PORTES is an artist with a story. Born in Guatemala and adopted at a young age, she was raised in Colorado. She has always loved the creative arts, being involved in dance, visual art, piano, and, of course, singing. Although she is new to the pop and electronic scenes, she has sung with church choirs and written with Grammy award-nominated artists. She currently plays local Denver venues, right after she tucks her son into bed.
PORTES is an amazing artist, but, just as importantly, an activist. Her latest single, “Human,” is an ethereal song with beautiful vocals and touching melodies. But this song is more than just something to listen to. A very important message can be derived as well, a call to action. It brings up the effects of climate change. Although perceived as a sad song, it is an encouragement to incite change in our lives and the world around us. We got to talk to PORTES about “Human” and more.
GBTRS: Could you explain the idea of your project PORTES? What does it mean to you?
PORTES: The change from my previous stage name to PORTES was a methodical process. I wanted a name that encompassed who I am as a songwriter. I have written music in all genres, which I see as different personalities, or in this case, at least musically, as doors. I took the French word for doors (des Portes) and have incorporated that into my stage name. As I explore music and songwriting, I keep those doors open for whatever inspiration strikes me. I’ve moved from dream pop and ambient to R&B and to an edgier alternative rock and industrial rock sound.
GBTRS: Your song Human is very calming, but the lyrics themselves are unsettling. What is the message of the song, what do you want listeners to get from it?
PORTES: It is calming, but it should make the listener uneasy. We’re living in a critical age of extinction, global warming, and climate change. I have actually heard scientists calling it the “Plasticene Epoch.” The message of the song is to look all around us at the changes in our environment and culture. Life is hard for humans and animals, but I offer hope in the song. I’m not a nihilistic person. We all can do better and make the necessary changes one-by-one to ameliorate our life on this planet.
GBTRS: What are some of the rewards and hardships of being a mother and a musician?
PORTES: I fostered my son for two years before adopting him in December 2018. It is tough being a single parent and dealing with the foster care system and the bureaucracy. It was a complicated and difficult situation for my son (and siblings). I have no regrets though. He’s a joy and despite him not being my biological child, he looks like me. Everyone says so and I think that’s so sweet. Honestly, he’s really pretty easy considering his trauma. He’s a sweet, thoughtful, loving, kind little boy. I absolutely love him. I’m lucky to have my mom who helps me out and watches him too. I can plan shows and if they are early enough in the day, he can attend or I’ll do a late show and know that my mom is taking good care of him. But the best thing about being a single mom and musician is that he loves to sing and dance too. He wants to start his own band and he has inspired me to write songs off the cuff. I love that he sang on this track too. “Human” is very dear to my heart.
GBTRS: What was the transition from church choir to solo artist like?
PORTES: It’s really about the content. Now that I’m back in a church choir, there’s a lot more sight reading of notes so I’m brushing up on it again and getting better. However, I still prefer to sing my own songs. I have offered to write songs for church and there’s a “door” for that too. I have written worship music before for church.
GBTRS: How is the Colorado music scene? Do you think your location has an impact on your music or your performances?
PORTES: I think the Colorado music scene is close. We tend to hover in the same circles and it’s like seven degrees of Kevin Bacon in the Denver area. I like that. I have lots of creative friends and now that I’m doing more music and doing things like photoshoots and working on a music video, I’m meeting more people. I live in the metro area, but there’s not a lot of venues near me to perform. I think I’ll plan on bigger festivals where it’s easier to network.
GBTRS: What are your plans for 2020?
PORTES: My plan is to perform more in 2020. I’ve had some respiratory infections and hoarseness that I’m trying to control and with a host of medical providers helping me, I’m on the road to recovery. I’m in the process of working on a new album called “National Anthems.” I’m really excited about this one. It’s a protest album with controversial topics and it’s going to garner attention.