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Student Profile: Javier Villanueva-Diaz AKA Javi Neuva

A discussion about passions, music and more.

By: Zerubbabel Abiy


Photo Credit: Javier Villanueva-Diaz


Recently we got the chance to sit down and speak with Junior Javier Villanueva-Diaz about his experiences within the Media and Communication Studies department, the things he's learned and incorporating his passions within his studies.


For those of us who don't know who you are, could you tell us just a little bit about yourself?


My name is Javier. I am a junior here at UMBC, I am a media and communications major with a minor in music. I'm a dual citizen with Mexican and American citizenship and I have a fascination with pop culture in both countries and I love music.


Oh really? So you were born in Mexico and you came to America?


No, I was born here, my parents moved to a ranch in Jalisco when I was a kid to help my granddad get residency in the United States to live with my family in California.


Why did you choose MCS?


I was attracted to the media and communication department after reading Edward Bernays Propaganda book, and realized I had a liking for how things are portrayed in the media. My favorite course I’ve taken is Modern Public Relations. Public relations was one of my favorite classes because it’s a field that I am interested in after graduating. I also like the way Prof. Eagle taught the class. He made it simple and went straight to the point, teaching us to write press releases and pitch emails, and also how to execute a public relation class. My main takeaway was to write as little as possible and also as clearly as possible. I also do data collection with Dr. Talbert-Goldstein


What are some of the projects that you've worked on here at UMBC


Well it is my involvement with Catholic retrievers and the religious council and helping out any way I can and my internship with the Athletic department… I work in broadcasting but I still don't know what I'm doing outside of showing up and being ready to do anything. My personal projects are also stressing me out, no one said that the media and public relations work was super hard.


What about it is stressful? And could you explain what you do for those that don't know?


Well I am a music minor like I said before but I'm also a musician and I've been struggling to hunt down my target audience, what event venues promote indie artists, which radios I should reach out to. I can self-publish but if i don't have an audience to throw it out too it's just pointless. A lot of advice I have been getting about self-promotion has primarily focused around social media and tik tok and that's a little annoying, especially with people in the music industry giving me that advice because it seems as if they care more about following in number when actually what should matter is music. But I'm still new to making music, with only a year and a half of experience, so I still have a long way to go.


Obviously music is very important to you.


Yeah goes back to when I was a kid and my parents came back to America. My dad used to take me to karaoke bars and I entered a contest and I won and that got me a contract with a local radio station and throughout the DC area I would perform at latin festivals as a mariachi at a very young age. Now my music is influenced by Rancheros, Latin rock, Rock with RnB and Reggaeton.


Oh so your Mariachi?


Yeah I used to play Rancheras which is music from the ranch. It's technically country music for Mexicans but we played with an orchestra because we're a little bit more refined. Fun fact and official Mariachi is no less than 11 players so if you see a Mariachi with 5 players they’re cheating you because they know that Americans don't know any better.


Wow so it seems like your culture means a lot to you... Is there any Mexican media that you've been consuming lately?


Yeah there's a lot of podcasts I've been listening to but recently there's a Mexican TV show I've been watching called Belascoarán. It's this detective series set in 1970s Mexico City and this detective is basically trying to find stranglers and at the same time dealing with the corruption of the Mexican police, it's very interesting.  


If you left campus today and never came back again what would be the one lesson you take away from your experience here at UMBC.


Finding out how to market myself. But no matter the promotion a good song will prevail no matter what.


Posted: April 2, 2023, 11:12 AM