Starz just premiered its third and final season of VIDA, a show that celebrates queer and Latinx life. Showrunner Tanya Saracho has always made it clear how much she values the show’s music (and all of her creative collaborators) and now she’s sharing some of her favorite songs from Season 3 with GLAAD.
Thanks for all of the great music and so much more, Tanya!
MACORINA by Chavela Vargas
We were opening our season with an epic frolic between Emma and Nico and such an introduction called for an epic song. “Macorina” is just that song. It’s a queer hymn — the lesbian anthem of Latin America basically. Not just because of the singer (a former lover of Frida Kahlo, so a freakin’ queer icon) or because of Chavela’s idiosyncratic voice but because of its crypto-lesbian history as a coded song we’ve used to cloak our love and attraction for decades. The lyrics say it all! Also, a fun fact is that this song has never been licensed to a show or a film before (we had the hardest time acquiring it), so to FINALLY be able to get it was a triumph for us.
RESUCITADO by Angelica Garcia and Ceci
My editor, Joanne Yarrow, and I tried so many songs to end the first episode. The song needed to do so many things at once, yet it couldn’t be on the nose. “Resucitado” was built in our magnificent “Vida song camp” with Pulse Music group where an all-female collaborative (mainly Latina) of singer/songwriters and producers come together to write original music for the show. I showed all the artists a temporary cut of the ending and they went to work. Lovely Angelica and Ceci came up with this catchy song. (At least, my editor and I couldn’t stop singing it.)
A MI ME VALE by Jarina de Marco and Maria del Pilar
This song opens episode two and the chingonas who wrote this original piece have been with the show since the beginning — their music has graced VIDA since the pilot presentation. The request I made for this at our “Vida Band Camp” workshop was for it to portray Lyn’s frustration and growing anger. I think the song captures it perfectly. (Plus, any time we can amplify the term “me vale madre” into the English-speaking world, it’s a win.)
CIELO ROJO by Love La Femme
This song, which closes the second episode, was on my playlist all along but it took me weeks to re-discover it. When we were working on this scene, I kept telling my lovely music supervisors that I needed cellos. I just felt like the severity of the moment required that soul-aching sound. We tried so many songs. Many ALMOST worked but they weren’t quite right. So I dug in my playlist vaults… I just went on a dive and came across “Cielo Rojo.” There are two different versions actually, and we might have used pieces from both. I’ve been a big Love La Femme fan (I even lightly-stalk them on Insta with loving tags and DMs) since Brienne Rose (my music supervisor) introduced them to me during our first season and I’ve stanned them ever since. (Also, I finally got my CELLOS!)
LITTLE BIRD by Angelica Garcia
I’m crazy about this song — I wish it was longer because it’s in my shower-playlist and I love belting out to it — even though it’s not quite a belter-type-of-song. Angelica, the songwriter, is one of the new songwriters we worked with this season in the “Vida Band Camp” and I instantly became a fan. This song wasn’t written originally for the show but I found it in her discography and thought it captured the essence of what Lyn’s feeling as we leave her on that swing at the end of episode four.
ANGEL by Angelica Garcia
Can you tell I fangirl for Angelica Garcia? “Angel” which closes episode 5 gave me chills the first time I heard it. Angelica crafted it after I showed a rough cut during our workshop and I don’t think we had to tinker with it too much. It was perfect. By the time we hear “Angel” at the end, Emma’s been through a harrowing day— physically and emotionally — and we think the song is about Emma when it starts but a reveal of the camera shifts our perspective: The song is in Nico’s point of view. She’s there to catch Emma, to hold her in her arms and wipe the sweat away, just as she always has been. The song captures it all so beautifully. My producer Stephanie Langhoff and I are so in love with it.
AMERICAN NOVIO by Nancy Sanchez
I’ve been trying to get Nancy on the show since season one and it’s wonderful that we got to have her — physically — perform on the last episode of Vida. She sings two songs on the stage as the sisters are having an epic, sister-ending, blowout fight. “American Novio” is the first one of the two songs, when the fight hasn’t gotten going yet, but the horns fill the space with wonderful, loaded energy, plus… the Spanglish couldn’t be more Vida. (Note: “American Novio” is also in my shower-playlist)
LUNA LOVERS by Las Cafeteras
I couldn’t write the last scene of the season. Maybe because it was going to be our final goodbye… it was too difficult. In TV you pitch the network (Starz) what you’re planning on doing with the season, then you write an outline, then you craft a script. But I couldn’t devise the ending for the pitch nor the outline — they didn’t get to know how Vida was ending for months. I waited until the last moment to craft that scene, when the script had to be written because it had to be shot. But by then I had found “Luna Lovers,” a song that basically sketched the scene in my mind, exactly how I ended up shooting it. I just kept listening to it over and over and bawling as I imagined how I’d shoot it (I directed the last episode). The song became a map of the last moment and I still cry every time I hear it.