Stephanie Urbina Jones will mark 2013 as a successful campaign in her quest to spread her music around the world. When we last spoke with Stephanie, she was just kicking off her Texicana Tour at The Cove in downtown San Antonio. Today, that tour has come full circle as Jones is back from locals she once dreamed of playing with even more appreciation for the music she plays and the heritage that has fueled the fire within her.
I had the opportunity to catch Stephanie for an interview on her music and how 2013 has panned out thus far.
DP: Hi again, Stephanie. You have been so busy since we last spoke and I know you've played some great gigs, but let's kick off with this question. Are you having fun yet?
SUJ: Absolutely..truly the time of my life! Each year I become more clear about what is important in life and how to live it! I dream big and go for it! Somethings come to fruition others fall away but I enjoy EVERY thing I am involved in whether its a song, performance, producing a festival , acting or spending time with my family and friends. I am truly blessed and grateful.
DP: Okay, so let's go back a bit here for those who don't know ya. You were born here in San Antonio and at a young age, moved to Fredericksburg with your mother where you were raised but you still consider San Antonio your home. What is it, to you, that makes San Antonio so special?
SUJ: Something happens to me the second I step off the plane in San Antonio, something settles and grounds me and I feel a sweet homecoming every time. Its the people, its the culture, its the colors, its the passion and vibrant spirit of the city. I love my hispanic roots and I especially love that it is reflected in the heart of San Antonio. My roots run deep here and mi familia is here.. Born, Raised and Buried!
DP: Your single “Shakin Things Up” vaulted to #1 on the Texas Music Charts making you the first independent female to do so. Did you think that song would shake your career up when you recorded it?
SUJ: I had no idea..as a matter of fact that song was written in about a day after I had intended to quit the music industry. I was so frustrated and upset, I called my dad Charlie Urbina Jones and told him I was coming home and quitting. He told me to settle down and to go take a run. I ran about a mile and out of nowhere the chorus poured through me. I ran home, called my cowriter, wrote it and within a few months landed my first publishing deal with Sony the largest publisher in the world and then had my first song cut on it by LORI MORGAN ( her tittle ) track. When I made my first CD, I knew I had to record it. I had prayed about which one to go with and it became clear that it was the one! I really changed EVERYTHING in my life and career and opened doors in all areas of the entertainment world including being asked to sing with WILLIE!
DP: Tell us about your association with Gibson Guitars and specifically the new Latin Division.
SUJ: I met Robert the representative from Gibson/ Epiphone in San Antonio. He represented the latin division and had worked with SELENA and helped bring her life to movie. He understood how important it was for a LATINA to step into the traditional market and supported me in my intent to be the FIRST FEMALE HISPANIC ARTIST in COUNTRY MUSIC. Although many latinos listen to country music, we don't have many representing us in the market and NO females who have cut through on a Big level. I hope to change that in the next year! Our time has come!
DP: It has been a great year for Texas musicians, females in particular, and a huge gig for you was the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Both you and Patricia Vonne played that festival this year, that has to be some kind of record, two female San Antonio artists playing one of the best known festivals in music. Tell us what playing that festival meant to you and your career.
HAHA! Well,I can say this, when I got the phone call I stood on the back porch of my house over looking the river in Nashville and screamed in excitement for a good 10 minutes. I don't know if I have ever been so excited about a gig. This year alone me, Patricia, Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Sting, ZZ Top all played stages there.It was amazing! Truly amazing and opened a whole new world of opportunities.
DP: You recently sang at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. How did that come about?
SUJ: It was a meant to be, crazy story. I was touring Mexico and had caught a shuttle to my hotel in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. There was an attorney from DC in the shuttle and I invited her to my show the following day in Mexico. She came and really got the heart of my work. She then went back to DC and approached VITAL VOICES, an international organization that empowers women all over the world ,founded by Hilary Clinton , to ask me to serenade the honorees from around the world at the Canadian Embassy. It was truly humbling because these heroes had done some amazing things in their communities that have changed history. SInce then I have been so inspired by them that I wrote the proposed theme song for VITAL VOICES called "DREAM ON" and dream of performing it at their awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center next Spring.
DP: You also were a guest artist at the State Capital's memorial for Fallen Warriors of Texas. What was that experience like? (as a Desert Storm Vet, I appreciate your taking care of our troops families)
SUJ: It was the holy of the holy. I think every person there , regardless of party lines, had their heart in the right place and knew that we were there to comfort and honor the families of the fallen warriors. I was asked by Senator Leticia Van De Putte to sing "AMAZING GRACE". The piano went out and I sang it a cappella We all cried. My dad is a Vietnam Vet and so I have witnessed his PTSD over his experiences and the friends he lost. I will always be present for those who serve. Thank you for your service David.
DP: You've tasted a little bit of the Film Industry. Are there any plans for you to do anything in film in the future?
SUJ: I sure hope so, I LOVED the experience. I am reading a script right now and I am excited about the possibility. I also am very interested in writing a screen play. I think and dream cinematically and have a story I hope to bring to life someday soon.
DP: Anything else you wish to share with your fans?
SUJ: Thank you..thank you for your continued support and for sharing the ride with me. I truly believe we are all connected and that when one of us rises we all do. I hope to be blessed to continue to create songs, festivals,movies, books, whatever I am divinely led to do and I pray that my work inspires and
leaves the world and little better from my being here.
DP: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day for us and we'll see you on tour!
Be sure to catch Stephanie as she celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with two huge shows Saturday September 21st at the Uvalde Grand Opera House with Augie Meyers, Michael Guerra, Gabe Garcia and John Arthur Martinez and on Saturday September 28th at VIVA TEXICANA.. HILL COUNTRY FIESTA at Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg, TX from 4-9pm with Michael Guerra and featuring talent from America's Got Talent and Mariachi Nuevo Estilo A.D.M., a Fiesta Fun Zone for the kids 4-6, Tortilla Toss, Pinatas, Arts and Crafts, Spanglish Story Time, Mariachi Musical Chairs, Crowning of Grito King and Queen, Jalapeno Eating Contest, Mariachi and Folklorico Dancer Show and Performance by Stephanie Urbina Jones from 7:30-9:30