Campus Circle: Vision Accomplished for María del Pilar in "Songs + Canciones I"

By Marvin Vásquez

She comes from a family that’s always been involved with music. Her parents were musicians. Thus, the music scene became present at home, and it resulted in being a part of her, too.

This is the story of talented solo singer and songwriter María del Pilar, the former front woman of the group Los Abandoned.

“Music has always been a big part of my life,” she said with no hesitation. Furthermore, she noted that music, ultimately, was her calling. 

Songs + CancioneI is María del Pilar’s new album, the first entity of a musical trilogy. The 10-track project features the first single “Motivation” and collaboration with Gepe in “Huaso De Los Angelitos,” a song also included as a solo version. 

Renowned Chilean DJ Vicente Sanfuentes produced the bilingual album, which grew more probable in a trip to Chile that María del Pilar took while undergoing a sabbatical. At that time, she reflected on several things.

“I was basically trying to figure out what the next project was going to be, and one of the things I wanted to do in my solo project was to do a personal reverb,” she said. “So I decided to go on a sabbatical and take the reverb seriously, and also have fun with it – take advantage of that time where I had a very white canvas, a very open road. That’s when I decided to go to Chile and take my sabbatical and have a lot of reflections as to what I wanted the next step to be both in my career and my personal life.” 

And it was perfect timing, according to María del Pilar.

“Luckily things worked out like they were supposed to, and I was also writing music,” she said. “The producer of the record happened to be available for a couple of months, so I took advantage of that and he helped me find this new voice.”

Throughout her career, María del Pilar’s musical influences often rooted from her personal life: parents, music made by her friends, and others who have been around her. In terms of genres, she noted that alternative, punk, and dance music have had the most impact on her.

María del Pilar happens to be an avid fan of social media, though she admits not utilizing the mainstream networks as much as others.

“I’m a big fan of Instagram and Tumblr,” she said. “I rarely use Facebook and Twitter to communicate, but I’ll use them to keep people posted on what’s going on, and upcoming events – maybe a thought here and there, but I mostly enjoy the creative social media sites. The reason I love Instagram so much is that I love taking pictures; I love photography. It’s a fun and quick way to create pieces of art, and that's always satisfying. Overall, I like social media because of the creative output you can have.”

After serving as the front woman for Los Angeles-based Los Abandoned, María del Pilar’s music path took the solo route. She released the album Pilar Díaz in 2009 under the production of Gabrial McNair (No Doubt). McNair suggested she use her birth name for the solo project, and that’s worked successfully. 

While acting as a recipient of advice, María del Pilar also manages to provide insight to up-and-coming artists – particularly youngsters.

“You must grow a thick skin in whatever way you can, which I believe is applicable in any career with the way things are especially with all the hustling that has to happen in the music industry with getting heard and getting people interested in what you’re doing,” she said. 

But the purpose of a vision must remain true to each person.

“I think it’s very important to stay honest to what your vision is of what you want to do,” she added. “At the end of the day, you’re coming home to what you do, and not what your manager or your label wants you to do or what you think it’s cool to do. It’s about keeping your music as honest as possible to yourself. It could be whatever you want it to be as long as it’s honest and truly yours.”

So what’s next for María del Pilar? It seems as if music will forever be within and a part of her. After all, it’s what’s most important to her.

“I plan to perform live as much as possible,” she said. “And I’ll be continuing to work on the next album.”

Songs + Canciones I is now available. María del Pilar performs Saturday, April 6 at The Satellite, located at 1717 Silverlake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027, at 8:30 p.m. For more information on María del Pilar, visit www.maria-del-pilar.com.

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