The Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is my favorite holiday of the year. It is believed that on this day the veil between the worlds is the thinest and that we can actually call those who have passed back into our hearts and homes as we celebrate their lives by making their favorite foods and telling stories of their lives. This year as with many I celebrated and remembered mi abuelita, (my mexican grandmother) Virginia Urbina Jones, the single most influential woman in my life . Only a day before she passed from this world to the next she took my hand and told me " Stephanie you will be a mensaje (a messenger) y una puente (a bridge) for our gente (our people) carrying our Hispanic heritage in song to people all over the world. At the time I could not even begin to fathom that happening. I was an outrageously insecure , bit overweight songwriter who loved my life writing songs for Sony in my robe. I was way too critical of myself to even consider a life that would force me to put myself out there . But after that profound moment and then holding her hand as she passed from this world to the next I was filled with a beyond this world passion and at the very least a willingness to follow her vision for my life.
Seeing my hunger to know more about my heritage my dad sent me to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to immerse myself in the language and culture. It was in those cobblestone streets of this magic Mexican town that I wrote "Revolucion en mi Corazon" as my heart came alive with love and a "new dream, vision and fierce passion was born in me to sing and bring this music in me to life . I began to feel the presence of my great grandfather Manuel Anaya Urbina and his story of crossing the border in 1901 in pursuit of a better life for himself and generations to come . Soon after returning to Nashville from Mexico I recorded with "Mariachi Azteca" and the rest is history . Within months we mortgaged our home for the first of 3 times to make a record and chip away. Within 1 year I had my first # 1 in Texas and had sung with my childhood musical hero Willie Nelson. It seemed the road was paved with gold and my destiny was unfolding when I met Little Big Town in Sweden and they took me under their wing . But as with all good stories there were dragons to slay , most of them in my mind , and about 10 years of wandering and almost giving up. It was in one of those moments of almost giving up that I found myself on the top of the pyramid of the sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico . There once again my spirit was filled with a knowing and vision of what was mine to do. The words "FIERY ANGEL" came to me and I knew I could not give up. There was a fire in my heart once again and I began chipping away not only on my career but on the inside job, those old demons still haunting me and keeping me from my greatest dreams. From vision quests , to sweat lodges , to Toltec dreaming , ministers , medicine men , shamans , churches from Mexico to Rome to Spain I searched for my peace and a greater understanding with so many angels, friends and believers cheering me and helping me along the way. lt has always and will always be a spiritual journey for me . Whether I am singing "Help me Make it Through the Night " or "God Loves it When We Dance" in a honky tonk watching people dance the night away, playing a festival to thousands or communing in an intimate house concert it is a humbling experience of songs pouring through. This journey now 13 years in the making has been one dream come true after another .. none of it could have happened with out so many angels along the way and I thank each and every one of you .. because after all , gratefully my abuelita ( my grandmother) was right and I am deeply honored to say in the last two years I have taken our heritage , this music , the passion ,the love , the fun , the heart , stories in song to 10 countries around the world. From Japan , to Spain , to Germany , to Scotland , London , the Netherlands , Norway , Switzerland , Mexico , Italy across the US , I am still dreaming my wildest dreams , chipping away day after day, turning it over and Going for it ! Today on Dia De Los Muertos especially I thank mi abuelita y my ancestors, those who came before and a laid path of joy and purpose along with a dream for me to dream on . Your love has left imprint on my soul .. I take you with me wherever I go .. Vamonos !!