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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Foodie Friday Featuring Paloma O'Leary

Thank you for chatting with us! Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? All the time! A big melting pot of artists—Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, U2, Green Day, Coldplay and country.

What is your favorite dish to cook? I love to bake! Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownies are my specialty. I hope to try more recipes in the future and bake more things from scratch.

Favorite music to listen to while you cook? "La Vie en Rose" by Edith Piaf--the original and the remixes.

What is your favorite breakfast? Avocado toast and mixed berries.

What’s on your pizza? Do you fold your pizza or eat it straight on? Ranch or no ranch? I like a margherita pizza but pizza bianca is my favorite. I’ll occasionally want some ranch on my cheese pizza — a surprisingly good combo!

Where did you grow up and how has that influenced your style of music? I grew up in the Washington DC area in a Latin/Irish-American household with two parents who love a wide array of music, so it was pretty eclectic. I listened to Latin artists like Alejandro Sanz, Shakira and Carlos Vives, American pop stars like Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande, jazz greats like Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, classic bands like U2 and Coldplay and country icons like Darius Rucker and Luke Combs. And a lot of other stuff too!

For newer fans, how did your passion for music and career come about? I've always been interested in music, probably since the time I could talk! At age 5 I sang a small solo for a children's LP ("The Songs of Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Language Adventures") and was hooked. I started singing in the Children's Chorus of Washington, performing in musical theatre shows and benefits and ultimately, working with a vocal coach as well as being involved with music at school. I started writing when I was about 11 and have done summer workshops at Berklee College of Music, which have been great. My first serious single was "Frenemy" produced by Matt Squire and I followed that with "I'm Fine," which I wrote during the pandemic. What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? Some of the best advice I’ve been given was from one of my music role models, Selena Gomez. I had the amazing opportunity to meet her in New York and I told her that I too was a Latina who wanted to pursue a career in music. She told me to never let anyone tell me I couldn’t achieve my dream and to always believe in myself. Her words have given me so much confidence throughout the years and she inspires me to not listen to any negative commentary about me or my music because that would only hold me back. You recently released your new single, "Ocean Away" Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. The song was inspired by different experiences with crushes and friendships as well as my love of the ocean. I started writing it in southern Spain a few summers ago where I spend a lot of time with my family. I wanted to incorporate the melancholy magic of flamenco guitar in the track--a sound that I love in the music of Alejandro Sanz, who is a family friend and a big artistic influence of mine. The song talks about how a broken relationship can be overwhelming, like an all-consuming ocean washing over you, but when you can gain distance, you find that you can take your power back. The song is part of my first EP, "Siren Song," a collection of 5 tracks that combine my two loves: music and water. How was it filming the videos for your EP "Siren Song?" It was great filming the 5 videos for the EP particularly because I was working with a good friend of mine, Massimo Soto, who directed the video for my single, "Frenemy." I wanted to shoot the videos in two places that have real meaning to me--the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Key Biscayne, Florida. We had to work at mach speed and under really windy conditions in both places! Hopefully, the beauty of those two coastal communities comes through. We wanted to create visual narratives for each song and evoke that "mermaid tale" feel. Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? I think it would have to be Celsius. I'm obsessed with their all-natural, bubbly drinks (especially Sparkling Wild Berry), which give me energy, burn fat and keep me going.

Channeling the enigmatic mystery of the ocean, rising bilingual pop star Paloma O’Leary is

an enchanting musical mermaid and a proponent of positive change, putting listeners under her mesmerizing spell as she delivers her poignant stories with the refined wisdom of an artist far beyond her 16 years.

A native of Washington, D.C., and of Latina heritage, Paloma has been making and recording music since the age of 5 and began her singing career with a solo for the educational album The Songs of Isabella & Ferdinand Spanish Language Adventures. Making the decision to officially pursue her dream of building a career as a vocal artist, she became a member of the Children’s Chorus of Washington (CCW) and performed in numerous concerts in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Boston and South Africa, achieving selection to the American Choral Directors Children’s Honors Choir in 2017.

In January 2018 Paloma was awarded Best Solo and Best Overall Youth Artist at Children’s

National Hospital’s “Rock for A Cure” benefit contest, performing at the Ryan Seacrest Studios at the hospital for patients where she has since returned several times. As a Youth

Ambassador for the Playing for Change Foundation, Paloma was the one child performer asked to participate in the organization’s cover of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” with other

renowned music artists in commemoration of International Women’s Day which was

produced by acclaimed Colombian DJ and producer Ali Stone. In 2018 Paloma also

performed at the Playing for Change high-profile benefit in Miami alongside Pharrell

Williams and other artists. In addition, Paloma has performed the national anthem at

EagleBank Arena, CapOne Arena and Audi Field at nationally televised sporting events for

DC United, the Washington Wizards, the NY Knicks and others.

For Paloma, music is the means through which she can express her most profound emotions, allowing her to bring the infinite depths of her vast inner sea to life in audible

form. Her radiant light shines through and touches everything she does, whether she’s

writing new songs or volunteering for organizations such as Shakira’s Pies Descalzos Foundation, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, combating climate change through marine conservation efforts, or advocating for education and Latina


Following the release of her singles “Frenemy” and “I’m Fine,” Paloma is now preparing to

release her debut EP “Siren Song,” a breathtaking pop collection featuring the production of Ali Stone, BAT Studios and Blue Room Productions. Drawing on her bicultural upbringing,

and incorporating captivating Latin rhythms and melodies, “Siren Song” fuses the young artist’s love for music with her devotion to the water and is sure to find a home in the hearts of listeners across the globe.


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