Center For Arts & Equity

Magos Herrera

Born in Mexico City and currently based out of New York City, Magos Herrera is a dazzling jazz singer, songwriter, producer, and educator. Declared as "One of the greatest contemporary interpreters of song” by The Latin Jazz Network, Magos is regarded as one of the most active vocalists in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and her singular bold style, which embraces elements of contemporary jazz with Ibero-American melodies  and rhythms, singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, in a style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries.  

“She gets way under the skin of the song, recalling great communicators like Edith Piaf or Billie Holiday,” is how NPR describes Herrera’s talents. She has recorded 9 albums including joint collaborations with producer Javier Limón in addition to having participated as a guest artist in several recordings and albums. An accomplished artist, Magos has performed in leading international cultural venues such as the Lincoln Center in NYC, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Union Chapel in London, Duc des Lombardes in Paris, Kamani Auditorium in Delhi, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, and has been part of the line-up of some of the most memorable jazz festivals around the world, including Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival Internacional Cervantino, to mention a few. Throughout her career, Magos has  garnered important awards and recognitions, including a Grammy short-list nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Distancia (2009), and is the only female artist to have received the Berklee College of Music’s Master of Latin Music Award. She is well known for championing women’s causes, served as spokesperson for UN Women, and has contributed to important campaigns including UNITE to end violence against women and He For She, as a promoter of gender equality. She serves as an artistic advisor of the National Sawdust, one of Brooklyn’s most  innovative venues, and as a frequent collaborator for radio and TV. Magos produces and hosts a weekly radio program from New York for Mexico’s Public Radio.  

In 2018 Magos released her album Dreamers (Sony Music) in collaboration Brooklyn Rider. “Dreamers  is not only a work of art, setting musicians of the highest order to accomplished music with purpose,  but it is a work of love as well” wrote Sounds and Colors on this highly acclaimed album that rapidly got into #1 Amazon, #2 iTunes and into the Top lists of The New York Times, Billboard classical, NPR Music, NPR Alt Latino, PRI The World, among others and was nominated for the international Grammys for Best arrangement with the song Niña. This recording includes gems of the Ibero- American songbook reimagined by a superb group of arrangers including Jaques Morelenbaum, Gonzalo Grau, Diego Schissi, Guillermo Klein and Brooklyn Rider’s own Colin Jacobsen. In the same year Magos  received the Omecíhuatl Medal, an award granted by the Women's Institute of the government of Mexico City in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the empowerment of women through the arts and culture, and has been included as one of the most creative Mexicans in the world by Forbes Mexico. Herrera is a 2020 recipient of the Chamber Music Americas New Jazz Works Award and she currently serves as a Cultural Diplomatic Advisor for the Mexican Government.  

Created and recorded remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and in collaboration with composer Paola Prestini, in December 2020 Herrera released her tenth album Con Alma, “An operatic tableau on isolation” (National Sawdust Tracks), exploring the question of how we can find communion a in a time of isolation. With more that 30 musicians around the globe including Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, Jeff Zeigler, Kinan Azmeh, Romero Lubambo, Gonzalo Grau, Vinicius Gomes, Diego Schissi, Ensemble  Sjella, Constelation Chor and The Young People’s Chorus of New York City, this artifact of our time was presented as a virtual digital experience on Dec 13th through National Sawdust virtual stage Mexican  Government Secretary of Culture platforms, directed by multimedia director Ashley Tata, and in collaboration with visual artists Kevork Mourad.  

In retrospective as NPR describes on Herrera’s work “She's stretching the very notion of jazz singing, pushing past the diva pleasantries into a sound that's bold, thrilling and effortlessly global.”

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