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Tune-In Tuesdays #68: Raye Zaragoza on “Fight Like a Girl”

By: burgundy bug

Portrait of indie artist Raye Zaragoza in a garden

Source: Raye Zaragoza

Standing at “the forefront of her own narrative” and inspiring women around the globe, indie-folk artist Raye Zaragoza has continued to empower her audience with the release of her latest single, “Fight Like a Girl.”

Recently, we spoke to Zaragoza via email to learn more about her work as a musician, her values as an activist, and her latest single.

Summarize your sound in just three words

Empowering folk stories.

When did you start playing and making music?

I’ve been singing my whole life, and started playing guitar in the 6th grade to impress a boy that I had a crush on! But I started writing my own music and performing as a singer-songwriter at 19. And I’m 27 now!

What do you find most rewarding about being a musician?

The most rewarding part is the live concerts and meeting people who have been moved by my music. Hearing people sing along.

The community aspect of music is intoxicating for me. 

Singer-Songwriter Raye Zaragoza

What are some of your values and priorities, both personally and musically?

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My #1 priority is staying true to myself and the artist that I am. I don’t want to compromise my own integrity for the business side of music.

I always do my best to be a good role model for other girls of color. I was always desperately looking for girls/women that looked like me that I could look up to on TV and in music when I was a kid. And there just weren’t that many because media has lacked diversity for so long.

I always try to be brave, speak my mind, and stand up for myself in all parts of my life to be that role model. 

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations are Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, Buffy St. Marie, and Joan Baez!

How old were you when you found yourself becoming more involved with political activism? What inspired you to tie your message into your music?

I’ve always been an activist at heart, but everything really got pulled into focus for me at 23 during the Standing Rock movement.

During this time, I really found myself as an artist, an activist, and a woman of color. I finally stopped trying to run from the struggles of my childhood and my ancestors and started to use it as fuel for my activism and songwriting.

Once I really put that all together, there was no going back. My music became my way of reclaiming my own story and commenting on the oftentimes unjust world around me. 

Tell us a little about your latest single, “Fight Like a Girl.”

“Fight Like A Girl” is about shattering the idea of what a woman can and cannot do.

Singer-Songwriter Raye Zaragoza

It’s about how “fighting like a girl” means something different to every female-identifying person out there. It’s about the resilience of women of color and all women.

I wanted to write an anthem that had the stories of women of color at the forefront. The stories that so often haven’t been told. I wrote the song around the time I met Deb Haaland, one of the two first Native American women in Congress. Meeting her reminded me that “fighting like a girl” is a good thing, and as women, we can do anything. 

Could you give us a behind the scenes glimpse into what it was like to write, record, and produce “Fight Like a Girl?”

“Fight Like A Girl” was one of those songs where I kept writing a song that was similar to it and kept beating my head against the wall ’cause it wasn’t working. But I never gave up on the chord progression cause I knew something was there.

I think it must’ve been six-hours of frustration with this song until the “Fight Like A Girl” melody as it is now, just flew out of my mouth.

That’s usually how it happens. I will be so frustrated with a song until I give up and then the melody just comes out like word vomit.

I recorded “Fight Like A Girl” with Tucker Martine up in Portland, Oregon. Working with Tucker was a dream of mine. He has produced so many of my favorite records.

My favorite memory of this song was once the first mix was done, Tucker and I danced around his mixing room at midnight. We were super delirious and it was a blast. 

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a woman of color in the music industry?

The biggest challenge I think is the pressure to fit inside of a box.

As a woman of color, I’ve felt that the music industry is constantly trying to present me in a way that is very one-dimensional and tokenizing. But that is why I do my best to be outspoken and at the forefront of my own narrative. 

Who are some of the most empowering female figures in your life and why?

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My friend & inspiring sister @lylajune is running for New Mexico’s House of Representatives, District 47. If there’s anyone who can change our system it’s Lyla. Please consider supporting her campaign! See more on her page. 💜 . Photo by @josue_foto #Repost @josue_foto ・・・ Relatives, This is my friend @lylajune she is a Diné environmental scientist, public speaker and artist. She is also running for New Mexico’s House of Representatives, District 47. . Lyla is a leader and a person of integrity. She has the guidance of her elders and ancestors, they serve as the compass for doing the work to serve the people. . If you want to support Lyla, you can do the following: . 1. Follow her 👉🏽 @lylajune 2. Donate to her campaign 👉🏽 link in her bio 3. Volunteer for her campaign 👉🏽 link in her bio . I know Lyla is going to win this, a new generation of Indigenous leadership is on the rise. . #lylajunejohnston #newmexico

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The most empowering female figures in my life are my mom, my Abuelita, my Grandma Villa, Lyla June, and Calina Lawrence.

My mom is a badass and has unlimited energy. My Abuelita and Grandma Villa are no longer with us, but they provide me with strength every single day. They worked hard in their lives for me to be in such privilege in my life, and I feel them supporting me at every show and everywhere I go.

Lyla June and Calina Lawrence are Artists/Indigenous Rights Activists that remind me how powerful a woman’s voice is.

What do you hope listeners take away from “Fight Like a Girl?”

I really hope the song will comfort those who have ever felt disempowered by their gender. I feel my greatest way of contributing to making the world a better place is comforting souls within it.

I felt like such a lost misfit for most of my life, and music has given me so much solace. I hope this song will do that for others. 

If you could give your audience just one piece of advice, whether it’s about social injustice, being a woman, or any other topic, what would it be and why?

One piece of advice would be to enjoy the process.

Enjoy the journey. Don’t get too caught up in the destination.

Singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza

Overall, what are your biggest goals personally and musically?

My biggest goal is to continue to find more truths within myself and the world around me that I can translate into songs. And reach more and more people with those songs. And also headline Red Rocks…!!

What’s next for you, Raye? Do you have any additional songs in the works, perhaps an EP or an album?

My new record is coming out later this year! And then hopefully… back on the road!

Also, the “Fight Like A Girl” music video will be out in a few weeks!


Give Raye Zaragoza’s “Fight Like a Girl” a listen now on Spotify and check out her Patreon page!
Be sure to follow Raye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with her latest work.


burgundy bug

https://burgundyzine.com/about/#burgundybug

A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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