Josie Borges delighted audiences during the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition with her interpretation of “Aires del Mayab”, a song made popular by legendary Mexican singer Lola Beltran.
Interview with Josie Borges
Leon: Josie, please tell us how old you are, where you are from, and what mariachi group you play with.
Josie: I am 16 years old and I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m an upcoming junior at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and I play with Mariachi Internacional, under the direction of David Rivera and Selena Pérez.
Leon: When did you first get involved in mariachi music and why?
Josie: I first started playing mariachi in the 6th grade. All three of my older sisters had been part of the school choir and orchestra and I wanted to do something different, so I picked mariachi. I also wanted to connect with the roots of my dad’s side of the family. They are from Mérida, Yucatán, in Mexico.
Leon: What instrument did you choose to learn, and why?
Josie: I play the trumpet. I fell in love with the idea of playing an instrument that gave me a big broad sound. I think God also blessed me with the ability to play it, because I picked it up really fast and never struggled that much.
Leon: Do you have any other hobbies or passions besides mariachi?
Josie: I sing at church with our worship team and I’m also trying to start a YouTube channel with my sisters.
Leon: How does your family feel about you being in mariachi?
Josie: My family is really accepting and supportive. They always push me to go the extra mile and are always there for me when I need them.
Leon: What have you learned in mariachi that has helped you in other aspects of your life?
Josie: Definitely how to work with others and to how connect as a group. Mariachi is also the reason why I know how to read music, and I know that can help me in the future.
Leon: Can you tell us a bit about your performance during the National Competition?
Josie: I always enjoy performing in San Antonio. It reminds me why I love performing so much. I sang “Aires del Mayab” a song that’s from the Yucatán Peninsula, which is where I’m from, so it meant a lot to perform it. I also wore a huipil, which is a traditional dress from that same area.
Leon: Josie, when I think of Las Vegas, the first couple of things that come to mind are casinos and nightclubs. What can you tell us about growing up in a city like Las Vegas that people from the outside might not know?
Josie: Well, Las Vegas is definitely a very distracting place to grow up, but the people here are amazing. We are generous and we love to help anyone out. The community here is definitely very strong and connected.
Leon: Can you tell us what a typical day in Vegas looks like for you?
Josie: I usually wake up at 5:00 AM to get ready for school and catch the bus. I attend 8 classes during the day with a short lunch break. At the end of the school day I have mariachi class, and when that is over, sometimes I stay after school for additional rehearsals. Once I finish up school, I walk to my dad’s work, which happens to be right next door. While I wait for dad to finish, I get some homework done and even practice my music some more. Afterwards, we head home where I spend as much time with my family as I can before repeating the cycle again the next morning.
Leon: What about the last couple of months? What did you do to keep yourself busy during quarantine?
Josie: I helped mom with cleaning and organizing. Two hours of my day would consist of practicing trumpet and going over different practice routines assigned by my teacher. I was also really involved with my church and praying for people during these tough times.
Leon: What’s your favorite musical genre?
Josie: I really don’t have one. I listen to a lot of oldies, mariachi, Christian rap, and trios.
Leon: Do you have any role models?
Josie: As a singer, I really like Selena. Her story inspires me. I also really like Linda Ronstadt, and some people even tell me I resemble her a bit.
Leon: Last question, Josie. Time flies, and before you know it you’ll be graduating from high school. Have you made up your mind on what you’ll be doing after high school?
Josie: I’m definitely set on pursuing a career in music, specifically music business. I would also love to produce my own music someday.
Leon: That’s fantastic, Josie. I’m sure your hard work and dedication will take you wherever you want to go in life. Thank you for the interview!
Josie: Thank you so much!
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