From left: Sandra Calixto, Ashlee Valenzuela, and Liz Trujillo of Conexión Divina. Image by Camila Noriega
In a sierreño music scene dominated by “sad boys”, Mexican-American trio Conexión Divina is shaking things up on behalf of the girls. Last fall, the group made history as the first all-female Gen-Z group in the genre. Since then, Conexión Divina has made strides forward for women in sierreño, including representing regional Mexican music at the Coachella music festival this month.
“We’re really excited!” Conexión Divina’s lead singer Liz Trujillo told LATINA. “We’re representing a lot of people, so we have to do really well.”
Sierreño is a subgenre of regional Mexican music centered around the requinto guitar and the bajo guitar. Conexión Divina is comprised of lead singer Trujillo, requinto guitar player Ashlee Valenzuela, and bajo guitar player Sandra Calixto. In a very Gen-Z fashion, the girls first met through social media. Trujillo’s covers on TikTok were going viral, while Calixto was gaining followers on Instagram, and Valenzuela was pulling in viewers on YouTube. After becoming fans of each other’s work, they reached out through DMs. “It was a divine connection through social media,” Calixto recalls, referencing what would become the band’s name. Calixto and Valenzuela relocated from Texas and Arizona, respectively, to live in LA with Trujillo.
Conexión Divina’s name was also inspired by Vicente Fernández’s song “Mujeres Divinas.” When asked about their influences, they list out legends that include Selena and Jenni Rivera, and more current acts like Gerardo Ortiz and Ivan Cornejo. Cornejo is part of the new wave of Mexican-American acts like Eslabon Armado and DannyLux who are redefining sierreño music for the TikTok generation. Up until now, this music has been primarily performed by men, but Conexión Divina are putting women in this genre’s centerstage.
“It’s beautiful that young girls can see us and know that they can do it too,” Valenzuela says. “We’re writing about women and other minorities and feel like we’re a part of [those communities].”
Last September, Conexión Divina signed with Sony Music Latin. The group’s first single was the heartbreaking “Odio,” where Trujillo sings about the frustrations of having an unrequited crush. In the music video, the trio are entangled in a love triangle that includes men and women. Trujillo identifies as gay and Ashlee is bisexual, and Calixto supports her queer bandmates.
“We’re also representing different types of femininity,” Trujillo says. Calixto adds, “I’m really feminine and they’re not, but that’s okay. We’re all women at the end of the day no matter our level of femininity.”
Conexión Divina is also making regional Mexican music a safe space for their LGBTQ+ fans, who have historically been shunned by the genre. In the music video for the fiery “La Receta,” Trujillo is shown in a relationship with another woman, while feel-good “Se Rumora” sees the band hitting back at people who are talking behind their backs.
“We’re being true to ourselves,” Trujillo says. “We are who we are. We don’t want to hide anything.” Valenzuela adds, “When you put it out there, you make it easier for other people to accept themselves too. It’s a normal thing [to be queer].”
The aforementioned songs will be included on Conexión Divina’s debut album, Tres Mundos, which will be released this Friday. Calixto says the title was inspired by the group having “three different people, three different personalities, and three different styles.” It’s also a gesture to being Mexican-American, which Trujillo sees as a “whole other culture,” a mixture of their bicultural upbringing. The LP includes collaborations with regional Mexican acts, including Gabito Ballesteros, who features on “Pasito a Pasito,” and Los Aptos on “Si Te Vas.”
“There are three of them, and each [one] of them is like one of us,” Calixto says about working with Los Aptos. “It was like looking into a mirror.”
Next up, Conexión Divina will be performing at Coachella on April 16th and 23rd. In addition to performing songs from Tres Mundos, their repertoire will include covers of Selena’s “Como La Flor” and Bad Bunny’s “Me Fui De Vacaciones,” which they recently recorded for Amazon Music. Bad Bunny will coincidentally be performing at Coachella this year as one of the headliners.
“I feel like this opportunity is one in a million,” Valenzuela says. “We’re nervous, which I feel is normal, and we’re very excited.” Trujillo adds, “Hopefully Bad Bunny sees us [perform his song] and likes it.”
On April 20, Conexión Divina will open for Mexican alternative singer BRATTY‘s concert. Both acts will be joined at the show by another all-women band on the Coachella line-up, Los Bitchos. Conexión Divina plan to launch a tour of their own after the music festival. The trio have big plans for the future.
“I hope we have a really big impact on Mexican music for sierreño,” Calixto says. With a smile, Trujillo adds, “I want to see us getting Album of the Year. Hopefully with my girls.”
Lucas Villa is a freelance music contributor for LATINA. His work is also featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Teen Vogue, MTV News, and W Magazine.