Female Mariachi Sings For the Culture

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Megan Godinez doesn’t speak Spanish, but that isn’t stopping her from embracing her Mexican culture and performing Spanish songs, sometimes even with the accompaniment of mariachis. She is 23 years old and is majoring in communications at Mt. SAC. Communications is the best fit for her because talking to people is one of her strengths. Singing helped give her the confidence to pursue a career in communications. Public relations is her dream career, since singing is only a hobby.

Godinez has been singing since the age of seven years old. Her family discovered her good voice when they would hear her sing along to songs in the car as a child. Similar to Selena Quintanilla, Godinez doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, but sings in the language. Her dad has been coaching her to sing in Spanish and she can now sing five songs in the language.

“I love Hispanic and Mexican music. I think it’s beautiful. It’s cool that I can bond with my dad on that level,” she said.

At the age of 12, she began singing with mariachis and started performing at family parties, because her family encouraged her. Describing her first time performing with mariachis, she said, “It was very nerve-wracking. It was at a Mexican restaurant, and it was for my dad’s 50th birthday. I was like ‘I think I can do this’ and I guess I did a good job.”

Godinez said, “I didn’t mean to make it seem like this is what I do every weekend, but being Hispanic, that music is always around, and with my dad and my uncle, he is friends with a lot of mariachis, so they are always around.”

Not speaking fluent Spanish is a challenge that Godinez has to face when performing with mariachis.

“I often face the fear of pronouncing certain words or phrases incorrectly. This can sometimes hinder my confidence; however, I am always eager to learn new songs and practice as much as possible in or.der to familiarize myself with the language and to break down language barriers,” she said.

Her dad that has encouraged her to perform and follow her dreams. Godinez said, “My dad has always guided me. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t know that communications is what I want to do. Especially because I sing, and it just makes that comfortability of being with someone, on stage, or being a spokesperson that much easier.”

Her father is an immigrant from Mexico and came to America for grade school, then moved back to Mexico. However, he moved back to America when he was 17 years old. Her father came from a low-income family who didn’t speak any English, but he never let that stop him from achieving his goals. He is a college graduate and got his bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University and his masters degree from Cal Poly Pomona.

While in college, her dad had three daughters to take care of, with the help of their mom. “This is why I look up to my dad so much. He has never let circumstance hold him back educationally and in everyday life. He has created a very blessed and privileged life for my sisters, my mom, and I,” she said.

Godinez said, “Although my dad has not always had a privileged life, he has always implemented the importance of our culture and where we come from. My dad has always said that the beauty of our culture is that it’s ours.”

Her father always taught her to be proud of her culture, and singing in Spanish has brought her closer to her Mexican heritage. “As a child I wasn’t always appreciative of my culture because I didn’t understand it like I do now. It is so important that I am able to represent myself, my family and my culture when I sing. It embodies my ethnic pride and roots, I love that I am able to connect with my Spanish, Mexican, and American background on a personal and real level while performing,” she said.

No one else in her family sings, so Godinez brings something unique to the table at her family gatherings.

School is her priority right now, so singing has been put on the backburner. However, Godinez is launching a YouTube channel for her singing. Her YouTube channel will include mainly covers of songs because she doesn’t have any original music to showcase just yet. When she finishes college, trying out for the popular singing competition, The Voice, might be her next adventure.

Keeping her Mexican pride alive is important to her, and he will continue to do so by performing with mariachis. Her sister is getting married in November and she plans to sing at the wedding.

Godinez said, “To be a Latina singer means to be able to express myself through music in the culture that I’ve grown into from a child to a young woman.”