Ranchera prodigy Rojas, in a “good place,” tries comeback

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – As a teenager growing up in Southern California in the 1990s, Nydia Rojas was touted as mariachi music’s next big thing.

She released four albums on Arista Latin and Hollywood Records. She toured with Juan and Ana Gabriel. She even earned a Latin Grammy Award nomination in 2000 for her album “Si Me Conocieras,” which received a nod for best ranchero performance.

And then, one day in 2001, Rojas decided to walk away from it all. She went back to school, got married, worked for a spell as a 911 emergency dispatcher and reclaimed her life — a life she felt she no longer had control of.

“I wasn’t living for myself — I was living for others and that’s all I knew,” Rojas says. “When I left the business, I went back to school. I studied music, but I also began living normal experiences in order to be where I am today, which I believe is a good place.”

Now 31, Rojas is attempting to make a comeback. She is working with her husband, percussionist Raul Pineda, on a new album that she hopes to release in the fall.

“It’s going to be an independent project, taking my influences and adding filters of my heritage from Mexican folk music and Cuban music with modern attributes of my singing style,” she says.

Rojas is also opening nine shows in California for ranchera legend Vicente Fernandez, including five shows at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles scheduled for mid-November.

“Not too many people get second chances,” says Jose Hernandez, musical director for Mariachi Sol de Mexico, who mentored the singer as a child. “She’s getting to tour with Vicente Fernandez because she deserves it. She has the vocal capabilities.”

Tony Romero, a tour manager working the Fernandez concerts, agrees, saying that Rojas “has a very special style and she knows how to captivate an audience.”

Live performances will play a key role in Rojas’ efforts to re-establish a career in music, says Rodri J. Rodriguez, who helped launch her career with the annual Mariachi USA showcase at the Hollywood Bowl.

“When you are passionate about something you can always come back to that road,” Rodriguez says. “I know she’s tried different things, but her road always brings her back to what she’s good at.”

Rojas admits that her first gig opening for Fernandez on May 6 in Fresno, Calif., gave her butterflies. But she says it also felt like a homecoming.

“It was exhilarating and I am grateful,” she says – YahooNews