We had the good fortune of connecting with Yosmel Montejo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yosmel, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I wanted to not depend on anybody and come up with a way to provide for myself. It can be tricky and sometimes scary but at some point you have to grow up and stand up and do the stuff that you need to do. It’s important to show myself for who I am as an artist but also a way to express what my brand is. This is how I show who I am.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
So I consider myself a versatile artist. I have been able to play with all kinds of artists and in different genres, from classical to traditional (from my cuban heritage) to jazz to flamenco … who knew that a cuban could be playing country or rock n roll? And thanks to all these experiences, I think my art has been able to reflect that. Of course, my Caribbean roots also has helped me to create my unique sound. My first album “Red Suitcase” was released last year and I’m super excited that I finally have something that reflects my musical journey (til now). This project in particular is based in Latin Jazz; it will take you from my roots (cuban music) and the more traditional to more modern styles and modern vibes. My brand is trying to change the perceived idea that Latin jazz is old or boring but that it can be more new and fun. I want to show the new generation of Latino musicians in LA and that they have a voice and talent to share. It’s been a challenge at times to be latino. Amongst many stigmas, one has been that we can’t play any other type of music so there have been limits placed on me from the beginning. Challenges will always be there…. you just need to over come them. It’s part of life, part of the process. Nothing is easy. Everything comes with a sacrifice, dedication, and a goal. Once you achieve that goal, you just want to go higher. So I’ve learned to be myself and to be authentic and to always stay professional throughout everything.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ohh well , this could be an easy but hard one at the same time. Of course LA is full of all types of options. I’m a foodie person so definitely in my route I will show couple of my favorites spots around town ( they are a bunch) Let’s say I’ll start off in Hollywood on the Walk of Fame, then to the Griffith Park Observatory for a view, head over to an In-n-out spot nearby (of course), and drive through Beverly Hills/Melrose to end up in Santa Monica/Venice Blvd and walk the boulevard and pier. Favorite Malibu spot (and if you want privacy), head over to Cholada’s Thai and if you want best Peruvian food (my favorite is their ceviche), head back up through Topanga Canyon Rd for a great scenic route to “Puro Sabor” in Van Nuys. And if we have money and time left over, we’ll end up in Universal Walk (or save Universal Studios for a whole other day). This all of course can be broken to last the whole week. Also, Grand Central Market, Staples center, and Santee Alley are also a must to see downtown,
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In my case, every friend, every person involved in my personal life needs a shout out because they all influenced and have helped me to be where I am today. Definitely, however, my parents are the foundation of who deserves my shout out. They are the first who believed in me and have supported me til today.