LaPRETA is the electronica project of singer-songwriter Cydney Schwartz (also known as Cydney LaPreta). The project combines Cydney’s catchy melodies, inquisitive lyrics and powerful voice, and combines them with spacey synths and hip-hop beats. With songs in both Spanish and English, LaPRETA uses elements of Latin folk, electronic R&B and various EDM styles to create an entirely unique sound.
Cydney’s current musical project is her latest EP, Gemas, which she plans to release in July of 2017. This will be the second EP she has released this year and will feature collaborations with Guatemalan rapper Kontra and NYC producer Enix.
Cydney left New York City when she was 17 and began to travel the world. After many years of wandering Latin America as a street musician, she fell in love with Guatemala, settling in Guatemala City and recording her first album, Conciencia Criminal, with Muse Studios in 2012. The album included her first songs, a mix of blues, flamenco, and cumbia, and was recorded with musicians from Zone 1 of Guatemala City.
Soon after completing the album, Cydney was awarded a full scholarship from Tulane University, and relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana for a several years. There, she had the opportunity to study voice and guitar with jazz musicians Cindy Scott and John Rankin. During this time she also continued to play gigs and festivals, most notably the New Orleans International Guitar Festival. In addition to her music career, Cydney balanced an active academic career as a Latin American scholar specializing in Guatemala. She presented at numerous academic conferences, defended her thesis and successfully completed a Masters degree in 2015.
While studying in New Orleans Cydney continued to travel back and forth to Guatemala, mixing her musical and academic careers in interesting ways. One example of this was the song At K’o Pa Jotöl, a song in Kaqchikel (one of 23 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala) that Cydney co-wrote with Cuarteto Asturias, DJ Masaya, and Baldomero Cuma Chavez. The song was later performed in 2016 at the Guatemalan National Palace as part of European Union Day.
In January of 2017, Cydney released the EP Desconocida which translates roughly to an “unknown” or “unfamiliar person”). Desconocida, which is almost entirely in Spanish (with a bit of Spanglish), introduced a new, electronic sound, one which is largely unique to the Latin Alternative scene. The EP was well-received by the Guatemalan music scene, receiving excellent feedback from local critics and artists. Gemas (Gems in English), the follow-up EP to Desconocida is planned to be released in July of 2017. The album will further explore this electronic sound and feature Cydney’s signature catchy hooks and dark, personal lyrics.