With the launch of 303 Music Vol. 4, we have compiled a series of interviews with the amazing local artists who are part of this special release. In each segment, artists will discuss what being on this vinyl has meant to them, the importance of the song that they chose to be featured, and talk about what life has been like as a musician living through the events of the past year. Check out 303 Music Vol. 4 to see all the amazing talent that made it on this year’s record, including this article’s interviewee, Neoma.
One of the most unique and refreshing artists to come out of Denver in recent memory is undoubtedly Neoma. She is turning heads and has quickly made a name for herself as one of this city’s top indie talents. Not only an ambassador of local music, but Neoma also carries with her the culture and flag of Ecuador. She uses this to win over people of all backgrounds and unite her crowds in any room she plays. Her combination of tenderhearted vocals and dreamy instrumentals speaks directly to the human soul of the modern era and gets fans swaying in tow to her beautiful melodies.
Neoma’s ability to craft personal music that also appeals to the hearts of the masses can be heard on her single “Vuelo8110.” The track taps into both the melancholy and deep connections that are found when two people open up to one another in circumstances that are not ideal. It is like exploring brewing love on a stormy day. The misty and tranquil nature of the song flows into the mind with ease, as listening to it feels as natural and necessary as taking a deep breath. This being a feeling many could use after over a year of turmoil. We sat down with Neoma to learn more about how she crafted “Vuelo8110” and what life has been like over the course of the pandemic.
303 Magazine: With all that has happened during the pandemic, how have you been holding up?
Neoma: I am starting to feel better. Of course, at the beginning of the pandemic, we were on tour. So it hit us right when we were about to play SXSW and Treefort. We had to cancel our plans and come back to Denver and quarantine. I was just feeling very frustrated, but I’m feeling better now. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and we still have to wear masks and be careful, but it is not how it was a year ago, you know?
303: It feels like a new leaf is turning publicly and socially as more things open up and people continue to get vaccinated in Denver. Live music is coming back, and you are playing your show at Levitt Pavilion on June 4. How are you feeling about returning to the stage?
N: I’m always going to feel nervous before a show, but I feel like I am worried less about that feeling of not having enough time to practice or having to practice only a few times for the safety of my band. I feel like now we are sharper as we are working together more. I feel like now I’m super excited about the show. I’m super ready and I want to perform. I want to go out and dance and sing with all of y’all, so I’m very excited.
303: It is definitely exciting to get back to the stage, and one of the songs people are looking forward to hearing you perform is your single you released last year, “Vuelo8110.” Can you tell us why that song is important to you?
N: I feel like this song is one of my best songs, which is a weird feeling to have as a musician, you know? Usually, one doesn’t really say like ‘oh this is my favorite song.’
303: It’s like saying you love one of your babies more than another.
N: Exactly, I always look at my songs as my babies. I don’t have a favorite, and I don’t have one that I don’t like. But that song specifically talks a lot about how I was feeling through the lockdown. It talks about distance love, first of all, and talks about traveling in the middle of a pandemic. We were all at home, and I had a lot of free time so I started to learn Portuguese. That’s why the intro is in Portuguese. It says ‘The day is boring but I’m in love.’ That’s the translation from Portuguese to English. So it’s like a happy and sad song, but it kind of gives you hope because it is not really sad. It is not like you are never gonna see this person again. I understand why I can’t see you and I can’t be with you — we are all going through this.
303: You have experienced how humanity can be so similar everywhere you go, from living in Ecuador and living in the United States. What is it like to live with the experiences of those two cultures and how does that influence your music?
N: I have always felt like a misfit when I was in Ecuador. I felt like I was sometimes too American when I was there. When I am here, sometimes I feel like I’m too Ecuadorian and no one gets it, but that is who I am. That is why my music is sometimes in English and sometimes in Spanish. It depends on how I feel and what music I’m listening to at the time that I am writing. I definitely feel like as a Latin X artist I’m taking influences from Latin X music from Spain and music in Spanish, but also I’m a pop artist. So, I freaking love Lady Gaga, Charlie XCX, and Billy Eilish. It is kind of like I have the best of both worlds.
303: Do you think those different cultural ideas come together in Denver? Do you see it in the fans at your shows?
N: Yes. I love that and I love to see it. I think my music is a way for me to also show my culture. I’m Ecuadorian. I haven’t seen many Ecuadorian artists doing what I do. I’m very proud of my roots and where I come from, and I definitely want to show that. Every time I’m on stage I try and mention my country and how much I miss it and how much I love it. Here in Denver, there have been times where people have come to me after shows and said ‘hey, I’m learning Spanish. I’m so glad I found you because now I can listen to your music and learn it with your songs.’ It is incredible. When I was on tour I saw a lot of people coming to the shows and it was not just Latin X people. I feel like my music is for everyone and that is something I’m very grateful for.
Neoma is playing Levitt Pavillion (1380 W Florida Ave, Denver 80223) on June 4 with YaSi. For more information on tickets, visit the Levitt Pavillion website.