LELE PONS is a multi-talented entertainer that has risen to prominence with her Instagram and YouTube content, creating videos for more than 41M Instagram followers & 16M YouTube subscribers which have been watched over 90M times per month - accumulating 4B total views on her YouTube channel. While Lele's debut single “Celoso” is certified 3x Platinum and has over 300M views on YouTube, Lele is continuing to work on new music for her upcoming debut album set to arrive later this year. In May 2020, Lele released a YouTube Original Docuseries, The Secret Life of Lele Pons, that reveals her struggles with OCD, Tourette’s, and other mental health disorders. In August 2020, Lele debuted a Spotify exclusive podcast, Best Kept Secrets with Lele Pons, where anonymous callers join Lele to spill dark secrets. With a Venezuelan-Italian background, her ability to fluently speak English, Spanish, and Italian allow her to connect with a global audience as one of this generation’s leading entertainers. Lele is managed by Shots Studios.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN MUSIC? WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WRITING AND PERFORMING?
I’ve always loved music. When I was young, there would always be music playing when my friends and family got together and, of course, I’d be there performing. I also took Opera lessons when I was younger and I planned on going to Berklee College of Music. Shakira continues to be a huge creative inspiration for me. I am so amazed by her music and talent.
EARLY ON FOR YOU, CREATING SHORT VINE VIDEOS EVENTUALLY TURNED INTO BUILDING A MASSIVE FAN FOLLOWING. WHILE THE VINE PLATFORM BECAME DISCONTINUED, YOUR CAREER SURELY DID NOT. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CREATIVES LOOKING TO BUILD A BRAND AND A FOLLOWING AS TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS COME AND GO AND CONTINUE TO EVOLVE?
Don’t focus on just one platform. I think the difference between people such as myself, Hannah Stocking, and Logan Paul compared to other great Vine creators who got left behind when the app shut down is that we worked on building audiences across on different platforms. We turned to Instagram and YouTube and Snapchat to create and share content while also exploring your creativity. I think a lot of the top TikTok stars are doing a great job of building brands that are bigger than just one app or platform.
OUTSIDE OF YOUR DAY-TO-DAY, YOU'VE GOTTEN INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BY HOSTING MEXICO'S LA VOZ TV SINGING COMPETITION, PRESENTING AT THE LATIN GRAMMYS, AND CO-HOSTING THE RED CARPET AT THE BILLBOARD'S WOMEN IN MUSIC EVENT, FOR EXAMPLE. HAVE YOU FACED OR DO YOU SEE ANY CHALLENGES FACING HISPANIC WOMEN TRYING TO GROW A CAREER IN MUSIC OR ENTERTAINMENT?
I think women -- and especially women of color -- face different challenges and obstacles in all industries than men do. Entertainment is no different. We have to work harder to tell our stories in the way that we want and get recognition for our work. There are so many incredible women in music and entertainment who continue to pave the way for us, but we still have room to grow and show how amazing we are.
DURING YOUR MUSIC CAREER, YOU'VE COLLABORATED WITH AITANA, FUEGO, AND GUAYNAA TO NAME A FEW. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT SONGWRITERS AND CREATORS YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE WITH?
When I’m looking at potential collaborations, I want to work with other artists whose energy matches mine and the song we’re working on. I’ve been collaborating with other people on videos and content since I was on Vine. I’ve learned that being able to connect and get on the same page with someone who has a similar vision for the project as you is more important than anything else.
AS A FOLLOW-UP TO THE LAST QUESTION - IF YOU COULD PICK ANY ONE PERSON TO COLLABORATE ON A SONG WITH IN THE FUTURE, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would love to collaborate with Daddy Yankee. He is a legend.
WAS THERE A MOMENT OR EVENT IN YOUR CAREER THAT YOU FELT LIKE YOU "MADE IT?"
There have been so many special moments throughout my career as an artist and creator that have really humbled me. Seeing the first fan pages go up on Instagram was really surreal. Even to this day, there are opportunities that blow me away. I recently performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and I’m still so shocked that I was invited. I don’t think there was one moment that made me feel like I’ve “made it” because I’m still working on achieving more of my goals in this industry.
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE TO BE A PART OF SHOTS STUDIOS?
Shots Studios is more than just a team, they’re my family. John and Sam Shahidi are incredible managers, but they’re also great mentors and friends. It’s not easy to make it in this industry and I’m so thankful to have so many talented and wise people working hard to help me grow and become the best artist I can be.
HOW MUCH DID YOU KNOW ABOUT MUSIC PUBLISHING AND COLLECTING ROYALTIES WHEN WORKING ON YOUR FIRST SONG? HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR CREATORS TO UNDERSTAND, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ABOUT MUSIC PUBLISHING AND/OR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
This entire journey has been a learning process. I definitely didn’t fully understand what it means to be in the music industry when I was getting started, but I’m grateful that I have Shots Studios in my corner. John, Sam, and the entire team work so hard to become experts in every new challenge we take on. For artists who are just getting started, I’d suggest doing some research online, especially on YouTube. I think a lot of artists today are very open to talking about the way the music industry works.
IT'S A HARD TIME FOR CREATIVES RIGHT NOW, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO NEED IN-PERSON EVENTS OR COLLABORATIONS TO GROW THEIR BRAND AND CAREER. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO CREATORS STRUGGLING WITH ISOLATION, OR LACKING CREATIVE INSPIRATION WHILE IT FEELS LIKE LIFE IS ON HOLD?
Take some time for yourself. These last six months or so haven’t been easy on any of us and it’s important to allow yourself to breathe. Take a step back and indulge in the things you love, whether that’s music or movies or your circle of friends. When I do that, it helps me refocus and get back on track with the projects that I want to work on. Thankfully, social media gives us the opportunity to connect with fans and our audiences. Obviously, it’s not the same, but we just have to get creative with virtual interactions right now. I find inspiration in knowing that people need joy in their lives right now and I am in a position to create art that can make a person’s day better.
WE ARE LOVING "SE TE NOTA." WHAT ELSE IS NEXT FOR YOU - ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS FOR 2021?
I have a lot of great music and other projects in the works. I think you might even see some before the year is over too!
LASTLY, WHAT'S YOUR GO-TO PLAYLIST OR SONG RIGHT NOW?
I usually turn on Spotify’s Viva Latino playlist and listen to all of the incredible Latin artists on there. They recently featured Guaynaa and me on the cover after we released “Se Te Nota” and it was such a tremendous honor to be there. It’s been my go-to playlist for quite some time so seeing myself on there was really special.
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