Interview with María Centeno


Music from the guts.

The city of Guadalajara has always been a hotbed of talent. Not only because of personalities like Guillermo del Toro either Gael Garcia Bernalbut for bands like porter, Descartes to Kant, Belanova And till Manna. That is why it is not surprising that we are constantly talking about new and interesting proposals from Guadalajara, as in this case the singer-songwriter, Maria Centeno.

After a few years completely focused on Rye Islanda project that he shares with Island Litho, Maria has decided to resume his solo career, releasing singles little by little while preparing the release of his debut album, Late to say goodbyeof which he revealed some details to us.

Despite the large number of musical genres and subgenres that exist, to date it can be believed that the old reliable way to start a band is to opt for a sound focused 100% on commercial rock. An idea that, fortunately, never crossed the mind of Maria or of Litowho did not want to get stuck in a specific genre when they decided to work together.

I met Lito In the park near our parents’ house in Guadalajara, we found ourselves walking dogs. “He knew that I sang and I knew that he made music, he told me to get together to write and days later he arrived with his nylon guitar,” he recalled. Maria about his first meeting with who would become his creative duo.

Rye Island It is Latin American folk, but combined with bolero, pop and other influences. At no point did we decide to make a band of this specific genre or compose songs in this style, it happened naturally as soon as we started writing together. I suppose there is a musical heritage from when I saw my grandmother listening to boleros, that’s why a part of me has them very present,” she added.

Although the history of Rye Island It began to be written a little over five years ago, by then Maria She already had a way to go in the independent music scene, because since she was just a teenager she began to move in the Guadalajara band circuit.

At 17 years old he played in The Garfield and when I left the band the first thing I did was record Violence, my first EP, which was a total experiment. It is an album that makes me feel very proud, I made it wanting to sound like what I was listening to at that time and that exploration led to this pop, dark, kind of weird sound; that it is mine and that I am not stealing from anyone else.”

It is not the first time that a singer-songwriter divides her time and talent between two or more different projects, each one doing it in her own way. In the case of Mariato keep independent sounds in The island and on his debut solo album he chose to carry out two completely different composition processes.

“The composition methods for my solo project, especially for this album, and for Rye Island are very different. Everything I do with The island I write it with Lito and that gives it its own essence. Sometimes he comes in with a melody or an idea and I immediately start hearing the song in my head. Furthermore, before sitting down to compose we always talk, and a song can also come out of that initial conversation,” shared the multi-instrumentalist from Guadalajara.

With Late to say goodbye The composition has been a collaboration with my producer Ernesto Ayala, Don Neto Ayala; who has made me write in a different way. When we started I already had a couple of songs that we produced, but for the rest of the album the melody is completely linked to the production. Everything comes out at the same time, it’s like a fabric that gives it a particular sound.”

Without necessarily being concept albums, the albums generally have a theme. A memory, a problem, a word and even an image can mean the birth of a new song, which in turn gives a name and meaning to the production.

“The name of the album sums it up very well. Late to say goodbye It’s when you’re late to say goodbye because you don’t want to leave, but you have to go. Everything that involves letting go and letting go of things in order to grow. I know everyone always says the same thing, but this album is a stage in my life; “The records are photographs,” he said. Maria when asked to summarize what the album was about.

The ideas and decisions made when starting to write a new album change as the creative process progresses. Songs arrive, songs leave and others transform until they manage to integrate in a homogeneous way.

We wrote a lot of songs and not all of them made it, the ones that cost me a lot of work in the end I didn’t like as much anymore. Good songs flow, there are some that I have worked on for a long time, that I have revisited and changed things, but there are others that just don’t come together and I am enthusiastic about leaving them like that,” he told us.

“There is one song in particular that is my favorite and it is precisely the one that gives the album its name. ‘Late to say goodbye’ It is the most honest song I have written and the one I connect with the most, the one I really pulled out of my guts”, a song that has not yet been released to the public but we are looking forward to it.

So what’s next for Maria Centeno? Having two projects alive at the same time means a lot of discipline, commitment and love for what you do, characteristics Maria possesses and even to spare.

The album will be released in February or March of next year, I want to present it in Mexico City and also in Guadalajara. What I like most is playing live, I can’t wait to go to cities I’ve never visited, have people who I’ve never heard of and don’t know who I am connect with a song. I want to do the same thing I already do but bigger and bigger, not only as a soloist but also with Rye Island”.

But this does not mean that Maria She is waiting until 2024 to play and present her new songs to the world, she stays busy and takes advantage of all the spaces that are open to her to share her music.

“A few weeks ago Ibis Hotels He invited me to play in Querétaro with Marissa Mur, singer-songwriter from Hermosillo; and Violetta Parisi from Vienna, Austria; in a completely free event. The first time I worked with them was in 2019 when they invited me to give a show in Guadalajara. At the time I didn’t know they had a program called Global Music Tour “which is a kind of infinite festival with which they organize shows all over the world.”

Launched in 2019, this hotel chain program Ibis is focused on live music, organizing concerts in the same hotels and ending in a local festival, which on this occasion was GNP pulse.

“This initiative began in England with three local bands and one foreign one. Then one of those two local acts went to the next city, where they shared the stage with two other local artists, one of whom went to another city and so on. In addition to playing in Querétaro, they also invited me to Shanghai, it’s great!” he concluded. Mariawith the promise of keeping us up to date with their upcoming concerts and, of course, the release of Late to say goodbye.

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Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.