Tap through Lido Pimienta’s Instagram story on any day and you’ll find a mix of art, behind-the-scenes of her life on and off the road, and highlights of issues she cares about. Today it’s the unjustified negative bias against Lauryn Hill, the downfalls of the justice system, and snapshots from a talk she gave on a panel at Ryerson University. During our conversation, it was clear that Pimienta has something to say – through speeches, drawing, painting, and most notably, music.
The Toronto-based artist mixes indigenous music from her native Colombia with modern and infectious synth-pop. Her music comes in a colorful palette of foreign and familiar sounds – traditional Colombian instrumentals and Spanish vocals combined with electronic production. The result is a sonic dreamscape filled with the celebration of hope, beauty, pain, and everything else that comes with the ups and downs of being human. Her voice weaves through each song, synthesizing both old and new world in pitch-perfect harmony. Listeners will surely find themselves dancing away whatever anxieties might have existed before pressing play.
It’s hard to pinpoint what compels an artist to create. For Pimienta, there was no other choice. “I don’t know any other way of being. I always identified myself as an artist,” Pimienta tells me. “Being on stage— that’s when I feel my most powerful, my most almighty. It’s a great way to communicate and heal with people and for people.”’
JACKET, HENDRIX ROE (VIA STYLIST BOX). TURTLENECK, ARITZIA.
But Pimienta didn’t set out with altruistic intent. “It didn’t start to bring healing. I would just do my thing. My music was a way to deposit the bullying I experienced as a young woman,” Pimienta explains. “But then I got lots of messages daily from people saying what I do helps them in their lives. So far, it’s been great because I feel like I belong with a bunch of strangers.”
Social media has proven a powerful tool in making space and building community for underrepresented and minority persons around the world. Pimienta has found a loyal fanbase here. “I live more online than I do in real life,” says Pimienta. “I get all of these beautiful messages from people who are going through hardship. I’m open about my experiences and it’s nice to know that even when I’m on my own I am connected with so many people. It makes what I do so much more important and relevant.”
The outpouring of love and support keeps Pimienta going. In her second trimester with her second child, and knee-deep in her third studio album, it doesn’t seem like anything will get in the way of Pimienta manifesting her vision of superstardom. It’s this deep belief in herself that fans find incredibly inspiring. She uses her voice to create unapologetically empowering music and extend her spirit to her fans—both online and IRL.
“What I have is a gift,” says Pimienta. “What I’m doing is precious and important. When I started out I didn’t understand my own magic, strength, and power. Now that I’m aware of all of those things, you can’t say shit to me. I am the best. I have to say that to myself over and over again, because it takes a lot of work and mental strength to believe you are worthy.”
As a minority immigrant and a young mother, Pimienta hasn’t found an easy path to success. But this vulnerability is what makes her music so necessary in 2018. She uses her voice to amplify the cultural injustices that run rampant in Canada and Colombia.
“The music I see in South America is platonic and so hetero. Traditional music— the most excellent music—is fading in the background. It comes out once a year for the carnival… I’m like no, let’s not forget our Latin American history that gives us enough material to release important music. So, I took it upon myself.”
Pimienta is ready to be the change. She hopes her upcoming album, which is slated to be released in early 2019, will be the Latin version of A Seat at the Table—making space for the underrepresented fans she speaks with on social media, revitalizing the traditions of her ancestors, and proving that there is room for their voices in today’s musical landscape.
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