Meet the young Chicana singer-songwriter who is making waves in the music industry with her authentic style and charisma! Artist Jay Roxxx brings Chicano culture and California swag to the forefront along with her distinct style and versatile musical talents. Her natural ability to draw and appeal to listeners lies in her raw emotional vocal interpretations in her music, along with her relatable lyrical content and genuine connection to her fans. Her upbringing in El Centro, California has also been pivotal in shaping her both personally and professionally as an artist.
Coming from a tight-knit Mexican-American household, Jay Roxxx reflects on her hometown, and growing up in a Chicano cultured family, “I grew up in a really small town in El Centro, California and really love it here,” she said. “Everyone knows each other, and it’s predominantly Mexican. My mom is second-generation and my dad is first-generation and grew up really Chicano. The way they raised me, I didn’t really listen to cumbias and mariachi, but mostly rap music. We were always at car shows, and listened to gangster rap. When I started to travel more it was a huge culture shock for me, and some people thought I would move but I’m still here,” she said.
As Jay Roxxx grew up, her passion for music and singing ability became apparent but it wasn’t until the age of 14 where she was inspired to take her musical journey to the next level, “I’ve been singing since I was 7 years old, but I started to take the career part seriously at 14, after one of my favorite artists, rapper XXXTentacion had passed away at 20. It really hit home, and made me sad. He was the only artist that I really connected to, and it motivated me to start writing my own music and I wanted to continue his legacy,” she said. “I also wasn’t popular or cool at all while in high school, and was very outcasted and I had that connection to him.”
Recently turning 20 years old, Jay Roxxx is currently on tour with Chicano rap legend MC Magic and signed to his record label Nastyboy Records. Their collaboration began when meeting through an Instagram live where Roxxx sang for him, “My father initially tried contacting him, but I was able to sing for him while on his Instagram live, and after meeting me, he offered to produce my first album and I was signed to his label,” she recalls.
Released just last year, themes such as love and heartbreak are at the core in her debut album “Princesa.” The album features a repertoire filled with varying genres in English and Spanish that were inspired by the sounds of mariachi, cumbia, pop, oldies, dance, rock, and more. Other themes include subjects on mental health struggles, as heard on “My Demons,” written by Jay Roxxx herself in which she describes the mental anguish she experienced during her teenage years. “Every single song had a different influence,” Roxxx says. “The song ‘Mi Amor’ was influenced by MC Magic, and before initially meeting him that’s the one I performed for him. Psycho and Hyper were influenced by Britney spears, ‘My Demons’ was inspired by XXXTentacion and ‘Lagrimas’ was an influence from Rocio Durcal,” Roxxx said. “There are a lot of crazy different genres on the album,” she adds.
The album overall features 11 songs in addition to an extra remix of the song “Princesa”. Another song included is the oldies influenced “I Belong to You,” written by Roxx herself in collaboration with Lil Rob.
“That song came about almost by accident,” Roxxx said. “MC told me I needed one more track, and around that time, my Tata (grandfather) had passed away on the 4th of July in 2020. We took a break from the album after that, and when I felt better we started working on the album again. I had decided I wanted to write a song about my tata, so I thought maybe I should make an oldie and dedicate it to him. I actually had trouble writing lyrics, I was too emotional,” she adds.
As for the collaboration, Roxxx was excited to work with Lil Rob, “He wrote part of the song, and sent it back to us. I actually didn’t get to meet him at first, and Magic was shocked, because Rob usually declines features, and he said yes to the collaboration with me and we became really close after that,” Roxxx said. Working with MC Magic has been a blessing to Jay Roxxx as well, “Everyone that’s a part of my team, we’re all like family and I’ve grown close to all of them. I’m always with Magic, and we’ve done a lot of song collaborations together, and I actually call him Tio Magico.”
“I’m also really happy that the collab with Lil Rob worked out, and the video recently hit over 5 million views on YouTube. It’s crazy because the song was an accident,” Roxxx said. The music video features Jay Roxxx in her hometown in various places, “We know everyone in the video, and filmed it outside and inside of my nana’s house. We wanted to create a home vibe as much as possible, and the lowriders featured in the video belong to my family.”
For influences, Jay Roxx has been inspired by an array of artists, “To be honest, Eminem is my number one,” she said. “I’ve been a fan since I was 7 years old, and I’m still a fan. I listened to a lot of rap music, and artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Lil Rob as well. I used to hang out with my dad a lot when I was a kid, and he’s been a huge influence on me too. I wanted to be like my dad, and we listened to a lot of Chicano and Gangster rap, and attended car shows.” Roxxx is referring to the classic lowrider shows popular in the Chicano community, and also loves rock and heavy metal music. Artists such as Amy Winehouse and Gwen Stefani are favorites of hers as well, and Jay Roxxx’s keen fashion sense has played a huge role in her appeal, with her sometimes multi-colored hair, distinct makeup, and piercings, “A lot of my fans look similar to me. I actually grew up a tomboy, and love tattoos and baggy clothes. My dad sometimes gets mad and tells me to dress more girly, and when I do get dressed up more feminine, I take influence from Amy Winehouse and Marilyn Monroe, if you can mix them up I dress like that.”
