Get to know Jimena Arroyo
Jimena Arroyo was born in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently lives there with her husband and two daughters. From an early age, she has shown a talent for inventing her own songs and stories, so much so that she used to make up her own nursery rhymes at kindergarten and, at the age of 8, she wrote her first song in English, her second language. She has performed live since 1996 in bars, theaters, resorts and some local TV shows in her country while she studied translation at university. After graduating as an English-Spanish Sworn Translator, she kept pursuing her passion: writing, and while working for an illustrators’ studio called Duendes del Sur, she had several children’s books published. But it was writing music that really drove her, so she started composing songs with very talented musicians all over the world she met through the social network SoundCloud. She thinks teamwork brings the best sound and final product one can aspire to. That is why, with Jonnie Cook (from Chicago, USA) she is known as Excorde (an alternative rock band) and with Torbjørn Vagle (from Norway), she writes pop/rock songs and ballads. But she loves composing music of other genres as well, such as EDM, pop, country and adult oriented rock.
Excorde is a new alternative rock band made up of Jimena Arroyo, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Jonnie Cook, from Chicago, USA. They met on SoundCloud and have been writing songs together for two years now. Jimena’s emotional voice combined with Jonnie’s distinctive guitar playing will transport you to another dimension, where catchy choruses, killer guitar riffs and meaningful lyrics are imbued throughout the listening experience with Excorde. Their songs feature a broad yet cohesive fusion of genres influenced by 80 and 90’s rock bands of adult oriented rock, progressive rock, pop-rock, metal, alternative country rock and their own unique sound. They feel that, within their music, you will identify the best of familiar components of these genres blended seamlessly with a real plethora of new ideas and originality.
Their primary goal is to establish themselves as a songwriting team. Having tested a wide variety of rock genres/styles/nuances/ideas, they feel that, as a whole, they demonstrate a cohesive and recognizable identity on their own.
I have recently had the pleasure to speak with and get to know Jimena over the past couple of months. Jimena is the Featured Artist of the Month for April, 2018 and is a dedicated member of the SocialStars Family. I met Jimena through Twitter and we quickly became friends over a short time. Jimena is a seasoned independent artist that is on the rise throughout the world of social media. Her music is magical and very inspiring in the lyrics that she writes and music she performs.
The following interview will help you get to know more about the artist behind the music and the magic that she brings to the entertainment world. If you want to know more about her and her music links will be posted at the end of the interview. We hope you enjoy this interview and comments will be open and welcomed.
"Jimena is a seasoned independent artist that is on the rise throughout the world of social media. Her music is magical and very inspiring in the lyrics that she writes and the music she performs." --SocialStarsWW
The Magic is in the Music Interview!!
Let's start out by telling us how you first began singing and when you began writing your first songs. Did you come from a musical family?
Jimena: I started singing when I was a newborn baby, singing to myself and copying my mom’s chants. I don’t come from a musical family per se, but my mom always sang to me. Then as a toddler I started making up my own songs. I have some recordings in which my mom is encouraging me to sing all the nursery rhymes she had so meticulously taught me, but given the fact that I was really stubborn from an early age, I just wanted to sing my own songs. For example, every time my mom returned from the greengrocer’s with a bag full of fruit and vegetables and I would start singing something I had made up on the spur of the moment, such as “the celery danced with the pumpkin and the carrots have gone away.” That was me. When at school, I took part in all school plays and the church choir.
You began making up your own rhymes at an early age but when did the writing begin?
Jimena: About writing music: I’ve always been an introvert. I guess it all dates back to my childhood. I was bullied at school for being a “nerd” so I became a very reserved child. My inner world was so much better than reality. So I kept a million diaries, wrote hundreds of stories and songs, and I read and read. I didn’t have a hectic social life so books were my haven, my sanctuary. I wrote my first song in English, my second language, when I was 8 years old and couldn’t stop writing melodies. I have hundreds of them by now.
Besides singing in church choir and school plays, when did you start performing live?
Jimena: I started singing in a rock band when I was 15 and by the age of 19 I was playing in a very popular cover band in my city, with my boyfriend back then, who then became my husband, and we toured for years and performed everywhere: bars, restaurants, clubs, private parties, theaters and seaside resorts. I couldn’t believe I was actually making money out of singing. For me, it was a dream come true.
What kind of effect did your singing career have on your schooling?
Jimena: I never dropped my studies. I studied at a University while singing and graduated as a Sworn English-Spanish translator with honors.
Did you have any formal vocal training?
Jimena: Yes, I had singing classes with vocal coaches for many years and I always do warm up exercises at home still to this day.
How has family life changed you in your singing career?
Jimena: When I became a mom, I stopped touring, because I wanted to spend more time at home with my child. Some years ago, I discovered Soundcloud and I met some incredibly talented musicians and producers and it has been a pleasure and honor to compose music with them professionally. That’s a dream come true, because much as I love singing, it is songwriting that really moves me. It’s my passion. The creative process and the studio work is what I love the most in the world. I can’t conceive life if I am not making music.
