Student By Day, Artist By Night: UT Student Shiela Gonzalez Lands SXSW Show

Shiela Gonzalez is a student by day, and a rising alternative rhythm and blues artist by night who is catching the eyes of Austin’s local music scene.

Story by Sabrina Martinez

Gonzalez, a 20-year-old radio, television and film major at the University of Texas at Austin is making her SXSW debut at the Boyd Vance Theater inside the Carver Museum. “Reaching this goal, performing at SXSW, is really a testament to how much can happen in a year,” Gonzalez says.

Photo courtesy of Shiela Gonzalez.

Photo courtesy of Shiela Gonzalez.

Though Gonzalez has had several opportunities in 2017, 2016 was a much slower year for her. “Nobody knew I did music," Gonzalez says. “I was just in the crowd like other fans, looking up at the artists and dreaming about the day I would be up there giving my all.”

The songstress from San Marcos, Texas is inspired by the music of Sade, Selena Quintanilla, Jhene Aiko and Kehlani. She incorporates a blend of her Mexican American and Nicaraguan heritage into the songs that she writes. “I try to help people through my music,” Gonzalez says. “Whether it’s telling a story, giving advice or making a song that people can relax and kick back too. A lot of my fans say it’s my voice that brings it all together—that it’s warm and intimate.”

She started recording her first EP, “Breathe” in fall 2015 and released it on Spotify and Apple Music. Her first single  released from “Breathe” album was “In Your Love.”

Since then, she has released other singles “Lemonade”  and “Runaway,” and plans to release more before her newest album launches. “The concept I'm really intrigued with right now is the modern woman,” Gonzalez says. “I feel like we're occupying a very interesting space as women during the 21st century, especially when it comes to navigating careers and relationships. So that’s the overarching idea that I've been playing with.”

Gonzalez says her newest album is very different from her first EP. “I'm working really closely with my new producer, Ashmar Mosby,” Gonzalez says. “I think I've had time since the last project to understand more of who I am and the sound I'm going for, so it'll be more cohesive throughout the new tape.”

SXSW is highly competitive to get into as an artist, but Gonzalez managed to snag a spot with Capitol View Arts. “Them seeing my work ethic and dedication, along with help from my manager DJ Bling, put me in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the opportunity presented to me this year,” Gonzalez says. “It's an honor to be an official artist of SXSW.”

Gonzalez will be playing a 20-minute set of five songs at the Boyd Vance Theater inside the Carver Museum. Doors open at 7 p.m. and she performs at 7:30 p.m. You can RSVP here.