We continue to celebrate our 30th anniversary, bringing you voices of some of the most influential Latinos and Latinas in the last three decades. In this episode of Latino USA we catch up with music legend, Linda Ronstadt.
Linda Ronstadt has had an extraordinary career in music. Although she is known primarily as the “First Lady of Rock,” Linda has produced a wide range of musical work, from folk, country, big band, Broadway, mariachi and even light opera. In 2000, Latino USA interviewed Linda for the first time — delving into her Mexican roots and her decision to return to the traditional Mexican music of her childhood.
“I started asking from the moment I arrived in L.A. in 1965 — ‘Anybody want do this? Let’s do some Mexican stuff.’ And one day I knew that I could,” she told Latino USA in 2000. “I had sold enough records and I had enough power that I didn’t have to ask, I could just tell. And I kind of went and I went, ‘Guess what I’m going to do?’”
Then in 2011 Linda officially retired from music. She began losing her singing ability due to a degenerative condition known as progressive supranuclear palsy. But Linda kept creating — writing and releasing her first memoir, “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir.” In 2022 she released her second writing project, “Feels Like Home: A Song For The Sonoran Borderlands.” In this book Linda talks about her family history and the sonic landscapes of the borderlands where she grew up.
“I was just singing for myself. I tried to touch my own life, you know?” Linda says, reflecting on the impact she’s had throughout her career.
Now, at 76 years old, Linda returns to Latino USA — after 23 years. She opens up about her memories growing up in Tucson, Arizona, reckoning with her family history and her legacy.
Featured image by Sam Sargent.