Lila Downs

Lila Downs is one of the most influential artists in Latin America. She has one of the world’s most singular voices, and is known for her charismatic performances.

Her own compositions often combine genres and rhythms as diverse as Mexican rancheras and corridos, boleros, jazz standards, hip-hop, cumbia, and North American folk music. Her music often focuses on social justice, immigration, and women’s issues.

She grew up in both Minnesota and Oaxaca Mexico, her mother is from the Mixtec indigenous group, and her father was Scottish-American.

Lila sings in Spanish, English, and various Native American languages such as Zapotec, Mixtec, Nahuatl, Maya, and Purepecha.

She has recorded duets with artists as diverse as Mercedes Sosa, Caetano Veloso, Juanes, Norah Jones,  YoYo Ma,  Juan Gabriel, Carla Morison, Natalia LaFourcade, Santana, The Chieftains, Nina Pastori, Soledad, Diego La Cigala, Aida Cuevas, Toto La Momposina, and Bunbury. Chavela Vargas “named” Lila her “successor”.

She has sung with symphonies such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the UNAM symphony in Mexico, as well as with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.  She has given concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Hollywood Bowl, Auditorio Nacional and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. She was invited by Barack Obama to sing at the White House, and has performed at the Oscars for her participation in the film Frida.

Lila has recorded nine studio albums.  She has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and has won six.





Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSOA by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.