Francisca Valenzuela

American-born Chilean singer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist

Francisca Valenzuela
Francisca Valenzuela.jpg
Valenzuela performing in Antofagasta, Chile in February 2012.
Born (1987-03-17) March 17, 1987 (age 35)
San Francisco, California, US
NationalityAmerican and Chilean
  • Singer
  • poet
  • fashion designer
Years active2006–present
Musical career
  • Pop
  • jazz
  • folk
  • alternative rock
  • Voice
  • piano
  • acoustic guitar
  • percussion
  • Feria Music Records
  • Independent
Musical artist

Francisca Valenzuela (American Spanish: [fɾanˈsiska βalenˈswela]; born March 17, 1987 in San Francisco, California) is an American-born Chilean singer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. Valenzuela was born and raised in San Francisco, California, where she resided until the age of 12, before moving to Santiago, Chile. She gained popularity in Chile and Latin America following the release of her debut album, Muérdete La Lengua, in June 2007. Her second album, Buen Soldado, followed in March 2011. Valenzuela has earned both gold and platinum album certification in Chile.[1]

Early life

Francisca Valenzuela was born in San Francisco, California to Chilean-born scientists, Pablo Valenzuela Valdés and Bernardita Méndez Velasco. She is the fourth oldest and only daughter of five children. Valenzuela attended Park Day School in nearby Oakland, California.[2] At a very early age, Valenzuela demonstrated an interest in music and began taking music lessons at the age of 7. By age ten, she was playing acoustic guitar and continued studying classical piano. During summer vacations and Christmases, she and her brothers would travel to Santiago, where they would visit relatives.[3] Eventually, the family would make the permanent move to Santiago, when she was 12. Valenzuela attended Saint George's College, an elite private school in the Vitacura neighborhood of Santiago.[4]

After submitting poetry of her own composition to various literary magazines and taking summer poetry courses, Valenzuela's parents helped her submit more material to a friend, who was also a literary critic at Stanford University. Many of her poems were published in the Latin American literary magazine, El Andar. In 2000, she published her first book,Defenseless Waters, featuring a collection of her poems and illustrations. The book featured a foreword by famed Chilean author Isabel Allende. She released her second book, Abejorros/Madurar, which was distributed in Spain and Latin America in 2001. As part a promotional tour for Defenseless Waters, she brought her guitar and keyboard to venues in northern California, where she gave poetry readings and performed songs of her own composition. Valenzuela is fluent in English and Spanish and often composes in both languages.[5]

Music career

2004–2007: Beginnings and Muérdete la Lengua

Valenzuela performing at a concert in 2008.

Shortly after the release of her first book, Francisca and her family moved to Santiago, Chile when she was 13. While residing in Chile, Francisca took part as singer in school festivals, where she performed her original songs. In 2004, she attended an intensive jazz program at the Berklee College School of Music in Boston. She first began looking for a record deal by sending her demos to major record label offices throughout Chile with no success. She performed English-language songs at bars and clubs in Santiago, but eventually began writing and performing in Spanish. After many unsuccessful attempts at signing with a major label, Valenzuela decided to release her music independently in Chile.[6]

In 2006, Valenzuela unofficially released her first solo single, "Peces", which she wrote at age 13 about a boy she liked who did not reciprocate her feelings. Within a few months after its release, "Peces" gained popularity on Chilean radio. "Peces" was recognized by Rolling Stone magazine in Chile, as one of the best 100 songs of the year 2006. Due to the success of her first unofficial single, Valenzuela began recording her debut album in Santiago. Brothers Mauricio and Francisco Durán of Los Bunkers produced the album. In December 2006, she released her second single, "Dulce", which reached number two on Chile's national charts.

To add more achievements to her short musical career, on May 19, 2007, she was invited by Julieta Venegas to open her concert at Teatro Caupolicán. On June 30, 2007, her debut album, Muérdete La Lengua was released in Chile. The Chilean press quickly dubbed her as The Princess of Rock, calling her,"[a] new musical revelation". Soon after its release, the album was certified as Gold in Chile. Valenzuela performed in New York City at the annual LAMC conference in July 2008. This was Valenzuela's first musical exposure in the US and gave her an opportunity to showcase her music outside of Latin America. To promote her debut album, Valenzuela performed at various venues across Chile, as well as Mexico, Argentina, and other countries throughout Latin America.

2009–2012: Buen Soldado

In early 2009, Valenzuela began the pre-production stages for her second album in Santiago and Berlin. She contributed to the Chilean water conservation documentary H2O:Cero, by composing a new song called "En Blanco" for the film. She has also participated in the album tribute for Violeta Parra, recording a new version of "Run Run Se Fue Pa'l Norte" as well as recording a version of Inti-Illimani's song "Vuelvo".

In 2009, she collaborated with Chilean rapper, Latin Bitman for his album Colour; Valenzuela co-wrote and sang two songs, "Help Me" and "Someday". "Help Me" was later released as a single in the United States and Chile and a music video was also filmed in Los Angeles in November 2009. In August 2010, Valenzuela began recording for her second studio album in Santiago. Production on the album was completed in late 2010. On January 1, 2011, Valenzuela released in digital formats her first single "Quiero Verte Más" from her second studio album called Buen Soldado; the album was released on March 3, 2011 in Chile as a physical and digital release. In addition to embarking on a national tour in Chile, Valenzuela also promoted Buen Soldado internationally at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas in March 2012. She also performed at Midem in Cannes, France, representing Chile. Valenzuela had previously performed at the festival in 2011.[7][8][9]

Valenzuela is a featured artist on Spanish singer-songwriter, Alejandro Sanz's tribute album, Y Si Fueran Ellas. She recorded a cover of Sanz's Lola Soledad for the album. The album features contributions from thirteen female vocalists, including Thalía and Ana Torroja. The album was released worldwide on iTunes on November 19, 2013.[10][11]

2014: Tajo Abierto

In May 2014, Valenzuela confirmed that her third studio album, Tajo Abierto, would be released in September 2014.[12] The album's first official single, "Prenderemos fuego al cielo", was available for digital download on iTunes on July 15, 2014. Valenzuela wrote most of the album on the piano before learning how to use special computer software to create the final studio version. She began recording her third studio album began recording the album in November 2013 and completed production in May 2014. The majority of the album was recorded in Los Angeles, California, with the exception of one song, "Cuequita del corazón", which Valenzuela recorded in Santiago, Chile at Estudios del Sur. Valenzuela worked on the album with four producers: Jesse Rogg, Vicente Sanfuentes (who co-produced her second album), Dave Sitek, and Áureo Baqueiro. Valenzuela wrote 25 songs for the album and chose 11 for the final track listing.[13][14][15]

In 2014, Valenzuela formed her own independent record label, Frantastic Records, with the help of her mother, Vicente Sanfuentes, and a small team in Chile. Tajo Abierto was released worldwide on iTunes on September 9, 2014. To promote the album, she performed in Spain, Mexico, and Chile in September and November 2014. She returned to the US, where she debuted at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 1, 2014. While in the US, she performed in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.[16] "Armadura" was announced as the album's second single and was released for digital download on December 11, 2014. Tajo Abierto was named one of the best albums of 2014 by iTunes Chile.

In 2014, Valenzuela traveled to the Brazilian cities of Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Amazonian Jungle, to write and record a music video for the HBO Latin America tourism documentary, "Encuentros en Brasil". She wrote the song, "Reina tropical de Brasil" ("Tropical Queen of Brazil" in English). The documentary series aired in Latin America and the Caribbean in September 2014. An EP of songs from the documentary was later released on iTunes on July 14, 2014.[17]

In late December 2014, Valenzuela was selected along with 23 other well-known international artists to record the official theme song, "Live It", for at the 24th annual World Men's Handball Championship. A music video for the song was filmed and later premiered on YouTube on December 18, 2014. Valenzuela represents Chile. She and the other artists performed at the opening ceremony in Doha, Qatar on January 15, 2015.[18]

2018–present: La Fortaleza

In 2018, she released the first two singles of her upcoming fourth studio album, "Tómame" and "Ya no se trata de ti", both tracks charted on the Chile Singles Chart, peaking on the positions 15 and 39, respectively. In July 2019, she released "Héroe", the third single of the album, which reach the top 10 on the Chile Singles Chart, making her fifth top 10 on the country. She performed the song at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru during the handover segment for the next Games in her hometown Santiago.

On January 17, 2020, Valenzuela released her fourth studio album, La Fortaleza. A week before she released the fourth single of the album, "Flotando" which peaked at the number 70 on the Chile Singles Chart.

Fashion career

Valenzuela began modeling for the popular Chilean clothing brand, "Foster" in 2012.[19] In May 2013, she partnered with the company to design a collection. Her collection features black and white pieces inspired by 60s mod and SKA. The collection is available exclusively in Foster stores throughout Chile. On November 6, 2013, Valenzuela revealed that she had designed a second collection for Foster. The Summer 2014 collection features 21 pieces, including accessories like handbags and wallets, designed by Valenzuela.[20]

Personal life

Valenzuela took a summer course in International Relations at University of California, Berkeley.[5] Later, she studied journalism at Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile. In 2010, due to a busy touring and pre-production schedule for her second album, she put her studies on hold and later dropped out to pursue music full-time. As of January 2016, she is in a relationship with Chilean producer, Vicente Sanfuentes. She resides in Los Angeles, California.[21]


Studio albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Muérdete La Lengua
  • Released: June 11, 2007
  • Label: Feria Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download
  • CHI: Platinum (10,000+ sales)[1]
Buen Soldado
  • Released: March 3, 2011
  • Label: Sony BMG/Independent
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Tajo Abierto
  • Released: September 9, 2014
  • Label: Frantastic Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
La Fortaleza
  • Released: January 17, 2020
  • Label: Sony Music Chile
  • Formats: Digital download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Single Year Peak chart positions Album
"Peces" 2006 85 Muérdete La Lengua
"Dulce" 2
"Muérdete La Lengua" 2007 6
"Afortunada" 2008 30
"Muleta" 78
"El Tiempo en Las Bastillas" 2009 93 Los 80, más que una moda
"Quiero Verte Más" 2011 17 Buen Soldado
"Que Sería" 71
"En Mi Memoria" 91
"Buen Soldado" 2012 10
"Prenderemos fuego al cielo" 2014 9 Tajo Abierto
"Armadura" 24
"Insulto" 2015 61
"Almost Superstars" 85
"Catedral" 2016 100
"Tómame" 2018 15 La Fortaleza
"Ya No Se Trata de Ti"
(solo or with Elsa Y Elmar)
"Héroe" 2019 10
"Al Final del Mundo"
(featuring Claudio Parra)
(solo or with Matisse)
2020 70
"Ven a Buscarlo"
"La Fortaleza"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

As featured artist

Single Year Peak chart position Album
"Help Me"
(with Latin Bitman)
2009 91 Colour
"Al Frío"
(with Leonel García)
2010 84
"Propósitos de Año Nuevo"
(with Leonel García)
2011 Leonel García y sus Amigos en Navidad
"Mucho Corazón"
(with Sussie 4)
2012 Radiolatina
"Sueño Imaginado"
(with Américo)
2013 Américo de América
(with Francisco el Hombre)
2014 Non-album single
"Buen Soldado"
(with Miss Caffeina)
"Lanza Perfume"
(with Orquesta Discotheque)
"Ciudad Traicionera"
(with Manu Da Banda, Joe Vasconcellos)
2015 Travesía Elefante
(with Avionica)
2016 Non-album single
"Al Azul del Morir"
(with Kalfu)
Trawvn = ReUnión
(with We Are The Grand)
2017 Non-album single
"Punta Norte"
(with Salon Acapulco)
(with alexmaax)
"Pueblo Abandonado"
(with Ximena Sariñana)
¿Dónde Bailarán las Niñas?
"Pies de Duende Frágil"
(with Santiago Cruz)
(with Diamante Eléctrico)
Buitres & Co.
"El Derecho de Vivir en Paz"
(with Various Artists)
Non-album single
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other songs

Single Year Peak chart position Album
"Vuelvo 2006 Inti-Illimani, Tributo a su Música
"Tu Nombre Me Sabe a Yerba" 2010 Señora: Ellas Cantan a Serrat
"Run Run Se Fue Pal Norte" 2017 Después de Vivir Un Siglo
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Music videos

