Liela
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Liela

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
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"Liela Avila and Plate 38 Create Something Great"

Liela Avila and Plate 38 Create Something Great

Terrific Jazz featuring the young talented singer gives us a taste of things to come in East Pasadena

By Terry Miller

Last Thursday evening I ventured to a relatively new music and food enterprise on Colorado in East Pasadena where a very young and talented Liela Avila and her equally talented ( while not as young) dad John Avila ( of Oingo Boingo fame) were playing with two other talented and fun people Paul Lines, who founded the Pasadena Jazz Institute, on his vintage maple drum kit and Woody Aplanalp on guitar.

Entrepeneur, friend and talented music manager in his own right, Dr. Dave Peterson – we call him Dr. Dave the Rave – a “cheesy” sort of bloke from Wisconsin – insisted I visit Plate 38 last Thursday not only to meet the owner of hottest new music venue in East Pasadena but also hear Liela Avila, whom I have seen at other venues inLos Angeles…but this night was special. To say remarkable would without a doubt be an understatement. This night was emotionally intoxicating. Liela Avila’s voice hit an all time high for this and scores of others in the audience.

“I was taken to a place that doesn’t happen often in one’s life time, but it happened tonight.” said Peterson of Avila’s performance Thursday last. “It was an experience that I can only explain by relaying what occurred was I was playing tennis and duplicated when I was a runner. No matter how you throw the ball up the serve is an ace, no matter how fast you run there is always more breath and leg strength left. You’re in “a zone”. When no matter what you do…. it works! I was lucky to be a listener in the audience Thursday, where I was in the presence of a singer and musicians in that zone- Liela Avila is one incredible singer. As one of the members of that lucky audience, I was a witness to greatness. Liela and her incredible band of musicians were able to take us to a very special place few audiences have the privilege of experiencing. I am humbled by the musicality of evening. Every song, every note was a work of art. Avila’s words were filled with emotion and her melodies flowed effortlessly. Her pitch perfect and the style was original. If you have a chance to catch this rising star…take it!” Peterson concluded. As Peterson so expressively pointed out, Liela Avila seemed to swiftly come of age last Thursday. Her voice, confidence and stage presence more powerful, eclectic and possitively electric than ever before. The intimate audience knew they were witnessing something extraordinary this particular night . You could plainly feel the energy in the room.

Liela’s father, John Avila, playing one of his distinctive Vigier fretless bass guitar cooked up a storm and oviously jelled most agreeably with Liela’s perfect pitch and inate ability to phrase. What an combination of talent in those two alone!

Another of Liela’s most loyal local fan’s is Arcadia resident Joe Polk who also happened to witness Thursday’s phenomenon. “ This girl really sends me. She takes me to a place very few singers can.” Polk told Beacon Media.

After first hearing Avila’s voice, Polk knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’d be playing her first CD until the laser burned a hole in the material. But even he agreed, Avila’s voice last Thursday really went to a new level of professionalism. Her ability to sing the classics at her “tender age” is uncanny said Polk. Asked about how often he plays here CD…. “well, let’s just say I’ll just have to buy very soon.” Polk quipped.


With Avila singing classics like: Why don’t you do right; I Love Paris; Summertime; Georgia; Naima; Smile and the ever popular Fever, one might imagine you were listening to Nora Jones with a twist of Michael Buble thrown in for good measure.

