In a year that involves an election, hot topics are flying around left and right. Right now issues such as gun control and college tuition are on the table, but for people like JC Villafan – immigration is the one he’s talking and well, singing about. The child of immigrants himself, he’s passionate about telling his tale and does so with song on his latest, America’s For Dreamers. We sat down with JC to talk about his new record, his parents, music and more.
Kendra: We’ll get right to it. Your single, and album as a whole, America’s For Dreamers is coming out at a time where immigration is a hot topic thanks to a certain potential presidential candidate. Did you pen it with that national conversation in mind?
JC Villafan: Not at all. I began writing this album before the presidential candidates made themselves known. This has been an idea of mine for a while, and I wanted to write about something that I had a strong conviction about. My goal, however, isn’t just to prick open this discussion but to spur on the perspective of how the act of crossing a border is a lot like chasing your dream—sometimes you must leave behind the old to find something new.
Kendra: How different do you think your life would be today if your parents hadn’t crossed the border to America?
JC: I think it would be substantially different. Perhaps I would be a fisherman, as that is a popular trade in my father’s town of Manzanillo, Colima.
Kendra: Other than immigration, are there any other topics in the political landscape that America’s for Dreamers touches on?
JC: Immigration is the topic that pertains to me. When I write music, I always write from a place of honesty and of truth. Essentially, I don’t write about stuff I don’t know about or haven’t experienced myself. My mother was five months pregnant with me when she climbed the fifteen foot wall that separated her from a better life. I could say I too crossed the border. But to answer the question plainly, just immigration.
Kendra: Stepping away from that for a second…What peaked your interest in music in the first place?
JC: Honestly, I wanted to impress a girl, so I learned to play the guitar. She eventually became my girlfriend, at which point I realized if I played music I could get whatever I wanted—just kidding! I actually accidentally fell in love with the beauty of the guitar, and how notes and melodies could make one feel something. It’s almost indescribable.
Kendra: All this talk about America, but you actually got a lot of love over in France. What’s it like knowing that your music is being played and appreciated around the world?
JC: This is true. France is gorgeous country with simply amazing people. The culture is magnificent. I always knew that my calling would inherently make me a citizen of the world. Someone called me that once while I was walking down some street in Lyon. It’s a great feeling for sure. But countries aside, it’s the people and the fans that matter. Basic marketing tells me that I should find the people who like what I do already versus trying to make people like what I do. Needless to say, my fans, whether in America or in Europe, are simply the best, most positive and inspiring people out there.
Kendra: Lastly, we love to shout out up and comers every chance we get here at Coming Up – with that, we’d like to hear from you. Your parents came over here to give you a chance, and now we want you to give a shout out to a newer artist you feel deserves a chance and our readers’ attentions. Who should we check out JC?
JC: This is great! I would say check out Tolan Shaw. He’s a great dude with some amazing guitar skill. You can expect us to do some touring together in the coming year.