In Camila Cabello’s theatrical video for “Havana,” Lele Pons plays Cabello’s animated and more popular sister, Bella. The girls’ grandmother (played by LeJuan James) states that Pons’ character “was born being extra.” In real life, Pons was born with everything she needs to allow her to entertain at least six million YouTube subscribers and 20 million Instagram followers.
For most of us, maybe one of our social media posts will randomly go viral. For Lele Pons, every post goes viral. Just 21 years old, she is the owner of 2017’s most-watched Instagram stories (finishing ahead of the likes of Neymar Jr., Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande, who also rank in the top 10). Her engagement metrics, provided by Social Blade, see at least 10 percent of her followers interacting with her posts — averaging 1.8 million likes — and for good reason.
Simply: she is funny, portraying day-to-day situations relatable to anyone watching in an over-the-top manner specific to her. But that’s not to dismiss the tedious work she puts into each video.
Pons is part of Shots Studios’ — a Los Angeles-based comedy and music media company providing management, production and data-driven analytics — growing stable of digital entertainment and music power players. All of this success as an actress and comedian, and the engagement her loyal fan base consistently provides, has her becoming a major player elsewhere, including the music industry. But Pons has been connected to the music industry long before now.
“I sang opera for over four years when I was younger,” Pons says. “I’ve always felt connected to music. There was always music playing at home, and I’d just dance and sing. Music is everywhere, and it’s an amazing and creative way for people to express themselves so I love it.”
Pons has not put out an official song — yet — but she has found ways to incorporate music into her career. Loyal followers of Pons know that she posts dance videos on her Instagram, averaging over 10 million views each. She has a meticulously crafted Spotify playlist with over 170,000 followers where she carefully selects Latin, hip-hop and dance tracks to highlight in those highly engaged with Instagram videos. And, on top of co-starring in “Havana,” which is one of the world’s biggest songs, Pons can be seen in videos for Blink-182’s “She’s Out of Her Mind” and Marshmello’s “Summer.”
“Camila is an incredible artist and friend,” Pons tells Billboard. “I loved the song and I was so excited when she asked me to be in ‘Havana’ with her. She likes my videos and we’re both Latina, so coming up with the idea was so much fun. She’s like a sister to me, and we were able to play sisters and it was an unforgettable experience.”
Swedish artist and producer Alesso and Brazilian pop superstar Anitta are also Shots Studios artists, which is granting Pons the opportunity to learn about the music industry from two of its best on a personal level, before jumping in herself.
“Alesso and Anitta are so inspirational because of how talented and driven they are,” she explains of her relationship with them. “They have an energy that just rubs off on everyone around them. Seeing how hard they work motivates me to push myself even more. They’re also great friends that have taught me so much about music and business.”
On Pons’ potential in the music industry, Anitta adds: “I believe she can do a lot of really great things with music. She’s a great dancer and I think she could write songs and even sing, too! She works hard and she has passion which you need to be successful in music.”
The Shots Studios team has the resources to turn Pons’ talent and large following into musical successes when they choose to go down that route. Pons has already proven that she can seamlessly enter other platforms, as she co-hosted MTV’s MIAW awards, presented at the Latin Grammys, walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana in Milan and, most recently, was one of the judges at Miss Universe.
“We’re learning more and more about the music industry and Lele can impact it in different ways,” says Shots CEO John Shahidi. “For example, she’s filming an incredible lyric video for Anitta and J Balvin’s song ‘Downtown’ that should really open some eyes.”
Shots Studios as a whole will continue pushing into music through the new year — well into 2018 and beyond. Pons explains that she wants to ease herself into the music world through intentional projects and continued guidance from her surrounding cast.
“I have some ideas and I’m grateful to have an amazing team and talented friends that want to help me make them a reality,” she says. “The possibilities are endless and I’m excited to create some really cool musical content for everyone to see.”