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Mendoza performs at Lafayette for Spanish students

In+the+theater%2C+Javier+Mendoza+sings+one+of+his+songs+for+the+Spanish+class+students+in+attendance.+A+bilingual+artist%2C+Mendoza+performed+original+songs+like+Cinco+M%C3%A1s+and+The+Light%2C+as+well+as+Despacito+by+Luis+Fonsi.+
In the theater, Javier Mendoza sings one of his songs for the Spanish class students in attendance. A bilingual artist, Mendoza performed original songs like Cinco Más and The Light, as well as Despacito by Luis Fonsi.

In the theater, Javier Mendoza sings one of his songs for the Spanish class students in attendance. A bilingual artist, Mendoza performed original songs like Cinco Más and The Light, as well as Despacito by Luis Fonsi.

Emma Grant

Emma Grant

In the theater, Javier Mendoza sings one of his songs for the Spanish class students in attendance. A bilingual artist, Mendoza performed original songs like Cinco Más and The Light, as well as Despacito by Luis Fonsi.

Jonah Nickerson

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Spanish-American singer Javier Mendoza performed at Lafayette for the first time on Friday, March 23.

While his mother is Spanish and his father is Mexican-American, Mendoza was born in Virginia and moved to Spain as a child.

He credits his music to a variety of influences.

Mendoza said, “I grew up in Spain, so you listen to Flamenco and listen to all kinds of world music. And then I was a big rocker, so you put it all together and you get a big mesh.”

He moved to St. Louis to play soccer for Saint Louis University (SLU), but an injury turned his focus toward creating music.

“I didn’t really mean to be a bilingual artist. It’s just a part of me. I knew two languages, so why limit myself to singing in one language?” Mendoza said.

Now, Mendoza lives in Nashville, TN, and he creates music under the name Hobo Cane.

His songs explore themes of rising out of the darkness. One of those songs is The Light.

“That was actually after the tsunami that happened in 2006 in Indonesia. It was a very traumatizing time seeing so many people dying like that, and I just was inspired to write a song,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza’s personal experiences influenced another one of his songs, Cinco Más.

Cinco Más is basically a biographical song, but it’s all about how I’ve made a lot of mistakes with women. It’s a song about me just going back in the same routine and getting to a point where you go, ‘I’m done. I’ve got to make a change,’” Mendoza said.

Mendoza enjoys playing his music for younger fans like he did at the concert at Lafayette.

“I love the connection with the young people because it just seems a little more raw,” he said.

He notices a difference when he first performs for an audience.

“I get it. Today was my first time in Lafayette, and I’ve noticed that, in the schools where I keep coming back, people get looser and looser, so it’s always the first time where people don’t know what they should be doing or should not be doing,” Mendoza said.

However, he feels young people are misunderstood.

“I can already feel the energy and the positivity, and it makes me feel good because I see a lot of bad rap going around with young people,” he said. “I think it’s a growing time, so I get it.”

Mendoza and Associate Principal Colleen Fields are friends.

Fields said, “He and I worked at a radio production house in St. Louis in the Central West End. It was called Olympia Broadcasting Network. I was hired out of school, and he got hired shortly after I did, and so we just became friends because we were working together.”

Fields and Mendoza cowrote a song.

“I had written a bunch of poetry because I studied English for teaching, and I had this one poem in particular that I had written about my mom and my brother’s passing,” Fields said. “For some reason, I had it out, and [Mendoza] said, ‘Hey, do you care if I take this and maybe make it into a song?’”

From there, the two collaborated to create the piece called Step Into My Place.

“[Mendoza] obviously did all of the music. I appreciate music and love it, but I have zero musical talent. So, he created this beautiful song that was just right,” Fields said. “It really captured what I would’ve hoped to get out, and now I feel like that’s kind of a nice legacy for my mom and brother’s memory.”

Although the song was written a while ago, Mendoza plans on bringing it back to light.

“I’m re-releasing it because it’s an old song. I’m going to re-release it because it’s one of my favorite songs, and it’s based on a poem of hers that she wrote. It’s fabulous. [Fields] is a great writer,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza has played concerts at Eureka High School for a while, and he has asked Fields to allow him to play at Lafayette since he first began playing at Eureka. However, Fields was an English teacher at the time, so she didn’t have much control over the matter.

“I think because of the popularity at Eureka and how much that has brought to their program, my guess is there was probably more communication through the teachers than me. I certainly was very happy to hear it,” Fields said.

When Mendoza performed, Mrs. Fields didn’t get to watch the performance because she wasn’t at school.

“The most hilarious part of all this is, so finally he makes it here to play, and I had a personal day that day. When I found out he was coming, I texted him, and I said, ‘Now if this isn’t irony. You’re here and I’m not.’ We had a nice little laugh about that, but I heard [the concert] was good,” Fields said.

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