For eighteen-year-old Ecuadorian indie-rock artist Neoma, relocating to the United States was the next logical step in her budding music career. But the question became, what city? Where could her music stand out and be embraced by a musically open-minded population? Ultimately, she landed in Denver.
“I decided to move to Denver because it is a city that I personally believe is going to grow more and more. It is full of people who support their local artists,” says Neoma. “Also, there are mountains!”
Coming into music, there wasn’t a particular moment that made her want to become a performer. Rather, she had a need to express herself and honor her pop-music heroes.
“Pop music has always been there for me since I was a kid," she says. "When I got older, the artists that blew my mind were Grimes and Björk. It wasn’t just the music for me; it was everything about them that influenced me as a musician and a creative."
It wasn’t easy for Neoma to leave her home in Ecuador and the music scene that shaped her, but she knew she had to make the decision.
“Ecuador is a poor country, and even though I love it, it was hard to see a sustainable future for me making music there,” says Neoma. “My hope is to inspire the next wave of young Ecuadorian music lovers to take a risk and to start making music and show that it is possible to make a name for yourself, even if you’re from a small country.”
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While Neoma may be mostly unknown in the Denver scene, she’s coming in at her best. She's released a series of singles since 2017 that have put her on the map in Ecuador (including the song “Real,” with an impressive 180,000 streams on Spotify). Ahead of her debut American performance, she dropped “Young," her first release in English. But for Neoma, no matter what language the music is in, the songwriting process is a therapeutic and meaningful way to connect with her feelings.
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“I always say that songwriting for me is the best part of being a musician,” says Neoma. “I get to connect with myself so I can find inspiration based on an old feeling, vent about something that made me feel upset during the day, or just because I need to get something off my chest.”
Neoma's music should stand out in Denver. Her songs are smooth and quaint, with a timeless quality that transcends languages, a rare trait for any songwriter. Like most modern musicians, finding the balance between pursuing her dreams and paying the bills is a tricky, but not impossible, game to play.
“The completion and release of my new album, Real, is my primary goal right now,” says Neoma. “The album is going to be out soon, and that is a big step for me. I work full-time, then I come home to my home recording studio and try to get as much finished as possible. After the release, I want to perform as much as I can and create some music videos, but if you ask me for a long-term goal, I would love to perform at a big festival. I’ve been recording my album with the mindset of “This has to sound like a song that everyone is gonna be singing at a huge stage.”