Amila: A Young Star in the Making!

By Hayley White

Reading time: 11 minutes

[caption id="attachment_3486" align="alignright" width="600"] Camila Antonia Noa Núñez, aka Amila[/caption]

20-year-old singer/songwriter Camila Antonia Noa Núñez, aka Amila, was born in Santiago, Chile. As a young, up-and-coming pop star who found her feet in the New Zealand music industry, she has a lot to offer. She brings out a groovy side to pop music, incorporating lots of string elements and fun voice effects that hark back to the ‘70s.

When Amila was younger, her family came to New Zealand for a holiday and simply did not want to leave. They fell in love with the New Zealand atmosphere; how easy it was to travel around the country, and just how refreshing it was. Plus, they had family that lived here.

By Hayley White

Reading time: 11 minutes

Camila Antonia Noa Núñez, aka Amila

20-year-old singer/songwriter Camila Antonia Noa Núñez, aka Amila, was born in Santiago, Chile. As a young, up-and-coming pop star who found her feet in the New Zealand music industry, she has a lot to offer. She brings out a groovy side to pop music, incorporating lots of string elements and fun voice effects that hark back to the ‘70s.

When Amila was younger, her family came to New Zealand for a holiday and simply did not want to leave. They fell in love with the New Zealand atmosphere; how easy it was to travel around the country, and just how refreshing it was. Plus, they had family that lived here.

They officially moved when Amila was seven, but she soon faced a big challenge. Her school back in Chile never taught her the English language, so she had to learn from scratch to try and communicate with her schoolmates. “As a kid, you kind of pick it up quite quickly. I think my parents said I learned English within a year. They were shocked at how kids just absorb the language when they are put in an English-speaking environment, which was really cool,” she says.

But it was not just the Kiwi immersion that helped her learn the language. It was also music.

“I have a very special place in my heart for [ABBA] because I learned English with them. I have lots of cute covers and videos of me looking at the lyrics, so they always have this really special moment for me because I remember being a child and being obsessed with their music,” she says. ABBA is a big inspiration behind her music, as well as her family and the people around her. “Stories of growth and family struggling by moving to another country – that’s where I get my inspiration to keep going and pushing.”

In spite of a childhood spent dabbling in music, Amila admits that she had never considered a career in music. In fact, she wanted to be a doctor. It was not until high school, when a producer came to teach the class how to create their own music, that she was scouted.

“[The producer] sent a task home for us to write a song, either just lyrics or we could put a track to it. And you know, at this time I was 16/17 and going through a breakup. But it was like the end of the world, and I was pretty sad. So I was like, ‘you know what, I’m gonna write about this, this is what I want to write about.’ And then I made a song,” she says.

“We had to present to the class, I showed everyone my song, and the producer really, really liked it. He decided to invite me to the recording studio to put down a demo, which is just like a rough version of the song, and that’s pretty much how I began my song writing and artist journey.”

From there, Amila was encouraged to send out her song to different record labels and to give it a shot. Since it was the only music she had ever written and produced, she never expected anything to come of it, except maybe a little feedback on how to improve. Instead, she was asked to give an audition of sorts. “It just blew my mind because I had never expected anything. It was probably the craziest thing, ever. And when I got that, as well, I was freaking out because I’d only written one song in my life, so I didn’t know if I was good or not,” she admits.

As for her song writing process, she says that it changes depending on how she feels on the day. If it is a good day, the happy songs come pouring out or if something is happening in real life, “it almost kind of speaks to you,” she explains to me. She always starts off with the music itself rather than the words because the chords give her a feeling of whether the song will be happy or not. She can always picture it.

Something Amila has been working towards for the last two years is incorporating her Chilean culture into her music. Being away from home and her culture was hard for herself and her family. Trying to fit in with the Kiwi ways; even the food was difficult. But when it comes to her music, Amila identifies with both the typical Spanish sound and Western pop.

“I need to find that balance between creating these pop songs, and then finding the right elements of Spanish music that identify with me. So I’m trying to mix both together, and use traditional instruments in ways that you probably wouldn’t usually with pop music. So that’s how I use it, as well as putting some Spanish words here and there,” she adds.

Amila tells me that her parents never let her speak English at home. “They were like: ‘You’re going to learn it in school; you’re going to talk about it all the time, so you don’t need to,’ which I’m really thankful for because I’ve now got two languages that I can communicate with,” she says.

And it reflects her music beautifully. Amila uses Spanish to reinforce the meaning in her songs, especially in ‘Talk It Out’ and ‘Owe It All To You’. ‘Owe It All To You’ was written for her family who have supported her through everything. She wrote Spanish into her second verse, then wrote it into her bridge, thanking them for all the love they have given her.

When I asked what her favourite lyric of a song she had written was, she took a moment to think but then quickly answered. “I think it’s from my song ‘Colours’, I just have to pick my favourite one,” Amila laughs. “There’s a line in it that goes: ‘If I was surrounded by all the good things, will I be okay.’ So that pretty much, I think, sums up me because we’re all trying to achieve more and more and more, but it’s actually about enjoying the journey, and just appreciating what you have at the moment. Yeah, I did write that song when I was going through a lot of things. It was just a way for me to realise that the journey is equally as important as the end goal. I think that’s my favourite line.”

Slowing things down and learning to enjoy the journey is something that she and many other people in the music industry have come to terms with throughout the two years New Zealand has been struggling with Covid. Amila tells me that the impact of Covid on the industry goes deeper than not being able to do gigs and shows; she says it has been mentally tiring for a lot of producers and musicians. She says being a musician is hard enough without trying to get your name out there on all the social media platforms and having it all taken away has made it even harder.

“But I’d say that it was good for a lot of artists and my musician friends to take a break. I think that it’s really important to take care of your mental health in order to be able to create art again and bring joy to everyone else that’s listening to music,” she tells me.

“So Covid has definitely been an obstacle, but it also helped with new ways of creating content, like using TikTok or being a little bit more creative on social media platforms by getting live shows out there and interacting more with fans overseas. It’s kind of opened a new world of opportunities as well as changed things around.”

With the new single of her upcoming EP released this March, Amila was pumped for people to hear her new music. She tells me that it is a bit different to her previously released music on Spotify, but she is super excited for others to finally hear what she has been working on.

Amila has come a long way from pursuing a career in medicine to being poised to take the New Zealand music industry by storm. Her funky music also brings a touch of her Spanish heritage through her smooth vocals and classical acoustic elements. She brings an exciting and refreshing perspective of the diverse and multicultural direction of New Zealand music and I am looking forward to seeing how far she can go. Keep an eye out for this promising new star in New Zealand – and beyond!

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