DFW Music News

Muriel, the Oak Cliff Princess, Isn’t Waiting for Dallas to Sing Her Praises

Muriel is a one-name powerhouse blowing up in Dallas, despite the city's resistance.
Shirley Salinas
Muriel is a one-name powerhouse blowing up in Dallas, despite the city's resistance.
Dallas has no shortage of talent. It just has trouble keeping it around. Time and time again, artists slip out of the city's grip and drift off to find stardom — elsewhere. The local music scene hasn’t quite learned how to retain its talent, but it might be about to.

Dubbed The Oak Cliff Princess, — a nickname given to her by her brother, which later caught on — Muriel Argueta is on an express lane to stardom. The singer, who goes by her first name only, has blazed past her early performances doing karaoke nights at 303 Bar to catching the eye of music bigwigs.

“She's going to be the next big Latina star,” says Xeus Hamilton, Leon Bridges' security director. “There is a void in that market of artists that can incorporate Spanish and English music together … and make it relatable and digestible for people who do not speak that language or are familiar with it. Muriel is one of those artists who can do that, but in the soul and R&B realm, and then she has this pop aspect about her.”

Hamilton says “stars are born, not created.” When he found Muriel's social media accounts he was captivated by her range and recognized her potential as the next big thing out of Dallas.

At 21 years old, aa a Latina mother and artist who grew up in a pre-gentrified Oak Cliff, music became a coping mechanism for Muriel. Her experiences set the foundation for Muriel’s hold on the mic, but also give her music a relatability that can't be fabricated.

Although she didn't make her musical debut until 2020, Muriel's vocals echoed through Dallas long before she stepped into the booth. As a worship leader for West End Church Dallas, Muriel developed her vocal technique by uplifting disadvantaged communities. In 2016, she could be found on the streets of the West End serenading the homeless. She believes her dedication to the community provided her protection and security when she needed it the most.

Muriel’s story resonates with Dallas’ Latin communities in neighborhoods such as Oak Cliff, Webb Royal and Pleasant Grove, where generational cycles often serve as life sentences to poverty and a life on the streets.

“All my life, I’ve had people tell me, ‘You’re not going to be anything, look at your family, no one has done anything. That’s going to be you, too,’” Muriel said in 2018 in a Texas Can Academy student story.

So Muriel turned to music.

“I feel like I can express myself and my experiences through music, so going through the hard moments, the way I could feel myself getting better was, is, through journaling, through writing and through singing,” Muriel says. “A lot of that helped me grow in a lot of areas of my life and through that I realized music is definitely what I am meant to do in this world.”

She wrote “Running Away" while she was living at a women’s shelter with her daughter after fleeing from domestic violence. The song, released in 2020, would be her first single and the one that began to turn heads. In the R&B ballad, mixed and mastered by Jose Sandoval, Muriel’s smooth lyricism narrates her will to gather the courage to run away from physical and mental abuse.

The same year, Muriel released “Snapped” and “Do Not Disturb," which gave listeners a glimpse into her versatility. The latter showcased her ability to merge genres seamlessly. The bilingual track glides in and out of English and Spanish with pop influences that propel listeners to the dance floor.

To keep with the momentum, Muriel released her EP Trust the Process May 2021. The EP, produced by Dustin Cavazos, runs a little over nine minutes, enough time to assert that she isn’t boxed into one genre. The “Oak Cliff Princess” shows off her rap skills with confidence and puts Oak Cliff Latin culture in the spotlight with references to lotería,  games of dominos and memories of drinking from a water hose.

“He said” soulfully explores mental illness from the male perspective while “Tell Me That You’ll Stay” dips back into pop. Muriel returns to R&B in “Chaos” with a delicate femininity backed by a mature musical ferocity. The EP reads as abstract musings on her growth and depth.

“That is the key to rebuilding yourself. It is believing in yourself because whenever you believe, everybody starts catching on.” –Muriel

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Muriel’s songs have been played in Chicago and Australia. She recently flew to Hawaii to shoot a music video with Tribe Mafia for a song and video set to premiere February. In May, she’s scheduled to be in Los Angeles to work with producers Lino Quintana and Bobby Castro, who has worked with Beyoncé. Quintana is most known for his work with Jenni Rivera and, like Hamilton, he discovered Muriel through social media.

“Seeing all of that made me tear up and it made me feel like, ‘Wow, just imagine what can happen next year or the next few years,’” Muriel says. “My name is not going to be just local, it's going to be worldwide.”

Within the span of a year, Muriel has magnified her presence without management or a team. Her talent opened doors that brought her to a seat at the table next to the likes of Bridges.

“She's her own star and she doesn’t need anyone to cosign to solidify her stardom,” Hamilton says. “We [Bridges and Hamilton] just kind of gravitated to her based on her being a dope artist and just a dope person in general.”

Muriel's first album as an independent artist has an anticipated fall 2022 release with songs written by her and by her brother Robin Argueta. However, Muriel hinted late December on Welcome To The Rodeo podcast that getting signed was in the imminent future, despite the sluggish momentum in local support.

“The support system in Dallas really does suck,” Argueta says. “We're getting to that point where it's getting real and people are starting to notice, and they want to be a part of it, but they missed their shot.”

The path Muriel is on is a frequent one for North Texas-bred artists. Dallas rapper Yella Beezy spent over a decade trying to make it in the local music scene before he relocated to Atlanta, which put him on the map. This month, Luna Luna, an Oak Cliff Latinx band, left Dallas for Austin on the heels of their sold-out show at Trees.

“It's free to support artists; we're not asking for any money,” Argueta says. “All you have to do is show us some love on social media platforms, which is something that we do every day, all day, so why not just stop by and comment, like, share, show somebody the song, show somebody the lyrics, anything.”

Now Muriel is fine-tuning her vocals with lessons, putting pen to paper and polishing tracks for her upcoming album, which will embody her evolution. Muriel says the songs will be future-focused to display her growth past her pain.

“Expect a little bit more excitement from this album ... all the pain and the hurt, you'll still hear some of that because that's something we go through every day on a personal level,” Argueta says. “I really don't want to give too much away, but it's gonna be great.”

Although Muriel and Argueta are holding back on spoilers, Muriel says there will be a Spanish song on the album. To tease the album while it's in production, a new single titled “Your Heart is Mine” will be released Jan. 21.

For Muriel, success is the only option and she’s seeing her dreams come into fruition. Last year, Muriel dreamt of opening for artists like Tay Money, and now that’s a reality. Muriel is scheduled to open for the rapper on Feb. 12 at The Green Elephant.

“I've been through so many things at my short age and my biggest thing that I think is I cannot give up because I have Gianna, my daughter, looking up to me, and I need her to know that if I went through all of this, anything is possible because I'm going to get to the top,” Muriel says. “That is the key to rebuilding yourself. It is believing in yourself because whenever you believe, everybody starts catching on.”