pushing my EP. When I get back, I want to push for radio and do a lot of marketing and promotion for the EP. I hope to tour and play more, maybe make it to Nashville on my way through Austin.