Sound Off: Montana Tucker
Jun 22, 2020
The world has its fair share of triple threats, but mega-star Montana Tucker exceeds far beyond singing, dancing, and acting. Beginning at the young age of eight (when I practically still sucking my thumb), Montana’s career ignited when she started modeling for BMW commercials and eventually going off to dance for Ashlee Simpson and Ashanti. Now at 27, she is best known for her musical collaborations alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, and Ciara.
In addition to her talents, Montana is an advocate of inclusion and equality for individuals from different walks of life. Her 2018 music project, “I’m Not Alone,” received praise and success after resonating with fans who felt lost and alone in the world.
As the only female currently signed on Pitbull’s “Mr.305” record label, Montana proves her rightful place in the music industry with the latest release of her new single “Hola.”
Popular had the chance to talk with Montana about the story behind “Hola,” her philanthropic projects, and what she plans on conquering next.
1. Tell us about the story behind “Hola”.
Pitbull and Robert Fernandez who are the brains behind Mr. 305 Records showed me HOLA and I fell in love with the beat. There were already some lyrics to it but I changed a few and wrote some different lyrics to make it more “relatable” to my experiences. I love writing lyrics that I have experienced in my lifetime.
2. You are an artist that has always advocated for equality and respect. Do you feel there are still a lot of prejudices in the industry for being a woman?
I believe we all are created equal, no matter what gender, race, religion or sexual preference. I think the world still needs to work on this.
3. You have a beautiful musical project called “I’m Not Alone.” Tell us about it!
This song is my ANTHEM. I co-wrote it and put so much of my feelings and life experiences into it. My purpose when writing this song was to inspire all those who listened to it, and well…from the thousands of emails my fans have written me, telling me that I’m Not Alone has helped them manage their bad days and made them realize that they are not alone, and then with all the videos my fans have submitted, with them singing my song and expressing their love for the song and how much I have inspired them thru the lyrics of I’m Not Alone , makes me realize that I accomplished my goal. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel that I have impacted so many young people’s lives in a positive and inspiring way. I feel I have given them hope and motivation, by letting them know we ALL have issues in our lives, they should never feel ALONE. I got one email from a mother who sent me a video of her autistic, nine-year-old son dancing and singing to “I’m Not Alone.” She said he never would listen to music before; one day, her daughter was listening to the song on my YouTube channel, and instead of shutting his ears and walking away, he started watching the video and dancing to it. Now she says he dances to my song all the time and thanked me! Another email I got was from a young girl who said her grandfather has stage 4 cancer, and when she puts on “I’m Not Alone,” they sing, dance, and smile together. She said he’s happiest when my song is played. These stories warm my heart. Some people have problems in their lives that are more transparent than others, but everyone has them. Some of us might be going through temporary emotional issues, or mental illnesses and others may have physical limitations. No one is alone. Like my song says, “You have to crash and burn to live and learn with arms open wide, eyes closed.” Basically what I mean by that is, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to make mistakes, go for it, we all make mistakes, and it’s perfectly okay, because YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
4. What is the inspiration for your music?
Originally what inspired me to write music was after I was bullied in high school. I even during that time told my Mom I didn’t want to do anymore modeling, dance, nothing. I quit everything that I truly loved because I let others intimidate me. I transferred to a new high school and because I was doing a lot of modeling/commercial work, and was on TV a lot, the girls at the new school started making fun of me. They called me “Montana the Celebrity” they laughed at me and teased me for my autograph. In the lunchroom no one would sit with me, so I began hiding in the bathroom during lunch period every day. I literally for over a month, stayed in the bathroom during lunch. One day, after school, I confided in my Mom and told her that I had been hiding in the bathroom for over a month during lunch period and hadn’t been eating lunch because everyone makes fun of me and wouldn’t sit with me. I begged my Mom not to say anything to anyone but instead, if she would please come during the lunch period and bring me lunch so I can sit with her in the car. My Mom felt so sorry for me that she did meet me every day for a few months. My Mom never missed a day but during one of our “lunch car visits” we talked about bullying and jealousy. That day after our long talk , I realized my Mom was right, I shouldn’t let anyone steal MY DREAM from me!!! I said “Mom, I think I want to continue my dream, and I want to go back to performing. I think I can help others overcome their fears through my songs and performances”. I admit, I was still fearful because of all the bullying and negativity I was still getting, but I was determined to overcome my fear. A few days went by and I said, “Mom, I have decided that I AM going to live out my DREAM and NOT FEAR these bullies, I am NOT letting these girls crush my dream, no-one is going to stop me Mom, and I am going to help others conquer their fears thru my music and dance. Since that day, I never again let anything or anyone stop me from achieving my dream. I started sitting alone in the lunchroom and ignoring negativity. Eventually, one by one, guys and girls would join me. After getting back into music, I right away booked a 45 day tour internationally.
