America Paz: “I spent three years playing on the street in Chile - when the video went viral my career changed”

(Image credit: America Paz)

Paz first gained notoriety for her impressive bass skills when a video of her playing a ‘bass-off’ against another player went viral in 2016. 

Since then, her playing has impressed time and time again, with her virtuoso slap style and melodic chordal compositions - as well as her singing - revealing no limits to her talents. I wonder where it all began?

“I’ve been playing bass for 18 years; I started at the age of 11,” says Paz. “My dad is also a bass player and he inspired me to play bass as well. He had a band called Sun And Midnight, which was a mixture of folk and rock music.”

I ask about the influences that led Paz to incorporate a semi-flamenco style into her slap technique. As she explains, “In Chile, it’s Cristian Vargas and Ernesto Holman, here in the USA it’s Thundercat, and in Europe it’s Dominique Di Piazza.” 

This slap style boggles the mind - how did she develop it? “First I started watching videos, and then when I got the rhythm I would compose my own songs to that rhythm - and that’s when I developed my own slap. I started mixing the style with the chords and the rhythm all at the same time.”

(Image credit: America Paz)

Kamikaze sounds

Paz has been releasing her own music, she tells us. “I just launched my new CD, which is very minimalist. It has three components - the bass, my voice and a guest, whether that be percussion or beatbox - so it’s something new. The album is called Kamikaze, and you can listen to it on Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer.”

I also have a special Ergo bass strap which was made for me as the bass is so heavy

I love how a viral video has launched the career of this very talented musician, I tell her. She laughs and says, “You know, I spent three years playing on the street in Chile - and it was only when the video went viral that my career changed. The music stayed the same, but I was able to launch a career out of that. The internet is insane, what it can do.”

You’ll often see Paz brandishing an impressive six-string bass. “It was made by a Chilean luthier named Claudio Gonzales, and I’m with EBS amps,” she explains. “I also have a special Ergo bass strap which was made for me as the bass is so heavy - it really helps my playing. Victor Wooten uses the Ergo strap too.”

So what’s next for Paz? “I’m working on my fourth album, which I’m hoping to share with everyone in December this year. I absolutely love launching new material whenever I can, and I would really like for people who are reading this to follow me on social media, that would be great. Find me on Instagram at America Paz Official.”

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