Magos Herrera, Mexican Jazz Singer, Talks To Latin Times About ‘Dawn,’ Career And Inspiration [EXCLUSIVE]

Magos Herrera (right) and Javier Limón (left) Magos Herrera

Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera is known for her sultry voice and her presence in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene is unparalleled. A graduate of the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, Herrera has released six albums: Cajuina (1998), Orquideas Susurrantes (2000), Pais Maravilla (2002), Todo Puede Inspirar (2004), Soliluna (2006), and Mexico Azul (2013). The latter, Mexico Azul, featured a collaboration with Grammy winner, producer and guitarist Javier Limón. The duo have another collaboration slated to be released in 2014, titled Dawn. Latin Times got the opportunity to interview Herrera about her career, inspiration, favorite musicians and more.

Latin Times: When did you know you wanted to be a singer?

Magos Herrera: Ever since I can remember; but I made a conscious decision to actually embrace music while I was studying fashion design in Italy.

LT: What do you like the most about your genre (jazz) music? What made you chose jazz?

MH: It's freedom and sophistication; it's inclusiveness. But, mainly the interactive quality of it.

LT: Who are some of your favorite singers and musicians?

MH: It's a long list and I keep meeting musicians daily that inspire me. Just to mention a few: Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina, Pablo Milanés, Violeta Parra, Caetano Veloso, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Brad Mehldau, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Betty Carter, Lionel Loueke, Aaron Goldberg, Miguel Zenón, etc.

LT: For you, what is your biggest achievement till date?

MH: Well, I guess the clarity of understanding what is essential for me and what’s not.

LT: What message do you want to send with your music?

MH: Just expressing whatever is true and beautiful for me, and hopefully, whoever listens out there will resonate with its own truth.

LT: If you weren’t a jazz musician what would you be doing?

MH: Contemporary dance or writing novels.

LT: Where do you see yourself in the future (career wise)?

MH: Singing, recording and hopefully having fun with it.

LT: Does your music influence other parts of your life? If so, how?

MH: I see it the other way around, music is an extension of my life so the way I live influence my music and the way it’s delivered.

LT: Where do you find inspiration for your music?

MH: Of course living in NYC is a constant stimulation of ideas, great musicians share their profound visions constantly and that keeps you alert and inspired, but also life inspire us with the beautiful and terrible as it could be. In our vulnerability, our capacity of reinvention, our strength, our fragilities. In everyday gestures, the weather, the distance, the closeness, sex, books, poetry, snow, innocence, faces, movies--all that we all people are capable to express.

LT: What was the inspiration behind your new album and what was it like working with Javier Limón?

MH: Working with Javier was a beautiful experience. He is an open minded musician and great producer, and has a very clear idea of what the result has to be. Besides, he has a good heart and that talks through the music as well. You know, the inspiration behind the album was to celebrate great songs from the jazz repertoire and from Latin America in a refined, minimal approach, voice and guitar. And also, we wrote some originals, the narrative is about DAWN and all what goes around it.

You can follow Magos Herrera on her YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter. You can find her upcoming tour dates in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, London and more on her website.

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Susmita Baral

Susmita Baral joined Latin Times in April 2013. Her work has been published in VICE, Weight Watchers Magazine, Unique Homes Magazine, US Airways Magazine, Vista Magazine, Daily Glow and Kaplan. She holds a B.A. Psychology from Rutgers University. A self-proclaimed foodie, Susmita is a freelance list maker, part-time Shaq devotee, and a full-time eyeliner junkie who believes mac and cheese is a birthright.