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Victoria Acosta - Where Pop Divas Begin
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
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Youth culture is not getting any older. If anything, you have to grab a hot singer even before she's a teen. This time, let's start at age 12. Victoria Acosta is the latest pop diva to begin a career while beginning a life. This talented Mexican-American, trained in traditional Mariachi music, has stepped aside from wholly traditional roots, while still literally mixing fiery Pop with a combustion of Mexican Urban/R&B audio moves.

Apart from that, there's plenty of reason for us all to be jealous of this little lady. She's also an honor role student, who acts, reads, writes in her journal and writes stories on computer when she's not performing at the San Antonio Spurs games, or for the Governor of Texas, or at events for the democratic Vice Presidential candidate.

She's now signed up with Covert Entertainment's Record division, debuting her fresh (in every sense of the word, for a change!) sound on the highly anticipated "origin issue" (as they say in the comic book trade) album on April 26, 2005.

Her music is like that of an awakening - to live, love, musical styles and a popular sweetness that some might call bubblegum, but which is realistically more akin to optimism for what life has in store. Even reviewers in their 20s need to remember what it's like to have the threat of a wonderful life in front of them.

No other viewpoint could come up with the synth-hop beat of the low and lushious ballad "When I Lay Me Down To Sleep," which is nearly a hip hop version of "Leader of the Pack" for God-fearing girls who know where to pray and give thanks for the blessings that people like Victoria obviously have been given. A guileless, simple song, unpolluted and uncluttered by the overproduction of a Britney or the crass commercialism of a lyric that is looking for "more of a hook" in order to invade the hot Top 10. No, this is a "giving back" song. She's got enough other invasion tracks.

For instance, the lead-off on the demo I received was definitely a party favor, bright in its trippy beat and hip hop skeleton and stereo vocals from the Victoria A. machine, and a positive rap break that is money-back-guaranteed to do as the lyric says, get you "up and down, shake it all around." The whole point is showing you "how to move your thang." You don't even have to move it yourself. Put this song on and it moves by itself!

The follow-up is no slow dance either. Perhaps the political overtone of the initial lyric might startle you ("The world's gone crazy, it's a fact. There's another war, this time Iraq"), but the funk hop of the bounce and intelligence of the lyrics of "The World's Gone Crazy" give a techno, short answer to the insane colors of this turn of the century. Funky electric rhythm guitar and pumped electronics give it a dancehall kick that is more to be enjoyed with friends than by yourself. Its groove makes you braver, more apt to spill out and over, like good friends do for you.

With one listen, you'll wonder if all this hype is just a good PR stunt. "WHO could sound like this and be a pre-teen?!" you'll say. And Victoria herself with tell you why she's so professional at such an early age. Seems to all come down to instinct.

"I was actually very comfortable," she admits, about her first recording session. "The only thing was, I wasn't holding the mike, and I had to put headphones on and I couldn't move around like I was on stage. I had a great time. It was a wonderful experience. I learned how to harmonize so I was right in tune, and how to double myself exactly the same way every time."

Her take on what it's like to grow up INTO the limelight is wise beyond her years. "At first, I wondered whether I would worry about it. But now I realize that everything so far has been so much fun, that I'm just happy to be doing this. I think that when God gives you a great opportunity, you should take it. I love to sing. This is my first love. I want to be a singer, but I also love to write because when you write, you become the creator of everything that happens. You get to be creative and you get to let your imagination flow. I'd like to some day put the two together, singing and writing."

In her spare time, when she's not reading trilogies by William Nicholson (the adventure/fantasy sort) or keeping that 7th grade GPA up, "I listen to a lot of people. When I sing Mariachi, I listen to Linda Ronstadt, Patsy Torres because of Fiesta Texas, and then I also listen to a lot of people on the radio, of course. Today, my favorite bands are Maroon 5 and Evanescence. I also like Jessica Simpson, JoJo, and Usher."

Victoria was enrolled in a Maraichi music school on San Antonio's West Side at age 6, and it's far different than pop. "Oh yes," she explains. "When you sing Mariachi, it's less action, a lot of long vibrant notes, and you have to connect with the audience. With Pop, there are a lot of quick cuts and your movement on stage usually requires a lot of action. You have to entertain the crowd, and you have to make sure that you keep them interested."

At a mere age 8, she was selected from among hundreds of young singers, including college music majors, to earn the title of Best Mariachi Music Vocalist in the United States at the Ford and Lincoln Mercury Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza.

So just four years later, with an album on the way and a life of music and living ahead of her, Victoria Acosta is going to get a lot of press, a lot of pressure, and she's going to prove herself as one hell of an original item in a world of Kinko cut-outs.

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