What do you get when you mix a family of musicians, a life on the road, and original music with an eclectic genre? The answer: a small glimpse into the lifelong music career of award-winning artist Stefani Montiel.
Tejano singer Stefani Montiel’s music career spans decades beginning at the ripe age of three years old. Growing up with a granddad and a father who each were in their own band, music has always been a part of her life. In fact, music was so prevalent in her upbringing that the singer claims she thought it was like that for everyone. Stefani exclaimed with a laugh, “I didn’t know people didn’t do music!”
As Stefani began to grow older and carve her own path in the music industry, many artists helped to influence and inspire her sound along the way. Stefani loves different genres and she took inspiration from a variety of musical artists such as Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and even Brian McKnight. In fact, she looks up to Brian McKnight so much that if she were able to sing a duet with any artist, living or otherwise, it would have to be Mr. McKnight! There’s no denying that Stefani Montiel has a classic Tejano sound, but her music has a special twist to it. Stefani describes her music as being more progressive. Her songs incorporate a bit of pop and other mainstream melodies, but there’s something else, something indescribable there, that gives her music an edge. Stefani’s sound can’t be categorized into one, single genre and she has certainly found her niche within the industry. “I’ve just been inspired by so many people, and I constantly try to keep learning and keep relevant. I change my style as well, to move along with the times.”
For Mrs. Montiel, music has always been a family affair and her love of music is something that she too has been able to pass along to her children, just as her father and his father did for her. Once she was just beginning her career, Stefani hit the road on her own for a couple of years. But it wasn’t too long thereafter that she decided she wanted to start a family of her own. Stefani had her children early on in her career and her family has always been involved in her work. She feels very lucky to have her family right by her side. They have also played an integral role throughout her career.
Stefani’s sister, Sasha Sullivan, performs right alongside her as a backup vocalist/percussionists.
Her father is her manager, her mother handles all of her merchandise. Stefani states that her parents are the main reason it was so easy for her to have her kids by her side while she lived a life on the road. “We did our best to have [my kids] with us at all times and it was a true family event, not just on the weekdays but also on the weekend.”
Having a life on the road has suited Stefani and her family well- they’ve been able to visit many different places together and experience so many wonderful things the United States has to offer. “It’s been an incredible life so far, I have to admit,” Stefani says humbly as she reflects upon her experiences. While most of her time has been spent touring in America, Stefani has been fortunate enough to go abroad and perform several shows in different countries around the world. Her favorite performances she’s given within her musical career thus far have been in Japan and Korea! “That’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve had just because it was outside of the United States and it was something totally different. It was like a whole new world for us and we got to see things we had never seen before and experience a culture that we had never really been a part of.”
Stefani Montiel has performed all over the world and has a wide repertoire of songs that are guaranteed to make a great show. But when it comes to her favorite song to perform, one stands out above the rest: Quienen Quiere Shots. The song is one of Stefani’s more upbeat songs and the catchy lyrics detail a fun night out featuring lots of dancing and even more drinking. “Everyone gets in the dancing and partying mood and it’s just a lot of fun. People know the words and start singing with me and that just brings a lot of energy. So that’s probably my favorite and I love songs like that where it’s like everyone joins in everyone’s dancing in that scenario.”
With a musician who has made her life all about performances, Stefani’s life was flipped upside down this past year as the effects of Covid were felt throughout the entirety of 2020. “It’s been really rough,” Stefani candidly admits. As an artist who primarily makes Tejano music, the market is already smaller than most mainstream genres. Show dates had to be rescheduled and the way everyone thinks about music and live performances has shifted. Had this pandemic hit in the early stages of Stefani’s career, who knows how it would have affected her success going forward. Luckily though, there has been one thing available that allows Stefani to still connect with her fans without the need for live performances: modern-day technology.
There has been a big spike in virtual events within the past year, and Stefani Montiel has used this technology to her advantage. “We would do a performance every Monday and share music with our fans, and we would come up with creative ways to stay in touch. That was a way we were able to still remain relevant, and people would be able to engage with us and still have some interaction. That was really nice.” While it’s been helpful, the switch to performing virtually hasn’t been an easy one. For someone who’s always in the spotlight, Stefani claims that she’s typically a quiet person. These new performances have forced her out of her comfort zone and she has learned how to communicate with people without the typical live audience response she has grown accustomed to. “It’s very different for me. But I have my husband who also plays in my band and is my producer. He’s usually right there by my side and so that’s always nice to have someone to interact with.”
Even still, with a year as tough as 2020, Stefani Montiel still celebrated several big achievements. Stefani was awarded with the Best Performance of the night at the 2020 Tejano Music Awards according to Tejano Nation.com. In addition, she also received the 2020 #1 Song Of The Year for “Extraño Tu Amor” on the Tejano Gold Countdown!
Now with 2020 in the past, Stefani looks forward to 2021 and the new opportunities that come with the new year. Not only is she planning on releasing new music throughout the year, but Stefani is working on a brand new album and has several other surprises up her sleeve. “I think this is going to be a really prosperous year for everybody. Everyone’s ready to take on some new ideas and do new things so we’re following along with that as well.”
Going forward, Stefani Montiel hopes to keep adapting to the times and interacting with her fans as much as possible. With a hopeful mentality, Stefani looks forward to the future- striving to be the best she and her family can be, and giving the world something it has never seen before. “Hopefully our music will continue to inspire and touch people’s hearts.” With everyone in her family pulling their weight in different areas, Stefani is sure that this year will be nothing short of a success.
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