Aurelio Valdez is an incredible, fully rounded individual that deserves a tremendous amount of respect for his many endeavors to make his community a better, safer, and more empowered place. Aurelio is a Mexican-American activist born and raised in Seattle. His hometown has a special place in his heart, along with strengthening, uplifting, and unifying latinos based in Seattle. Aurelio does this by taking part in the Board of Directors for Arts Corps, a charity that specializes in fueling young individuals with inspiration to embrace their inner creativity through cultural learning experiences. Aurelio also participates in another organization called Amplifier, which reiterates social movements with art. Other notable things about Aurelio is that he is a program director at Teaching Artist for Northwest Folklife, and he is also currently studying Political Science and Sociology at Pacific University, while being the Social Justice & Intercultural Coordinator at his school. All while being involved in so many activist activities, Aurelio goes above and beyond to empower Latino youth by creating his own inspirational music to empower them.
Nepantla is a motivational and educational song that was released in 2018 that reminds me of J Cole due to his real lyrics, tranquil voice, and old school rap vibe. “Blood of the Spanish, might of a solider, are you listening to what I even told ya? I know it’s hard to get the weight off your shoulders, raise gets to war but the road gets colder, I know your skin is brown but your soul is gold, raise your head up and let the world unfold”
After listening to “Nepantla” I feel truly speechless. It’s a beautiful song that gives Latinos something relatable to them, it educates, and it touches the heart. Aurelio goes on to talk about the history of Mexico and Mexicans, and he dabbles slightly into politics and injustices that the people face. Its raw and emotional. It’s extremely rare to find an artist who creates music with real content that genuinely betters the people who listen to it. “Nepantla” makes the listener feel included, heard, important, and socially aware. Aurelio blew me away with “Nepantla”, and we will definitely be on the lookout for his new songs to keep us inspired! We appreciate everything you do Aurelio!
Listen to Nepantla here and get to know more about Aurelio Valdez below!
We are incredibly impressed by everything that you do! How do you make time for everything and still be able to create music?
It’s incredibly hard balancing everything I do. It often feels I have to sacrifice something whether it’s spending time with my friends or even a good night sleep in some cases. For me realizing my priorities of helping my people through music keeps focused on always writing from whatever is relevant to me or whatever is bothering me at the moment and I need coping from it so writing poetry or even a full song is really therapeutic for me; this is how I continue making music
What makes you so passionate about empowering Latino youth?
What inspires me to help Latino Youth is that being a first-generation Mexican born in the United States, There's much cultural and identity confusion we have. Growing up in a community that is majority white, I barely had any help to navigate life other than my close friends and family; I could have easily been shot dead, locked up or just accepted the life that many expected me to have. I've been overlooked my whole life because I am bi-cultural and because in society, America has made itself believe that Mexicans or Latinos, in general, are inferior but I want to express how powerful and resilient I am to prove all these doubters wrong. By proving them wrong with my resilience, I know there's a Latino boy or girl looking at me seeing that it is possible, they can be proud of being bi-cultural, having brown skin, being proud of their humble upbringing and not looking down on it because society already has done that for us. I want to be the ultimate resource for many Latinos I have the privilege of working with.many of these youth. My hope is that my age group or generation will be the last of Latinos who have to work excessively hard to prove a point, No one would have to go through what I and my homies had to go through.
What inspired you to write “Nepantla”?
When I first learned about the meaning of Nepantla, I couldn't explain how happy I was to finally connect with a term or concept that perfectly explains where I stand with Identity, the song was written way before I learned about the word, however. I started writing this song during the first few months I moved to the city of Seattle for studying. Experiencing many new things but importantly interacting with such a different environment and groups of people. Being surrounded by people who don't identify the same as me both ethnically, culturally and socioeconomic status made my own identity more prevalent. Writing Nepantla was an act of survival, I needed to write the frustration of the inner identity complex I have being Chicano in such a hostile and different environment. Many Chicanos, myself included, feel isolated because they don’t completely identify with traditional American values, but also struggle to identify with the Mexican cultural values endorsed by their parents. We are in a constant battle to know our identity. Nepantla is my interpretation, my frustration and my uprising with my conflict.
What do you want listeners to get from “Nepantla”?
I want my audience to relate to me on this song, either you relate since you're a Chicano or even find something to empathize with on my song; doesn't matter if you're a Latino or not, identity is something that everyone struggles with so I want you to feel the emotion I am demonstrating on this song. I would also want you to refer back Nepantla when it comes to understanding who I am as an artist. I am a big hip-hop fanatic that loves working on my craft, rap over old school beats and just overall produce songs with meaning. Nepantla set the staple for who I am as an artist.
Do you have more music that will be released in 2019? If so, what can we expect and when!?
Expect summer 2019 to be filled with brand new music, visuals, directing projects and me to continue putting South Everett on the map; what I'm really excited about is traveling to Southern California and connecting with my fans that I have the honor of having. I already have the rest of the year planned out so stay tuned for what's coming!
Connect with Aurelio Valdez on social media