Edgy, expressive and empowered: Meet Squinkla, a Bay-area native whose rapid-fire English, Spanish and Spanglish rhymes relate the real-life adventures of a fierce and feisty “femcee.”
Commanding the microphone with free-styling prowess and a five-alarm personality, she delivers narratives in tune with propulsive beats and fresh tracks. Versatility is a trademark; Squinkla has been showcased as a featured guest in a variety of genres, from EDM to rock.
A first-generation Salvadorian-American, Squinkla connected to sanctified sounds while singing in the church choir at age 11, but she didn’t stay long. Music was all around: Her older brother – a break dancer and tagger – introduced her to break beats, free style and house, and her sister listened to Tupac Shakur and Bones, Thugs & Harmony. She fell asleep to romantic Mexican ballads and oldies, courtesy of her mom. She began penning her own lyrics.
Her childhood home was located on streets that she describes as a “war zone". She says that circumstances sometimes put her in the wrong place at the wrong time and, as a result, she was escorted to multiple visits in juvenile detention centers. “They helped me,” she says. Away from the neighborhood and its distractions, she polished her literary skills and channeled her experiences into lyrics. One of the neighborhood gangs operated a recording studio. “I was the only girl going there. A lot of the guys would try to mack, but I wasn’t there to hook up. I was interested in recording.”
She invented the larger than life persona of Squinkla to represent “my inner child who never lost her innocence; who doesn’t take everything so seriously, and loves to have fun.” But within the lyrics are hard won truths to reflect Squinkla’s journey from the streets to the stage. Studying film and broadcasting, Squinkla became the first member of her family to earn a college degree. She believes that her stories will make an impact on other women who can benefit by her experiences. “It wasn’t always laughter. There was pain. I’ve been through a lot. Now, I’m becoming happy and confident. And I had to go through everything to get here.
It wasn’t always laughter. There was pain. I’ve been through a lot. Now, I’m becoming happy and confident. And I had to go through everything to get here." - Squinkla