Don't miss the next ¡VAYA! 63 dance party, presented in collaboration with the NYU Music and Social Change Lab, which brings Bronx-based bachatera Andre Veloz and her band to the David Rubenstein Atrium for a free show on Friday, November 16. Veloz took a break from shattering glass ceilings this week to share a bit about her musical influences, advice to aspiring artists, and where she wants to go next.
 


Top three influences (musical or otherwise)?
Musically? Uff, that's tough. I have so many influences that it would be unfair to pick just one. However, musically I think the ladies that led the Latin music in the '80s and '90s (Miriam Cruz & Las Chicas del Can, Milly Quesada, Francis Rosario, Olga Tañón, Celia Cruz, Mecano) and all of the other wonderful women I was exposed to on TV while growing up in the Dominican Republic. That would be influence number one. Influence No. 2 the women in my family, music loving, live loving energetic women. Influence No. 3, the music icons I encountered during my adolescence: Dolores O'Riordan and Ella Fitzgerald.

Artist or album you have on repeat?
I have songs on repeat and they are all over the place... am a bit weird. In one hand I have The Band's Visit soundtrack and on the other one I have Romeo Santos, starting from his days in Aventura.


Last live performance you saw?
A memorial for jazz pianist Henry Butler, with some cool cats from New Orleans.

Favorite city to play?
That has to be New York. Home, the Bronx.

Hidden talent?
It's not precisely a hidden talent, but I love to paint and illustrate. I actually illustrated the cover of our first album.

Favorite book or movie?
Favorite Book: El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera). Film: Pan's Labyrinth.

Top three pieces of advice for aspiring artists?
My first advice is definitely follow your gut; we are given too much free advice as growing musicians. Listen, pick, and choose. Second: Say yes. You gain more by saying yes to things... as long as you follow your gut. The last is neither advice nor a secret: Patience. Persevere.

First live performance you remember seeing?
First live performance was Johnny Ventura, if I am not mistaken.

Artist you'd most like to meet (past or present)?
The artist I would love to meet is Jennifer Lopez. That woman is a powerhouse and source of inspiration.

First paying gig?
I was 16 years old and I performed with my garage band called Horizontes Verticales in a little bar called Dalí in Santiago. Must have been paid the equivalent of $10.00. I was so elated!

Latest project?
My current project is Andre Veloz, the album I am also working on in collaboration with bachata legend Luis Segura, as well as another single to be released in January.

Country you'd most like to visit?
Oh, my God, I could eat the world! I want to visit all of the countries! Did I mention I have a bachelor's degree in geography? I love maps! Next year I would love to visit Cuba, Italy, and Brazil.

Artist you'd most like to collaborate with?
That would have to be Romeo Santos... or Cardi B.

First time you realized you wanted to be a musician?
I always knew. Since I was a little kid. My family had to ask me to please stop singing for a second.

What you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
I wish someone had told me to be more consistent and to have more determination, to stick to my guns, and to be more focused.

Practice tips?
Personally, live performances are my go-to practice tools, as well as a good old-fashioned pen and paper to memorize lyrics.

You hope someone comes away from one of your shows feeling…?
Optimistic. Revived. Revitalized.

Next goal or challenge you're setting for yourself?
I want to leave a long lasting mark in the Latin music as a Latina that shattered the bachata glass ceiling. I want for little girls to be able to see a woman as a bandleader the same way I did and for them to be able to identify themselves with the music. I want the little boys to know that there are inspiring females bandleaders and women can do as fantastic a job as men, that there is plenty of room for everybody in the world of music.