Pili Montilla is passionate about independent music. Throughout her career as a producer and journalist, she has worked with both big-name stars like Sandra Bullock and Gwen Stefani, and more up-and-coming artists like Raquel Sofia and Francisca Valenzuela. In her Emmy-nominated music series, Té Para Tres con Pili Montilla, Montilla showcases Latino indie musicians from everywhere from Chicago to Chile. We spoke with this inspiring mujer recently to find out more about what drives her outside the box career.
HipLatina: We appreciate your mission to uncover and showcase talented up-and-coming independent musicians. We also aspire to be a positive force by publishing profiles of musicians, and people making a difference on a local level to improve lives. In the spirit of going deep into subjects we love, we have a few questions for you, starting with your passion.
Our focus is on empowering women, and you are one empowered Latina! From where did the inspiration come for Té Para Tres con Pili Montilla?
Pili Montilla: First of all, ¡Muchas gracias! Latinas are a force to be reckoned with. Representing us in a powerful way is extremely important to me, so thank you for your recognition.
“Té Para Tres” was created from two driving factors: the desire to give Latin Alternative musicians the space they deserve to showcase their talent and by a need to create my own opportunity.
No doubt music is my passion, so noticing how Latin Alternative music was not being showcased appropriately made me question why, and the answer was simple: they are not supported by traditional media. These artists are being overshadowed by mainstream music in part because mainstream media only pays attention to the top 10 highest grossing artists.
I want to change that. I want to bring light and attention to those I feel really deserve it and have earned it. I believe most Latin Alternative artists are bringing really interesting sounds and inspiring proposals. I want others to hear, see, and feel that.
HL: What drives your passion for Indie music?
PM: Many Latin Alternative musicians push boundaries and really think outside the box. They are driven by an ongoing desire to create unique sounds and fusions. Their lyrics are well thought out and they exude creativity. Their goal is not money or popularity. They really do it for the art.
I also admire their hunger. I think I relate to it and therefore feel the need to support it.
HL: We profile musical artists like Raquel Sofia, Locos por Juana, Verny Varela. Who is one rising musical star you recommend for HipLatina’s audience?
PM: I really enjoy what Buscabulla and Los Walters are doing. I think they have a refreshing sound and beautiful melodies. I also think that Orquesta El Macabeo’s sarcastic and funny lyrics combined with great beats is changing salsa. For something soulful, check out my girl Calma Carmona. She’s brewing a whole bunch of awesomeness.
HL: How did your upbringing from a Caribbean island impact your taste and interests in music?
PM: Growing up in Puerto Rico makes me feel like the luckiest music lover on the planet! It’s an island highly influenced by its Latino sounds, mixed in with the American influence and Caribbean vibes. So I grew up exposed to so many different music genres. From Bomba y Plena, to Salsa and Merengue, classic rock n roll, to Brit pop.
Also, I have two older sisters who introduced me to everything from Ruben Blades to Depeche Mode. My parents would listen to classical music, while my friends listened to reggae. My music library is extremely eclectic, and I love it!
HL: HipLatina’s tagline is “Her Interest, Her Lifestyle, Her Inspiration.” We would love to hear about what those three things are for you.
PM: Ok, here goes:
Interests: Music, dancing, running, yoga, reading, attending music festivals and listening to live music.
Lifestyle: When I’m not in front of the camera, I try to be as chill as possible. So I spend as much time with my friends and in my apartment (I travel so much, I’m hardly ever there). So I’d say my lifestyle is Rock ‘N Roll Chill. Ja!
Inspiration: Those who live life to the fullest and with passion. Those who make S**T happen!
HL: Please share a little career secret we can share with the HipLatina audience.
PM: I always say: Create your own opportunities! Do not sit around and wait for your “dream job” to appear. Dreaming is not enough. Dream it, work hard for it, and make it happen!
Check out Pili’s video series here: