Patricia Vonne is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Vonne’s music is a blend of different genres, including rock, folk, country, & Tex-Mex and she has released several albums throughout her career, including “Firebird”, “Rattle My Cage”, “Top of the Mountain”, and “Viva Bandolera”.
In addition to her music career, Vonne has also appeared in various films and television shows. She made her acting debut in the 1996 film “Desperado”, directed by Robert Rodriguez ane has since appeared in several of Rodriguez’s films, including “Spy Kids” and “Machete Kills”. Vonne is also an activist and philanthropist, and has been involved in various causes, including supporting the arts and preserving cultural heritage.
Patricia recently spoke with “Grey Journal” recently about her experience playing at SXSW Music 2023, her upcoming European tour, and gentrification in Austin.
1.) Congratulations on your official SXSW Music Showcase “Latinapalooza” which from this viewer’s vantage point had full capacity attendance at Cooper’s Barbecue on March 17th! “Latinapalooza” is billed as a “Latina power celebration.” What is the history of the event? How did you get involved?
“Latinapalooza” began 6 years ago as an unofficial SXSW Day Show at the legendary Continental Club. The owner, Steve Wertheimer, asked me to put an all Latina lineup together and it was a great success. The audience loved it and it gave a spotlight to Latinas during the SXSW Music Festival. Two years ago, SXSW asked to make it an Official SXSW Showcase which is a great honor.
2.) Alongside yourself, “Latinapalooza” featured the Tiarras, Liah Alonso, Cecilia and the Broken Hearts, and one of my personal favorites, Mariachi Las Coronelas. What can you tell us about each of these disparate acts?
Mariachi Las Coronelas are an all female mariachi band from my hometown of San Antonio. They have been a part of Latinapalooza since its inception and the whole club went totally crazy for them. It was unprecedented. They are so versatile. They play original music as well as traditional mariachi boleros and rancheras and they even go against the grain with David Bowie classics and Johnny Cash.
The Tiarras are 3 powerhouse sisters who command the stage and the hearts of their audience. They write terrific songs and bring you out of your seat to dance. They work very hard, love what they do and it shows. They have a bright future ahead of them.
Liah Alonso has a powerful voice, diverse original songs-she’s edgy, bold, and commands an audience with her off the cuff banter that’s both humorous and endearing.
Cecilia and the Broken Hearts are a Chicanx family band that really push the boundaries of Latin genre with Cumbia, Rumba, Conjunto, Americana & more! Their joy is infectious and will lead you to the dance floor until their last song of the night.
3.) You are going on tour in Germany and Switzerland this July. How exciting! What is it like touring in Europe which as you know is the dream of many an American musician? Do you care to discuss the economics of this situation? Any synergies with Berlin-based Initiative Musik which offers grants to German musicians & music companies and any idea why American musicians & labels don’t have similar funding opportunities?
My first tour overseas was as a member of Tito & Tarantula which opened a whole new world to me. My passion is traveling, experiencing different cultures, and learning languages so I love any opportunity to go overseas whether it’s through music or the film festivals for my animation films & projects. I wish there were grants for touring. If you hear of any let me know!
4.) I absolutely love the fact that you recently got some airplay with your song “Santa’s on a Rampage” on Sirius XM’s “Little Steven’s Coolest Songs in the World” (guitarist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band). Do you care to elaborate on that experience and let us know more about the merch you have on your website that features this hit?: patriciavonne.com
Oh Yes! A highlight of my life was getting the call and it also got airplay on “Tom Petty Radio” on Sirius XM! I co-wrote “Santa’s on a Rampage” with my dear friend Rosie Flores (rosieflores.com). We also made a music video for it shot entirely on an iPhone. It features Thommy Price on drums, Rowland Salley on bass & Rick Del Castillo on guitar:
The entire Christmas album “My Favorite Holiday” was inspired by my live stream Food Drive during the Covid-19 lockdown with over $11,000 raised and over 75,000 meals provided for the San Antonio Food Bank. It was meant to be a single but through divine intervention, it exploded into 10 original songs-a true miracle featuring an all star cast including Rubén Blades, David Grissom, Rosie Flores, Stephen Ferrone (Tom Petty) , Carmine Rojas (David Bowie), Thommy Price (Billy Idol), Scott Plunkett on piano, Rowland Salley on bass (Chris Isaak), Johnny Reno on saxophone & produced by Rick Del Castillo. The album was written and recorded in 6 months & we made a music video for each song on the album.
“Rampage” also inspired me to make handmade velvet scarves highlighting “Rampage Red” animal print after the song. I also make hand painted pasta angels which are always a hit & a portion of proceeds goes to charity.
5.) No matter what sources you examine, all agree the Greater Austin/New Braunfels/San Antonio region is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Another interviewee for this series of SX articles is based in Miami, a city in a state which is also not only having strong population but also impressive tech ecosystem growth like the region where you reside. How can “Latinapalooza” musicians and artists from your area benefit from all of this economically and not become byproducts of unfettered laissez-faire economic growth & gentrification?
Austin has grown exponentially and is at a peak right now to where it’s driving musicians & artists out of town because it’s too expensive to live.
6.) As the corporate music industry has gone through economic challenges (that some might even argue a “collapse”) you have nonetheless managed to creatively persevere. How have you managed to practically monetize your career and do you have any advice for musicians in this regard from a business perspective? Any experiences with the Alternative Distribution Alliance (or competitors like Koch Entertainment) in regards to your label Bandolera Records? Any thoughts on publishing rights, synch licensing, & royalties which some musicians struggle with?
I’ve always been an indie girl and thankful that I’ve been able to work with my awesome band members and producers over the years. I keep things simple. I use Distrokid & Distrovid and I have a music attorney. I’ve released 8 albums on my own label. I’ve taken out loans, I’ve used crowd funding twice but the bulk of every album has been self financed. It’s worth it in the long run. It has allowed me freedom to collaborate with my heroes (Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Doyle Bramhall, Peter Kingsbery) and share it with the world.
7.) What can we expect to see from Patricia Vonne in the upcoming years? Anything you want to add about your business endeavors readers should know about?
I’m excited that “SpyKids Armageddon” will be released this year on Netflix. I have a speaking role in it and the children’s characters are named after my brother and I. Patty and Tony. I love inspiring young children when I do workshops or “Comic Cons” and tell them that we can all be heroes.
I’m writing songs for my new album and I’m also writing songs with Joe King Carrasco for our project. I’m looking forward to my European Summer Tour of Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Check out my website for more info.
Lastly, following in my father’s footsteps, I’ve had my real estate license at Stanberry Realtors for 13 years so if anyone needs my help in finding your dream home please let me know! I’m here to help: Info@patriciavonne.com