From "behind bars" to the recording studio, Jackie Cruz is once and for all ready to conquer the music biz. But first, let's backtrack.
Cruz has been a part of our lives since we first saw her on Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. She then became our favorite inmate with her portrayal of Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. If you follow her on social media, you'd also know that music is her life, which is why she's debuting her new Spanglish single, La Hora Loca.
As someone who was in a girl group, dropped an EP as a solo artist and covered Selena Quintanilla songs, this isn't the first time Cruz dips her toes in the music industry. This time, however, she's ready to tell her story through her lyrics.
VIX sat down with the 31-year-old Dominican-American star to talk all about her new venture, check it out below:
VIX: Congrats on your new stage as a singer! Those who follow you on social media already knew about your musical side, but can you elaborate on how your passion for music was born?
Jackie Cruz: I grew up in the DR and my uncle was a big saxophone player in my country. I was always the little girl at jazz bars with my uncle. Then, I saw Whitney Houston sing in a movie and she inspired me. In fact, the cover picture on my single is around the time I fell in love with music and that's when I told my mom I wanted to do that. When I was 15, she moved to Hollywood to help me pursue my career. It was worth it. My music reflects my Dominican culture and the music I heard listening in the U.S. music comes from the DR culture and the music I heard in the U.S., Tracy Chapman, Elvis Costello, I tried to incorporate that into my music.
VIX: You're kicking off your music career with your single "La Hora Loca," talk to us about this record.
Jackie Cruz: I love this song and the feeling that it gives you... it makes you want to dance! La Hora Loca is really popular in my country, it's when people come out to hype the party around midnight when it's dying. I wanted to use that reference of my culture. We're filming the music video in the DR also, which should be coming out ending June.
VIX: On Instagram, you mentioned that you've been "working for years trying to build a sound"; Exactly how many years and what type of sound?
Jackie Cruz: You need a producer or writer or someone talented who actually sits with you and asks you what you want to do. I gotta tell ya, I've been working my whole life in music and I didn't find my sound until three months ago. I found my sound thanks to a producer called Feefa. I wanted to do the Spanglish thing and no one knew why. No one listened to me and he heard me and we did not stop listening to all the music I grew up listening to. Feefa was the first person who actually listened to me and it worked out perfect. We recorded 15 to 20 songs in the last three months. And this is why I started my production company to represent people like me, like Feefa. I'm using my platform to help other emerging artists who want to be heard. I'm making my own opportunity.
VIX: Do you have an idea of when the album comes out?
Jackie Cruz: I'm thinking end of summer. The name of my album is Hija de Chavez , that's my legal last name. It's a really personal album that caters to my feelings and who I am. It'll have blues, '80s rock, and even trap and I'm planning on releasing another three singles before it comes out.
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🗣🗣🗣Mi música nueva ya finalmente está aquí! Mi nueva carrera musical comienza ahora! It's finally here everybody! The new start of my music career! You can pre order my single and support your girl!! I've been working for years trying to build a sound and it's finally here!!!. Big thanks to my co writer @feefa_la for letting me be free behind the mic and the producers @djkokomusic @nikalfieldz #newmusic #lahoraloca #may25th #newsingle #sisepuede #dominicanasoy🇩🇴 #santiaguera art work by the talented @claudioroncoli #blessed🙏 mix and mastered by @garyb_mixit
VIX: Women are kicking ass in the music industry, especially Latinas. Who would you say are some of the Latina artists who empower you (besides, obviously, Selena)?
Jackie Cruz: I'm old school, I gotta say Gloria Estefan! People love her and she's someone I want to be like in a whole. I've seen her open doors to many people and that's what I want to achieve with my production company.
VIX: How have you grown musically from Krush Velvet to La Hora Loca?
Jackie Cruz: I was the rapper for the girl group and it was terrible because people were telling me what to do or who to be. I've changed my name a billion times just to fit it. It feels so good to be yourself and not have anyone else tell you otherwise. Honestly, I've grown so much because the moment I started to be myself that's when things started happening to me.
VIX: And to finish off, what kind of fulfillment does music give you that acting doesn't?
Jackie Cruz: It's therapy for me. In acting, I'm showing you someone else's feelings but in music, I'm showing you my feelings and who I am. When I sing and people can feel my vibe and it's just so beautiful.
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