Country music is such a huge force in the music world these days and has been for a long time. With so many talented women in the music business it only makes sense to talk to one of the fresh faces coming out in the country music world, Erika Bonilla. Here is as sweet a lady as you can hope to speak with and she did everything right along the way; pursued her dreams, her education, and went right back after her dream of singing for a living.
Raised with a lot of mariachi and Spanish influences in music, her passion is obvious when she talks about her past and her present. Even during her break for college, Erika performed throughout the United States to include such performances as; the prestigious Unity Festival and various Hispanic Heritage Day Festivals in Washington, D.C. She has also performed at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Hispanic Heritage Day in Washington, D.C. and the annual Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration in West Virginia. She now has a band named Juliet Dreams with a new single, New Tattoos, which was released June 1, 2012. Shot Time the second single was released on October 16, 2012. Juliet Dreams embraces a feel good attitude of kicking back, enjoying life and living it up. The music shows depth, talent, and a promising road ahead. Check out the music and get to know Erika in the interview below.
Interview with Erika Bonilla of Juliet Dreams
Erika thanks for taking time for this today. You have an interesting background; born in Texas, grew up in New Mexico, can you talk about what got you into singing?
Thank you for having me, let’s see, I guess ever since I can remember I sang around the house. I was one that made everyone sit and watch me put on little shows all the time when I was little (laughs) I am not sure it’s some of my family’s favorite parts to the story, but that’s where it started.
You started in local bands and then put it all on hold for a few years, can you tell me about that?
When I first started out I didn’t know anything; how to get in a band or get a gig, anything. I went to a vocal instructor in New Mexico and after she heard me sing mariachi she knew of a band that needed a singer so that’s where that sort of started. I sang with them for a bit; I was in my early 20’s and did that for awhile. Then I decided that I needed to focus on my education for awhile and I had a full-time job so, it was just to hard to do it all.
After college, you dive right back into singing, what happened as you jumped back in? I see that you have some recordings with a more Latin-influence and you were also quite busy, can you tell me about that time?
After I finished up school and had some more time, you know that gut feeling you get that you know you are missing something and have to pursue what you want? For me it was singing. I really needed to do this. I ran into an old friend and started doing mariachi music again. It was a huge influence growing up and I love the passion of the music. So we did a mariachi album and it went really well. I don’t know if you’re a fan of that style but it is really powerful and passionate music!
I actually am! We have several bands around here that have that influence that are extremely talented bands such as Grupo Pagan, and there is a big Latino festival each summer where many talented people play that style!
Oh that’s great! Perfect!
You are now a country singer, what made you change it up?
After doing that I started to tour and while I toured and we became more known we started to incorporate other music into my set such as old Spanish standards and a couple of country songs. I wasn’t sure how it would be received but people just loved it! Being that country music is so wide spread and so huge I decided to focus in on that. I moved to L.A. and met producer Toby Sandoval who is with Universal/BMI, but he is the one who took up my music like ten notches if you will! (laughs) He listened to my ideas and the messages that I wanted to incorporate into my music and how I wanted to portray myself to my listeners, and he kind of did that for me. He’s so talented. And thankfully he produced my music and that is where my singles are from!
Juliet Dreams is the name of your band and you just recently released your first record, can you talk about the band, the album, and how it’s going?
It’s going really well! My second single ‘Shot Time’ is just out and we are trying to get it out there now and promote it. I just want everyone to enjoy it as much as I loved making it.
What is the band planning in support of the record, any video planned or?
A video is in the works now and we are working on promotional dates and things like that, I don’t have a calendar yet but we are working on it!
Now this will be in a series that I am doing that will run for some time with interviews with women in the music business across any and all genres; what female artists influenced you?
That’s great and oh boy (laughs). I have such a wide range in music taste that it’s pretty spread out. Patsy Cline is a huge influence as far as country music is concerned; I have so much respect and admiration for her, she is such an incredible woman and performer.
What advice would you give a young woman just starting out?
I would tell anybody; younger, older, at any age to do it! There’s nothing better than pursuing your dream. It’s a long hard road but you never want to look back and wish that you had chased after it. If you want to do it and it’s your dream then pursue it!
Lastly, is there anything that you want to say to the readers and fans?
I just want to say that I appreciate all the support and love that I have been receiving. I just want to write my music and have everyone enjoy it as much as I do, thank you!