On this week’s episode of our podcast, Monday to Monday, Mike Boyd speaks with Ximena Acosta, an entertainment strategy and communications consultant who works with a wide range of Spanish-speaking artists. She works closely with Rancho Humilde, the brand which reps up-and-coming superstar Natanael Cano. Mike and Ximena cover a ton of ground in this interview, addressing everything from the current political climate to the way Nata’s music has evolved. It’s a goldmine of helpful advice, tender moments and incredible stories.
Acosta opens the interview with an amazing quote about her genesis in the music industry: “I’ve always said that you don’t pick to be in the music business, the music business picks you.” She goes on to discuss how she became involved with Daddy Yankee’s public relations in the mid-2000s. She was asked to help do PR for an event featuring Yankee pumping gas (as an homage to his hit, “Gasolina”), and says of her decision to help: “If you don’t know how to do something, always say yes.”
It’s difficult to name a Spanish language artist that Ximena has not worked with. She tells Mike a really cute story about Nata and Bad Bunny’s collab, when Bunny surprised Nata in the studio to record his verse. “Bunny made a really good point, he’s like, ‘It’s all about all of us supporting each other. We gotta break the barriers of like, Latin Pop or Reggaeton or Trap, it’s like… It’s music in Spanish.’ That’s what, to me, it is. It’s music in Spanish. It’s music in our language. Whether… whatever genre it is, it’s all badass,” she says of the experience with Bunny. And this growing conflation between the genres has been a core part of Nata’s success, as he’s become a bit of a cross-genre hitmaker, producing corridos, reggaeton tracks and, most recently, a trap album.
A lot of the guests who hop on the stream to ask questions are curious about Nata’s strategy for creating collaborations. Throughout all her answers, Ximena emphasizes the organic nature of these collabs. Speaking of Nata, she says: “I think a big part of his thing is being so connected with your passion that your instinct becomes your best friend. You just innately know in which direction to take it.” This instinctual artistry has allowed Nata to make hits in a wide range of genres with a ton of different collaborators.
One of the greatest things about the interview is Ximena’s amazing energy and her wonderful rapport with Mike. She has such a nice perspective on her work and her legacy, telling Mike: “I dream in like forty years to be sitting by a fire telling all the kids that I was super cool back in the days and I worked in the music business and have all these stories. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we have left.” All we have are our stories, and Ximena does an incredible job of helping artists tell theirs while simultaneously writing hers.
She concludes the interview with a few pearls of advice. On Nata’s ability to cross between genres, she says: “We’re the only ones that set limits on ourselves. You put the fence around you. The world doesn’t put fences around you unless you allow them to.” Although she’s speaking about Nata’s music specifically, the advice is wide-reaching for all creators.
Ximena’s final piece of advice needs no introduction:
Be you. Find you […] Do it because you love it. And do it because it makes you happy.
If you loved this interview with Ximena (as I certainly did) and want to hear more of Mike interviewing music industry insiders, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he interviewed rapper/singer, T:me.