The newly-released cumbia, “Contigo,” from vocalist Sonja De La Paz offers a sweet, refreshing sound and is her first original release, but the longtime singer is definitely not a newcomer to the music scene.
De La Paz, who has sang since she was about 12 years old, currently performs with veteran Tejano vocalist Pete Astudillo and his band Tekno Mex. With her powerful voice, De La Paz performs many of the late Tejano icon Selena‘s hits. In addition, she and her husband, Diego Garcia, form a local cover band, The Bottom Line. As a teenager, De La Paz toured with Tejano band, Jesse Marroquin y Calidad.
De La Paz, originally from Corpus Christi, now lives in Laredo where she recorded “Contigo” in the couple’s home studio.
With the recent COVID-19 quarantine that forced Tekno Mex to cancel a March show at San Antonio’s Aztec Theatre and put an indefinite halt on touring, the opportunity presented itself to record the cumbia, which she and her husband co-wrote.
“We basically wanted to write about our personal experiences and things that we’ve actually been through and that we know other people have been through,” De La Paz said.
Garcia produced and played all of the instruments on “Contigo,” while De La Paz delivers a polished performance with an impressive range.
The vocalist, who sings a wide variety of genres from Tejano to rock and pop, describes “Contigo” as a fast, carefree cumbia.
“I consider it like a fun, summer song,” De La Paz said. “It’s just an upbeat dance, sing-in-your-car kind of song.”
“Especially if you’ve been in love, it’s a nice song to listen to,” she added.
De La Paz said future plans for her music could take the form of an EP, a full album or even a music video for “Contigo.” Whatever the case, more music, specifically cumbia, is on the way this summer.
“For sure, we should have at least five songs ready by the end of summer,” De La Paz said.
While De La Paz is not affiliated with a record label nor does she have a manager, her and her husband do have a lot of friends in the music industry as they begin their journey to produce original music. Astudillo and A.B. Quintanilla are among those close to De La Paz.
“Pete (Astudillo) is a really good friend of ours and just to have his support is awesome,” De La Paz said.
Quintanilla also supported De La Paz’ recent musical venture and she said he had always suggested she release original music. As a teenager, De La Paz won a radio singing contest and as a result, she performed with Quintanilla and his Kumbia Kings.
“(A.B. Quintanilla) even called me to congratulate us on the song,” De La Paz said. “My husband has worked with him also. He’s always told me, ‘You’ve got to get out there, do something, record something.’”
De La Paz said she never recorded original music before this release for a variety of reasons, including some self-doubt and apprehension along with the lack of record company backing, but now that her three children are getting older De La Paz and her husband decided the time was right.
“We feel like we’re not getting any younger so if we’re going to do this, we’ve got to do it now and just see where it goes,” De La Paz said. “Even if nothing comes out of this, at least we can say we gave it a shot. We’re willing and ready to take it on the road.”
Listen: Sonja De La Paz — “Contigo”
Listeners will hear a tropical, international feel to “Contigo” and De La Paz said the sound was intentional as she wants to attract younger listeners and spice up the traditional Tejano sound.
“I know a lot of people criticize Tejano and say ‘Tejano’s dead,’” De La Paz said. “It doesn’t have to be because all music evolves. What we want to do is kind of put a new, fresh spin on it because I know a lot of the younger generation, they don’t listen to Tejano or they feel like they don’t really connect with the older style…”
“We want the younger generation to enjoy this kind of music so that’s why we made it more fun and upbeat to catch their attention also,” she added.
“Contigo” will make listeners take note and people can visit De La Paz’s YouTube channel and her Facebook page to learn more about the artist. She can also be seen on YouTube in Tekno Mex live performances for new fans who want to hear more of her talented, skilled vocals.
De La Paz thanked fans in advance for listening to her new single and learning more about her. She hopes “Contigo” is only the start of her bringing original music to audiences.
“There’s so much talent and things like that that they could be giving their attention to so I just hope that they like the music and appreciate the spin on the new cumbia just to make it a little fresh,” De La Paz said. “Thanks for listening and I really hope that they like it. I hope that we’re able to put more music out for them so that they can enjoy in the future.”
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