Born into a long line of artists and musicians, Layla Angulo started playing the piano at age 6, the sax at age 10 and performing Jazz Clubs during High School.
After graduation, she played in various groups – Funk, Jazz, Pop, and Salsa. She performed as the horn section leader of various Salsa Bands around the Northwest and developed the idea to write her own music soon after.
In her early 20’s, Layla lived in Santiago de Compostela, Spain – where she began building her Latin Jazz career and performed her new music with Spanish and Cuban musicians .
Upon her return to the US, ‘Live at the Triple Door’ CD was recorded. It was a live show with Layla directing her 13 piece orchestra and performing almost all original music. This CD was a huge jump in her career, with one of the songs “Que Te Vaya Bien (sin mi)” becoming a hit in South America as well as earning 2 Honorable Mentions awards in the International Songwriting Competition. The song, “La Rumbera” also received semi finalist in the ISC. Along with furthering Layla’s music career, this CD catapulted Costa Rican singer, Carlos Cascante and he became the singer for the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
Layla’s next CD, Mientras…, was the first studio recording. For the first time, she wrote for her voice and had a line up of all-star musicians playing behind her including Oscar Stagnaro, Arturo O’Farrill, and Orlando “Maraca” Valle.
Since the release of Mientras…, Layla has had innumerable write-ups, interviews, radio plays, and is one of the only female saxophone players/Singers/Band Directors in the world of Latin music today.
Currently, she released her latest CD, TriAngulo – Bridging the gap of commercial Latin Music, this album brings a new and bold female voice. It’s sexy, sultry, powerful, insightful, all-original, and extremely danceable. Outstanding perfection by New York’s top Salsa, Bachata and Merengue musicians.
We had a chance to catch up with Layla to talk about her career and music.
é: How did you start playing the saxophone at age 10? What made you decide to start playing that instrument?
Layla: I thought it was cool. The band teacher showed a bunch of kids the instruments and I liked the sax right away – don’t really know why, it just called to me.
é: What is it like being on tour/ on the road? What have you learned from that experience?
Layla: Being on tour comes with many conflicting emotions. First, you don’t have your family or anyone who is that close to you, only other musicians – so they become like your family. It can be lonesome, but then onstage it is an indescribable experience.
I’ve been on stage with 50,000 people listening; it can be very intense. I’ve learned to make sure that my musicians are well taken care of always… and to always have a very organized road manager.
é: Describe your new album TriAngulo.
Layla: I wrote the songs for TriAngulo with the concept of a Latin music dance club in mind. It contains three popular and danceable styles of Latin music – Merengue, Salsa, and Bachata – recorded by some of New York’s best musicians in all of those genres.
é: What was it like creating the song “Sin ti?”
Layla: Creating ‘Sin Ti’ was a deep experience. I wanted to be with a lover that I just could not be with – for many reasons – and it hurt, so I put those feelings into the song.
Then, later, it became more of a drug story, due to personal family issues with drugs.
é: When you aren’t busy with your music what do you enjoy in your free time?
Layla: I love to travel – anywhere. I LOVE the beach. And I enjoy anything that has anything to do with arts or performances. I like plays, musicals, and some TV shows, though I don’t really watch much TV (No time! :D).