The “Latin Leading Ladies” panelists gathered on one stage at the Billboards Latin Music Conference in Miami to talk about how they made it to where they are today, the sacrifices and what it takes to become great. Together, the presence of such a strong group of Latinas was inspirational to see and hear. Olga Tanon, America Sierra, Carla Morrison and Kany Garcia are changing the sound and look of women in music and serving as role models.
How did the ‘Latin Leading Ladies’ get started?
Olga Tanon has had a 26-year career thus far and started singing at the age of four, basically since she can remember. She picked it up in school and started off taking opera classes. Once she got older she joined a couple girl groups here and there and then went on her own. “I would go up to my roof and sing to the stars every night until those stars became the people that heard me and that I sing to,” shared the Puerto Rican singer.
VOXXI’s Federica Longo with America Sierra at Billboard’s Latin Leading Ladies panel. (Photo VOXXI/ Federica Longo)
Mexican America Sierra is considered one of the most prominent and successful women songwriters of the moment. Her regional Mexican style of music is what has given her a chance to shine and made the people from her hometown Culiacan, Sinaloa proud. Her first single was for Banda San Jose de Mesillas. It was the first song that officially made her a professional and opened a window of opportunities. She started getting more work, but it all began with a dream. “I left music and after four years decided to take it back and I couldn’t be more grateful to where it all had led me,” Sierra said.
Carla Morrison, unlike many artists, chose to go independently. “I thank God that I was given this voice, but I am very shy to sing in front of people. One day my mom told me that if I wanted to be a singer, to pursue it, and I did.”
Morrison mentioned feeling that music was stupid because it wasn’t helping anyone like a doctor could, but soon realized that music also heals. “I started singing in the shower and then went on to do band covers around the city. I always played around with music, but at the age of 18 I put together my first song. I’ve been in the industry four years and I am so fortunate to be bale to be my own boss,” Morrison said.
Kany Garcia didn’t jump into music without the push of her parents. Her mother was a music teacher and her parents directed her towards music. When she was six-years-old she started studying the cello. She always loved singing, but was told she wasn’t good enough. She also started studying guitar at the age of 12. Garcia later went on to study classical music in college and upon writing a song she realized she loved pop music. “My big break was definitely a concert where Olga Tanon and Frano De Vita were performing and Franco gave me the opportunity to sing with him. The people’s reaction was incredible and shortly after I signed a recording contract.”
‘Take it or leave it’
All of the ladies agreed to always remain yourself when stepping into the music industry. Doing something that you don’t believe in never leads to a good finished product. You must always stick to your guns and do what you feel is right. “If you want to sign with me you go by my rules. I have some junk in the trunk and that’s the way it works. This is my image, take it or leave it. When people like you and like your music, that’s all that matters,” Morrison said.
They also commented on how special duets are. Morrison said that making a duet is “like making love; there has to be a connection.” Garcia emphasized on that point even more by stating that it’s not only making love, but having a child with someone. “Once you have a child with a person, that person never goes away and they remain in your life forever. Same thing goes with a duet for a song.”
As far as getting to the next level, the ladies agreed that it takes perseverance, determination and making sure that the love and passion for music within yourself always remains.
–Courtesy of Voxxi.com