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Interviews and video: OKC Latina singer-songwriter Lincka making meaningful music on new EP

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Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]
Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

An abbreviated version of this story appears in the Sunday Life section of The Oklahoman.

Meaningful music: Latina singer Lincka Elizondo using pop songs to empower people of color

Lincka Elizondo believes in using her music to empower fellow Latinas and people of color.

“We have so much to be proud of. Our heritage, our culture, our vibrant people. We are life. We are joy. We are what many wish they could be. We are rich in family. Rich in morals. Rich in love. We have roots that make us strong and resilient. That is why we are still here and we will always be here. There is nothing anybody can do to change that,” the Oklahoma City pop singer-songwriter said in an artist statement.

“In my lyricism I speak about all of these things. But if you listen closely to the sounds, rhythms of our music, you will feel it, too.”

The Mexican-American songstress making music as Lincka alongside producer Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk, is releasing a new EP titled “Blank Slate of Mind” April 19 with a show at Norman’s Opolis. The concert will kick off an East Coast tour for the band: Elizondo, Rat F!nk, guitarist Salvador Chavez and saxophonist Jonathan Elizondo (no relation to the frontwoman).

“I just want to drop more material, because our fans have really been wanting music,” she said. “This project, it’s a lot more, I would say, boppy. They’re bops. People can really bop to them. But it’s kind of nonstop lyrically, and it’s a lot of material in one song – on any song.”


Spanish singing

The forthcoming mini-album is the follow-up to Lincka’s 2017 breakout EP “Para Ti,” which included the fan-favorite song “Gardenias.” Ryan LaCroix, operations manager for KOSU Radio, submitted the festive Spanish-language track for NPR’s Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.

“At the time, I really felt an odd pressure to sing in English because I’m here in Oklahoma and everyone is mostly English-speaking. I have some fanbase on the south side of Oklahoma City, so I have some Latinos listening to me. I end up singing the whole song in Spanish, but I do a little verse in English,” said Lincka, who playfully acknowledges non-Spanish speakers with the lyric "I betcha dyin' to know what I'm sayin', but I'll let you Google Translate it."

“That’s always so fun to perform live because you have these mainly English speakers that are listening to me and they’re bopping to it. But you can tell that they want to know what I’m saying, so when I do that little (English) bit and then I jump back into it, it’s always kind of humorous. Everyone always laughs, and they’re like, ‘Hey, she said something to me, but she wants me to appreciate her culture right now – so I’m gonna do that.’”

The NPR attention led to a 2017 invitation to play on the Millennium Stage at the iconic Kennedy Center the next time the band was touring near Washington, D.C.

“I don’t know if she thought I’d already made it or something, but I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m booking a tour, um, this summer,’” Lincka said with a grin. “We ended up doing it in August, so I got the date and then I was, ‘I need to book a tour around this, and I can’t even.

 “That was our first tour … and the Kennedy Center was definitely the highlight of the tour. It was so fun. … It’s about 200 seats, but the thing is, people go there to listen to music, no matter what it is. … It was just so cool, like they wanted to soak everything in. It was just a great experience, and it was just so cool because we were the performers of the night and they’re music listeners who are really appreciative of diverse music.”


Constant creativity

Inside Ashford’s home studio, the steady ticking and swishing of a sprinkler provides the beat for a keenly morphed clip of Lincka singing the title line of the ballad “Sprinkle Your Love.” One of the six songs on the new mini-album, it’s an example of her creative philosophy.

“I want to always have the mentality of ‘what can I create today?’” said Lincka, who works as the bilingual coordinator in Love’s Travel Stops’ corporate office by day and makes music with Rat F!nk in the evenings. “What’s really cool in the way we work together is that he’s always making sure, ‘Hey, always record something throughout the day. Please record something, because tonight you’re not gonna remember it when we’re actually in the studio.’ … And some of the recordings that I send him they end up being in the actual song.”

 “We have such an advantage with phones now. I’m driving my work van and I’m like … record something and then it’s like a bass line in a song,” added Ashford, who works for a liquor distribution company. “Man, every day I’m like coming home from work and like getting two cups of coffee and working … just making sure it’s all ready.”


Meaningful message

Although she hasn’t yet recorded it, Lincka frequently performs in concert a song called “Jarritos,” which notes that she was “made in Mexico but born in the USA.” Along with the Kennedy Center, she has played the Norman Music Festival, Heard on Hurd and the Oklahoma Women’s March.

“With all the rhetoric that’s going on now, just I think naturally, if you keep hearing all these things that are being said about like, basically, my family if we’re gonna be real – or myself or my people – subconsciously, it kind of brings you down. Even if you’re like the strongest person, it’s gonna bring you down,” she said. “I was made in Mexico - my parents, we always laugh about it – because I was actually born in Eagle Pass, Texas, so five minutes into the border. … And my parents were born like five minutes into Mexico. So, it’s literally 10 minutes spanned, but that determines my status as a U.S. citizen.”

Although she and her family members are now all U.S. citizens, Lincka said they still face everyday discrimination – and she continues to use her music to speak out.

“I always end up talking about … my identity,” she said. “I think there’s just something about being really connected with your roots that just makes me want to write about it all the time. … There’s something so cool about having, like, danceable, fun, catchy music but with a cultural message that actually means something. … Y’all hear the radio hits, it’s like ‘Oh, this is kind of catchy,’ but then you hear the lyrics and it’s like, ‘What are you guys even talking about?’”

“It’s like there’s literally no problems,” Ashford said. “It’s just mindless, kind of nonsense.”

“Which is fine. That’s literally pop, but it’s very generic. But I kind of want to challenge it: Why not say something while I’m making your head bop or while making your hips move? Why don’t I say something that actually challenges your thoughts just a little bit?”

“So, we’re challenging the hips and the mind?” Ashford asked with a smile.

“Yes, exactly,” Lincka added with a grin. “I like to have a meaningful message, but I have a lot of pop-culture references, too. I still want to have a little fun in our lyrics.”

The Oklahoma City band Lincka will release a new EP titled "Blank Slate of Mind" April 19 at Norman's Opolis. [Poster art provided]
The Oklahoma City band Lincka will release a new EP titled "Blank Slate of Mind" April 19 at Norman's Opolis. [Poster art provided]

IN CONCERT

Lincka EP release show

With: Original Flow and The Fervent Route

When: 9 p.m. April 19. Doors at 8 p.m.

Where: Opolis, 113 N Crawford, Norman.

Information and tickets: opolis.org.

-BAM 

Related Photos
Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-619c5223abae69df2147397439bf79fd.jpg" alt="Photo - Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Latina recording artist Lincka Elizondo, right, sings Wednesday, March 27, 2019, inside the home studio of producer/musician Dan Ashford, aka Rat F!nk. [Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4302e0b512735b4d9f6d486050863652.jpg" alt="Photo - The Oklahoma City band Lincka will release a new EP titled "Blank Slate of Mind" April 19 at Norman's Opolis. [Poster art provided]" title="The Oklahoma City band Lincka will release a new EP titled "Blank Slate of Mind" April 19 at Norman's Opolis. [Poster art provided]"><figcaption>The Oklahoma City band Lincka will release a new EP titled "Blank Slate of Mind" April 19 at Norman's Opolis. [Poster art provided]</figcaption></figure>
Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›

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