Chana Tavarez

Chana Tavarez first landed in a recording studio seven years ago as a winner of the WB network girl-group competition "Pop Stars."

Chana Tavarez first landed in a recording studio seven years ago as a winner of the WB network girl-group competition "Pop Stars." It's a gig quite different from her current one as a rising Latin alternative singer/songwriter, but Tavarez's engaging live performances owe something to her TV experience.

Signed as a songwriter to SESAC and Warner/Chappell, the Los Angeles-based Tavarez self-released her debut EP, "Manos Arriba," in March. The Dominican-American artist has been promoting it on such outlets as mun2 and Telemundo, and has been performing at clubs with producer Marthin Chan, a veteran of Latin rock act Volumen Cero.

"We were never thinking, 'We're going to go platinum, and it'll go on all the radio stations,' " Tavarez says of her clever rock, dub and electronica blend. "It's more fun for you to be distinctive."

Though her sound doesn't adhere to any rigid Spanish-language genres, its hooks are plenty catchy and its themes accessible. There's "La Duda," an iTunes Latino single of the week, with its swirling layers of synth and flirtatious challenge to a guy giving mixed signals; and "The Whistler," featuring rapper Malverde, which makes fun of a cat-caller ("Who doesn't know that guy?" the artist asks.)

Tavarez, represented as an actress by William Morris, is also hosting the second season of "Jammin'," a musical competition on Latin entertainment channel Sí TV.

Among her upcoming shows this summer are sets at the Latin Alternative Music Conference as well as Los Angeles' Sunset Junction festival. If her first showcase at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood last fall was any indication, she'll take audiences along for the ride with a convincing swagger and a dose of self-deprecating humor.
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