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Arts & Culture

My Signature Song: 'The Power'


Twenty-nine-year-old Xochitl Callejo of El Paso, Texas, thinks the best way to listen to music isn't through your earbuds. It's actually in your car.

XOCHITL CALLEJO: When you're just surrounded by it and you have all these speakers just blasting the song to get you ready for where you're headed.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: A few years ago, she was headed to a music festival when she found her signature song, "The Power" by Sweet Spirit.

CALLEJO: To pass time, we were just literally going through an entire list of bands and artists who would be performing, and one of the bands on there was Sweet Spirit. And so I - of course, I typed it into my phone, and that very first song that came up was "Power" and I played it, and it was just a jam.


SWEET SPIRIT: (Singing) You're the kind of girl who studied in school and practiced your fashion.

CALLEJO: If I had to give it one word, it would be energizing. It's like your heart automatically matches the beat and just gets you pumped and gets you ready.


SWEET SPIRIT: (Singing) I'm the girl who laughed at teacher, partied under the bleachers and drank.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But it wasn't just the music that captivated Callejo. The lyrics told the story of a young woman defying expectations, and that was something she knew about as a young girl in a small South Texas town.

CALLEJO: Growing up, I was underestimated a lot. And when I proved to - you know, to be successful at something or when I proved to actually be good at something, I - there was always a group of people who were always so surprised - like, I didn't have it in me. But to me, on the other end, I was always like, well, of course, I did it. It was going to get done. There was no doubt about it.


SWEET SPIRIT: (Singing) I got the answer here inside of myself. I got the power here inside of myself. I got the power here inside of myself. Come feel the power.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Callejo is a middle school speech teacher now. On days she's nervous about teaching, she blasts "The Power" in her car on the way to work. She says it's a shot of pure confidence and a reminder of what's at stake for some of her students.

CALLEJO: The problem that I see is that not a lot of girls do recognize their power or don't really understand the way how they can use it, and so that's something that I strive for on a daily and a constant basis is just getting these students just to know that they have it in them and that they are capable. And as long as they have it, the possibilities are endless for them.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Xochitl Callejo of El Paso, Texas, sharing her signature song, "The Power" by Sweet Spirit.


SWEET SPIRIT: (Singing) The power. Come, come, come feel the power. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.