Latinx Heritage Month Feature: Solange Prat
Meet Solange Prat, a New York-based musician who approaches music-making through embracing diversity and inclusivity. Prat, who originally hailed from Buenos Aires, approaches life and career with an exceptionally open-minded heart, stressing the importance of building authentic human connections wherever she goes. We asked her to elaborate on such a philosophy as we celebrate her career in the indie music scene for Latinx Heritage Month.
How did you get into the industry? Was it a lot of hard work?
I moved to New York ten years ago from Buenos Aires. I got really lucky because approximately four months in, I met Gianni Mano, and we started this project he had in mind: an 11-piece band called the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra. As I became the lead singer of the orchestra, I immediately started meeting the Latinx music community and also the indie music scene in New York. It was awesome and not that hard to be honest, since I was in this band that was constantly hiring musicians for shows all over the city and releasing albums. As a Latinx singer songwriter, I’ve found a great community of artists that support each other. That being said, I can tell now that it takes time for people to actually know that you exist, that you are part of the scene, that you are another hardworking hustler like they are.
What does it mean to be Latinx in this industry?
I think I’m still trying to understand what this means to be honest. Personally, I feel that I represent the Latinx culture beyond gender, sexual orientation or background. It means that every time I’m onstage, I’m a part of something bigger than just myself. I’m in a country where the Latinx community is currently being threatened and challenged to stand for themselves.
The funny thing is, I don’t look Latinx at all, or at least not like the “typical” Latinx look people have in their heads. I look more Irish being a freckles redhead, so many people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m from South America or that I speak Spanish. It’s pretty hilarious how square minded people can be.
What’s something about yourself you’re most proud of?
That’s a hard one… probably that I am actually open and eager to connect with anyone and everyone, no matter their race, culture, skin color, gender, religion. I truly believe in human connection, and New York is mostly responsible for cultivating that. It has opened my mind, heart and soul through the years, and I wish the rest of North America was like that. Unfortunately, there’s still a slow learning process to be made.
Who helped you get where you are today? Inspirations. role models etc
My parents helped me get to where I am today. They always believed in me, supported me and educated me to be the artist that I am. I also received support from my sister, my friends, my partner, and so many fellow artists I’ve met along the way. I am inspired by people who are not scared to evolve and don’t fee like they have to stick to a formula to still have fans or people’s attention.
Some of my role models include Caetano Veloso, Esperanza Spalding, David Bowie, and Vicente Garcia, who have showed eagerness to reinvent themselves and willingness to go beyond their comfort zones.
What do you hope to see more in your industry?
I’d love to see more women step up! I’m usually hanging with men in most of the projects I do. Having played with Latin Grammy winning, all-female band Mariachi Flor de Toloache made me realize how different and wonderful it felt to experience this feminine power on stage. The experience has encouraged me to find more female-sourced energy in my life. I keep meeting talented women in the music industry all the time, and they work in all different kinds of fields: sound, stage lights, engineering, musicians – and they are amazing? So it’s all a matter of being open-minded and inclusive when searching for people to collaborate with.