Above: La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia walks on the ceiling during a show at La Cita Bar in downtown L.A. where the band celebrated signing to Universal Music Latino. (Photo: Chicano Batman)
The line was long, down the street and around the corner plus it was cold for Los Angeles. But neither deterred diehard fans who stood waiting to enter La Cita bar in downtown with one mission: to revel to the sounds of La Santa Cecilia.
It was also a night of celebrate the L.A-based band signing to Universal Music Latino. Singer Marisol Hernandez, aka La Marisoul and the rest of the band—Alex Bendaña, Pepe Carlos and Miguel "Oso" Ramirez—have spent the last five years making music that meshes everything from classic Mexican compositions to pop, blues, rock and other genres.
The band also speaks to a bilingual and bicultural generation that speaks English, Spanish and who doesn't necessarily fit into any one box when it comes to music. One moment they're singing '80s-inspired music and the next they'll sing a classic Mexican song that shines thanks to Hernandez' rich voice.
Attendees included the band's manager Gil Gastelum, La Santa producer Sebastian Krys, Universal Music Latino Entertainment President Victor Gonzalez, Universal Music Latino & Machete Music General Manager Luis Estrada and singer/songwriter Clauda Brant, among others.
From left: Universal Music Publishing Associate Manager Nick Koletić, singer/songwriter Claudia Brant and producer Sebastian Krys celebrate La Santa Cecilia's signing. (Photo: Justino Aguila)
For Hernandez it was a night to reflect on five years of hard work and to look forward to a new year expected to bring new music, expanded touring and collaborations with industry vets such as Brant who recently connected with the band to co-write music.
"La Cita is where we started playing for real and where people started to pay attention," Hernandez said before taking the stage. "For us as a band it's about coming full circle. This is the bar that gave us awesome sweaty nights, shows that we'll never forget and we're here to start a new adventure at a place that gave us so many crazy experiences."
Krys, who has been working with the band for about three years, says that the band's appeal is really rooted in their music that has traditional influences and modern as well that can really only be found in L.A.
Universal's Estrada said he wants the band to continue doing exactly what they have been doing these last few years in terms of their approach to music. "For us it's important that they are empowered," he said. "It's not to about changing them, but giving them more strength and being a partner with them on this journey."
La Santa Cecilia's lead singer La Marisoul and manager Gil Gastelum take a few moments to mingle at La Cita in downtown Los Angeles before the band performs to a packed house in celebration of a new partnership with Universal. (Photo: Justino Aguila)
The band has a multiple album deal and with the support of the label they plan to tour extensively throughout the U.S. and beyond. The band's music has appeared on television shows such as "Entourage" and last year Americana singer Ryan Bingham asked them to tour with him.
"We are thankful to Universal," Hernandez said. "At no moment have they said you have to change. They just want us to grow and play. It's nice to know that I won't be asked to dye my hair blond. It's time that we begin seeing new bands that are very connected to their roots in Latin America and the U.S."