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Melodic, sweet and tough as nails, listening to María del Pilar is like hearing the soundtrack of a quinceañera for a riot grrrl. Former lead singer of Los Abandoned, she was the voice of the bilingual youth movement in the U.S. during the early millennium. Now she has taken her sound to a more personal level, adding her beloved ukulele and a prolific ability to spin out intimate pop songs that rock.
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This is María del Pilar’s time. The one-time voice of America’s DIY/bilingual youth movement is now a sophisticated solo artist, garnering acclaim from aficionados as eclectic as her work. In the past year, her song “Miss Funeral” was featured on NPR during Alt Latino’s “Undeniable Strength of a Great Song,” episode. Her single “Ilegal En Estyle,” was named by OC Weekly as one of the decade’s top ten songs about illegal immigration and was included on a list of notable immigration songs by PRI’s The World. Noticeable TV placements include: Parenthood (NBC), The Fosters (ABC Family), Castle (ABC), two national Chevrolet commercials, and most recently - you can hear her haunting vocals on the TV theme song for Lifetime's “The Lottery”
Abroad, her single “En el Dancefloor” rose to #6 on Mexico City’s influential Reactor 105.7 FM 2014 Countdown after becoming that country’s song of the summer.
It’s a broad appeal earned through distinctive songwriting choices like bilingual lyrics, odd-meter tempos, and infectious hooks. María del Pilar (MDP) credits those choices to her background as Latina, child of immigrant parents that performed Chilean folkloric music, and a pop music lover with punk rock roots.
One person whose attention it drew is that of Mexican Institute of Sound’s Camilo Lara who recently brought MDP to his Mexican label, Casete. It was Lara who first helped put MDP on the map as the lead singer of Los Abandoned in the early part of the millennium, and she’s happy to pick up where the two left off.
Perhaps another sign that her solo career has arrived is the invitation to perform at 2015’s Vive Latino. The annual, three-day, Mexico City event is Ibero-America’s most important music festival and it’s a stage MDP is ready to attack with performances that are at once visually engaging and musically intense.
In addition to a new album in the works, this year fans will enjoy a re-release of MDP’s album Songs+Canciones I on Casete complete with bonus tracks: an “En el Dancefloor” remix and a new, live version of “Miss Funeral,” plus songs from her original, debut EP.
MDP also appears on the highly anticipated collaborative project from Lara and former Control Machete mix-master Mad Decent’s Toy Selectah. If ever two producers could handpick the world’s most interesting group of musicians, it’s these two. The project, entitled Compass features an incredible 80 stars from around the world including the likes of Boy George, MC Lyte, and of course, our girl MDP. If Compass is, as Toy says, a “PhD thesis on global music production,” then MDP is a worthy source for their higher education.
Still, María del Pilar has no fear about maintaining accessibility. It’s at the core of her sensibility. “I like the raw connection with an audience,” she says. “We’re in this together. That’s why I make music. For people to get through their shit. It’s what I love to do.”
Has opened for
Tegan & Sara
Mexican Institute of Sound
Nina Diaz (Girl in a Coma)
En el Dancefloor [Vive Latino 2015]
Huaso De Los Angelitos [with Gepe]
Miss Funeral [live]
Rolling Stone (Chile + Mexico)
Nylon (US + Mexico)
ABC/Disney, NBC, Lifetime
NU Music TV
Super Estrella 107.1
LA + OC Weekly
MTV (Latin America)
Electronic Musician Magazine
- María del Pilar’s single “En el Dancefloor” rose to #6 on Mexico City’s influential Reactor 105.7 FM 2014 Countdown after becoming that country’s song of the summer - YouTube views increased by 400% in just one month (June) and continues to grow exponentially.
- Invited to perform Vive Latino 2015 music festival in Mexico City.
- Song "Ilegal en Estyle" is featured in OC Weekly's The 10 Best Songs About Illegal Immigration and continues to be the soundtrack to the DREAMERS and undocumented youth in the U.S.
- Has performed at Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View, CA.
- A re-release of her latest album “Songs + Canciones I” plus bonus tracks and remixes will be put out in February 2015. Distributed by Mexican label Casete, founded by Camilo Lara of Mexican Institute of Sound and music supervisor Lynn Fainchtein.
- Part of the star-studded collaborative album “COMPASS” spearheaded by Mad Decent’s Toy Selectah + Mexican Institute of Sound. Due out early 2015.
- Has been a vocalist on numerous film scores by Danny Elfman.
- Has been a regular singing voice on Cartoon Network's "The Misadventures of Flapjack."
- Noticeable TV placements include: Parenthood (NBC), The Fosters (ABC Family), Castle (ABC), two national Chevrolet commercials, and most recently - you can hear her haunting vocals on the TV theme song for Lifetime's “The Lottery.”