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Ximena Sariñana

Among the rising stars of the Latin Alternative movement — the growing trend of mostly Spanish-language performers who do not play traditional beats — Mexican-born Ximena Sariñana is the one to watch. Daughter of a behind-the-scenes show-business couple (her father is a film producer, her mother a screenwriter), the 24-year-old singer and songwriter started out as a child actress, playing several roles in telenovelas in her native country until 1998. Since then, while she continues to act (mostly in feature films), Sariñana has devoted most of her time to music and last year released extremely well-received debut Mediocre (Warner Music Latina). She penned most of the material on the disc, including the blues-inflected title track and the hit rocker "Vidas Paralelas" (Parallel Lives), both of which helped the disc reach No. 2 in sales that year, just below legendary Mariachi singer Vicente Fernandez. Sariñana's voice has a bit of Alanis Morissette's anger coupled with Sarah McLachlan's softer notes; according to her online bio, both Tracy Chapman and Paul Simon were early influences. One can hear a bit of jazz in her style as well, which probably crept in while Sariñana studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music.

 
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