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2004 - Although she was born in California a scant sixteen years ago (she is now 19), Nydia Rojas carries the music of her ancestral Mexico deep within her.

Nydia sings in styles ranging from mariachi to jazz to pop, but her love of music can be traced back to a film she saw as a four-year-old: Nosotros Los Pobres, starring Pedro Infante. Entranced by images on the screen, she learned all the lyrics to "Amorcito Corazon," the film's theme song.

At the time she was living in Guadalajara, where her parents had moved when Nydia was a year old. By the time she returned to the States, Nydia had already developed an enduring taste of ranchera, mariachi, and other types of folk music indigenous to northern Mexico, Frequent visits to Mexico nurtured her desire to become a mariachi singer.

But it was in the restaurants of East Los Angeles where Nydia first began her career. At age nine she convinced mariachi groups performing at a popular area restaurant to let her accompany them. She became such a sensation among the patrons-who tipped her generously-that the establishment promptly hired her to sing on a professional basis. Nydia's popularity quickly spread soon after, and she became a regular performer at several local restaurants.

At 16. Nydia is the first female artist signed to the Arista/Latin label, and is making an international debut that fulfills her lifelong dream.

Nydia makes her debut with Nydia Rojas, an album produced end arranged by Jose Hernandez, musical director for Mariachi Sol de Mexico. The album writes a new chapter for mariachi music, displaying its diversity from traditional delivery to contemporary, radio-oriented hits. The project includes a song written by Nydia and gives mariachi music a fresh outlook through its ballads, cumbias. rancheras and sones.

"When I discovered the mariachi. Nydia explains, "I discovered everything-I felt complete." It is this discovery and profound love for the music of her adopted country that she wants to share with audiences of all ages. With each performance, her greatest desire is to express her feelings of "what it is to be Mexican," and for everyone to feel "proud of who they are," regardless of their ethnicity.

Nydia has assimilated mariachi into her own distinct musical personality. She has studied with Heriberto Molina ("El Cura"), one of the original members of the great Mariachi Verges de Tecalitlen, and participated in the Mariachi Heritage Society Program at the Los Angeles Music end Art School. Tutored by Jose Hernandez. The program's founder as well as musical director of Mariachi Sol de Mexico. Nydia fine4uned her artistry to become the primary vocalist and musician with all-female Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

In addition to singing. Nydia also reads and writes music, and is adept on the guitar, the violin and the vihuela (an instrument used in mariachi music), and she has studied acting, modern dance and Folklorico dance.

Although her accomplishments and aspirations may seem overwhelming for such a young woman. Nydia's age is belied by her powerful voice, her maturity and her level of professional expertise.

Nydia has performed as a soloist and as a member of the Mariachi Reyna at the internationally renown Mariachi USA Festival for the past four years, and has taken her music to major stages in United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico. In 1993 she won first place three consecutive times in a global talent contest on Sabado Gigante. The popular variety show broadcast on Univision's worldwide Spanish-language network. Nydia has also recorded movie soundtracks and commercials. most recently recording the Spanish theme song for Don Juan de Marco. A film starring Marion Brando and Johnny Depp.

"With music. my goal is not to be famous but to stay true to my roots. My music is my responsibility to share the richness of the Latin culture with both new and old audiences. I am deeply moved when I see during a performance that my singing has made someone cry. Nostalgia for the Mexico they left long ago overcomes them. I pray my music will always take them back."

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