Today we’d like to introduce you to Eli Montoya.
Eli, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Music is in my blood. I’m fortunate to come from a long line of musicians. I have been blessed with natural rhythm and an ear for music. Growing up, I was fortunate to study under some of Denver’s finest musicians. I learned to play more than one instrument that led me to Denver School of the Arts, where I graduated as a 7-Year Senior. That year, I gained acceptance to the highly acclaimed Berklee College of Music, in Boston. After careful consideration, I decided it was best to stay in Colorado and use my talents to contribute to the Denver community. I pride myself on the volunteer work I’ve done playing for numerous community events. I strongly believe that we should use our gifts and talents to help others when we can. Being a part of the fabric of this city through my musicianship is something I plan to continue to cultivate for many years to come.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being a musician is no easy task. I have had to learn to balance being a musician while working a day job to make a livable wage in Denver. Venues and promoters don’t always want to fairly compensate live musicians to perform. I feel as though some folks don’t value the hard work that musicians put into their craft; musicians are often underappreciated. In spite of the challenges I may face, I maintain a humble and positive attitude. I remain motivated by one factor-my true love of music. With every chord I strike or beat I play on a drum, I see the effect that the music has on the audience; that feeling far outweighs the challenges I may have faced to be on that stage.
We’d love to hear more about your music.
I have been professionally trained to perform the music of various genres; versatility has helped me stay relevant. But if I had to specify which genre I specialize in, I would have to answer, Latin music. Throughout the years, my love and genuine connection to Latin rhythms have consistently risen to the top. And although on any given weekend, you may find me playing at a hip-hop concert, a local church, or at Su Teatro as a theatre musician, somehow Latin music always seems to find me. It is probably the most enjoyable out of all genres for me to play, the thing I am most known for. I am very proud of my recent endorsement with Soultone Cymbals, something I have worked diligently to gain. Another thing that I am very proud of, are the experiences I’ve had sharing the stage/opening up for numerous well-known artists touring Denver over the years. I have had numerous memorable moments throughout my young career.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Historically, Denver hasn’t been known as a music city. But I do feel that the music scene is slowly evolving. Especially with new community spaces, such as the Levitt Pavilion-that presents opportunities for more local musicians to showcase their talents. With emerging artists like Wes Watkins, Los Mocochetes, Trayce Chapman, Denver is taking its place on the musical map. I’m excited to be a part of the growth of the music scene and I’m proud to be a part of the new generation of musicians. Overall, I think that the City of Denver is doing a fair job in supporting and celebrating local artists. I would like to see Denver providing more free concerts for the community, additionally I would like to see an increase for funding music programs for youth; after all the next generation of musicians will continue to shape the unique sound of the city. To me, it is well worth the investment.
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