Imagine Peggy Lee, with perhaps some Ella Fitzgerald and a few other classic women in Jazz and you’ll begin to get where she is coming from and where she’s heading. An old soul in a young, petite body will absolutely astound you as she does wherever she plays.
Avila attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and continued her music studies at Citrus College in Glendora, where she was the featured singer with the Blue Note Orchestra, the school’s big band. She also created her first album, “The Oneness of You,” at Citrus College.
Avila has already worked with Oingo Boingo, Quetzal and The Specials. She was also a backup vocalist for the popular Josh Groban when he appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Like her dad, Avila started music at a very tender age of around 5 years and added her voice for the children’s choir background vocals for some of Oingo Boingo’s recordings. By 11, she was playing piano and guitar as well as writing her own songs and music.
Avila is currently working on her next CD – all original material, ranging from pop, rock, Latin and jazz, and perhaps some surprises.
When the band took a break I got a chance to sample some amazing food from Plate 38’s menu under the aucpices of chef/owner Robert Humphreys who completed the Cordon Bleu course at the Culinary Insitiute (we can see why) a little while back. After working at a couple of other succesful restuarants, Humprys decided it was time to branch out on his own and combine his love of Jazz and cuisine and take it to a new level – hence the birth of Plate 38.
I first tried the Fritto Misto ( calamari, artichoke, shimp and other goodies) as an appetizer and then was presented with an outstanding whitefish, prepared simply beyond my wildest dreams. An astounding taste sensation which quite literally melted in my mouth.
While gaining a reputation for some of the best burgers in Los Angels, Plate 38 offers at least 38 Gourmet meals at decidedly ungourmet prices. We’ll give our readers a run down of the restaurant side in a later issue. However, our story on Liela Avila at Plate 38 would not have been complete withoput mentioning the host and his amazing food. By the way, their Spaten is also excellent! Very good beers and wines will compliment any dinner or just to listen to Liela. Liela will be playing this Friday at Plate 38 in October. Liela is an absolute “ must hear ” – we kid you not! Plate 38 is a place for magic not only in the kitchen but also on stage. Call for upcoming schedule or check their website. - Pasadena Independent Written by Terri Miller


"Jazz Night Featuring Liela Avila"

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Liela attended the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as a vocal student and majored in music/vocal jazz. Her talents and experience singing in vocal jazz ensembles have led her to place 2nd at the Monterey Vocal Jazz Competition and 1st at the Reno Jazz Competition. - ThingsToDoInPasadena.com


"Cross-Hart Jazz Experience with Liela Avila at Hotel Angeleno"

Bassist Ryan Cross and drummer Lorca Hart run a weekly Monday night hang on top of the Hotel Angeleno along the 405 in Brentwood. This week's gig features the fine young L.A. singer Liela Avila, who has spent much of the last year in Europe performing and preparing to record a new album. Joining them is Dennis Hamm on keys. - AllAboutJazz.com


"Liela Avila brings vocal jazz to southern California"

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California on December 29, 1987, Liela attended the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as a vocal student and majored in music/vocal jazz.
Her talents and experience singing in vocal jazz ensembles have led her to place 2nd at the Monterey Vocal Jazz Competition and 1st at the Reno Jazz Competition.

Beginning her studies at Citrus College, which is known to have one of the top recording programs in the country, she was able to take advantage of their great facilities creating her album, The Oneness of You which included an 18 piece big band, string section, French horns and harp. She also won the sought after spot of lead vocal in the Citrus College big band (also know as the Blue Note Orchestra).

Highlights of her singing career include sessions with Neville Staple and The Specials, Jane Wiedlin from the Go Go’s, Grammy nominated group Quetzal, and international star Josh Groban, among many others. Liela also appeared in the music video for Josh Groban’s hit single “You Raise Me Up” and appeared as a back-up vocalist for Josh Groban on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen Degeneres Show in winter of 2003.

Liela’s ability to adapt to a variety of genres is also evident in her work with local blues group “Southern Lights”. At 16 years of age, Liela and “Southern Lights” won 1st place at the ‘Fender Battle of the Bands 2004’. Currently, Liela is working on her 3rd album which is highly anticipated. Liela is still a young artist and musician, and we look forward to hearing more about her as her career in jazz blossoms.

