Editor’s note: This part two of a two-part interview with Destiny Navaira. See part one here.
During live radio interviews in her new home of Monterrey, Mexico, Tejano vocalist Destiny Navaira looks like a polished veteran rather than a new artist as she confidently converses and easily jokes in Spanish with fast-talking disc jockeys from various radio stations.
While Spanish is not her first language, Destiny, a San Antonio native, speaks with a comfortable fluency that lets her build a rapport with her interviewer and connect to her audience as she promotes her music and grows her fan base in Mexico.
And in almost every interview, without fail, Destiny is asked to sing a song live and on the spot. She does so without hesitation, and whether by herself or accompanied by her brother, Rigo Navaira, and fellow band members, Destiny’s strong, clear voice always impresses. (See below or catch one of Destiny’s many live interviews from Mexico on her Facebook page to see for yourself.)
Since her arrival in Monterrey, Mexico, in September 2020, Destiny has fully embraced her new home and country and it seems that they have embraced her right back. With a whirlwind promotional tour and her music ranking on the charts of various genres and in different cities and towns, Destiny has found her footing in Monterrey after making the momentous decision to relocate there, leaving her home and job in San Antonio, Texas.
“For me, this was a leap of faith to completely rely on the music, especially right now because there are no shows (in Mexico),” Destiny said. “But the people that we’ve met here, we’ve been blessed enough to be able to do what we’re doing and still be okay.”
Decades ago, Monterrey warmly welcomed another Navaira, Destiny’s late uncle and Tejano icon Emilio, so Destiny is continuing her family’s musical legacy. Destiny said she always felt at home in Monterrey and recalls her first visit, shortly after her uncle passed.
“The first time I came to Monterrey was after my uncle died in 2016 and they had a showcase at the Far West,” Destiny said. “And I immediately fell in love with the city. I immediately fell in love with the people.”
Destiny made the major move from Texas to Monterrey to better promote the music from her debut album La Preferida, which features rancheras fueled by her passionate and emotive vocals with an undeniably Texas feel.
The Texas influences and Tejano sound that Destiny’s music brings has been accepted by Monterrey and the surrounding areas as her latest release has found its way onto several radio charts in the region. Her latest offering, “Contigo o Sin Ti,” has even crossed genres to receive airplay not just on Regional Mexican stations but on area pop radio too.
Destiny said it is developments like these in her career that help support her life-changing decision to leave her hometown of San Antonio and live in another country.
“I think recently, these past couple of months, just seeing the songs on the charts, hearing them on the radio when we’re driving, people stopping me to take a picture…That’s what I remember seeing my dad experience and my uncle experience,” Destiny said.
“Recently, we’ve really seen great results and had a great response from everyone.”
After a recent performance by Destiny, Rigo, Raulito and her band on the Jose Luis Zagar Desde el Bar show that features a popular comedian, Destiny said that she has reached about half a million views between YouTube and Facebook. Plus, her music has expanded into other areas.
“I’m also being played in Puebla, San Luis Potosi, and in Mexico City,” Destiny said. “So I don’t just get to share my music with Texas. I get to share my music with the whole country and all of Latin America.”
Destiny said that even though her music career is now based out of Monterrey, her Tejano sound will remain at the heart of her music.
“My music will always be Tejano,” Destiny said. “It’s in my blood. When I write songs, I write like my dad. I have the melodies that are similar to my uncle’s because that’s what we grew up listening to.”
In fact, Destiny, who just finished recording the final song for her sophomore album, said that her Texas and Tejano roots will come through even more in her next CD.
“You hear Texas in my music,” Destiny said. “You’re going to hear Texas in this second album even more than you did in the first one.”
And although Mexico is the focus for Destiny right now, she said she will never lose her strong Texas roots.
“I love Texas,” Destiny said. “I was born and raised in San Antonio, lived in Austin, went to school at UT (University of Texas), traveled to every part of Texas. I love Texas.”
While she admits that some members of the public, especially Tejano music fans in the United States, may not understand her decision to focus her career in Mexico, Destiny said she had to make the decision that was right for her.
“In order to reach the youth, in order to reach the people who are going to carry that music on, these guys are the Spanish-speaking generation here,” Destiny said. “I think it’s just necessary.”
Since her move, Destiny’s career goals and aspirations have grown beyond what she originally imagined for herself.
“My goal is not to play the clubs anymore, not to play the cantinas,” Destiny said. “I have in my head that I want to play in palenques. I want to play in arenas and big festivals.”
A key motivator for Destiny as she advances her career is the continuation of her family’s musical legacy.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is the way that my family is viewed here,” Destiny said. “And they have worked so hard for it. I’m not going to let it slip away. And if that means that I have to live here, create my music here, and share it here first, then that’s just what I have to do.”
During her musical journey, Destiny always has her family in mind, with a special place in her heart for the accomplishments of her father and uncle. The respect and admiration that her late uncle still commands in Monterrey has only made Destiny even more proud of all the success that he achieved during his life and has driven her to honor his legacy, which she feels is not celebrated enough.
“God does everything for a reason, and I truly believe that he’s brought me here to continue my family name, and if not, take it even higher, because it deserves it,” Destiny said. “Everything that my uncle and dad did, a lot of it goes unrecognized.”
Destiny said she feels that her uncle’s success is often dismissed or not highlighted because of another late Tejano superstar, Selena, who along with Emilio, led the industry during success of Tejano music in the 1990s.
“A lot of things are shadowed by Selena,” Destiny said. “And Selena is Selena. She deserves every credit, every recognition. But my uncle was at the same heights. He crossed over country. He did two country albums. And all I want to do is bring honor to his name.”
Showing just how important both family and music are to the Navairas, Destiny said that the family has created “Los Navaira,” an umbrella group whose purpose is to highlight all of the family members’ musical talents, including younger brother, Rigo, who is working on a solo album, and father, Raulito, who is also working on a special project.
“Basically, I think in the future, the goal is to kind of have a showcase of Los Navaira and we all perform together,” Destiny said. “I’d love to have a three-hour arena show and we’re all there playing our music and remembering my uncle, playing the new things and my dad telling jokes and just all the talent that we have…That’s the ultimate goal for us.”
Speaking of the Navaira family and the new generation carrying on the musical dynasty, it is notable that during interview after interview on her promotional tour, Destiny always makes it a point to mention her cousins, Emilio IV and Diego Navaira, the sons of Emilio. She recognizes their musical accomplishments and says that although they have taken different paths with the brothers living in Nashville and performing with The Last Bandoleros, they are all still continuing the family’s legacy.
“We’re super proud of them,” Destiny said. “The Last Bandoleros have surpassed our expectations.”
For her part, Destiny hopes to reinvigorate the Tejano music industry with fresh, new sounds that propel the genre into a healthy, prosperous future.
“To me, we’re recreating the genre of Tejano music,” Destiny said. “And I hope that after the second CD comes out, that we really inspire a lot of artists to try new things and to realize that there’s not a formula for Tejano music. Because Texas is a melting pot of everything.”
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