Songstress María del Pilar Got Over Her Writer's Block By Traveling to Chile
María del Pilar could barely muster a song from her creative soul two years ago, much less plot an ambitious trilogy of albums. The former energetic frontwoman for Latin Alternative indie rockers Los Abandoned had lost nearly all enthusiasm for the craft as she was mired in a deep, unproductive funk. "What I saw myself go through was this huge writer's block, which was a part of my depression; a dissatisfaction with my music career on the business side of things," the Chilean born, Los Angeles-raised singer says.
The charismatic performer dubbed "Lady P" left her former band a year after it finally signed with Neil Young's Vapor Records and released its first album Mix Tape in 2006. A few months later, the songstress began her solo career as "Pilar Díaz" though creeping doubts entered her mind afterward about music as vocation. "I started really questioning if this was something I wanted to keep doing in my life," she confesses. "I needed to really drastically switch the tape in my head and put in a new one."
María del Pilar finally found affirmation in her talent as one that helped people communicate their emotions through songs that they otherwise couldn't. After breaking through her creative impasse, the crucible for her next album Songs + Canciones I would not be in Los Angeles, though, but in her native Santiago, Chile. "I was really missing my home, my friends, my family and culture. I was there for four months," the musician says. "It was perfect timing. It was the perfect place for the rebirth."
As part of her artistic pilgrimage, she collaborated with Chilean DJ Vicente Sanfuentes who has served as producer for artists like Francisca Valenzuela and Gepe. On the other side of the world, the time and place felt right to leave the artistic identity of "Pilar Díaz" behind and go by her full first name instead. "It wasn't really a name change, just a name swap," the songstress jokes. Together with her producer, they set out to forge a new sonic identity as well, largely leaving behind the ukulele, her signature instrument.