The current state of modern day Western society, both in a cultural and political sense, is in a state of disarray, and it seems endless when we begin to examine the pain we see within so many of those suffering in this world. It is these issues that have prompted multinational artist Raye Zaragoza to bring protest into her creative work and become a beacon of light for the ignored and tired minority.
Zaragoza is of Native-American(Pima/Akimel O'odham), Mexican, Taiwanese, and Japanese descent, which helps bring her a worldly yet passionate viewpoint on society. In particular, her focus centers on the cost of the “American Dream” from the Native American viewpoint. She explains - “So many people have issues with immigrants entering our country. Many fail to realize that if you’re not Native American, you are an immigrant as well. It’s time that we learn from our past, and promote peace rather than intolerance.”
Along with singing in the front lines of #NoDAPL rallies in her current hometown of Los Angeles and traveling up to Standing Rock to stand alongside other activists, she also released her standout song “In the River,” which quickly became an anthem within the protest community; the track eventually won a Honesty Oscar for Best Activist Anthem, along with being placed in Paste Magazine’s list of Modern Day Protest Songs that also listed Kendrick Lamar and A Tribe Called Quest. In short, her protest anthem has gained traction in the mainstream music world and bringing about the conversations she hoped to see happening within all communities.
Her upcoming album, Fight For You, aims to continue feeding the fire that she sparked in 2016 by committing a portion of album sales to helping indigenous fights. Citing Joan Baez as a major influence, she’s noted however, that her latest work will also take a personal look at her own story along with her continued fight. She further elaborates- “This album is about finding yourself, and finding your voice. It’s about getting older, and realizing that you can make a difference if you so choose. We have the power to be on the right side of history, and make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.”
With an autobiographical nature that examines her roots, as well as finding her voice and identity as a multicultural individual, she’s looking to further showcase the “the harsh realities of this country.” Included in her story is a horrifying tale about her great-grandmother being taken away from her tribe in the 1900s and never finding members of her family again. Hoping to use her story to inspire change, that “the great injustices that [her] Grandma Villa experienced drive [her] to want to make a difference in [her] generation.”
Her upcoming record was completed with the help of the Grammy-nominated engineer Justin Hergett, and was self-produced and recorded at Dubway Studios with Chris Montgomery in New York City. It is currently slated for a June 2017 release date.