Image Source: Itzia Sánchez
No doubt, Mexican music is one of Latin America’s most storied and influential. It has produced legends like Juan Gabriel and Vicente Fernandez. But with her R&B-tinged sound, up-and-coming singer Ilse Adriana Mercado Asencio, better known by her stage name ImmasoulShe is adamant about promoting the integration of Caribbean and Mexican cultures in Chetumal, her home town.
“Nobody really knows about Chetumal. It’s a very unique small town that shares a border with Belize.”
“Nobody really knows about Chetumal. It’s a very unique small town that shares a border with Belize. It’s different from the rest of the country because, culturally, we share a lot with the Caribbean countries,” Immasoul POPSUGAR is the source.
Where? Immasoul She is referring specifically to English-speaking Caribbean Islands like Jamaica, Belize and Jamaica when she speaks of Caribbean countries. According to the artist, many Chetumal families (including her mother) can trace their roots back to Belizeans, who were known before 1973 as British Honduras. The small community has a unique cultural identity. Immasoul She admits that she needed to learn to navigate.
“Growing up, I was a little bit confused and always questioning this identity. But as I got older and wiser, I began to realize where I come from is more special than people thought,” Sie says.
This maturity is evident in Immasoul’s music, which eschews the pop- and hip-hop-infused riffs of modern R&B for a more soulful sound, influenced by the likes of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. “My oldest sister is 10 years older than me, and she fell in love with mainstream hip-hop and would listen to all this cool stuff when I was growing up,” This is what the singer remembers. “So even though my friends were listening to [local music], I was listening to Brandy, Toni Braxton, and TLC.”
Image Source: Itzia Sánchez
However, ImmasoulWhile her music is a tribute to legends from the past, it’s not all she does. She is open to new ways of expressing herself, as an artist and a singer. “I’ve always felt that my music is feel-good music, you know, like empowering music that makes you feel confident [to] embrace your sexuality and embrace who you are. It’s something that I’ve done as an exercise for me,” Sie says.
The music artist hopes fans listening to her tracks can relate to that message and feel more confident and sexy in their own skin —something she fully embraces with her latest single, “A Tu Lado,” A sensual Afrobeat dance track about chance encounters, chemistry. Immasoul Her breathy vocals are used to pay homage to her Caribbean heritage while still staying true to herself. “I’m very into romance and toxic sh*t,” The singer laughs. “So I came up with the words first. And my team knew I was listening to a lot of Afrobeat [and] a lot of Aya Nakamura, and I wanted to do something like that. I tried to build the song from a story, and we all put a little bit of what we were connecting within the production. So naturally, it was going to feel like those influences.”
“There are so many cultures in Latin America, and I know that the mainstream industry has tried to whitewash all those sounds and all those roots. And while I’m not against anybody, to reduce so many cultures to one word, the reality is that it doesn’t represent us all.”
But, she insists she’s honest and tries her best to do the right thing. The singer is particularly important in a moment when her music has been so popular. “Latin” The difficulty of obscuring the influences in a genre makes it a very high-ranking genre. “There are so many cultures in Latin America, and I know that the mainstream industry has tried to whitewash all those sounds and all those roots,” Sie says. “And while I’m not against anybody, to reduce so many cultures to one word, the reality is that it doesn’t represent us all.”
Image Source: Itzia Sánchez
It’s true. Afro-Latinidad historically has been underrepresented. This can be seen in the absence of Latinxs with darker skinneds on film and television, and the whitewashing Latinx-themed genres such bachata, reggaeton, and other historically Black Latinx music. Afro-Mexicana and proud Afro-Mexicana who understands the privilege that her lighter skin gives, I believe representation is important. Immasoul.
“I’ve always tried to do my thing and talk about my upbringing, and my mother, and everything that is a part of me to keep the [race] conversation going,” She shared. “I don’t see it as something I have to do. I’m just trying to be true to myself, and if that somehow connects with people, that’s nice because you feel that you’re not so alone.”
This video is for “A Tu Lado” This is addressed in an easy and natural manner. The production was filmed in Chetumal with local artists. It highlights Afro-Latinx beauty through a cast that includes dark-skinned actors and dancers. ImmasoulYour neighbors are your friends.
“I feel that the video was a nice result because it represents us, the people from Chetumal. With the girls in the video, it was important to me that they be Black Latinas in order to put that community a little bit more front row,” Sie says.
The artist does her best to ensure her hometown and people get the right spotlight. But she is also attracting more attention. In 2019, she started the project. Immasoul Her audience has grown steadily. This year she is taking to the stage at SXSW 20,23. She’s so happy about this honor, that she “can’t even sleep.”
Let’s take a look at the future of this year. Immasoul is excited to grow her R&B sound while continuing to explore Afrobeat. It’s possible to collaborate with other musicians whose music or approach is similar to hers. If she was to be asked who her future collaborators would be, TiaCorine or Mabiland were the names that came up. June Freedom, an Afrobeat artist, is also on her mind. She is an introspective artist, however. ImmasoulHer music is her main focus.
“I’m constantly studying and trying to see what’s out there to make my sound stronger. I’ll be dropping some R&B soon and then . . . we’ll see.”