Andromeda Turre is not your typical singer-songwriter.
Her love for music stemmed early in life, as she grew up surrounded by all types of music. Her parents, both musicians, instilled a love for performance in her at a young age. Her passions go further than just music however.
Turre is a world traveler, and she has performed in several countries across the globe, including Italy, Russia, and Japan. While visiting these countries, she does more than sing; often, she can be found volunteering at children’s orphanages. She also volunteers in her home city: New York City. There, she works with LGBT organizations in the city to fight for the equal rights of everyone.
Notably, Turre also starred in an OWN documentary, Light Girls. Alongside women like Aida Rodriguez, Soledad O’Brien and Tatyana Ali, Turre frankly and honestly discussed race, colorism and cultural identity.
Her devotion to such a wide range of interests only begins to describe the intriguing Andromeda Turre. Learn more about this Inspiring Latina below:
How did growing up with both parents as musicians inspire your own passion for music?
It was always a part of my home and a part of the family business. And all kinds of music. My mother did a lot of classical and orchestral and Broadway stuff, as well as Jazz. And my dad did a lot of Jazz and Latin Jazz, because he’s very connected with his Mexican heritage.
What is the song writing process like?
It depends but I feel like most of the time the songs that I write are an emotional response to life. My songs are definitely an emotional response to life, whether that’s excitement, or sadness or fear. For me, a great relief and stress reliever is just coming to the piano and playing and writing out a song.
What does music mean to you personally?
Music for me is the language that everybody can speak.Because it doesn’t matter, I’ve toured all over the world and I’ll sing in a language that people don’t understand. I can tell them and talk in between songs as much as I want and they won’t understand me but as soon as I start singing they can feel it. And that’s what music does.
You travel a lot. Is travel something that you’re passionate about?
Yes, I love to travel! I just got back from Mexico actually. My abuela gave me a skirt that belonged to her sister, Juanita, which is my middle name also. And my great aunt Juanita was a vocalist. She sang a lot of standards and a lot of traditional Mexican songs when she was growing up, and she died before I was born. I think it’s very interesting that they gave me her name as my middle name and that I grew up to be a singer as well.
What inspired you to volunteer in the different countries you’ve traveled to?
My mom’s sister was a nurse, and she worked a lot with babies and children that were born drug addicted and had a lot of problems. So, I always grew up in an environment where we were giving back and helping people that were less fortunate than us. So, when my career started to take off and I was touring, it was always very important for me to volunteer with people that were less fortunate than me. I typically do orphanages and reach out to kids that are mentally or physically handicapped.
What organizations are you a part of in New York City?
I’ve worked with an organization called Swish, which is a gay-straight alliance. [I also volunteer with] one called So Gay So What? which supports people to be who they are. I feel like gay rights is the civil rights of my generation. Even though I’m straight, I fully support people’s rights as an American.
I was very proud of my brother — who is also straight — who marched with me last summer. I had the opportunity to sing the national anthem that kicked off the Gay Pride parade, and my brother marched with me in the parade. It was great to have his support not just for me, but also I think it’s so important to have straight people co-signing for gay people’s rights. I think about any civil rights that people want if it’s only them that’s fighting for it, it’s unattainable
You’ve seen so many places around the world, but you call New York City home. What would you say is the best part about New York City?
All of the different cultures you can get here. It’s the best! You can get any kind of food, any kind of clothes, any kind of access to anything you want to hear, any kind of music, you can find anything in New York. And my family is here! I’m a family girl. I go all over the world, but I’ve got to come back home.
You wrote a really interesting article for the Huffington Post and appeared in the documentary Light Girls, which both talked about identity, colorism and getting the question: “What are you?” Can you talk about that?
I had written the article for the Huffington Post first, and that went viral. It was just my experience growing up. I feel like your identity — no matter who you are, but specifically for me as someone who is mixed, culturally mixed — is something you should have the right to choose. Since I’m kind of ethnically ambiguous looking, I get people asking me what I am all the time. It is quite frustrating for me, because I’m a person. Why do I need to pick one?
I come from mixed parents. My father is mixed. He culturally identifies as being Mexican. If you ask him what he is, he’ll say Mexican. We grew up with a very strong Mexican culture. But, his father is Italian and Swedish, so he’s mixed. I have those things inside of me too, even though culturally I’m not that connected to it.
It’s a very difficult thing to be able to answer, and to be constantly forced to choose, because I feel like I’m all of those things. And I’m proud to be all of the things that I am. I feel just as much African-American as I do Latina as I do Italian or Swedish. I’m not going to turn my back to any of them.
It was hard for me as a kid, because I was not accepted a lot by other children. But, as I matured, and as I got older, I think I was able to be more self-aware and be more proud of all of the races that I have instead of trying to pick one.
What advice would you give to people constantly asked that same question, “What are you?”
You don’t have to answer and if it makes you uncomfortable to answer. You don’t have to. But search who you are. Who you are is more than the genetics. Who you are is what you stand for. Who you are is what you’re passionate about. Who you are is what the priorities are in your heart.
Look out for Andromeda Turre’s album coming out this Summer! Listen to “Besame Mucho” below: