Mary Miranda stole viewers’ hearts last week on The Voice with her rousing rendition of Selena’s “Como La Flor.” With the The Voice’s battle rounds beginning tonight, Miranda looks forward to gaining more fans on her way to the top of competition. Here, she talks to Latina.com about her music idols, Selena and Michael Jackson, her Voice coach, Shakira, and her Cuba travel tips for Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
How old were you when you came to the U.S. from Cuba?
I was 12 years old. I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. For me, it was exciting and a little sad because I left Cuba. I had a lot of friends there, and coming here, it’s starting a new life with no friends, nothing. So it was a little bit of a struggle for me, especially with the language because I did not know how to speak English at all. It was just like a new beginning.
You said you learned English by listening to music. What artists were you listening to that helped you learn the language?
Great question! I would listen to Journey, Madonna, Scorpion, Def Leppard, and Michael Jackson, who is my idol! You have no idea. Michael Jackson is my inspiration—my everything. If he were still alive, I would give anything just to see him or sing with him.
When you immigrated to the States, you were bullied in school because you didn’t know the language. What advice would you give someone who is going through something similar? How did you perseverance?
Well, at first I just cried. I would go home crying because it was hard for me. I could hear kids laughing at me and pointing at me, and I knew they were saying, “You don’t speak English!” I could actually understand that (laughs) because I knew what that was. At some point, I tried to ignore these people, so I started listening to music instead. I was like, “You know what? I can’t pay attention to this! I really need to learn English.” So I started listening to music in English and studied a lot of words that were in the songs.