Latin-rock artist Ceci Bastida fearlessly addresses social issues in her music and beyond. 

By Thatiana Diaz
November 16, 2016 09:04 PM
Ceci Bastida

Ceci Bastida isn’t just singing the same old tune.

Starting in the punk band Tijuana No!, known for the social criticism in their lyrics, Bastida continues to speak up musically—but on her own terms. Now, the Mexican solo arist is bringing light to social issues through stories. With her new Sueño EP out now, Bastida chats with Chica about the meaning behind her lyrics, president-elect Donald Trump, and the power of speaking up. 

Congrats on the release of your EP that dropped this month! Can you tell us more about the songs?

It started with a song I wrote called Un Sueño. It was a song inspired by disappearances [happening] in Mexico and I asked Aloe Blacc to work on it with me. After that experience, I realized I wanted to collaborate with more people and see what would happen. I asked an incredible rapper/producer from South Africa called Spoek Mathambo to work on a song with me and after that I asked my friend Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) to produce another song and that’s how this ended up being an EP with a lot of collaborators from different musical backgrounds. 

So there is a deeper meaning behind the single Un Sueño?

I decided to write that song inspired by the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico that disappeared but it is not just about them, it’s about the thousands more that have disappeared in recent years and at the same time a tribute to their parents and family members who have not given up and keep demanding answers. 

Which is your favorite song off of the EP?

It changes. I’m really proud of Un Sueño. I think it took me to a different place and made me want to experiment more. 

Why is it important for you to speak on social issues in your songs?

It’s what comes out of me. I somehow end up writing about all of these things I see happening around me, I can’t turn that off. I wish I was better at writing love songs. It’s an incredible talent to have but most of the time I end up writing about social issues.

You got your start with “Tijuana No!” who also spoke on injustices. Are there any differences from your experience as a member of the band and as a solo artist now?  

With “Tijuana No!” I learned a lot. Thanks to them, I started looking at the world differently and it made me want to talk about things that I considered important and want to support causes that I thought were doing good work but we [Tijuana No!] approached the issues that we talked about in a very direct way. I wanted to do it differently. I like to do it through stories.  

Al Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

What was your reaction to the results of the U.S. election? How do you feel as a Latina who speaks on issues such as immigration and feminism?

I was a little surprised. Maybe I was being naive but for the beginning of that afternoon I was hopeful that [Donald] Trump would not win. As the hours went by I little by little started losing faith and realizing what I’ve known for a very long time: that people fear and hate “the other.” That his win is the result of a campaign of hate. Hate towards people of color, towards the LGBTQ community, towards women. Those are the things that brought most of his supporters together and now things are getting even scarier as we see who he is appointing to be part of his team. It’s a time to wake up. We have definitely hit rock bottom and now it’s time to stand up again.

How was it working with Aloe Blacc, who has the meaningful hit song Wake Me Up?

I’m a huge fan of Aloe’s. I think he’s an incredible artist and human being. He’s used music in a very unique way to talk about different social issues, has a strong sense of community and is super active with different organizations that do great work. That’s why I thought about him and he ended up being the perfect person to collaborate on this song [Un Sueño] with. 

What is your biggest piece of advice for young women who are scared to speak up and share their thoughts or opinions?

That there are many people that think like they do and are willing to support them and speak up with them. This is not a time to keep quiet, it’s a time to scream at the top of our lungs.

What’s next for Ceci Bastida?

I’m excited to do shows to support this album next year in the U.S. and Mexico. I’m also doing some touring with a different band I play with called Mexrrissey. We are doing tours in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, that should be fun too.