Natalia Jiménez returns after the schism of La Quinta Estación: “By wanting to protect yourself, you end up trusting who you shouldn’t”

Surrounded by luxury and with an army of stylists and managers who accompany her, Natalia Jiménez (Madrid, 41 years old) arrives at the appointment in Madrid with her characteristic smile. She feels like she is at home, despite having lived between Mexico and Miami for 20 years. Just around the time that she rose to fame as the vocalist of La Quinta Estación, a musical band that was successful both in Spain and, especially, in Latin America with hits like The sun does not come back and Your worst mistake. The singer is celebrating her anniversary and is back in a country that hardly saw her grow up, artistically speaking, but that will now be able to see her, again, on stage starting in November, with five dates in the tour Anthology 20 Years Tour (Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Tenerife and Barcelona). He does it in a big way, remembering and reversing the best songs of his career, both those of the musical formation, which dissolved in 2010 and which has been causing him real headaches in recent months, as well as the lesser-known ones that he interprets. In solitary.

Her passion for music began when she was little, when her parents gave her a “little red piano,” she explains in a conversation with EL PAÍS in a luxurious hotel in the center of Madrid. Later she learned to play the guitar, with which she began to sing in the Madrid metro —specifically in the Bilbao station. “My parents were fed up. In summer she sang with the window open. Sometimes I heard applause from my neighbors. One day my father yelled at me to shut up, but a neighbor answered him: ‘Nothing to shut up, she sings like the angels’, Jiménez recalls enthusiastically. The afternoons on the subway were a liberation for her: “Knowing that they heard me was enough. I knew they did it, even if they didn’t stop, greet me or throw me a penny.”

After those first experiences, the opportunity of a lifetime would finally arrive: La Quinta Estación. Although in Spain there are many who remember the group, in its beginnings, now two decades ago, no record company opened its doors to them. That is why they traveled to Mexico, where they would sign their first record contract. “The first few years were funny. We spent them doing concerts, on tour, in Veracruz. Only concerts in Veracruz. Soon everything began to improve. I had to take my parents to Mexico because they didn’t believe it. Before there were no social networks like there are now”, she recalls with a mixture of expressions between Madrid and Mexican.

Facing the public, everything was going well. A successful group, with three charismatic members and songs with a legacy that still lives on. They came to win two Latin Grammys, two Ondas, one Billboard. But internally, Jiménez lived a battle between doing what he wanted and what they forced him to do. “There was a moment when I said that I was leaving it. He tired me a lot and it caused me a lot of professional tension not being able to do what I wanted. I wanted to make regional music and I couldn’t because they put so many obstacles in my way”, recalls the Madrid native. Finally, in 2010, they separated: “We did it for a third-party issue, we had problems with the manager.” Jiménez says that the rhythm they had was “unsustainable”, both personally and vocally. “Doing 130 concerts a year is a savagery for anyone. Being on tour is very hard, especially when you don’t have the working conditions you expect”.

She does not regret her visit to La Quinta Estación, but she does regret the distance: “I would have liked to be closer to my family and have friends to trust. I went to Mexico to be alone. Since then I have not been able to make a deep-rooted friendship with anyone, because there comes a time when things start to go well for you and you no longer know who your real friends are. By wanting to protect yourself, you end up trusting people you shouldn’t”. Many consider her the most Mexican Spanish in music: “Mexico has been my home for the last 20 years. He gave me a home and a job. Many of my customs have already become Mexican and well, how I speak and everything. Then I come back and things here in Madrid stick to me again. And I start to talk like that, you know? ”, She laughs while she imitates the Madrid accent.

The singer Natalia Jiménez, at the Westin Palace hotel, in Madrid, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. samuel sanchez

After the dissolution, he embarked on a new adventure as a soloist, although it was not what he was looking for: “I didn’t know what I was doing. I had to start from scratch in the United States.” After years of effort, she got what she wanted: singing rancheras, regional music, what she craved so much: “It’s the best thing that could have happened to me. I am very pleased because I feel that now I have the recognition that I always wanted to have. I go out to concerts and I am another person. I have learned never to give up.”

I believe in myself, a song she released in 2015, brought her back to the top. A song that talks about self-esteem and with which she vented about the feelings that had been around her head for years. “When I wrote it, it was because I needed to hear myself say it. There have been moments in my career and in my personal life when I have not believed in myself. It is a source of pride because she came out of a very deep wound, ”explains the singer from Madrid. A song turned into a hymn that makes her skin crawl every time she sings it with her followers: “Now I can finally go to the countries to sing it, because when I wrote it I couldn’t do it [con ese disco no hubo gira]. But I see the fans sing and it’s like: wow. It’s like getting the validation that I want,” she recalls as tears stream down her face. He takes a deep breath, wipes away the drops that remain in his tear duct and continues: “Music is there for that, to heal and make us happy.”

In 2016, Alessandra, his first and only daughter, would arrive, born in the US from a relationship with a Cuban businessman that ended a couple of years ago. Since then, Jiménez has been “juggling” to combine her work as a mother and singer. “I always try to be with her the week I don’t have work. But sometimes it can’t be. I have to travel for my work, because it is the future that I am going to leave him. Sometimes I have to bear the blame of third parties who put phrases on my shoulders like: “So you’re not going to spend Mother’s Day with her” or “Aren’t you going to go to the Show of the little school?’. Well no, because I’m working on their future”. The artist is very clear that she is not going to stop working or follow her professional goals: “If not, she is going to have an unhappy mother. I’m not a stay-at-home mom, so I do what I can.”

For years, the singer has been immersed in a legal battle with her ex-husband because she does not let Jiménez take her daughter to Mexico. “One thinks that a father always wants the best for his children, right? Telling me that he won’t let me take her is rude. I tried it for good. I asked him 15 times for good and he didn’t want to. In the end I had to put a motion on it [petición judicial]. The judge agreed with me, approved the trip and we left. It is not fair that every time he wants to go to Mexico he has to ask for his permission and if he says no, he has to ask for another motion. That is where I see the bad milk. You see the damage it can do to the girl, because she is happy there”.

Another of the controversies that has surrounded the artist in recent months is the creation of Cinco Estaciones, a group with a name similar to La Quinta Estación, with two former members of the group who sing the group’s songs. “I have no problem with people doing covers. Another thing is that you make a group with an identical name. They are two members who were already out of the group, of which one [Sven Martín] He already lost a lawsuit because he wanted the name and the other [Pablo Domínguez]When he left, he handed over the rights”, explains the artist. And she adds: “The bad mood is going to the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office to ask for the name. We have already left it in the hands of our lawyers. You have to let them alone live the consequences of what they are doing. They began to record songs for which they did not have permission.

La Quinta Estación at the Latin Grammy gala, on November 8, 2007.
La Quinta Estación at the Latin Grammy gala, on November 8, 2007.Gustavo Caballero (Getty Images)

The legal rights of the group and the songs belong to Natalia Jiménez and Ángel Reyero, another of the former original members, in Spain, and only her in Mexico and the US Both have already confirmed that next year they will be on tour with a reunion of La Quinta Estación, an appointment that will be overshadowed by the presence of the other group. “Our concerts are going to be full, it’s going to be hilarious. We have many surprises. They do what they want. If you’re a fan, you’re not stupid and you’ll know who to go see. The worst that can happen to them is that they compare us”.

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Natalia Jiménez returns after the schism of La Quinta Estación: “By wanting to protect yourself, you end up trusting who you shouldn’t”