As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Special Edition 2022 – I Belong
“I am going to be a leader alongside the female guitarist, pushing the boundaries and changing the way people view female musicians,” says Jimena Fosado, an accomplished guitarist from Mexico City. From playing lead guitar for the hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar to being a recipient of the Synyster Gates Scholarship (Avenged Sevenfold), Jimena knows no boundaries and pushes for what she wants. She established herself in Los Angeles and hit the ground running, sharing the stage with industry-heavy weights such as Steve Vai, Paul Reed Smith, Scott Paige of Pink Floyd, Mike Beal of Earth, Wind & Fire, and many more. She mixes rock, metal, fusion, and EDM elements to create her signature sound. Guitar Girl Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Jimena on her music, passions, gear, endorsements, and experiences in the music industry so far, and what career goals she is currently manifesting for her career.
Tell us a little about yourself; what inspired your love for playing guitar?
My dad influenced me a lot in my younger years; we used to listen to music on my way to school. He listened to classic rock, and the sound of the distorted guitar caught my attention so badly that I told him I wanted to do that one day. It took him a bit to get me my first guitar, like six years, but when I finally got it, I didn’t lose sight of my dreams and have been pursuing them since.
Who are some of the artists that inspire you?
I am inspired by so many! To this day, I get inspired by the new talent I see daily on social media. It’s crazy how we get to connect with anybody worldwide. My first inspirations were Eric Johnson, Guthrie Govan, Steve Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eddie Van Halen. Though currently, I love pop, EDM, lo-fi, and blues. I love it all, and it’s good to have various elements of everything in your playing.
How would you describe your sound?
As an artist, sometimes it’s hard to find your own sound. I think I am rock combined with some elements of blues and pop. I’m recording some songs with ambient rock sound blended with pop and electronic vibes, but I just enjoy taking different sounds I am inspired by and making something of it.
Let’s talk about gear. What amps, guitars, pedals, and pickups are a part of your current setup?
I am endorsed by PRS Guitars, which has been a large part of my current setup; I have six guitars! I enjoy the versatility of their instruments and their quality. I am honored to be part of the PRS family.
When it comes to pickups, I mainly play EMGs; I started playing those with my first PRS Torero when I was around 16. I remember seeing many of my favorite bands using them, so it encouraged me to own them.
I have tried many pedals and amps. I like having presets for different tours and gigs, and my Line 6 Helix Stomp XL pedalboard gives me opportunities to craft my sound. I exchange it with my Superblock UK by Quilter Amps. I love the organic sound it gives me when paired with my EVH cab.
You are endorsed by PRS Guitars, 64 Audio, EMG Pickups, Elixir strings, and MONO cases. What are some of your favorite products from those companies?
My main guitar is a PRS Custom 35th anniversary Private Stock, the most special guitar I own. I can get various sounds from that guitar, making it comfortable and pleasing to play. I sometimes bring my PRS Standard model for backup. It has split coils for high-gain output when paired with my EMG 89X and 89XR pickups.
For strings, I love their Elixir Optiweb 10-46 or 10-52. I like that they last long and the sound is always bright but warm. There can be drastically different weather changes on tour, but these strings resist everything from cold to sweat.
MONO cases are my favorite, as they implement quality and excellent design while satisfying the needs of musicians. I own the Vertigo Ultra, it’s water resistant, and the best part is you can add wheels enabling you to carry or roll it through airports, which is necessary for efficient traveling.
For in-ears, I use 64-Audio with six drivers. I love the sustain of the tone and clarity of any frequency. I like using them for every show.
What was your experience like attending the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, Calif.?
It was a fantastic journey that made me grow in my musicianship. I used the opportunity to get as much as I could from all of my teachers. I used a lot of my free time to go to open counseling and clinics with guest artists. As an international student, I wanted to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities offered by the school. Meeting so many talented people was part of my growth; I’m lucky to call some of them my best friends and coworkers!
Why is music education important to you? What advice can you give to some aspiring musicians who are looking to attend the Musicians Institute?
I think it gives you an excellent foundation to either record, produce, compose, or even develop an artist as a brand. It helped me be prepared for the real world as a touring musician and to have my own projects. I encourage people to be open-minded and eager to learn from music and the people surrounding you. You’ll be offered resources, so go for it!
You’ve shared the stage with some fantastic artists such as Steve Vai, Paul Reed Smith, Philip Bynoe, Mike Beal (Earth, Wind & Fire), Scott Paige, and many more. What were those experiences like, and what did you learn from working with those artists?
It was a unique yet nerve-wracking experience. I was in disbelief that I was with them on the same stage. I realized I was given a great opportunity, and you have to learn to provide the best you can at that moment. I enjoyed sharing space, time, and passion with big guitar icons. It taught me a presence on stage and helped me learn to beat my fears and put into use all of what I had been practicing, something I’ll never forget.
Let’s talk about your song “Color Clouds.” What was the inspiration behind that song? What’s your creative songwriting process?
It started with an improvisation that I was doing randomly one day. I was recording it and somehow picked some parts I would later decide to transform into a one-minute song. Later on, it ended up becoming a full-length song. It took a few months to get the results of what I had in mind. It has few electronic elements and funk hidden in the background. I like putting a lot of layers on my guitar to solo over it. I just pictured a lot of colors while listening to it; after that, I came up with the title.
What was the inspiration behind your song “Chasing the Moment”?
It started as a class project. Funny enough, I changed stuff to have it as a complete single. It was my first song ever released. I was into heavy music, so it was my first time sharing my guitar playing with the public. I was trying to figure out my musical identity and composition process. I was chasing a dream that I was projecting at that time. That was combined with the ups and downs of my musical journey. The title was birthed from that concept.
What was it like to play lead guitar in the seven-time award-winning rock opera musical Jesus Christ Superstar”?
It was the best experience! I haven’t been into musicals, to be honest. I wasn’t sure about accepting it, but I was hooked as soon as I listened to the first song. All the time signatures, polyrhythms, and key changes in the music were all things I had to prepare for. As I previously mentioned, my school foundation played a significant role in the good results they sought in a musician. That was my full entry into the industry with big names and award-winning GRAMMY artists. It gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I played my first sold-out arenas, coliseums, and big stages. It showed me that dreaming and hard work pays off, indeed.
What are some goals and career accomplishments that you aspire to achieve sometime in the near future?
I want to keep playing for big crowds. I want to get to 100,000 in a gig. I want to develop my brand and artist name. I want to produce songs that artists like.