In this digital era where we are fed carbon copies of the same-looking and sounding popstar, it’s refreshing to see a conceptual brown-skinned artist standing out in a predominantly white Latine music scene. Using her experiences as a woman of color and of Indigenous and immigrant background, the R&B singer-songwriter Flores is on the rise singing about the best asset she has to offer — her rich culture.
Flores’ story is a lot to unpack. For starters, she has always been involved in politics, in some way or another. Although she doesn’t consider herself a full-on activist, her first-hand experiences throughout the years show otherwise. Growing up, politics were heavily ingrained in her life, assisting her mother when leading “Ni Una Mas” campaigns advocating for the women killed in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. But what really influenced this strong solidarity that she shows in her music, is what she would witness living near the border of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez.
“I grew up two minutes from the border. You can see it from my house. You can see the border wall. I think it influenced my music because it’s part of your whole story that politicizes who you are. You’re Mexican American,” she tells Remezcla on a Zoom video chat from Los Angeles, California, where she will be lodging for a week. “And then you grew up in one of the highest areas of transporting people, one of the most traffic borders in America. So it definitely influenced my music tremendously.”
“I think no one’s looking at our communities… No one’s giving us those opportunities… And I just think being myself & being the best of what I can do is what’s going to open the door to be able to give more visibility for myself.”
Her upbringing as a member of the Tigua Indian Reservation, and being informed about the problems that the Puebloan Native American tribe deals with, helped her create who she is now as an artist. Between all of those hardships that have to do with identity, Flores can’t help but feel empathy over what she has seen around her community. “It’s really hard when you see mothers and children being put in handcuffs and thrown in the backs of cars, and you’re just thinking, ‘This is me, this could have been me. This could have been my family,’” Flores says. “I’m not any different from these people. I don’t look different from [them].”
In her upcoming EP, In the Lives They Left, due in May, she will be baring her soul by singing about these experiences, and those of her ancestors before her. It’s a conceptual project that will serve as an ode to her past. It’s about her experience growing up as a second-generation immigrant and the complexities that come with that.
The newest visualizer and single off the EP, “Exito,” exclusively debuting today on Remezcla, features Flores in a desert landscape, showcasing the beauty of resilience that comes from living in a harsh environment — which in some way fits as a metaphor as a resilient woman. Her ethereal vocals on “Exito” captivate you instantly and deliver a new form of intimacy on top of a soft poetic ballad produced by Maths Time Joy. It also touches a softer tone than her previous releases “American Dirt” and “Fool’s Gold.”
“I was in love, so it was just a way of a sigh of relief that I wanted to put at the end. Much of the album is this painful contention through some of the periods that you move through,” she says about the soft R&B track. “My sister said it was in like a lion and out like a lamb.”
Influenced by R&B artists like Kelela and Mahalia, what further makes Flores’ music so special is the goal behind her labor. “I think no one’s looking at our communities. No one’s helping us, no one’s propping us up, no one’s giving us those opportunities, opening those doors,” she says about the upcoming EP’s purpose. “And I just think being myself and being the best of what I can do is what’s going to open the door to be able to give more visibility for myself.”