Writing has become an important part of my life also, it is a great release of stress and it keeps my mind sharp. Whether it be an article I am writing or lyrics I get a great feel of accomplishment when I finish a project.
Since joining Soundcloud and taking your talents to the world of social media who have you had the pleasure to work with?
Jimena: Here's a list of collaborators I've had the pleasure of working with: Jonnie Cook, Torbjørn Vagle, Joachim Vagle, Lee Kelley, TCM Underground (Official), Doc Jon, Matthew Wilson, Dairv Dubbleyew, Louie Showers, The 3 M Group, Delangio, David Hannah, Chris Kinsey, Alexander Yakunin, Rock Flexible, Phil Currie, Share a Cherry, Solar Cloud, Claes Steen, Audiozoo, Xgami, Bret Sinclair, Escaper, DD "Frizzy" van Frits, Valcarcel, Spike Spalding, Elías Alvarez, Simon Reich, Fat Pockets, Colorshapesound, DJ TH!NK, Electro Pup, Anaphi, Calaminus, Ice Requiem, Schwarze Blut and John O'Reilly Jr.
What do you enjoy most about writing and composing music?
Jimena: I compose music that makes my heart beat faster, music that makes me cry, music that stirs up feelings, music that communicates, music that connects. Yes, my music is dramatic, but it's also passionate, it makes me feel alive. That's how I choose to live my life: the Ex Corde way (Latin for "From the Heart").
While we are talking about Excorde, tell us a little about your new single "I'm The Storm" and what this song means to you?
Jimena: About I’m The Storm "I'm The Storm" is Excorde’s latest song. I’d always wanted to write a rain song, since I adore rainy days, but I had never found the right platform to do it. Nevertheless, when I heard the music Jonnie sent me, I knew the time had finally come to talk about my bond with the rain. And that’s how the concept of “I’m The Storm” was born. It’s about finding the power within when faced with adversity. It's about embracing one's uniqueness and potential even when the world around us thinks and feels the complete opposite.
Below is a link to listen to "I'm The Storm" on Soundcloud!
How has social media changed the music industry and do you think it has leveled the playing field for artists from beginners to experienced?
Jimena: Social media has been an invaluable tool for us, independent musicians, to make our music be heard and reach the audience without intermediaries: a direct connection between the artist and the listener. However, it is very hard to stop illegal downloads and receive appropriate royalties from streaming services; which is an undeniable downside.
Technology has changed also and allows greater opportunities for artists from all over the world to be able to work and compose together. Tell us about how it has helped you and some of your experiences.
Jimena: Technology may have many drawbacks, but I feel that the type of communication it allows between people is certainly unmatched. In this respect, musical collaboration is possible in a way that has never been conceivable before thanks to the Internet. Music platforms, such as SoundCloud, are great sites for musicians to meet and collaborate. Thanks to them, my music has improved significantly after teaming up with other professional musicians, producers and songwriters, which took my songs to the next level and to unthinkable heights for me.
Tell us about the first time you co-wrote with someone using Soundcloud.
Jimena: The first time someone contacted me for a collaboration, I didn’t know what it was. I received an inbox on Soundcloud from a musician asking me if I would like to write the lyrics and vocal melody of an instrumental track he was working on. I certainly didn’t know how to do that. All the songs I had written until then had started with a melody on my mind which I then played it on my guitar. I didn’t know that co-writing a song from different hemispheres was even possible. But I liked the song he was showing me so much that I simply had to try. When I showed him what I had recorded, I was so afraid he would find that I had ruined his instrumental composition. But luckily he loved it and that how Jonnie Cook and I co-wrote the first Excorde song: Stampede. Hopefully, we will continue writing songs together until we run out of ideas and I am optimistic that will never happen.
What happened to your career after doing your first collaboration?
Jimena: So, after starting collaborating with Jonnie Cook, many other musicians contacted me with the same question and I started getting the hang of it. Many times, I had to decline projects because I didn’t “feel” the instrumental they were sending me, because it simply wasn’t my style or the song didn’t appeal to me. If I don’t “feel” the music, I can’t make it mine. And some other times, I have sent these musicians homemade recordings of my songs and they have come up with amazing instrumentations, which made my melodies come to life. I am forever grateful for that to Torbjørn Vagle, Jonnie Cook, Dairv Dubbleyew, Doc Jon and many others.
When not working with music, what are some of your favorite past times or hobbies that you enjoy?
Jimena: I love spending time with my family. My two daughters, Dana and Isabella, are the world to me. I like taking them to school, helping them with their homework and those things a mother does. Other than that, I enjoy reading fantasy novels and watching fantasy and science fiction movies, when I have some free time, which is not very often, I’m afraid. I go for long walks while listening to music on my headphones and I also enjoy my work as a teacher. I love my students very much and it gives me great pleasure to see their progress and academic success.
Who are some your favorite musical influences and what have you taken from your influences to develop your own creative style?
Jimena: My favorite musical influences are The Beatles, Queen, Genesis, Roxette, Madonna, Aerosmith, Heart, Def Leppard, U2, Richard