Cristina Quinones is on the cusp of being the next Latina sensation. With a soulful sound reminiscent of JLo — circa the early 2000s — mixed with her own unique blend of reggaeton and pop, Quinones is not only using her platform to entertain but to also take a stance and inspire.
Born to Mexican and Puerto Rican parents, the social injustices faced by minorities in America have deeply affected Quinones. After realizing her influence, Quinones decided to use her voice for a true purpose.
What inspired you to pursue music?
I started out with music at the age of 12. I’ve been doing it half of my life. I’m 24 now. I started truly pursuing it and making waves with it two years ago. At that point, I found my style brand, and who I was as an artist. It’s been a long couple of years, but this last year has been really fulfilling and taught me a lot. I’m ready for 2018.
So with you recently finding your true style, you have evolved over the years both musically and physically. Explain that to us.
Two years ago I got back in the Spanish music scene and released my single “Veneno,” which was streamed all over Spotify and Itunes. I was also on “Despierta America,” which is kind of like “Good Morning America” but for Latinos. I have this sound that’s like reggaeton, R&B, and pop. It’s a fusion of different sounds. I wanted to represent where I come from, which is Atlanta, with my soulful and R&B sound; But at the same time, I’m Latina, so I want to be able to represent where I come from culturally and geographically. I recently chopped off all my hair. You when a woman cuts off her, she’s about to change her life. I was going through a really dark place about a month and a half ago. I was very depressed. When I cut off my hair, I felt this freedom. I felt very empowered. I’ve never been that person to do something crazy. I stay in my lane. Ever since I did that, I’ve been in a positive, spiritual place.
So you’re heading to Africa soon, what’s happening there?
I am an ambassador for this event called Carnival Calabar that takes place in Nigeria. I will be representing the Caribbean as Puerto Rico. I’m Puerto Rican and Mexican. We will be there for about six days and go to the governor’s mansion and do charity events. I’m really excited because this is my first time overseas. I’ve seen Cast Away so I’m a bit nervous, but overall it feels good.
Talk about your single “White Flag.”
“White Flag” is an anthem about a lot of the social injustices that occur around the world, especially in America right now. We have racial, especially with Latinos and African Americans. I wanted to speak up about it and just let people know to never give up despite the injustices. The music video perfectly [expresses] the message of the song. I wanted to show an interracial couple, a religious woman covered, a mom working hard to make ends meet, a father who works for his family, and children of DACA get arrested for no reason. It’s something that it’s home for me because I come from a family that’s very multicultural. So it’s hard for me to see so much going on in the world and I wanted to do something about it. The song was just a way for me to fight to be heard.
Are you attending the Grammy’s this year?
Yes, I am! I just got confirmation from my team. I’m really excited about it! I went to the Latin Grammy’s last year, and that was an amazing experience. So now I’m even more excited to go to the original Grammys. I’m ready to be around people and be a part of something I’ve always wanted to be a part of since I was a kid.
Who are you rooting for?
Kehlani — that is my girl. I think she’s an amazing inspiration to so many people.
What can we expect from you in 2018?
I’m releasing my EP. Expect it to be colorful and different. It’s going to sound like me. For the last couple of years, I’ve always wanted to release an EP, but I was afraid because I had no idea what I was going to put together. This time, I have an amazing team and tools to put together something magical. I’m excited because there are people out there who believe in me. I also just did a song with DJ duo Cashae, and that will release Jan. 18. There are some other things that I can’t say right now, but it’s going to be crazy.
Check out the powerful music video for “White Flag.”