  • "Dulce" (2006)
  • "Muérdete La Lengua"(2007)
  • "Afortunada"(2008)
  • "Muleta"(2008)
  • "Peces"(2009)
  • ""El Tiempo en Las Bastillas"(2009)
  • "Help Me (Latin Bitman feat. Francisca Valenzuela) (2009)
  • "Estrechez de Corazón (as a featured artist) (2011)
  • "Quiero Verte Más" (2011)
  • "Que Sería" (2011)
  • "En Mi Memoria" (2011)
  • "Esta Soy Yo" (2011)
  • "Mucho Corazón" (Sussie 4 feat. Francisca Valenzuela) (2012)
  • "Buen Soldado (2012)
  • "Reina tropical de Brasil" (2014)
  • ""Prenderemos fuego al cielo" (2014)
  • "Live It" (as a featured artist) (2014)
  • "Armadura" (2015)
  • "Insulto" (2015)
  • "Almost Superstars" (2015)
  • "Catedral" (2016)
  • "Estremecer" (2016)
  • "Tómame" (2018)
  • "Ya No Se Trata De Ti" (2018)
  • "Héroe" (2019)
  • "Flotando" (2020)


  1. ^ a b c Archived January 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Francisca Valenzuela receives platinum and gold album status
  2. ^ Delgado Salmador, Sergio (January 2013). "La nueva musa latina". El Pais.
  3. ^ "Francisca Valenzuela: "El medio chileno está acostumbrado a la fábrica de salchichas de la música". Revista Nos. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  4. ^ "Francisca Valenzuela: "La Dama que no rinde cuentas…A Nadie"". Pop Magazine. September 16, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Peter Quincy Ng (March 15, 2010). "Politics, Poetry and Music: My Conversations with Francisca Valenzuela". Alternavox. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Skolnick, Sara (September 10, 2014). "Interview: Chilean Pop Sensation Francisca Valenzuela on Her New Album Tajo Abierto and Pajama-Mode Recording Sessions". Remezcla. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "Francisca Valenzuelase presentará este lunes por segunda vez en Cannes". January 30, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Aldea, Sofia (March 30, 2013). "QUIERO SER UNA ARTISTA CON OPINIÓN". Paula Revista.
  9. ^ "Francisca Valenzuela sale a confirmar su ascenso con nuevo disco para marzo". La Tercera. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  10. ^ "Y Si Fueran Ellas de Varios Artistas".
  11. ^ "Alejandro Sanz, versionado por artistazas en '¿Y si fueran ellas?'". October 15, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  12. ^ "'Tajo Abierto' es el título del nuevo disco de Francisca Valenzuela". People Music. August 12, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Navarro, Bernardo (August 22, 2014). "Francisca Valenzuela: "Entrevisa con Francisca Valenzuela"" (in Spanish). El Mercurio. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "Francisca Valenzuela: "En este disco busqué intencionalmente salir de mi zona de confort"" (in Spanish). El Mercurio. July 16, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  15. ^ "El Diario de Francisca Valenzuela" (in Spanish). Lifebox. August 30, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  16. ^ P. Reyes (August 1, 2014). "Lollapalooza Chicago parte su primera jornada celebrando los 10 años del evento" (in Spanish). La Tercera. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Garzo, Vicente (May 12, 2014). "HBO PRESENTA 'ENCUENTROS EN BRASIL'". Twit Sessions. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  18. ^ Walker, Lesley (December 28, 2014). "VIDEO: Qatar builds anticipation for Handball 2015 with new anthem". Doha News. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "Francisca Valenzuela es el nuevo rostro de Foster para 2012" (in Spanish). April 10, 2012.
  20. ^ "Alianza entre música y moda: Francisca Valenzuela lanza nueva línea de ropa para Foster" (in Spanish). Biobio Chile. November 13, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  21. ^ "Arts Innovator: Francisca Valenzuela, Chile". American Quarterly. Spring 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.

External links

  • Official music website
  • Official MySpace
  • Official Blog
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Francisca Valenzuela
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