Sierra is a gifted musician, composer, and singer/songwriter. He is
the co-founder of the multi-Grammy Award-winning multi-cultural,
multi-genre band Ozomatli, spending the last 19 years as the group’s
lead vocalist, trumpet and keyboardist.
Apart from Ozomatli and in collaboration with musician/producer and
director Balthazar Getty’s Purplehaus Music, Sierra is working on a
powerfully unique album, "Abstrakto," being produced by Getty.
Described as a cinematic, alternative, Latin sound, the album’s debut
single “Marcando Paso” is set to drop August, 2014.
After migrating from Mexico, the Sierra family settled in Southern
California. Born in LA and displaying true musical aptitude at a very
young age, Sierra had the uncanny ability to make music out of any
instrument he touched. His grandfather was a musician and singer
signed to RCA Victor in Mexico form the 40’s to 60’s and his father
was a great bolero-trio vocalist. Sierra chose to hone his inherent
musical skills on the trumpet due in part to his great love of jazz.
He attended the Hamilton Music Academy High School in Los Angeles and
went on to attend college studying Music at the California Institute
of the Arts. Once in college, Sierra was exposed to many genres of
music, ranging from salsa, Latin jazz, funk, R&B, soul, rock, Middle
Eastern, flamenco, classical, world music and rock en Español.
Sadly, during this exciting period of musical growth, Sierra suffered
a major tragedy which forever changed his life and the lives of those
around him - the loss of his brother, Raul. Taking a painful leave
from music, when Sierra returned to the craft he loved he joined the
just-forming Ozomatli and aided in fronting the group with his
straight from the heart lyrics and songwriting like the song he wrote
for his brother, "Cumbia De Los Muertos."
As part of Ozomatli, Sierra garnered two Best Latin Rock/Alternative
Album of the Year Grammy Awards, One Latin Grammy, three Latin
Billboard Awards, three Alma Awards, a BMI Songwriting Award, and a
Latin Spirit Award, awarded for humanitarian efforts.
When not performing internationally with Ozomatli, or working on the
single “Marcando Paso” for his passion-project Abstrakto, Sierra is
composing scores for numerous feature films, television shows, big
budget commercials and even video games. His career collaborations are
vast and impressive and include greats like Carlos Santana, Maná,
Black Eyed Peas, Dave Stewart, A.B. Quintanilla and Los Kumbia Kings.
Having travelled the world with his Latin rock, hip hop, world,
fusion, funk-style music, Sierra’s performance highlights are as
eclectic as his music having performed at the Democratic National
Convention, SXSW, Coachella, numerous performances for President
Barack Obama-related events and symphony collaborations with several
prominent orchestras including the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra.
One could have never guessed that the young child who didn't speak
until the age of four, would be destined to become the fiercely
passionate, intense, world-renowned, award-winning, humanitarian,
musician, songwriter and vocal talent - Asdru Sierra.
Balthazar Getty has been making music in various capacities for the past
25 years including producing the highly acclaimed Ringside project as
well as various hip hop and electronic albums. It was extremely
liberating," says Getty, describing a manic three weeks in which he holed
up in his pool house-cum-home studio, self-producing an album using a Pro
Tools rig that his wife and close friend Joaquin Phoenix together bought
him, roped in a slew of his talented musician friends for impromptu
recording sessions, and walked away three weeks later with an organically
created debut album under the moniker of his new project, Solardrive.
"It was one of those things," he says, still seemingly dumbfounded that
an album was the end-result of an almost obsessive, self-taught
three-week crash course in new-age production. "I just sat there for a
week and taught myself by trial and error. And I ended up making what I
thought is a very interesting progressive album."
Solardrive is a nine-track LP, and one that Getty describes as a
"serendipitous" affair, made on the fly with whomever happened to
temporarily take up residence at his LA digs. "Whoever was at my house at
the time," he recalls, "I'd be like, 'Hey man, you know how to sing
right? Well, you want to jump on this thing?' The right group of people
kept showing up at my house and I pulled them into the studio."
What emerged is a cohesive collection of songs, veering from new-age funk
to blues and electronica that Getty says draws elements from many of the
albums that shaped his adolescence; specifically, artists such as Massive
Attack, Tricky and Portishead stand out in his mind. "It's a throwback
record to the records that I grew up loving," he says, reflecting on the
sessions. "It’s a very moody kind of album that you can kick back and
chill to and you can put on from beginning to end."
Solardrive’s highly versatile debut, which Getty says "captures a moment
in time," is speckled with guest appearances from several of his longtime
friends, many of whom also happen to be fixtures on the LA music scene.
There's Ozomatli multi-instrumentalist/lead vocalist Asdru Sierra showing
up on the Prince-echoing, Eighties-style ballad "Go Away"; Mother Tongue
bassist David Gould rolls through and lays down a world-weary,
blues-drenched vocal over 4-bit keyboards on "Desperate"; Rain Phoenix,
Joaquin's sister and a supremely talented vocalist delivers an achingly
beatific jazzy turn on the minimal "Monster." Phoenix's guest appearance,
much like the album, Getty says emerged from a set of beautifully
"It was a total fluke," he says. "I had done this beat and I was with
Joaquin and he had this a cappella from his sister. And we ended up
dragging in Rain's a cappella for this song she'd already written. I
literally just placed it right over the top of ["Monster"] and, like a
freak of nature, it linked up almost perfectly. The fact that it was in
key and in time was like a one in a million."
Key to the album's tight aesthetic, Getty adds, was his ability to
exercise restraint: even when feeling the impulse to add, subtract or
alter the ten tracks that now comprise Solardrive, he ultimately felt it
best to leave them in their originally created form. The album "was
almost like it was a painting,” he says. “And I didn't want to go back
and start adding new colors and different shapes on top of something that
I feel really encapsulated that time and those three weeks. I just left
it alone as a testament to the space we were in then."
The forthcoming release also marks another milestone for Getty:
Solardrive is the first album to be issued on his new record label,
Purplehaus. Getty views this new business venture and creative
undertaking as something made possible by today's ever-evolving
music-industry. "These days, if you have the focus and a little bit of
funding you can create something substantial," he explains. "[The
Internet] leveled the playing field. For so long the labels and the
publishers had all the power.
"Now you do a song on your Pro Tools rig, you upload it onto YouTube and
for whatever reason it connects with the public. 24 hours you've got
100,000 people that are listening to your song. Nothing's stopping
anybody from chasing their dreams."
And Solardrive is only the beginning of what promises to be a jam-packed
year for Getty: the multi-talent also plans to release the debut album
from his hip-hop duo, The Wow, alongside rapper KO The Legend, in
addition to another Ringside album.
"In some way I feel the most at home there," he says. "There's nothing
like the instant gratification that you get from going in the studio and
leaving in a couple hours with something you can listen to. It can be an