Yahritza y Su Esencia on the rise11 March, 2023
Bassy strings, heart-twanging guitars, emotional Spanish-language lyrics tinged with English and the young, yet weathered voice of Yahritza make this Mexican-American trio at once familiar and exciting. TikTok has launched them to stardom, but their roots are firmly set in family and ranchera tradition.
Led by 15-year-old Yahritza Martínez, this Mexican-American family trio have gone from strength to strength on the US music scene. Their debut album, Obsessed (Deluxe) tells dramatic love stories through simple, sensitive lyrics, warm ranchero guitars and Yahritza’s singular voice – young, bold and reaching satisfyingly deep tones.
Since she was 10, Yahritza and her four brothers, based in Davis de Yakima, Washington, have helped their father pick fruit in the Yakima Valley (over 50% of the county’s population are Latinos, many of them migrants from Michoacán, like Yahritza’s parents). Now their time is overwhelmingly spent making music together.
The band unexpectedly rose to fame last year with a couple of viral TikToks and a record-breaking single. Yahritza’s older brother and bandmate, Armando Martínez, learned to play the 12-string guitar just six months before their first release and their younger brother and third band member, Jairo, only picked up the acoustic bass (bajoloche) the previous summer. Yarhitza picked up a guitar for the first time a couple of years ago and had kept her voice a secret for years. But music was already sown in the family tree, with their dad performing throughout their childhood alongside his brothers.
Armando (Mando) – who, like their parents, was born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán and played keyboard with their dad’s band from the age of 10 – encouraged his siblings to take up instruments. It was Mando who heard Yahritza’s voice for the first time, while practising keyboard. “Out of nowhere, I hear this crazy high pitch, and I’m like, ‘What the heck? I open the door and it’s Yahritza, singing a straight-up ranchera.”
Yet their success wasn’t totally unplanned. “Soy el único” was inspired by lines Yahritza had read on TikTok about people’s everyday breakups, spurring her to write the song. It became an instant desamor anthem (way preceding Shakira’s “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” and Miley’s “Flowers”…), thanks to Yahritza’s determined, galvanising voice and earnest lyrics. It’s the emotion she sings with that makes you feel the trio are plucking your heart strings with each riff.
“Ya déjalo ser, es lo que es, sólo me dejas ir porque sabes que nadie te puede tratar como yo /Soy el único.”
Rolling Stone has highlighted how commercially, Mexican genres are on the rise: “Regional — a catch-all term for genres that include corridos, norteño, banda, and more — has found an audience on TikTok and inspired reggaeton artists like Karol G, Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez to experiment with these sounds.” Androgynous-presenting Yahritza and her bros are right at the forefront, with their laid-back aesthetic accented by sharp moustaches, shining silver chains, pierced ears and quintessentially baggy trousers. Their music hits straight to the heart and points towards an exciting future for the trio.
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