Hello, PBK Babes!
We're back on the blog today with another great interview. We first met Elle Baez when she came into our plus size boutique, looking for a great look for her release party and launch.
Since then, she's continued to visit us – picking styles for photoshoots and other promotions. We love her adventurous and eye catching personal style, and we think you will, too.
PBK: Let's start with a little history. What's your background in music?
EB: My love for music began thanks to my family’s love of music. My
dad was a DJ in the ‘70s, my sister also sings, and my brother plays the
drums. Surrounded by music, I have been singing since I was three years
old. By six, I started performing in musicals (haven’t stopped since).
At eight, I started voice lessons. I was quick to jump at any opportunity to
sing. I performed with my middle and high school’s choir and attended the
Manhattan School of Music’s Pre- College Saturday Program where I
studied classical voice and learned how to read and write music.
Performing in New York City made me realize that this girl from Long
Island wasn’t going anywhere and when I got in to NYU for musical
theatre it all seemed to come full circle for me!
PBK: Yes, love it! Long Island represent!! Can you describe your decision to go after your dream of being a performer? Was there a specific moment that made you decide to go for your dream?
EB: The joy I felt performing and writing really sparked something in
me. I would write and make my cousins perform holiday shows for my
entire family from very early on. Simply, it was what made me happy. I
grew up in a town where I felt I didn’t fit in. I know it sounds cliche, but the
bubbly curvy Latina girl wasn’t the glorified teenage dream I grew up
seeing in music, television or movies.
Ironically, music, dancing, and dreams of being in films and Broadway shows were my escape. Music was in my blood; it was where I felt like I truly belonged.
Another moment that stands out to me was when I sang Gravity by
Sara Bareilles at my high school talent show. I got a standing ovation. It
was that moment that I realized I could really be a professional performer
and that I was going to dedicate my life to achieving it.
Humans find their truth through engaging with others and sharing their beauty with the world. I won’t stop sharing mine, because I figured out my truth: The curvy Latina girl CAN be the “It Girl".
PBK: What goes into making a song? Can you describe the creation process?
EB: It starts with the brainstorm, or a bad day, or just fooling around
with friends. Sometimes, a melody will come to me in random moments
like on the subway or at a party with all my friends and I’ll usually run to a quiet spot (before I forget) and quickly record it on my phone.
From there, I feel what the melody, or phrase of lyrics means to me or what I think the story behind them is. Then, I try to put lyrics to it or make a melody for
lyrics if I started with one of my poems or journal entries where I try to spill
out all of my emotions.
My EP “Ode D’Elle” that I just released in August was co-written by
my incredible friend, Jeyh Daniel, who approached me about recording an
EP after I had helped him with some back-up vocals on one of his other
tracks. He told me something I had figured out in my mind, “We need a
pop star like you.” Soon after, we were having writing sessions and
together brought to life some fun and powerful songs.
After we have the structure and lyrics for a song I bring it to my
crazy-talented producer. He puts together a track, which goes through a
series of edits and changes before its finalized and record for vocals.
Those days recording in the studio are always the most fun. Sometimes I’ll
invite friends for support and an honest opinion and just try to sing the
story of each song from the heart. This is when the magic happens ☺
PBK: Wow! That's an inspiring process. What are you working on for 2019?
I am super pumped because in 2019 I am releasing a song that is
very special to me. The new single “Your Lips,” which will be released this
spring, is a song that I wrote two summers ago and I’m so excited to finally
see it come to life. It took me about two years to really flesh out the exact
story I wanted it to tell and the production on the track truly makes this
“are we more than friends” track a 00’s inspired BOP!!
I am also working on a music video for the new single which is an
insanely fun part of making music. I can be imaginative and craft the story
to show a side of me that I have until now kept to myself (and all my
friends that have heard of the guy behind this song). This creative control
is something I care about because I will never allow myself to be made
into some inauthentic in order to “make it.” I am here to tell MY story and
live MY truth!
Later this year I hope to have finished and released my second EP
and perhaps some surprise singles. 2019 is definitely going to be a year
of new curvy AF music!
I will be performing around NYC and have a few shows lined up in
the next months, I will be performing at the West End Lounge on February
9th as an opening act with a 3 song set and on February 23 rd at MTV:TRL
Ticket information will be available on my website where you can
also check out my Instagram and YouTube channel.
PBK: Something that we appreciate about your is your open discussion of body positivity. How does body positivity relate to your musical work?
EB: My ethos is “be curvy, be sexy, be confident, BE YOU” I have always been curvy: I’m Dominican &Puerto Rican! I have hips baby!!
When I decided to pursue a career music I wanted my main focus to be body positivity because I had found my strength in my curves. I then decided that I wanted to honor my role models through my music and show how I found my confidence.
My first music video for my single “That’s It (Boy)” is a tribute to the plus model goddess Ashley Graham. Ashley truly changed my life. It was the first time I saw someone who looked like me be considered beautiful and sexy. She gave me such a confident boost and I wanted this song to show power and dominance as a female. This song is about going out and getting what you want. I am in control, confident, and aware of the power of my sexuality.
Music is in need of a body-positive plus-sized Latina pop star who is JUST AS SEXY as ALL the other commercialized thin pop stars. Why can’t we be?! There are other artists like Meghan Trainor and Adele who have influenced me, both are powerful in their music.
We need some TRUE body positivity that includes ALL bodies. I truly believe EVERY BODY is beautiful and that if I had grown up seeing a pop star that looked like me, my worldview would have been shifted entirely. I want people to see me perform and feel invincible; that they can do anything and that no one can tell them no.
PBK: We're here for ALL of this. Final question – can you share why you picked the green set from PBK for your release party?
EB: Yes! I just released my EP “Ode D’Elle” and had a big release party in
Brooklyn where I wore a fierce set from PLUS BKLYN! I love looking to
Plus BKLYN for performance outfits because I always feel confident and
sexy as hell in them.
You have the most flattering and exciting pieces and I love the way I feel in their clothes.
You can watch a music video to see what the release party was like here.
I had every one at the party write on big poster “WHAT DO YOU LOVE
I took a picture and attached it here too. The results were truly beautiful
because it was a fun safe space to celebrate what you love about you and
embrace what makes you different and beautiful.
PBK: Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it! Where can we download your music?
EB: My EP “Ode D’Elle” is out now ALL music platforms
You can listen here:
About plus BKLYN
plus BKLYN is New York City's premiere plus size boutique and first NYC specialty boutique of its’ kind. We feature bold and trendy downtown styles (and outrageous accessories) for women sizes 14 – 26, with select styles up to 32. You'll probably want to hang with us on Instagram.
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