Ceci Bastida's "Un sueño," the first single from her Sueño EP dropping Nov. 11, sets the tone for her new production: a mix of politically charged tracks with love ballads -- all equally powerful.
Aside from debuting her new EP -- produced by fellow Mexrrissey band member Camilo Lara and featuring collaborations with artists like Aloe Blacc and Mariel Mariel -- the former Tijuana No! singer and keyboard player also just wrapped up her U.S. tour with Mexrrissey (formed by musicians from iconic Mexican bands like Moderatto, Zurdok and Café Tacvba) but will soon reunite with her bandmates for shows in Australia and New Zealand early next year.
"Mexrrissey takes us to places where our independent projects wouldn't take us," the Tijuana singer/songwriter tells Billboard in a candid interview, where she also talks about her upcoming EP, what she learned from her time in Tijuana No! and how she took the news about Donald Trump being elected as the 45th president of the United States.
"Un sueño" is such powerful song that touches on unity and hope -- very fitting for a time of political turmoil. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind it?
I started to write the song about a year ago inspired by the disappearance of the 43 students in Mexico. But it wasn't just about them; it's about what has been happening in Mexico all these years. It's not just those 43; there are thousands of victims. I was also inspired by their families and their resilience since they disappeared in 2014. They've been fighting to get answers, so it was a song that salutes them in a way and celebrates their strength. My EP Sueño will include powerful anthems like this one and also love ballads, which is also a powerful force.
Since being part of the band Tijuana No!, you've used music as a platform to speak about inequality and social justice. Why has that been important for you throughout your musical career?
In my case, that's sort of where my head chooses to go to when I write. It's hard for me to ignore the things that I find are unfair and not talk about them. It's also a way for me to keep learning, because I'm not saying that I have the answers to everything. I'm also trying to understand this world. You can say that Tijuana No! was sort of my school. I joined the band when I was very young, and all of our songs were very political. We were also involved in a lot of organizations in Tijuana. As we were doing this, I was educating myself on issues around the world. That experience made me the person that I am now.
How do you balance the solo projects and the touring life with Mexrrissey?
The Mexrrissey stuff allows me to do something completely different from what I do and just being part of a band is super cool. Sharing the stage with all these cool guys is super fun. They're such great musicians and I learn from them a lot. Musically and lyrically, there is no pressure. It's just fun and it let's me step out of my comfort zone. We just wrapped up our U.S. tour, but I miss them already. When I'm on tour, I just want to go back home, but when it ends I find myself missing them so much. Although it kind of helps us that we each do our own things for a few months because we come back to the band recharged.
Did you follow the U.S. election results closely? What was your initial reaction hearing that Trump had won?
I was completely stressed yesterday afternoon. Could not stop looking at my Twitter feed and was emotionally kind of a wreck. I was in a bit of shock when I heard that he won. Not a complete shock though, 'cause I've learned throughout this election (and even before then) that this is a country where unfortunately there is a lot of hate and fear of "the other." I've gone through sadness and anger, now I think it's time to think about what we do next. Be together, support each other and figure out a way to not let this take us into complete chaos. ... This is not the end, it will likely be the beginning of something else. Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom in order to start going up again.