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Colombian musician Alex Le Angel shares how she overcame obstacles as a young Latina in the music industry

Alex Le Angel is a Colombian multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn who blends multiple genres including Latin alternative R&B, Latin neo-soul, Latin alternative hip-hop with deep lyrics.

Her latest single “Frecuencia” helps listeners disconnect from bad news and the pressured lifestyle of current society, transporting them to a calm environment with a silky vocal tone, flowing naturally, about being in tune with the right person, with what you want, and with yourself.

Alex says, “Many times, when referring to Latin or urban music, people assume explicit and sexually insinuating content, loaded with sexual flirtation. However, even though I’m Latina and my voice sounds sensual, I don’t like to create that kind of direct content. I always think about the generations that are growing up and how I would like them to enjoy my music no matter how old they are.” 

In the process of creating an EP that was going to release in July 2019, Alex got sick, her ear burst and had to postpone the release. Alex went into quarantine and began to rethink her project and how to identify with it. Additional adverse situations forced her to shave her hair completely, feeling like a blank canvas, and she launched a new musical project from scratch.

Alex Le Angel was born with her new look, making music from her room with resources at hand—a very old laptop, one mic, zero contacts—and looking to be as fluid and true as possible. The name came from the idea that El Angel de Dios was the one who helped keep Alex on her feet and not give her up during that tough period of her life. 

Alex Le Angel

Alex Le Angel blends multiple genres including Latin alternative R&B, Latin neo-soul, Latin alternative hip-hop with deep lyrics. (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

Growing up as a cheerleader, dancer, and athlete as a child, Alex was always surrounded by an audience to entertain. However, she grew up in a traditional home where being a singer wasn’t accepted as a career. 

“Like many, I grew up in a home where much was unknown about creative talents. Even so, I managed to exploit my creativity, composing songs all the time, practicing performances,” says Alex. 

As a child, she remembers calling a popular TV channel in Colombia and managing to sign up for a children’s program casting call. She didn’t get selected at the time and she stopped looking for opportunities to get into the entertainment industry. 

Then, when she was 16 years old, a man passing by offered her a modeling opportunity. 

“My pixie hair caught his attention and he offered me to be a model for a couple of catwalks. He gave me his cell phone number so that my mom could contact him.”

This opportunity as a teenager allowed her to participate alongside older models, however music was still there, beating in her heart. Alex spent most of her teenage years at underground concerts with the dream of having a band, but nobody she knew had the same passion and interest in the idea as she did. Still, Alex persisted in her dream of making music. 

After high school, her parents told her they would support her music career if she went to college to study something that would give her economic stability. Alex decided to study Industrial Design, with an emphasis in Universal Design for children with autism. On the side, she continued to work on her music career even though it was challenging at times. 

“During my university studies, I worked to pay for hours in recording studios and recorded and produced songs. At that time in Colombia it was a bit expensive and I didn’t have a lot of time since I had to keep my grades up and my job.” 

Once Alex finished university, she was ready to finally focus on her dream career as a musician. 

Alex Le Angel

“I didn’t want anyone to stop me from taking that leap of faith. I no longer wanted to postpone my personal plans because of anyone’s opinion.” (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

Taking a leap of faith on her dream

After getting fired from her job at a design office, Alex went to work at a call center. During her time there, she realized her creative energy had dried up. She shared this feeling with other artist friends like Dilson, the vocalist of La Pestilencia (Colombian Rock Band), they recommended she move to another place like Los Angeles or New York to grow as an artist. 

Alex took their advice to heart, spontaneously deciding to hop on a plane straight to New York. 

“I kept my ticket to NY a secret for a few months, and I told my parents the surprise that I was leaving the country with 15 days left before the flight, since I didn’t want anyone to stop me from taking that leap of faith. I no longer wanted to postpone my personal plans because of anyone’s opinion.”

Alex left her comfortable lifestyle in Colombia to start living on the floor, with no money, no friends and no family to keep her music career growing. It wasn’t easy and success did not come as fast as Alex thought, but it has been worth it. 

In 2019, Alex faced many struggles, and then in 2020 the pandemic created more obstacles. 

“Just a couple of days before the lockdown, the boy I was with left me because he did not believe that I was going to grow more as an artist,” she shares. “He left me alone in the pandemic, and just after that I starting to create one of my songs with the highest number of replays and it was that song that opened the door for me to be interviewed by several large TV networks and led me to be published in major magazines and newspapers in Colombia and the Latino community in the US.” 

Despite all the challenges thrown at her along the way, Alex has always persevered and found the positives in every situation, not letting negativity bring her down. 

You might be interested: Take a sneak peak inside the highly anticipated book by #WomxnCrush Music founder Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda

Alex Le Angel

“I truly believe in myself, and I know that at the right time my music will bloom in the way that I have always hoped.” (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

“Never stop moving forward”

To all women aspiring to start a career in the music industry, Alex says, “Never stop moving forward, regardless of the fact that the surrounding landscape does not seem to change. Walk without looking to the sides, much less back. Always look ahead to where you have to move, and up if you need direction. Surround yourself with people with similar dreams and high expectations like yours, and even better if they are people who can somehow complement your project, since the only way for you to shine is by letting others shine through you. And the most important, be true to yourself, nothing is better than doing the right things with integrity even if it is gonna take a long time, just enjoy the process.” 

