Regional Mexican Star Christian Nodal Blends His Mariacheño Style with Country Music
From the moment Christian Nodal released the iconic heartbreak hit “Adios Amor” at only 17 years old, he became the face of a new generation in the world of regional Mexican music. Born to a family of musicians in Caborca, near the desert of Sonora, Christian honed in on his musical talents at a young age; he learned to play the trumpet at the age of eight and started writing his own songs in his teens.
In his 2019 sophomore album, Ahora, Christian introduced us to his own music style: mariacheño. This sound, a fusion of mariachi and norteño music, is now as iconic as his cowboy hat.
With more than 10 million monthly listeners and 3.6 million followers on Spotify, Christian has embraced the moniker of the future of regional Mexican music, and has fans throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
Earlier this year, Nodal took the stage at the Spotify Awards in Mexico City and sang “De los besos que te di.” That evening, he won multiple awards for the Regional Mexican Artists genre including“Highest Increase in Followers” and as songwriter for the hit “No te contaron mal.”
In his latest release AYAYAY!, Christian explores even more genres influenced by country music. In a nod to this new musical direction, Spotify launched an original playlist experience with “the history of the Mariacheño.” The playlist recreates a story with a spaghetti western feel, and listeners can hear the tale of love and heartbreak in audio tracks in between songs—voiced by Christian.
We caught up with Christian to discuss his new music, style and how he is connecting with fans through Spotify.
What can your fans expect on your new EP, AYAYAY!?
Initially I entered the recording studio with the idea of releasing a complete album. Of course, there was a change of plans… but the fans were asking for new music and I wanted to give it to them. So this is a preview of the album, and on it fans will find some salsa, cumbia, bolero—even country—and, of course, rancheras.
Your fans know you for the “mariacheño” style (a blend of mariachi and norteño) and now you’re taking a different direction with country music. What inspired you to shift your sound?
Before writing this album, I was listening to a playlist with Joan Sebastian’s classic songs, and I was surprised to hear country music roots and something of a rock and roll vibe. From that moment on, I dedicated myself to listening to the genre more closely and decided that for the next album I had to make a song with that sound. The song “Se Me Olvidó” practically fell into my lap because it was born in such an organic way. I have always been obsessed with country fashion and the cowboy look, and that is something I want to bring to regional Mexican music with my own style.
In your recent songs, we hear more humor in the lyrics. What prompted this more casual voice?
I tried to deviate from what is expected from me in this genre, as a songwriter. I wanted to use more fun language… although I do not completely let go of my romantic side. In “Amor Tóxico” I wanted to share how my generation feels about love and relationships. It often means loving someone for both their strengths and weaknesses.
How has Spotify helped fans discover your music?
Spotify gives you more insight, as an artist, of where your music is being streamed. Something that surprised me, for example, was learning that they listen to my music in Chile, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic. It is empowering to know what audience I can reach.
If, say, in Puerto Rico you like salsa or in Colombia, vallenato, I know I can make a cumbia style song (which mixes with any of these genres), without neglecting my origin as a regional Mexican artist. Then it is a process of trial and error to invent new things in the studio. From there came the rhythm of AYAYAY!
Which artists are you listening to now?
I really like Ed Maverick’s music. It’s inspiring, no matter what you are going through, to find an 18-year-old guy who records an album from his bedroom that sounds real and relatable. I have a total admiration for artists who make music not with the expectation of pleasing an audience, but rather because they have an urge to put out something that speaks from within. This way of singing from the heart, and to tell it as it is, was something that inspired me to write more straight forward lyrics for this album.
Stream AYAYAY! below.