Windermere student becomes finalist in singing competition show "La Banda"
Windermere Prep junior Sofia Delfino currently is competing on Univision’s singing competition show, “La Banda.”
| 2:45 p.m. November 10, 2016
At age 16, Windermere Preparatory School junior Sofia Delfino already has done what most aspiring singers and musicians only dream of doing — sing her heart out in front of three judges on live, national television.
That’s because Sofia is a contestant on the second season of Univision’s “La Banda,” a TV show created by music executive Simon Cowell. Out of 3,000 boys and girls across the U.S. and Puerto Rico who auditioned for the show, Sofia has made it to final stage of the show, where she is currently a top-16 contestant.
And if Sofia continues to do well on the show throughout the season, she could become a member of the next big Latin super group.
The concept behind “La Banda” is quite simple, and its English translation literally reads “The Band.” The show is developed by Univision Network, Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment and Haim Saban’s Saban Brands and co-produced with FremantleMedia Latin America.
With “La Banda” there are three judges, as with many other musical competition shows, but fans have the opportunity to directly participate in the search for and creation of the next big Latin girl and boy band. Audiences root for their favorite band and their favorite individual contestants each week, and Mexican model and TV presenter Alejandra Espinoza hosts the show.
The judges this season are Latin GRAMMY & Grammy award-winning Laura Pausini; five-time Latin GRAMMY winner, multiple-award winning composer, producer, musician and singer Mario Domm; and by award-winning urban artist, composer and producer Wisin.
The idea behind the show is that the fans and judges work together to create the next hit super group. Additionally, the winning band will be awarded a recording contract with Sony Music Latin.
“La Banda” progresses in three stages: auditions, performances and judging in front of audiences and judges, and the live rounds, where they perform live on national television each week. As the season progresses, contestants are eliminated until the best combination of boys and girls is found. They will become the next “La Banda.”
REACHING FOR STARDOM
Sofia has been singing since she was 6 years old, and remembers the exact moment she knew she wanted to do so professionally.
“When I was 6, I was in the car with my dad, and he played ‘Young at Heart’ by Frank Sinatra,” she said. “I just felt this sense of security and I just thought, this security is what I want to make people feel. I started singing as soon as possible (after that).”
As she has gotten older, Sofia has gone after opportunities that will help her gain the experience she needs to be successful in the music industry. Anything that could possibly open doors for her dreams was a chance to take.
So when she heard about the “La Banda” auditions in Miami from a friend, it was an opportunity she jumped on immediately.
“I ran and auditioned as soon as possible, and they called while I was in the shower,” she said, laughing as she remembered the moment she found out she made it on the show. “I didn’t know what I was getting into completely, but I knew I was here to learn and keep learning as an artist. All the comments the coaches and judges are giving me help me get better, and I’m just hungry to learn.”
Not only does she get to rub elbows with prominent faces of the Latin music industry and receive feedback from them, she’s picked up some pearls of wisdom and continues learning about the industry itself.
“I have learned you have always got to be ready, it doesn’t matter when or how, you have to be there and give it your best,” she said of performing. “Most of all, enjoy it. You’ll always be nervous and there will always be judgment and you have to remember that this is what you love, after all.”
Getting the opportunity to both showcase her Venezuelan heritage and exercise the Spanish language and love for her culture is another plus that she said she doesn’t always get to experience back home in Windermere. However, home is where her friends and family — her rock of support — are.
“It’s amazing, mostly because I live in Windermere and I don’t really get a chance to express my Latin-American heritage,” she said. “It’s not like Miami, where everyone speaks Spanish. It’s been incredible. I remember the first time the show was on and everyone in my house was watching it and they called me every five minutes and said, ‘You did great; you’re awesome!’ There’s so much support and so much love and that’s the kind of the things that keep me going.”
Regardless of whether she becomes part of the next “La Banda,” Sofia said she is going to keep finding ways to expose her talent and continue learning until she can join the industry and make her own music.
“This is only the beginning and I’ll keep working hard as ever to get to where I need to be,” she said. “I’m so thankful for all the support because without it I wouldn’t get to be where I am today.”