Singer Rocio Llamas finds her 'true love' in new album
By Cynthia Mendoza

Singer, dancer, student or teacher? No need to choose. Rocio Llamas is all of those rolled into one talented and extremely hardworking young lady who shoots for the stars with her feet firmly grounded in reality.

The release of her first album Un Verdadero Amor (A True Love), cumbia rhythms mixed with a little pop, is both the culmination of a girlhood dream and the beginning of a new journey as a bona fide artist for the 23-year-old East Los Angeles native.

Rocio, raised in South Gate, California by parents from Zacatecas and Mexicali, Baja California, began performing at the tender age of four and went on to win prizes at San Gabriel Elementary talent shows.
Where did such a little one find such inspiration?

"The Little Mermaid," Rocio said of the first time she watched the well-known Disney movie. "I thought 'I want to be like her when I grow up.'"

From that moment forward, singing became her passion and she used to sing around the house.
Her parents fully supported her passion and her mom enrolled Rocio in dance lessons.

While the little red-headed Ariel was her first source of inspiration, later in life Rocio also drew inspiration from Latin artists she grew up listening to at home and family get togethers such as Selena, Rocio Durcal, Ana Gabriel, Marisela, Marco Antonio Solis, Juan Gabriel, La Sonora Dinamita and pop stars such as Alicia Keyes and Sade.

At the age of 17, Rocio became the lead vocalist of a band called Firme, who performed the music of Selena, Rocio Durcal, Maricela, Sonora Dinamita and other artists Rocio had grown up listening and singing along to. The group's popularity earned them opening spots for artists such as Ruben Ramos and Lupillo Rivera. They also performed for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez from Orange County.

Her time with the group evolved into a solo career and the subsequent release of Un Verdadero Amor, whose title was chosen for her true love; music.

"It really is my true love," she said. "And of course everyone also dreams of finding their true love," referring to find a special someone.

And somewhere in between becoming a solo artist, Rocio also finds time to work as a physical education coach at an elementary school, attend Long Beach City College where she is majoring in child development and forensic science as well as performing in musical theater.

"The kids keep me young," she said of her love for kids and teaching.

And as much as she loves music and hopes to sign with a major label, Rocio is also well grounded in reality and knows the value of a good education.

Music, she says, is her Plan A. Teaching is Plan B.

As a musical theater performer she has played the roles of Anita, in Westside Story, Sandy in Grease, Mina in Dracula, Tatiana in Midsummer Night's Dream and Berth in Pippin. She was also part of a dance group that performed at the Greek Theater two years in a row.

Some of Rocio's recent performances include, Fiesta Broadway, Los Angeles, a Cinco De Mayo Festival in Santa Barbara, Conejo Valley Days, Ventura County, the Strawberry Festival, Santa Maria and the Cancer Walk, Los Angeles.

On Thursday, May 1, 2008, Rocio's musical journey brought her to San Bernardino, where she performed for the Hispanic Employees Alliance Cinco de Mayo Celebration at the County Government Center, where she entertained a crowd of about 200 County employees during dinner.

And like most successful people, Rocio has faced difficult times in her life but always kept going. She encourages other young people to do the same when faced with challenges.

"There are ties when you feel like giving in but keep going, keep working hard, don't give up," she said. "The end results are amazing. Stay grounded and surround yourself with a good circle of friends."

Un Verdadero Amor is available for purchase on iTunes. You may also visit Rocio at myspace.com/rociollamas, soundclick.com/rociollamas and on YouTube.com

"I hope everyone enjoys the music!" Rocio concluded.