by Richard L. Figueroa / Staff Reporter
Mila La Morena is the artistic and confident alter-ego to Mila Diaz, who considers herself a more sensitive and insecure person. Her persona changes when Mila La Morena walks on stage—all her insecurities and doubts seem to leave. She is filled with confidence and joy as she performs her music which is that of a Latin Alternative genre.
Diaz, a 21-year-old from Humboldt Park, has been attracted towards music and dance all her life. “I just did it by instinct, almost. I loved to sing songs to myself all the time ever since I was five,” said Diaz.
Diaz recalled a moment from her childhood when she was about five years old at a social event with her mother. At the party, Diaz told her mother she wanted to sing. “I want to sing the grandma song—I was talking about the theme song to Golden Girls. So they put me on a table and I sang the song to a room filled with adults. They were all surprised, like, how does this come out of a little child,” said Diaz.
Diaz has been writing songs since she was young. She started by writing melodies and moved to lyrics in the fifth grade. She has been taking music more seriously and began her career as an artist within the past year.
When looking for a stage name, Diaz knew she wanted to keep her first name, since it was her grandmother’s name. She said she looks up to her grandmother fondly despite never having the chance to meet her. Diaz’s grandmother was a single mother of five children.
“Damn, I’m named after this queen. I’ve always felt her inside me, like her presence, every time something good happens,” said Diaz.
The second part to her stage name ‘La Morena’ comes from her skin tone. Diaz said she is very proud of her heritage and having brown skin. It is also a nod to a song “La Morena,” which belongs to a regional folk musical genre called Son Jarocho that comes from the state of Veracruz, Mexico.
“Oh my god, that’s perfect, my grandpa called my grandma ‘la morenita’ and my latinidad started becoming so prevalent to me. I am Mila La Morena, that’s who I am,” said Diaz.
Diaz only has two singles out at the moment: “Ahora Si” and “Cabron.” She is working on new music alongside a video for “Cabron” which is finished and expected to be released by Oct. 1. Additionally, she has been featured in songs by other Chicago artists such as ESCHICANO’s single “Feel The Same” and theycallmericky’s album “Verano Contigo” in a track called “Wav.Length.”
“Her music has a sound of its own,” said Ricky Villarreal, better known by theycallmericky. The 24-year-old rapper, originally from the Southwest side of Chicago, described his first encounter with Diaz. “I knew it from the moment I saw her live, we had to work together. I am looking forward to engineering some of her new music.”
On Aug. 24, Diaz had her first show outside of the city of Chicago. Alongside Villarreal and other artists, she flew to San Diego where they had a show they titled “MID/WEST.”
“Mila, Ricky, Henry and me decided to throw a DIY show out in Barrio Logan in San Diego just because we love the Latinx culture out there. It was fun to plan and then see it all come to life,” said Mariah Robinson, Diaz’s 22-year-old manager.
She mentioned her ultimate goal as an artist is to “connect with Latinos and give them the motivation to follow their dreams, in whatever capacity or area that be.”
Diaz has been leaving her mark in the Latinx music scene in the city of Chicago. Although her career as an artist began only a year ago, she has a long way to go as she gets better at her craft.