Puerto Rican singer and composer, ILe, 28, has had one of the most eventful years of her life to date. The younger sister of popular musician, Residente, from the group, Calle 13, began 2017 year by winning a grammy for her first solo album titled, Ilevitable, under the Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative album.
Though ILe had already won a host of grammy awards with Calle 13, the star singer whose sultry bolero, mambo, and traditional Latin American folk inspired is also midway through her first solo U.S. tour, which began in New York City this year.
But while her emergence as a solo artist is quickly gaining traction throughout the world, for iLe, born Ileana Cabra, it’s the musical and creative inspiration of her family that set the foundation for her rise as an artist.
CREDIT: Credit: iLe
“They always inspire me,” she described to mitú on the phone while on tour when speaking about the inspiration she has received from her family. “We are very united and we always see each other every day and it’s nice because we have a very healthy dynamic for our family.”
“We also learn from each other as well and it helps me grow and we all grow from that,” she added.
With older brothers like Residente and El Visitante of the grammy award winning group Calle 13, it’s no surprise that iLe felt inspired to pursue a career in music.
Yet, according to her, it was her grandmother who had the most impact on her trajectory as a singer and composer.
“My grandmother loved music and she sang and wrote and played the guitar its incredible to have her songs published for the first time after so many years ago,” she explained. “She was very important for us and taught us a lot of about music and the importance of music.”
While her success has been thoroughly documented this year, the impacts of Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico is also that she has had to face despite her rising star. Like other Puerto Rican artists, iLe used her social media presence to rally for resources and attention to an island that continues to be plagued by electrical failures and rising death tolls.
CREDIT: Credit: iLe
“Puerto Rico is a small country and we are connected in some way and it’s all has been very sad,” she solemnly described. “The most frustrating thing is how the government of Puerto Rico and the U.S. are treating things and everything has been very painful.”
“But at the same time I feel hopeful when I hear that my people are doing OK in Puerto Rico are not depending on either government for help.”
As Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. continues to increase following one of the largest natural disasters that the island has ever faced, the Puerto Rican diaspora will continue to grow throughout the U.S.
In the mean time, however, iLe has enjoyed connecting with her fellow Puerto Rican fans throughout her U.S. tour in cities across the country.
The U.S. tour has been the longest tour so far and I have been connecting with Puerto Ricans outside of Puerto Rico and with other Latin Americans. It’s very important that we keep close to each other. On this tour it has been great the way people are people are receiving the album and it makes me very excited.”
Still, while her audience continues to increase as each day passes, iLe believes her latest album has a particular message for Latinas throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
“This album in particular is sensitive and vulnerable because we as a society often associate those things with weakness but it actually is whats makes us stronger. We as women need to embrace our vulnerability and its important for everyone to recognize that.”