Valley song: Medrano’s music evokes her home

Veronique Medrano spends a lot of time on the road these days as a rising Tejano and conjunto star, though her heart — and sometimes the rest of her — is still in Brownsville.

Veronique Medrano spends a lot of time on the road these days as a rising Tejano and conjunto star, though her heart — and sometimes the rest of her — is still in Brownsville.

Medrano likes to showcase her hometown in her music with the intention of making listeners “completely fall in love with our town.” Her second album, “Mi Año Dorado” (My Golden Year) contains the number “La Pulga,” which Medrano penned. The video for the song features the 77 Flea Market, a Brownsville landmark. The video has gotten half a million views, Medrano said.

“ I want people to see all the little nooks and crannies,” she said. “All these places are just so beautiful and full of character.”

Her third studio album, “Lotería,” came out in March and once again focuses the spotlight on the Rio Grande Valley, something Medrano wishes more artists from here would do.

“ It allows me to protect my culture, say the stories people don’t know about us,” she said.

Medrano is busy creating video vignettes for the new album, which contains 12 tracks, all in Spanish except for one, “Tamale Man,” which is in English.

“ I’m really happy with the album,” she said. “It was definitely a labor of love. Having Rick Garcia as the producer was a godsend. He’s worked with Freddy Fender and all the greats.”

Medrano said working with Garcia — a Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame inductee — was intimidating at first but got easier as she communicated her vision for the album. Medrano thinks the work displays her professional and artistic growth since her first album, “Encantadora,” from 2013.

“ I can take it to another level because I have people like Rick,” she said.

Medrano said “Lotería” hews to the conjunto tradition without sounding passé.

“ Usually when people think of conjunto, they think of it as very dated,” she said. “It sounds very in the past. Our whole goal is to bring it into the forefront, bring the technology we have and the arrangements that we have to really brighten it up and give it new life. It’s very much conjunto, but conjunto with a twist, with that little something exciting. I just call it that South Texas flavor.”

Medrano is also the creator of “La Toda Enchilada,” a podcast and web show that serves as a forum for discussing pop culture, entertainment, social issues and the state of Tejano and conjunto music. She said the industry is still very much male dominated and that female artists typically feel “pressure to be a certain way or be a particular type of person.”

“ You have to decide what portions of the mold you want to keep and which you want to completely break away from,” Medrano said. “My thing is never about the sex appeal. That’s not my ploy. I want people to see me — somebody who’s just a complete goofball, who’s absolutely silly and is just trying to have a good time and be fun, and bring that joy and bring that emotion.”

She comes from an artistic family and was reared on icons of classic Mexican cinema as well as legends like Lucille Ball, Johnny Cash, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Medrano said she’s always related to strong, funny women — the kind of women who in old movies earned kudos for having “moxie.”

“ They held their own with men because they could take a joke and they could throw a joke.” she said. “That’s why men and women loved them. The industry needs more women that just won’t take no for an answer and won’t let anybody run them over.”