For Alex, she found that having the right mindset changed everything. 

I think most of the obstacles were in my mind,” she says, reflecting back on the challenges she faced. “It is necessary to learn to develop patience during this race and learn how to keep going on, to persevere and act in faith regardless of the results obtained, and not letting thoughts of defeat nest in my mind.” 

She has also stopped comparing her success to that of other artists. In our fast-paced, tech-driven society it’s become the norm for artists to release new songs very quickly and focus on likes, comments, and number of listeners. However, Alex’s artistic process is not so fast-paced. 

Living in this world where social networks and technology pressure people to live in the immediacy, to depend on how many likes, or views, or followers, they run the risk of comparing themselves and letting those numbers define them as people,” Alex says. “

I know my process. And my journey as an artist has been building me up enough not to fall into that mental game of the system but to take advantage of it. I truly believe in myself, and I know that at the right time my music will bloom in the way that I have always hoped.” 

Currently Alex is a graphic designer for a local printing shop in Williamsburg while she continues to build her music career. 

“I’m thankful for being where I am now and looking forward to seeing how far I’ll go,” she says. 

Follow Alex on social media: 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexleangel

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzCdwhzkGh35rjzPI7ywbw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alexleangelmusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexleangel

favorite quotes

15 Favorite quotes from successful people to inspire entrepreneurs

There’s nothing like a good quote to inspire you and brighten your day! Today we’re sharing some of our favorite quotes to inspire YOU on your entrepreneurial journey.

As entrepreneurs, we are often busy juggling a million things at once, and sometimes we can lose our way or get stuck on road blocks that bring us down. Some days, success may feel like a far-off dream.

We’ve all been there, but what always really brightens my spirits when I’m in need of a motivational push, is reading quotes from people who have “made it.”

Below are some of our personal favorite quotes from successful people in a broad range of industries and eras.

The only thing consistent with these successful people is that they never gave up – despite the bouts of self-doubt, depression, anxiety and every other sentiment we feel in the course of our personal and professional journeys.

We hope these quotes will inspire you to push on toward your dreams and career goals!

15 Favorite quotes to inspire entrepreneurs

1. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor

2. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
Mary Kay Ash, Founder Mary Kay Cosmetics

3. “ Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs, Co-founder, CEO, Chairman Apple Inc.

4. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”
Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief The Huffington Post Media Group

5. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Walt Disney, founder Disney

6.  “Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling”
Anita Roddick, founder The Body Shop

7.  “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.”
John Lewis

8. “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
Caterina Fake, co-founder Flickr

9. “Show me a person who never made a mistake, and I will show you a person who never did anything.”
– William Rosenberg, founder Dunkin’ Donuts

10.  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas Edison

11. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Mark Twain

12.  “The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”
Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn

13. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

14. “The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”
Debbi Fields, found Mrs. Fields Cookies

15. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein

Share some of your own favorite quotes with us in the comments down below or on social media! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You might be interested: 10 Interview tips that will get you the job 

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Almirca Santiago on forging and choosing a career path that fulfills YOU

Almirca Santiago is the Senior Director for Grantmaking and Operations at the Hispanic Federation (HF), with 15 years experience working in the nonprofit sector. At the Hispanic Federation, Almirca helps to empower and advance the Hispanic community, support Hispanic families, and strengthen Latino institutions through work in the areas of education, health, immigration, civic engagement, economic empowerment, & the environment. 

Following her family’s footsteps

Almirca Santiago, Senior Director for Grantmaking and Operations at the Hispanic Federation. (Photo courtesy Almirca Santiago)

Almirca has a clear vision of her work now, but it was not always this way. Growing up and throughout college, Almirca was not quite sure where her career path would take her. She knew she wanted to help others, especially fellow Latinos within her community, but what exactly her career would be, remained a mystery for some time. 

For a while, she thought she might follow in her family’s footsteps and become a business owner. Growing up in the Bronx and later in Northern Manhattan, Almirca was surrounded by immigrant and Spanish-speaking communities. Within these communities, small businesses were everything and Almirca’s own family was a family of entrepreneurs, pursuing business in all areas. 

“From owning bodegas to salons, check cashing/remittance, hardware stores, establishing home businesses, etc,” Almirca describes. “My mother, whose parents were business owners in the Dominican Republic, came to this country with the same desire while raising 3 kids, going to school and working a regular job.  She taught me what it means to be una mujer emprendedora.”

As a child, Almirca would accompany her mother as she purchased merchandise to sell from her home business. Everywhere she went, Almirca was known as “Rosa’s Daughter” by the vendors and clients. She was her mother’s little helper and this experience was both fun and incredibly educational and later inspired her to go to Norman Thomas High School for Commercial Business as a teen. 

“Throughout my childhood, I helped my mother with inventory, organization, and numbers. While she was always practicing her English, I also helped with paperwork and translation when necessary. She was the expert and talent; I was her operational support,” says Almirca. 