When speaking influences, Jay Roxxx discovered Selena at a later age, “I love Selena, but didn’t grow up listening to her music actualIy, because I didn’t really listen to cumbia and mariachi music,” she said. “It wasn’t until about 10th grade in high school where I really discovered Selena. I know that sounds crazy, but I won the talent show sophomore year singing ‘Como La Flor’ and everyone started to know me due to that talent show.” Roxxx even participated in a Selena tribute show during high school at the school’s request, and initially had a page on Instagram at that time where she covered songs.”That was one of my more popular covers,” she adds. The song can be found on Jay Roxxx’s album and features an emotional ballad approach versus the original cumbia version. “MC Magic thought he would do a slower version of the song on the album. I try to refrain from doing it a lot, I don’t want people to think I’m trying to be the next Selena. I think it’s insane to live up to someone like that,” Roxxx said. Roxxx also found herself being compared to the legendary singer and was met with some harsh criticism from people, “It was doing more bad than good, and I took it harshly thinking these people do not like me. Sometimes it gets into your head, but people don’t associate me with that image much anymore.” After Roxxx starting coming into her own, the comparisons have since dwindled.
Roxxx herself also had to practice her Spanish as she didn’t grow up speaking it fluently, which has been an added challenge at times, and her number one criticism from people, “My parents know Spanish, but I cannot fluently speak it,” she said. “Growing up in a predominantly Mexican town, I would get made fun of for not knowing Spanish, and still get made fun of, but I understand what I’m saying in all my songs. Every time they tried to teach me when I was little, I started crying, because I didn’t understand it, but I know more now than I ever did before. I actually started to use that fact to my advantage really.”
Jay Roxxx also takes pride in her unique taste, and for creating a style all on her own, “I love the moon and stars, and I try to make music that sounds like outer space,” she said. For some outer space vibes, listen to “Sad Spacemen” which echoes those sounds, and is a beautiful melancholy ballad sung with haunting emotion by Roxxx herself.
When speaking of Mexican-American culture, Jay Roxxx identifies as a Chicana, and hopes to break into the mainstream someday, “There’s never been a Chicana artist that has been mainstream, and I feel like I’m a good representation of people. I want to be relatable to everyone, since I have a lot of versatility in my music and personality. As an artist, you want to explore, create, and experiment. A part of my fan base loves the oldies, and that’s all they want to hear from me, and there are others who love everything I sing. Coming into the industry at 17, people constantly watch your every move, and you go through different phases, and everyone is there to criticize and judge you. It’s been hard for me to find what my style is, but I can do everything. I would be unhappy if I only stuck to one style, “she said.
Jay Roxxx’s take on bridging the gap between old-school Chicano hip hop and rap music with the new? “I think it’s extremely important to bridge the gap. A lot of kids grow up from that Chicano lifestyle and background and kids will make fun of that style, and no one listens to that music anymore. Chicanos never really had their time in the spotlight, and it makes me feel sad when people don’t want to celebrate or be proud of their culture. It’s cool to dress the way we dress, and it’s cool to be yourself. It’s important to teach that,” she said. Jay Roxxx’s song “Two Chicanas” featuring Bella The Rapper empowers Chicana girls and highlights and celebrates the culture, which is a rarity coming from a female artist in the genre while also offering a modern take on the culture.
Currently, Jay Roxx is working on an EP, and is hoping to release it no later than January of next year. She is also working on launching a new clothing collection, and finishing up her tour. A future goal of hers is also to help her hometown community, “If I ever get really big some day, I would wanna help my city and create stuff for other young artists out there,” she said.
As for advice for other young people?
“My best advice to young kids is to find yourself before you do anything, before you make any huge decision. Being popular, going to parties and drinking, it doesn’t matter. What is real will prosper, that’s why people who become successful in life are people who are real. I speak more for the kids who were outcasted and made fun of in school. Now that I’m getting older I realized those things don’t matter, people made fun of me and never thought I would make it. The only thing I would listen to is my heart, and it’s cliché but it’s so true. Respect yourself as well, don’t let people take advantage of you, always be real, be a good person, and listen to your parents, because they’re usually always right, and do what your heart is telling you. That’s all that matters in the end.”