For more information about her music and upcoming performances, please visit her site:

www.lielaavila.com - AllYourJazz.com


"Liela Avila at Plate 38"

At Plate 38, on the northwest corner of Colorado and Sierra Madre boulevards, Friday nights are music nights. Be it jazz or classic rock, the place is happening between 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. and there’s no cover charge.
Owner Robert Humphreys, a Cordon Bleu grad of the Culinary Institute, was chef at Siena Ristorante in Old Pasadena before opening this eatery in partnership with Peets Coffee & Tea.
During the music, there is a $2 discount on 20 beers, wines and appetizers.
Among the more popular beverages is a pint of Lost Coast Downtown Brown Ale from Mendocino for $5.50; a 12-oz. bottle of Shipyard Bluefin Stout for $4 and a glass of Educated Guess Cabernet from Napa Valley for $8.50.
Try the smoked salmon and potato rosti appetizer; that’s a potato pancake layered with smoked salmon, chopped egg, capers and tomatoes for $9.
All through August, jazz and ballad singer Liela Avila of San Gabriel and her Three Man Jazz Band will appear. You’ll probably catch her delivering a romantic take on the Elvis hit, “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” that was used in the 2008 film, “The Other End of the Line.” Avila’s father is John Avila, bassist for Oingo Boingo, and a current member of her band.
Liela Avila has been a backup vocalist for Josh Groban, Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s and The Specials. - Pasadena Scene Magazine


"Liela Continues a Musical Legacy"

Just because your father is a famous rock star, that doesn't mean you can slide by without the chops. Pasadena musician Liela Avila is confident, yet casual when she slides onto the piano bench in her parents' home. She smiles as she performs for me the first verse of a song she is working on for her next album. Her voice is sweet and sultry and her accompaniment is precise.

Avila is the daughter of John Avila, who is best known for his stint as the bass player for Oingo Boingo. Talented in her own right, she attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and continued her music studies at Citrus College in Glendora, where she was the featured singer with the Blue Note Orchestra, the school's big band. She also created her first album, "The Oneness of You," at Citrus College.

Avila has done sessions work with artists such as Oingo Boingo, Quetzal and The Specials. She was a backup vocalist for Josh Groban when he appeared on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." But more recently, Avila has been hitting local stages with her own band (which includes her dad on bass), singing jazz standards and covers from other genres, as well as original compositions.

"It took a while for me to learn how to listen to jazz," Avila said. "When I was growing up, I remember my dad playing it on the radio and I would always tell him to change it because I hated it, I didn't understand it. And then there came a day when I listened to Ella

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Fitzgerald, listening to her singing, and it knocked my socks off and I was just like, wow, she was just amazing."
Avila selects her repertoire from pieces with which she relates, as well as those that challenge her and provide an opportunity for her to show her vocal prowess. She also enjoys easy, swinging numbers, where she can relax and let the notes flow.

Avila is a well-rounded songwriter, as well, creating pop, rock, country and other tunes.

She started singing at age 5 and added her voice for the children's choir background vocals for some of Oingo Boingo's pieces. By 11, she was playing piano and guitar and writing songs.

"Music comes so natural to me, that it's part of who I am," Avila said.

Avila isn't shy about crediting her father for his help with her career. Growing up, she was surrounded by musicians who mentored her and provided guidance with everything from performing to the business side of the industry. But still, a lot of Avila's success can be attributed to her own moxie.

"I feel really confident, and when I go to try to get work, I walk in there and talk to the manager with my CD," she said. "I'm a go-getter when it comes to gigs and doing things. I feel like they just need to listen to the music and they'll connect to it and I know they'll like it; it's music for everybody.

"I'm following my dad, how he works. He's who I look after because he's been a musician his whole life and he supported a whole family, which I think is pretty amazing."

Avila is currently working on her next album, which unlike her previous effort, "The Oneness of You," it will all original material, ranging from pop and rock to bossa nova and jazz, along with forays into world music and other genres.

