For iLe, Breaking From Calle 13 Meant Discovering The Power Of Her Own Voice

In August of 2015 Puerto Rican singer Ileana Cabra saw clearly the height of her potential and announced to the world that she was changing her moniker to iLe. After parting ways with her brothers’ superstar rap group Calle 13, she recorded her debut solo album iLevitable. The journey proved to be one of self-actualization, where iLe was able to unearth an internal force like never before.

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“This album is about looking into ourselves a little more for the purpose of trying to understand each other,” she told NBC Latino. “I still can’t believe that in 2017 we’re going through this nonsense and irrationality: this treatment of women and [other] people just because they’re different­. We’re all complicated. Nobody’s perfect at all and that’s the beauty of being alive. You can be political in many ways – and I am, in my songs, as well as my sister’s and my grandmother’s. We think being political is just being human. This album expresses the feminine side in a very, very human way.”

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Cabra’s consummate talents earned her a 2017 GRAMMY for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album—no easy feat for a first-time soloist. “I was relieved just to release the album. Everything that happened after that has been a huge surprise,” she raved. The album, which was years in the making, is equal parts bolero, boogaloo and alternative.

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Read more on iLe’s burgeoning solo career and life in Puerto Rico amid political turmoil, here.