Friday, April 25, 2014

Katie Lee Ledezma

Katie Lee Ledezma singing. 
Katie Lee Ledezma has found herself in a unique position here in the Valley. While she grew up listening to all types of music, she is now one of the youngest professional singers who is flying the conjunto flag in the South Texas area. She is representing conjunto every time she goes to a local venue, and sings her heartfelt renditions of "El Columpio", "Ojitos Verdes", "Ya Te Vi" and "Cuatro Caminos".

Growing up in Brownsville, she usually ended up at conjunto dances where her dad was singing. She credits him, who has the nickname "El Borrado" because of his green eyes, for teaching her how to sing.

At the age of seven, she performed publicly for the first time. She went up to the stage and sang a cumbia for an anniversary party in Houston. About four years ago was when she really started to make progress in the local scene. It began when her mother entered her into a talent contest in Mission.

"I was kind of nervous," Ledezma, 20, said. "I won first place. So I was like, 'Okay, I want to stick with this.'"

While she has her own conjunto now, she has played as a guest with other artists as well. Over the past few years, she's performed with Gilberto Perez, Los Dos Gilbertos, Los Garcia Brothers and The Hometown Boys. Next month she is scheduled to be a part of a big event celebrating the anniversary of Los Dos Gilbertos at the Riderz Bar & Grill in Elsa. Collaborating with these established musicians has been a great learning experience for her.

"They teach me a lot of stuff," Ledezma said. "I become really good friends with them. Little by little I get to learn new things from them. I get to know more of their background."

While she's been influenced by several artists, she is quick to point out that her dad is still her main influence and inspiration.

She has received attention outside of the Valley as well. Most recently she visited San Antonio for a National Puro Conjunto Music Association fundraiser.

"It's fun," Ledezma said. "I like to travel, I like to meet new people and new faces."

This Summer will mark her second appearance at the South Texas Conjunto Association "Conjunto Of the Year" Awards ceremony.

"Last year it was really fun," Ledezma said. "I have a lot of people that support my music, like (STCA President) Lupe Saenz, Polo Trejo and (Arturo) Balderrama."

One of her career highlights has been being recognized at local stores from the KMBH-TV broadcast of that award show.

At this point in time, she stands out as one of the youngest singers in the local conjunto circuit. She makes it clear that she hopes that conjunto never dies out. When asked how she would describe conjunto to people her own age who aren't familiar with it, Ledezma replied by saying she he doesn't understand how some of her peers prefer banda music. She described conjunto as being like a party. That it makes people want to get up and dance the night away.

"That's what conjunto is about," Ledezma said. "Conjunto is more about having a good time. It's actually the music they want at quinceañeras and weddings. So I think (young people) should be more interested in this kind of music cause it's more original."

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