At Novel Cafe, her band performs music around a different theme every week, including Motown, classic rock, California beach sounds and jazz. - Pasadena Star News


"Healthy Helpings of R&B"

Head east from Old Pasadena and you’ll find some interesting music brewing further down along Colorado Boulevard. Just a few doors over from MeowMeowz, which continues to give punk and indie rockers a needed Crown City stage, chanteuse Liela Avila and friends have jumpstarted a jazz night at Plate 38.
Unlike some jazz gigs, however, where the air can get a bit stiff and the setup lends itself more to concert-like attitude than conversation, the vibe at Plate 38 was decidedly laid-back last Friday night when Avila and her band entertained a room full of attentive listeners. And that was all to the good. Ensconced in a partial alcove to the side of the room, Avila’s seasoned keyboards-bass-drums combo flexed their rhythmic muscles while her hip phrasing and clean tone updated hardy standards like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Feel Like Making Love,” “Misty” and Peggy Lee’s “Why Don’t You Do Right (Get Me Some Money Too).” Attired in a little black dress and kitten heels, Avila was vocally assured and relaxed, trading smiles and comments with friends in the audience, which was dotted with porkpie hats and at least one Jazzologist.com tee.

Enhancing the convivial atmosphere, Avila gave a shout-out to jazz vocalist Patrice Quinn, who had performed at the club the previous Friday, and invited her to sing a few numbers. Skipping to the microphone from her seat out on the patio, Quinn brought a playful energy to the evening and her rendition of the Billie Holiday chestnut “Fine and Mellow” was a particular treat, all silky finesse and soul.

Avila gets a boost from her dad’s favorite son status throughout the LA Basin, particularly in the San Gabriel Valley, though she wasted no time demonstrating her own substantial chops. Her dad, of course, is bassist John Avila, renowned for his tenure with Oingo Boingo as well as his work producing numerous local indie acts. Friday was as much a showcase for his lively bass solos, which gave the evening much of its musical substance, as it was for his gifted daughter. That said, the instrumentation of these nights and their setlists, which are heavy on jazz, R&B and pop standards, place the focus squarely on singers and the limber musical possibilities of the human voice.
- Pasadena Weekly


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

It is astonishing what Liela has accomplished in the less than two decades of her life. At just 24 years old, Liela has not just an amazing voice, but the maturity, instinct, and talent of someone much older. Liela was born and raised in Los Angeles, California on December 29, 1987. She attended the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as a vocal student and majored in music/jazz vocal. Part of her education there included extensive study of music theory, which has proven to be quite valuable in almost every part of her music career. She was also invited to join the exclusive Vocal Jazz group as a freshman, in addition to participating in the Gospel and Concert Choirs. Highlights of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble include placing 2nd at the Monterey Vocal Jazz Competition and 1st at the Reno Jazz Competition. Liela’s success at this intensive music school led her to Citrus College, which is known to have one of the top recording programs in the country. They boast an eight million dollar music facility from which Liela created her album, "The Oneness of You" which included an 18 piece big band, string section, French horns and harp. Still quite young, twenty one year old Liela also won the very sought after spot of lead vocal in the Citrus College big band also know as the Blue Note Orchestra. They perform constantly throughout the year, and are featured on The Oneness of You. Highlights of Liela’s singing include session work with numerous music groups which include contributing vocals to such artists as: Oingo Boingo(Liela was 6 years old!), Neville Staple and The Specials, Jane Wiedlin from the Go Go’s, Grammy nominated group Quetzal, and international star Josh Groban, among many others. Liela also appeared in the music video for Josh Groban’s hit single “You Raise Me Up” and appeared as a back-up vocalist for Josh Groban on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen Degeneres Show in winter of 2003. Liela’s ability to adapt to a variety of genres is also evident in her work with local blues group "Southern Lights". At 16 years of age, Liela and "Southern Lights" won 1st place at the ‘Fender Battle of the Bands 2004’. Her influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, and Bjork.