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JULIETA VENEGAS was born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California. She started her musical training by studying classical piano as from the age of eight. Daughter of Mexican parents, who are professional photographers, JULIETA VENEGAS was the only one of five children that chose to get into music. Along with piano lessons, she also started taking theory, singing and violoncello classes at Northeaster Music School and South Western College, in San Diego, which she alternated with her high school studies.
She also took cello lessons with private tutors, enriching her training and musical style. Through a high school friend, JULIETA VENEGAS was invited to play with the group “Chantaje”, the predecessor of “Tijuana No”; bands that played ska and reggae. The group lasted two years. JULIETA VENEGAS, however, continued playing now and then with Luis Güereña and Alex Zúñiga from “Chantaje”, with whom she composed the song “Pobre de ti”, a song which made the band popular.
As a teenager, JULIETA VENEGAS began composing very productively her songs with a unique personal style, and although she does not have any strongly marked influences she did enjoy listening to Suzanne Vega, David Bowie, Prince and Charly García. In 1992 she ventured into musical theater, participating in “Sirenas de corazón” by Edward Coward, then playing at the National Theater in Monterrey, Mexico. When she was about to turn 22, she moved to Mexico City in search of a more fulfilling environment. There she met Fratta, Café Tacuba and other artists, who helped her put together her career.
In 1995, JULIETA VENEGAS was asked to compose the music for the play “Calígula probablemente” by Francisco Franco, which ran for nearly twelve months. At the same time she formed a band called “Lula” and started playing the accordion, an instrument she also began doing musical arrangements for. Later she formed “La Milagrosa” with Fratta and Rafa González, a project that became, simply, JULIETA VENEGAS; a young musician and composer who in 1996 signed a contract with BMG and started recording her first solo album entitled “AQUÍ”. This effort was recorded in Los Angeles, California, and produced by Gustavo Santaolalla, who in addition to writing some of the songs, played the accordion, piano, guitar and vibraphone.
“AQUÍ”, released in 1997, was the result of five years of work. Great friends and prominent musicians such as Joselo & Quique Rangel (Café Tacuba), Rafael González (Botellita de Jérez) and Patricio Iglesias (Santa Sabina) participated in this musical production. The album was released in Spain, the U.S. and several Latin American countries.
“Como sé”, “De mis pasos” and ”Andamos huyendo” were among the songs that came off from this record, with which JULIETA VENEGAS became internationally renowned and took her placed as one of the most prominent rock music artists.
With this debut album, JULIETA VENEGAS was awarded the Nuestro Rock prize for “Best New Record” in 1997 and playing the accordion, participated in the recording of the Enanitos Verdes’ “Tracción Acústica” album. A year later, the MTV channel awarded Venegas the “Best Female Performance Award” for the video “Como sé”, directed by Francisco Franco. She also went on the “De viva voz” tour with Ely Guerra and “Aurora y la Academia”, which gave her the chance to perform at several Mexico City area universities as well as do shows in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez and Chicago, gaining broad recognition from the public.
In 1998, VENEGAS also participated in the “Calaveras y diablitos” Tour, performing on stage in Spain, where she played alongside the “Fabulosos Cadillacs” and “Aterciopelados”, in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca and Seville.
In 1999, JULIETA VENEGAS participated in several major international festivals: in June at the “Midem Americas Festival”, in Miami; in September at the Festival Generación “Ñ”, held in Granada, Spain (where she shared the stage with Enrique Bumbury and “Pastilla”); in October she performed at the “Outdoor Rock Festival in Bogotá”, Colombia and at the “El Hatillo” festival in Caracas, Venezuela.
Along with these performances, JULIETA VENEGAS, playing the accordion, participated in the video version of the very Mexican song “Infinito”, included on the Enrique Bunbury album.
VENEGAS was also invited by Spanish musician Mastretta to participate in the recording of the “Luna de miel” album, to perform a song with the same name, which was released in Spain by Subterfuge, the record company responsible for the success of groups such as “Dover” and “Fangoria”. Spanish singers such as Alaska (Fangoria), Ana Belén, Ajo (Mil Dolores Pequeños), among others, also participated in the project. This same year also marks the incursion of this young musician and songwriter into the movies, composing music for the film “En el país de no pasa nada”, directed by María del Carmen de Lara, in which she performs the songs “Lo que perdí” (composed by VENEGAS, with musical arrangements by Jacobo Lieberman),“Mala leche” (written by Liliana Felipe and Jesusa Rodríguez and composed by Jacobo Lieberman) and “Ay” (by Julieta Venegas and Francisco Franco).
JULIETA VENEGAS wrote and composed the song “Me van a matar”, which she produced together with Quique & Emmanuel of Café Tacuba, for “Amores perros”, a movie by Alejandro González Iñárritu that won the Award for Best Feature during the Critics’ Week in Cannes, France. This song was recorded in Mexico City and mixed in Los Angeles by Joe Chiccarelli. She stepped away from this type of activities in order to prepare for her second album, which she worked on for a year, beginning in the summer or 99. The album, “Bueninvento”, was cut in Los Angeles, California, and produced by Gustavo Santaolalla, with whom VENEGAS teamed up once again. She also worked again with Quique Rangel and Emmanuel de Real on production, and with Toy Hernandez and Joe Chiccarelli, on mixing.
“Bueninvento” was recorded between October of 1999 and January 2000 in Mexico City and Monterrey and then mixed in Los Angeles. The lyrics and music are by JULIETA VENEGAS and include a very personal version of the song “Siempre en mi mente”, written by Juan Gabriel.
