The 21-year-old singer from Grand Prairie, Texas was voted the 2015 Tejano Idol winner on October 18, a nationwide singing competition started in 2011 by the Austin Tejano Music Coalition to highlight Tejano music and showcase unknown talent from amateur singers of all ages.
“My first thought honestly was ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it!’,” Saldivar told Tejano Nation about the moment her name was announced as the winner. “It’s just one of those moments in life where there are no words to describe how truly happy you are after working so hard to get to this point in your life.”
Tejano Idol has showcased some great talent over the years. 2011 contestant Angel Gonzalez has been nominated twice for Tejano Music Awards, including Best New Male Artist. 2011 winner Ashley Borrero and 2012 runner-up Devin Banda both have debut albums on the way. All three of these Tejano Idol alum were part of the 2015 Tejano Music Awards pre-show performance showcasing rising Tejano talent. 2012 Top 5 finalist Sarah Monique was nominated for TTMA Best New Female artist in 2014 and is also working on a new album.
“My Tejano Idol experience was incredible,” said Saldivar. “I can honestly say that the competition for this year was so amazing. It was definitely close this year and I am just so grateful for winning amongst some vey talented, beautiful people.”
This was Saldivar’s second time in the singing competition.
“I tried out about two years ago my first time and made runner up to Mario Macias, which I have to say who was, and still is a fantastic artist. He definitely deserved to win that year,” said Saldivar. “After that first time I came in second place, I felt like I needed to take in what the judges had told me and when I was ready to return and try again, that I would do my best and thankfully, all my hard work and efforts to improve paid off this year. I couldn’t be any happier.”
Saldivar says she’s been influenced by many great singers from the Tejano, Pop and R&B genres.
“There are many different Influences I think about when it comes to music. For Tejano, the first will always be Selena of course. Though she has a special place always in my heart when it comes to Tejano music, I think that we tend to lose sight of all the other amazing female power houses we have in this industry. People like Elida Reyna, Shelly Lares, and Stefani Montiel. Selena will always be number one, but instead of trying to be her (which in my mind she was truly one in a million) I think female artist should be encouraged by her originality and try to remember that they can be their own Selena by being original. I think she would truly want people to be inspired to do that then just copy her completely. when it comes to English though, some artists I look up to for their vocals are women like Christina Aguilera, Adele, Beyoncé Knowles (Carter), and Whitney Houston. Some of the most iconic females in this industry that truly feel the music when they belt out every note. That’s the kind of music I want to create. Music that doesn’t just sound good, but music that makes people feel something.”
The Dallas Baptist University student can belt out many types of music genres, but what is her favorite type to sing?
“I love Rancheras. I love to listen to people like Anna Gabrielle and Rocio Ducal because behind their words you can definitely feel the emotion they bring in the song and I live for music like that. It’s what led me to want to pursue my Minor in Spanish. The language is truly the most beautiful thing to hear sung and with the lyrics, it’s like poetry. I love songs that have some much meaning behind them.”
Saldivar plans to create a unique voice in the Tejano music scene.
“I think the next move for me is to truly get out there in the Tejano industry and try to create my own sound and truly let the people see and hear what I have to offer. I want to do as many gigs possible, but still plan on completing my degree here in the next year and a half. There are plenty of opportunities that are about to happen and I can’t wait to face them head on.”
She has set the bar high for her future goals and knows she’ll accomplish every one.
“I see myself five to 10 years from now performing all around the world, selling out shows, and getting awards working with the best people known in the industry (either/both English and Spanish). I want to be a Grammy winning artist and feel like if I just keep pushing forward, there’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it.”
WATCH: Monica Saldivar performs National Anthem at JFK commemoration event in 2013