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Lebanese Latina jazz singer combines passion, sultriness and sabor

By José Villa, Senior Editor
Hawaii Hispanic News

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Saying that Sacha Boutros is a “jazz singer” is like saying a Porsche Turbo Carrera is a “car.” The maternal grandparents of this multilingual singer/
composer/producer – a frequent visitor to Hawaii – were born in Mazatlán and Guadalajara, Mexico. Her mother was born in San Diego and her father in Beirut, Lebanon. As a child, her mother spent her summers in Guadalajara.

Boutros said: “I grew up in San Diego in a very close-knit family with a lot of values, morals, faith, and, of course, lots of food.” And she is proud of the fact that she has a strong connection to both sides of ethnic roots.

She still has a lot of relatives in Mexico and describes herself as a “super-Latina.” That pride is also reflected in the name of her publishing company: Diva Latina Productions.

How did she start her singing career? She said: “I developed a love for singing from my
grandfather. I started singing with him in church in the Spanish church we attended. He
would sing one verse and I would sing the second. So I was singing with him or harmonizing with him, but it was always for God. Then at home, he was always making up funny songs – or rhyming songs – for the kids and he would make us laugh.”

Boutros added: “My grandmother was the one who introduced me to the piano. She started me with piano lessons when I was 4. I had to sit on a pillow to reach the keys.”

She continued: “Then I sang at school and in the church choir. But I really didn’t start ‘singing’ until I was 20 years old. I was playing soccer then and was a soccer freak. I lettered in soccer and tennis in high school. Then I got soccer and tennis scholarships to the University of San Diego. I was actually training for the Mexican national team, but I got a severe knee injury and that ended the dream.”

While taking a forced break from soccer, Boutros went to a club, heard a singer and thought: “I can do that.” And by the next week, she had a gig.

In listening to some of her YouTube videos, I was struck that someone so young was singing classic songs from the 40s and 50s. I asked about that.

She said: “I love that music. When I was a little girl, I had a record player and would collect the old 78 rpm records. I’d go to music stores and buy old records. And I used to listen to a radio station that played music from the 20s, 30s and 40s. And I tap danced, so I really loved it. I like the old stuff.”

What part does music play in her life now? She responded: “Music is my life. I think everyone has…not a predetermined future, but…I think God kind of hands out jobs sometimes and you’re supposed to do something for him. In retrospect, I think I was doing soccer for me. I still think I was a better soccer player than I am a singer. But as I’ve proceeded on this 12-year-long musical journey, and have come to love it, I think God had a better plan for me.”

Boutros continued: “I now feel it’s my job to make people happy and make them feel better. And I can give them that gift through the music. And this true whether I feel like singing at the time or not. It’s my job. It’s what I do. Obviously I sing to make a living. I’m my own agent, publicist, album cover designer, website designer and manager, etc. I
have help here and there, but primarily it’s on me.”

A lot of her time is spent marketing and promoting herself. She said: “So my job is not just the singing. It’s all the work I have to do to have the opportunity to sing. Many times
singing is a relief. It’s a luxury for me to sing once in a while. It’s almost like a reward for all the work I do to get there.”

She added: “However, in the process of making a living, I try to help people as well. I’m
just an artist, and don’t have a lot of money, but I’m able to raise money for the things that are important to me. I help raise funds for homeless children, women’s programs and other causes that are dear to me. I am also especially drawn to programs that empower women and help them changer their lives for the better.”

Does she still live in San Diego?

She responded: “I do, but I get to New York City about every four to five weeks, so I think of myself as ‘bi-coastal.’ I would really love to live there, but it’s very expensive, so I haven’t made the move yet. However, the frequent trips allow me to stay in touch with my contacts, explore new opportunities and keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the music scene.”

According to her website: “Boutros is well versed in classical music and sings in seven languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Latin. Sacha is fluent in five of these languages…” Our staff won’t be surprised if this talented young lady is soon doing her “God’s work” in the Big Apple!

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