How I did it: Francisca Valenzuela

In January 2020, Chilean-American singer-songwriter Francisca Valenzuela released her fourth studio album, La Fortaleza, an indie pop record that offers an intimate look at a woman who finds inner strength and joie de vivre. At this year’s Premios Pulsar, which honor the best of Chilean music, La Fortaleza won the album of the year award and the song “Flotando” won the song of the year award. Francisca herself, now recognized as one of Chile’s biggest stars, was named Pop Artist of the Year.

This success has been hard earned since Francisca’s career began. Francisca has been consistently shunned by big labels and big venues, so she forged her own path as an independent artist. With the help of Chilean rock band Los Bunkers, Francisca recorded and released Muérdete La Lengua in 2007. In a true DIY spirit, she used social media platforms like YouTube and MySpace to promote the project. Within a few years, her songs started playing on the radio and she started performing in big venues.

Francisca was born and raised in California, but when her family decided to return to Chile, Francisca discovered her true passion for music and the arts. Growing up in two countries at an early age exposed her to different cultures, influencing her outlook on life and her creative interests. Starting with the classical piano and finally in the world of pop, Francisca decided to build her future in music in Latin America.

Photo by Rocio Mascayano.

Four albums later and years of touring experience under her belt, Francisca has achieved international success and created her own community in the male-dominated music industry. In 2016, she founded Ruidosa, a Latinx feminist collective and platform that seeks to empower women and non-binary voices in music and the arts. Ruidosa hosts an annual music festival, workshops and panels across the Americas to spread their message and build community.

In this episode of our “How I Made It” segment, Francisca Valenzuela takes us through her beginnings as a musician in Chile, overcoming doubt and insecurity, and finding international success with Ruidosa and La Fortaleza.

Featured photo by Rocio Mascayano.

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