Local sister trio The Tiarras talk newest single, SXSW jitters

Sofia Treviño, Life and Arts Associate Editor

Mexican American sister trio, The Tiarras, released their new single, “They Don’t See Us,” a lyrical ode to invisibility and unrealistic beauty standards, on March 11. Composed of singer and guitarist Tori Baltierra, bassist Tiffany Baltierra and drummer Sophia Baltierra, the Austin-based band will perform as official South by Southwest artists on March 15, 16 and 19.

The Daily Texan spoke to The Tiarras — formerly known as Tiarra Girls — about their latest single, rebranding and nervous excitement for their SXSW performances.

 

The Daily Texan: What’s the story behind “They Don’t See Us”?

Tori Baltierra: It was summer 2020 when protests were at their peak, and we were all still figuring out how to live in a pandemic. I was in my bed, on my phone scrolling and (seeing) a lot of content about protests. It was not normal for us to see different videos of people being tormented by the police and being killed on camera on our feeds. I went to the only thing that I knew how to do to express myself — songwriting. I was like, “We should write a song about feeling invisible.” Because as young Latinas, when we were growing up our beauty standards were European and westernized. I was like, “Let’s put everything we can into a mixing pot — the exhaustion and pain of feeling like no one’s looking at us.”

 

DT: What message do you want listeners to take away from “They Don’t See Us”?

TB: Acknowledging the exhaustion of any part of your life that you feel unseen or unrepresented. Always remember the power is within you. It’s about connecting with things that are higher than you. … The song promotes having that conversation with yourself. You know what’s good for you, but there’s self-sabotaging behaviors we have inside ourselves and America and the universe.

 

DT: Your songs often have upbeat instrumentals with important topics, such as coming out and feminism. How does this contrast help share these messages?

Sophia Baltierra: It’s important for us to understand what’s going on and how we can start making (a) change. We started using beats to groove with while also (thinking) in your head, “Yeah, this is so true. Let’s go make some change.” 

TB: We don’t think too much about tempos. We let that come intuitively. As Mexican Americans, we dance to a lot of different types of music — reggaeton, banda, cumbias. Even if we are in pain, we all come to a central point of dancing and loving each other.

 

DT: Why did you rebrand from Tiarra Girls to The Tiarras?

SB: We started the band when we were super young. We’re women now. Our music has changed too, so we want our name to reflect that growth. It holds our strength, our bravery. We felt we were changing (and) wanted our name to express that.

 

DT: How do you feel about performing at SXSW?

Tiffany Baltierra: I’m excited and nervous. I’ve been having dreams that I’m in another country and have to figure out how to get back to Austin in one day so I can come play at SXSW. I’m excited to bring our music to people who have never heard of us from around the world.

SB: It almost feels like a test. We haven’t had SXSW for a few years in person. It’s really scary because you look back two years with the pandemic and how much you accomplished, and now SXSW (is) showing up for all of it. We’re just happy to be here.