The following musicians also contributed to this musical effort: Joe Gore on guitar (Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and Lisa Germano), Joey Waronker on drums (Beck, R.E.M, Smashing Pumpkins), Fernando Saunders on bass (Lou Reed), Rick Boston, who played with Rickie Lee Jones and Steve Berlin on saxophone and flute (Los Lobos). In 2000, she performed for the first time in Italy, at Arezzo Wave, an important alternative music festival, where other artists such as “Asian Dub Foundation”, “Henry Rollins” and the Brazilian “Lenine” also performed. She also participated in the “Revolución” tour with Jaguares, Jubo, La Gusana Ciega and Lisa Flores. She was invited to participate on the “Demasiado amor” soundtrack, by Ernesto Rimoch, singing two different versions of “Acaríciame”, one arranged by the composer Joan Valent, the other by Mastretta, who also participated in “Sueño del caimán” (Spain-Mexico) by Beto Gómez. She also participated in the fair at Hannover as part of Music Bridges Around de World, which brought together composers from Egypt, the U.S., Chile, Australia and Korea to write songs and perform them at the Hannover Festival. In 2001 along with Aterciopelados (Colombia), Gabriela Epumer (Argentina) and others, she participated in the Fémina Rock tour performing in several Spanish cities.
She was nominated for two Latin Grammys, in the “Best Rock Song” (“Hoy no quiero”), and “Best Rock Album” (Bueninvento) categories. She also participated in the tribute to Los Tigres del Norte singing a unique version of “La jaula de oro”. She was invited by Spanish songwriter Pedro Guerra to perform a duet for the song “Niños” on his “Ofrenda” album. She was also asked by Spanish composer Mastretta to sing “Música de automóvil” for the album with the same name.
In May 2002 she performed at the “Cubadisco” festival in Havana, Cuba. In October of the same year she sang at the “XXX Festival Internacional Cervantino”, a concert that paid tribute to the “Tigres del Norte”, along with “Molotov” and “La Barranca”. In November she was invited by the ska group “Los de Abajo” to perform the song “Skapate” on their “Latin Ska Force” album.
She also performed on the “Sounds Eclectic Too” album by the prestigious radio program “Morning Becomes Eclectic”, with a live version of “Casa abandonada”, on KCRW in Los Angeles, alongside artists like Nick Cave, Dido and Zero 7. In 2003 she was invited to sing on several film soundtracks, among them: “Asesino en serio” (México) by Antonio Urrutia, in which she sings “El listón de tu pelo”, a duo with Pau Dones from “Jarabe de Palo”; “María llena eres de gracia” (Colombia-US), by Joshua Marston, for which she composed “Lo que venga después”; “Subterra” (Chile), by Marcelo Ferrari, for which she composed “Lo que tú me das” which she sings as a duo with Chilean singer & rapper Ana Maria Tijoux.
She was invited by composer/producer Víctor Manuel to play a part in “Entre todas las mujeres”, a special tribute to Joaquín Sabina, together with singers like Chavela Vargas, Rosario, Ana Belén and Pasión Vega. In September she participated in the “El sueño existe” concert, a tribute to Salvador Allende, at the National Stadium of Chile, together with Chilean and international artists such as Gilberto Gil, “Los Prisioneros”, León Gieco and Silvio Rodriguez.
“Sí” is the title of her third album, half of which was recorded in Madrid and half in Buenos Aires. Coti Sorokin and Cachorro López produced this effort. Julieta co-produced the entire project.
After it was released, “Sí” became an immediate hit. As of now, it has sold more than 550,000 copies and the singles “Andar conmigo”, “Lento” and “Algo está cambiando”, have occupied the top spot on Latin American radio.
In 2006, Julieta Venegas presented her “Limón y sal” album, co-produced by Venegas and Cachorro López. Three songs, “No seré”, “De que me sirve” and “No hace falta”, were co-produced by Venegas and Coti Sorokin.
“Limón y sal” contains 13 songs, most of them (both lyrics and music) written by Julieta herself, assisted by de Anita Tijoux, Dante, Jorge Villamizar and Coti Sorokin. The latter is the co-author of three songs included on the album.
Besides being released in Mexico, the U.S. and Latin America, it has enjoyed wide acceptance in Italy, Switzerland and Spain. The effort has sold more than 850,000 copies worldwide, as well as gone platinum in Mexico, Spain and Argentina and gold in Central America, Venezuela and Colombia.
At the end of 2007, Julieta Venegas released “Realmente lo mejor”, a collection album, that brings together songs that reached the top spot on radio charts and which, of course, were able to turn her into one of the best Mexican musical artists of the last decade.
She released her album “MTV Unplugged” in 2008, recorded in Mexico City, which features important collaborations by Gustavo Santaolalla, Natalia Lafourcade, Juan Son, La Mala Rodríguez, and Marisa Monte, among others. Said record placed her in the Platinum Record category in Mexico, and she was able to establish herself as singer/songwriter, musician, and producer, all of which was undertaken with great passion by her for this project. She was appointed Unicef Embassador for Mexico on September 30, 2009. In 2010, she presented her production titled “Otra Cosa”, which had been directed and carried out by Julieta Venegas and Cachorro López. Said project reached high sales records in Mexico and abroad and enabled the artist to be present at numerous international events.
In 2013, she toured Spain and Switzerland with some of the tracks from the album “Los Momentos”, to be released on March 19. She is getting ready to present this record soon in Mexico, Central and South America, as well as the United States. With this album, Julieta has become the first Latino artist to stream her music on iTunes, allowing her audiences to visit the digital store, listen to the record one week prior to its release in the Latin American region and Spain, and giving them the choice to obtain the record on pre-sale at a special price. The album reached the top 3 positions for the entire region and became number 1 in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.