Creative Forces

Lila Downs

A powerful voice, soul, and love for her culture.

Mexican-American singer-songwriter and actress, Lila Downs is an artistic force that embraces her Oaxacan roots through her cultural and musical presentations. A trained opera singer, the depth of her musicality is out of this world. Her interpretations of classic Mexican music and her original music connects her audience to current issues in Mexico. Her collaborations with artists from across the globe has instilled her role as an important musical voice.

2012 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year Honoring Caetano Veloso - Show©GettyImages

Born in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca Lila lived there until she attended the University of Minnesota and studied opera. Lila’s mix of indigenous Mexican influences and Mexican traditional and popular music already puts her in a category of her own. Downs continues to record and sing in many different indigenous languages, including Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatl and Purepecha.

Lila Downs Performs At The Segerstrom Center For The Arts For Her "Balas Y Chocolate Tour"©GettyImages

Her debut record, ‘Ofrenda’ was released in 1994. Since then, she has recorded many more albums and has gone on to win 5 Latin Grammy Awards and 1 Grammy Award. She has a star on the Walk of Fame at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City for her incredible career.

Lila was part of one of the most influential soundtracks of this century, ‘Frida.’ She sang on multiple tracks in the album, including the song “Burn It Blue” which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.

Lila Downs In Concert - Los Angeles, CA©GettyImages

Strongly influenced by Chavela Vargas, Mercedes Sosa, Amparo Ochao and more, Lila’s strong connection to Mexican musical history helps her create a richly diverse music. Downs is currently signed with SONY Music, Columbia and has recorded on RCA Records as one third of the group Raiz, which also features Nina Pastori and Soledad.

Congratulations, Lila! You and your music continues to inspire us in our daily lives.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch with your cultura. Get the latest on your favorite celebrities, royals, and the best beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news delivered right to your inbox!
Back to main page See last year's list




Culinary Excellence

Creative Forces