She is known as "Louisiana Alondra de la Frontera" (or "The Lark of the Border" in English). In 1928, as part of the family group, Cuarteto Carta Blanca, she made her first recordings for the Okeh Records label in San Antonio, Texas. In the early 1930s, Mendoza came to the attention of Manuel J. Cortez, a pioneer of Mexican-American radio broadcasting.
Her live radio performances set the stage for her 1934 recordings on the Bluebird Records label, a subsidiary of Radio Corporation of America Victor.
Her recording, "Mal Hombre", became an overnight success and led to an intensive schedule of touring and recording. After World World War II, Mendoza recorded for many of the major Mexican-American record labels mostly located in Texas.
She continued actively performing and recording up until a stroke in 1988 slowed her schedule down. Many of her recordings are still available including those issued by Arhoolie Records, a California-based label specializing in the release of regional forms of American music
In 1999, she was awarded the, and in 2003, she was among the second group of recipients to be awarded the Texas Medal of Arts by the Texas Cultural Trust.
Lydia Mendoza died on December 20, 2007, in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 91. She is interred at San Fernando Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.