5. You started your career as a model at just 8-years-old. How did you become a singer?
I was living the life of a top Glamour Cover Model. I was booking modeling and commercial work daily. At photo shoots, a lot of the photographers, while shooting stills, would ask me to do some dance moves so they could “capture the movement and expressions” in their photos. I had no formal dance training, but always loved to dance. After my Mom saw a commercial on TV for Darrin Henson’s (celebrity choreographer at the time to Britney, NSYNC and JLo) “Darrin’s Dance Grooves Workshop” to be held in Orlando , she signed me up. Darrin picked me out of the crowd of more than 1,000 dancers. He then said he wanted to talk to my Mom about booking me to dance for the American Music Awards. He said he was in negotiations to choreograph the upcoming Award’s Show but due to his filming schedule (he was a star of the then hit MTV show “Soul food”) they were unsure if he would be able to accept the job. He took my mom’s number and said he would call her within 2 weeks. Well, less than 2 weeks went by, and sure enough Darrin called. He began by apologizing that he was not going to be able to choreograph the American Music Awards, but said “there is something special about me, and that my Mom needed to bring me to LA or NY, because I am going to be a STAR. My Mom did not want to leave Florida, but instead she opened a dance company in Florida called Pop Starz, partnering with Darrin Henson!! My dream was becoming a reality, I became a Pop Starz Production Company Dancer, and I started with the group performing throughout Florida, as well as continuing as a top child model. I was still booking major national commercials such as Ovaltine, Macy’s etc. and became the face of Rooms To Go Kids, alongside Cindy Crawford and Sofia Vergara who still are the faces of Room To Go. I appeared in one of Barney’s movies, “The Land of Make Believe”, where I starred as the singing mermaid. My love for dance deepened, so I decided I wanted to focus full-time on dance. At the age of 12, I competed in the World Hip Hop Championship. I first had to win for Florida, which I did. Then I competed for the USA title and won, which earned me a spot to compete in the World Hip Hop Championship held in Los Angeles. Competing in the teen group against dancers from around the world I won. I then booked a job as Ashanti’s dancer, when I was just 13 years old. After this performance, I said to her Mom, “Mom, I want to be a real Pop Star, I want to not only be a dancer, but, I want to be a singer too. My idols were, and still are, Beyoncé and JLo. I started taking vocal lessons from Betty Wright who trained Beyoncé, Danity Kane along with many other top artists, and at the time was also the vocal coach on MTV’s hit show Making The Band. Then at 15 years old, I went on to win a My Space contest for Best Female Vocalist, which won me a song placement on the hit box office smash “Step Up 2”. Another movie that I got a song placed in, was the movie “Bring It On 5”. From there, I began booking opening acts for artists such as Flo Rida, Lil Wayne, Ciara, Omarion and Ashley Simpson, to name a few.
6. You have roles in many foundations such as EmpathyCare for Miami Jewish Health, Alzheimer, Alzheimer’s Association, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals, among others. This is such a beautiful initiative. How long has this work been going on? Is there anything special about these organizations that you would like to share with us?
All of the charities i work with have a special place in my heart but I have to say working with EmpathyCare for Miami Jewish Health is very special to me as I have a personal “connection”. My grandmother, who is 91 years old has had Alzheimer’s for over 11 years. Her psychiatrist who is world renowned Dr. Marc Agronin heads EmpathyCare for Miami Jewish Health. He has written best-selling books on aging and cognitive memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s. He has been a blessing to my family and to so many others. I am so proud to be able to help fight this horrible disease and to hopefully be a part of finding a cure.
7. How do you manage your acting and music career?
When you love love love what you are doing, it’s just, well…. pure FUN, and I could have FUN all day long!!
8. Define your style in one word!
9. Who is your music idol?
JLO, but Beyonce is up there too!!
10. You’ve worked with so many incredible artists, such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, and Ciara. Are there any artists you haven’t worked with yet that you’d love to collaborate with?
Of course excited about an upcoming collab with Pitbull!!!
11. East Coast for West Coast?
It’s a TIE!!!
12. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Touring the world and meeting ALL my beautiful fans, and opening charity foundations around the world!!!
13. What does popular mean to you?
Making a positive difference in people’s lives
14. Do you have any upcoming projects?
Something very very special but can’t yet disclose! Soon though we will announce it and I CAN’T wait!!
- Photographer David Avalos @theedavidd