Award-winning musician Nancy Sanchez is feeling out her creative soul in transition. The Orange County-based jazz vocalist crossed over with last year's pop-flavored debut "Ruby in LA." Most of the album's songs are in English, but Sanchez dabbles in Spanish lyrical trade-offs for "Noches de Amor," her latest single with a brand new music video released earlier this week in support.
"The song reflects that I'm bilingual and that I come from two cultures that I embrace," Sanchez says. Growing up in Anaheim, she spoke Spanish to her parents but with her siblings, she used both languages interchangeably within the same conversation.
There are two versions of "Noches de Amor" on "Ruby in LA," but the new video highlights the acoustic side. "Coming from my bolero and jazz background, I love stripped down music," she says. "I think there's nowhere for the singer to hide."
A Gallo Studios Production, "Noches de Amor" accentuates the song's simple message. As Sanchez readies for a high society date, she twirls through a number of outfit changes only to find that she herself doesn't fit in a world where courtship is commercialized. "I want to have a pure love not based on materialistic things," the singer says.
Sanchez, whose previous video was for her Sandra Cisneros-inspired "Mango Street," hints that "Noches de Amor" also serves a preview for where her artistic talents will whisk her next. "I feel a responsibility to myself, to my art and to my people to make my next project primarily in Spanish."
She offered a poignant example of the new kinds of songs she's developing during an August live performance on KPFK's Latin Alternative Travel Tips for Aztlan show. Sanchez sat before a grand piano in giving listeners an early listen to "Domingo Siete," a barrio tale of teenage pregnancy. The ballad evoked Regina Spektor with a unique Spanish-language twist.
The new repertoire the Spanglish songstress is readying promises more. Sanchez is branching out musically by experimenting with different instruments including piano and the jarana central to son jarocho. Where the ups and downs of romantic love largely frame "Ruby in LA," she'll also be looking to challenge herself thematically by branching out on the lyrical side of things.
"I'm going to be writing about growing up in my community and the things that I saw. I'm going to shine a light more on my Chicana side," Sanchez says. "I'm hoping I can bring in songs that people can relate to."
Gabriel San Rom?ín:
Gabriel San Rom?ín is the author of "Venceremos: Victor Jara and the New Chilean Song Movement," Co-Creator of the 2015 Calendar of Revolt and a writer with OC Weekly. Author's website