Jacqueline Santillán Beighley remembers the day she arrived to the United States from Argentina with her mom. She was five years old, and her dad, Julio, had left a few years earlier and settled in Southern California. "I remember the plane ride and then arriving at the airport and seeing this guy, this cool-looking guy with big motorcycle glasses, cool jacket and a huge teddy bear waiting for me at the airport," the singer-songwriter and frontwoman of the band Wait. Think. Fast. says on the U-LAB Podcast. "I hadn't seen him in two years but instantly I was like, 'Yeah, that's my dad!'"
Her father was an important figure in her life, an immigrant who left a military dictatorship in Argentina and risked everything to provide for his family, including deportation, but who always supported Santillán Beighley's musical ambitions. In Wait. Think. Fast. 's new album, Dale tiempo, she sings about the exact moment she got the call that her father had passed away suddenly in a car crash two years ago.
The song is called "Manhattan" (where Santillán and her partner and bandmate Matthew Beighley were living at the time), and like many of Wait. Think. Fast. 's songs, it switches between English and Spanish within the song. It's a bold choice for a an independent rock band, but one that for Santillán Beighley is natural. "What I've always done is be this bicultural person in Los Angeles, I've never thought about this scene or that scene", she says. "I think in both languages constantly, living in Echo Park, you switch between languages all the time."
When her father passed away, Matthew and Jacqueline cut short their New York City life and moved back to Southern California, and since then, they've become parents. The album is a tribute to Julio, but it's an uplifting, gorgeous collection of songs that tell a story, one that ends with a song, 'Lucía', named after the couple's oldest daughter.
In this emotional interview, I reconnected with Jacqueline after many years and spoke about the songwriting process for Dale Tiempo, the band's first album in seven years.