Arts, Culture & Media

Mexico's Carla Morrison Speaks the Language of the People

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Album cover of Carla Morrison's 'Dejenme Llorar.'

Carla Morrison grew up listening to Patsy Cline records in the small border town of Tecate, Baja California, a place known for its beer and its bread.

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"I actually was born right next to the most famous factory of good bread over there," Morrison said. "And it's nice, it's a nice place, but right now I can't be there because I have too much demand on singing and traveling, going throughout the country and sometimes the world to show my music."

Morrison moved to Mexico City six months ago and she's been selling out concerts across the country. Morrison says she has been overwhelmed by her success and her fans' response to her songs.

"When I talk about love and when I talk about not being loved and when I talk about my own issues in life and all that, I feel like I'm really honest," Morrison said. "And I try to be as clear as I can and I speak the language of the people."

She said she is not trying to be a really well-spoken person and intelligent person who only speaks all these great words, but more like the people in the street.

"I'm from a little town, I'm from a pueblo," she said.

Morrison said she has been able to tap into an emotional aspect of Mexican music that's not as common now as it was decades ago. She refers to songwriters like Jose Alfredo Jimenez who poured their hearts out in rancheras with lyrics addressing all kinds of intimate feelings.

"Morrison's ability to connect with Mexico's young audience has to do with her personal approach to making music," said Enrique Blanc, a music critic based in Guadalajara.

Blanc said Morrison symbolizes the opposite of all the other pop stars, built by television emporiums or multi-national labels. "She's real," he said. "Carla Morrison has an indy attitude that makes her songs so convincing."

Morrison has gotten involved in the student movement called "Yo Soy 132," participating in a massive rally in Mexico City two weeks ago. The movement was started by university students protesting against the resurgence of the former ruling party — the PRI — and the mainstream media's support for the PRI presidential candidate. The students view the PRI as the embodiment of old style Mexican corruption.

Morrison said as a musician, she has to support her fans and make sure that just as they are free to decide on their feelings about life love and about a certain person, they should be free to decide who is going to lead their country.

"They can't make us have this leader that we don't want," she said.

This week, Morrison will send out a new song to her fans. It's an anthem written by a friend, who produced her first album — pop singer Natalia Lafourcade. The song, "Un Derecho de Nacimiento-A Birth Right," is meant to encourage Mexican youth to make their voices heard and their votes count in Sunday's presidential election.

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