Chilean Indie Star Javiera Mena is one of the most important singers on the Spanish-speaking electropop scene. Javiera who is the first openly lesbian artist from Latinamerica to play Coachella, brought her unique retro sound to Shanghai and we managed to grab a chat with her after her show.

Michelle Ibarra, community manager for China Girl Gone International caught the show in Shanghai, “Javiera was playful and fun, singing and dancing throughout her show with two bad ass backup dancers. Her sound is disco pop with a heavy synthesizer feel and danceable beat. The highlight was when they busted out lightsabers to accompany the song Espada which means sword in Spanish. Everyone cheered as they watched Javiera and her dancers in sync choreography and vibrant light show.”

Javiera, what do you think of Shanghai?

(In Spanish) I love it, it’s international. I am very curious and eager to come back. The music here is overly romantic, the people are loud, and the expat community is surprisingly helpful.

How did you get started in music?

I started at thirteen years old, singing and performing, after my parents bought me my first computer. I loved the Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and Julieta Venegas; they were a few of my inspirations. I made my first album at twenty-two and have been performing, writing, and making music ever since.

So you also write your own music?

I write and create all of my own music on my computer; my sound is very much computer-generated. I love writing on planes too!

As a lesbian, tell us your role in the LGBT community? Did you know about the LGBT in Shanghai?

I am very much involved in the LGBT communities globally and did not know there was a burgeoning one here. I have talked to a few women here who have told me stories of their double lives and I find it fascinating. I am excited to learn and hear more!

Do you want to come back to Asia?

I definitely want to return to China. I need to get on WeChat first. I adored Fukuoka, Japan, it was so peaceful and different from everywhere else I visited in Asia.

Michelle Ibarra, “Javiera Mena was a lovely and down to earth artist. The interview could never have happened if it were not for the help of the ladies from ALWorks, who are bringing the sounds and culture of the latin world to China. Marcela and Antonieta, the founders of ALWorks, love to emphasize that Latin culture is more than just salsa. It is their personal mission to bring all types of Latin artists, performers, and creatives to China.

Latina Chilean

The duo have been rallying the Chilean community as well, as we could tell from the Javiera Mena show where most of the audience was speaking Spanish. Antonieta Landa and Marcela Mimica, both originally from Chile are helping to increase the visibility of Chileans in Shanghai, with a community now totalling over 300 members.

To read more about ALWorks, their events, articles and to find out what is happening with the Latin community in China, follow their WeChat account, AL-Works.

Latin community
Girl in glasses wearing red lipstic

By Michelle Ibarra

Michelle Ibarra is the GGI Asia & Oceania Manager. She began the first GGI community in Asia in 2013 and has supported the growth of over 40 communities. An educator, business co-founder and podcaster, Michelle has lived in North & South America, Europe, Asia and currently lives in Abu Dhabi.

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