Los Mocosos lead singer J.Ele Explores the Bridge between Generations With New Solo Material

J.Ele is a Mexican-American singer born in Richmond, California. Lead singer of the legendary Bay Area band Los Mocosos, he’s the middle child of parents who emigrated from Mexico early in life chasing the American dream. J.Ele grew up immersed in diverse musical cultures, hearing American Rock, Pop, and Motown hits and classic Mexican boleros, salsas, y cumbias thanks to his extended family.

It’s the latter styles that gave him his early musical performance experience, playing in his uncle’s band covering those boleros, salsas, y cumbias- and then waking up early Sunday to play for church, because J.Ele’s Mom told him that if he wanted to play in his uncle’s band he had to play in church too.

This wasn’t bad advice at all, and in church J.Ele found himself surrounded by talent and wisdom. Members of the bands and choirs at church included people who played with Prince, Michael Franti, Sheila E, and other locally based heavyweights. It set him up for a career as front-man of Los Mocosos and gave him the experience to present his new solo material.

“It’s actually the reason why I’m here,” he explains. “I honestly felt like I did the most learning playing at church because it was like literally you had to be on your A-game musically all the time and you had to have the work ethic of showing up on time knowing your material.” Eventually becoming a Youth and Young Adult Music Minister, J.Ele found himself addressing the audience at large performances. “When we had big concerts, I always had to speak you know, and so that kind of gave me more confidence in speaking to the community.”

Being involved in multiple generations of music makers has given J.Ele a perspective in what his community listens to and more importantly, what his friends and family are not listening to:

“As a teenager we performed at weddings playing the traditional stuff (banda and rancheros) stuff to appease the parents” remembers J.Ele, “later in the evening, the DJ would play stuff for the younger crowd like Tupac and Too short. Now those kids are the parents at these weddings and they are the ones playing the G funk stuff and the east coast hip hop!”

J.Ele has been working on bridging that gap. “You know, a lot of older Mexicans don’t know about Prince, and lot of young Latinos don’t really listen to the traditional music of their parents. Rather than try to reinventing the wheel, I’ve tried to create a project that was representative of both those generations. I look forward to putting this music out for people to hear and to be representative of who Mexican American and Latino people are in this country – we’re here to work hard and we’re also here to get down!”

J.Ele’s music is an ode to all mentors, influences and life-shaping experiences. Playing bass and keyboards, and with instrumental help from Los Mocosos’ Dave Shul (guitar) and percussionist Karl Perazzo of Santana, J.Ele’s rich vocals are accompanied by expert execution of musical artistry. He’s breaking genre barriers and even dropping some dance tracks to make this project more than an album- it’s a soundtrack to life many will resonate with.

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