Growing up, she not only helped her mother, but also friends and family with a variety of tasks. Some of these tasks included helping immigrants navigate a system that was not immigrant-friendly. These formative experiences affected Almirca’s decisions and helped prepare her professionally for her future career in the nonprofit sector. 

Taking the unconventional path

Following her high school career at Norman Thomas High School for Commercial Business, Almirca then went off to Syracuse University to study International Business. Here she began to wander off the entrepreneurial path, into new territory. 

“Within my first year of studies, my major changed to International Relations.  I joined a sorority, Señoritas Latinas Unidas/Sigma Lambda Upsilon, because my mother instilled in me the importance of empowering ourselves and others as women and engaging in community involvement,” says Almirca. 

It was during her time with her sorority that Almirca’s passion for nonprofit work truly began to flourish. Within her sorority, she began working on social and political justice issues and helping underserved communities. 

“To serve the mission of the organization, we worked on educating students and providing resources to the community within the city of Syracuse.  We talked about social and political issues as Latinas and people of color. I completed an internship with the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights.” 

Later, while studying abroad in Strasbourg, France, Almirca completed an internship with an organization that created community awareness on the issue of domestic violence. Each year and semester at university became a new exploration on how to merge her acts of service to the community with a potential career track. 

“As a student who did not receive much assistance from the university on an advisory level, it was very difficult to find direction,” Almirca says. 

I was on an unconventional track. Not pursuing law school, medicine, or accounting. Those were the common tracks my family would speak of but those were not the subjects that inspired me.”

However, a career path soon became clearer as she continued her service work. While her mother had always instilled in her the responsibility to help those in need, it was not until her sorority experience that she was able to envision a career based on her community service work. 

It was not the entrepreneurial path she originally thought she would take, and it was not the conventional paths her family spoke of, but it was something entirely her own. 

Searching for the right fit

Almirca forged her own career path into the world of nonprofit and service work. Post-graduation, with a Liberal Arts Bachelor’s degree, she began working for the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR) after months of a challenging job search. 

“I began as a program associate and worked my way up to functioning as the Executive Director’s right hand. For 8.5 years, I worked on developing and running programs to help the community with their immigration needs and advocating on a political level.  I also learned a lot about the organizational functions which are essentially the same as running a small business.”

Almirca forged her own career path into the world of nonprofit and service work. (Photo courtesy Almirca Santiago)

 Her time at NMCIR helped her to grow and develop a diverse list of skills. Almirca learned to wear “all the hats” working at the nonprofit. She could tackle anything. 

“As a Latina who is trying to show off her talents and ‘prove her worth’ as we are often taught to do growing up, I made sure I was able to take on whatever task came my way,” Almirca says. “I can write proposals, provide immigration-related application assistance, run a payroll and hire all in the same day!” 

Still, while these diverse skills were incredibly useful, Almirca was searching for her “niche.” She would ask herself, “What can I see myself doing for the next 10 – 20 years?” As she began applying for other jobs, she soon found that many considered her “over-qualified” or “too green.” She had the skills and the drive, but there seemed to be no specific area of work that fit her variety of skills and interests. Once again she would have to forge her own way to land her dream career. 

Forging your own path

Almirca continued on her own career path, going after what she wanted out of her career, not what others thought she should pursue. 

 “As a Latina in the USA there are all types of pressures and milestones people try to impose on us but I have learned it is okay to forge and choose the path that fulfills YOU,” she says. 

Now at the Hispanic Federation (HF) since February of 2015, Almirca works as the Senior Director for Grantmaking and Operations. This position allows her to pursue all her interests and utilize her skills to help the Hispanic community. Her prior experiences working for nonprofit organizations on all levels has also given her an advantage in her current position as she now works extensively with Latino-led nonprofits and small businesses. Through her work, she helps to connect these businesses and organizations to resources and opportunities for institutional growth. On some occasions she also consults with small organizations and businesses to address the fundamentals of business management. Being able to help her fellow Latinos and business owners is the fulfilling work she has always been seeking since childhood. 

Almirca leading a workshop. (Photo courtesy Almirca Santiago)

“Helping the Latino community feels like helping my family which I continue to do both professionally and personally,” Almirca says. 

You might be interested: Latinas leaving corporate America and succeeding as entrepreneurs

Her early childhood experiences sent her down one career path, toward entrepreneurship, but these experiences also paved a way for another path to emerge: a path of service work. 

Over the years she has learned the importance of being a quick learner who is able to adapt. These traits have been essential to her career growth and to finding her personal career path to professional fulfillment. 

The unstoppable Latina says she has had moments throughout the years where she would analyze the path she was on, check-in with herself, and make sure the path she was on was the right one for her, even if those around her did not understand her work. 

Now, after almost 15 years, she says, “ I think my family finally understands my work even though I am not in a traditional field or a business owner.” 

Almirca’s story is a reminder to us all that we each have our own paths in life, both professionally and personally. Only you know which path is truly right for you, so always remember: “It is okay to forge and choose the path that fulfills YOU.”