Reyes Emilio Montoya (3/18/1997-) also known as LilRey Montoya is an American Latin singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Northern New Mexico. Reyes started his musical journey very young with his first instrument, the drums, at the age of 1. This would kickstart his love and passion to pursue music as his full time career. By his early teenage years, he was already a full time musician with his band Deseo which consisted of his family members. He would later go on to play and directly impact the sounds of many groups around New Mexico and Colorado.
At age 1, Reyes began playing drums at home. At 2 years old, he wrote his first fully arranged song with lyrics and accompaniment. At age 7, he embarked on his journey in formal musical education as a drummer in middle school band. Reyes continued with the band from middle school until high school. Also at age 7, He began self-educating himself on how to play the guitar. This allowed Reyes to join Mariachi and play in the school’s contemporary band. It also allowed him to officially join his parents’ band at 8 years old. At 10 years old, he began learning the bass. Those are now his three main instruments. “I had been singing since before I could talk.” said Montoya “My parents took me and my sister all over New Mexico to perform for many audiences. I grew up listening and performing bilingual music with my parents’ in the band Deseo. It’s a variety band and we play styles such as Latin, Rock, R & B, Country, and Top 40.” In high school is when Reyes joined the choir program and he participated in state competitions and in All-State all 4 years of his high school singing career.
Reyes performed with many mariachi and mariachi style groups like Carlos Medina y Trio Los Gallos, Eddie Herrera y Los Alacranes, Mariachi la Differencia, Mariachi Tradicional, Euphoria, Mariachi Los Pollitos, Mariachi Cardinal, Mariachi Paisanos del Valle, and Mariachi Los Vaqueros de Highlands University. He has also performed and shared the stage with many stage bands such as Abe Gracia and Strings Attached, Power Drive USA, The Frank Ray Band, Ozomatli, Cynical Byrd, Viento, Cuarenta y Cinco, Perfección de Chimayo, Agua Negra, Nueva Vida, Sangre de Indio, Los Blue Ventures de Louis Sanchez, Mezcal, Amistad, Albert Solano y Los Amigos, Los Martínez de Mora, Los Martínez Bros, Jonathan Chávez y Al Cielo, Los Malcriados, Brenda Ortega, Quemoso, La Banda Flor, Lumbre del Sol, Gonzalo, Sangre Joven, Valiente, Karrizma, Severo y Grupo Fuego, Ernestine Romero, Danny Duran and Slo Burning, Fire n Rain, Los Charros de Benerito Martínez, Camino Oscuro, Peter Vigil y Los Hermanos, Los Malcriados, Eddie Herrera y Vengancia, and Johnny Sánchez y Puro Norte.
Reyes has performed with many groups in his life, but his 2-main ventures are with his parents’ band Deseo, and Wild Country. Altogether, Deseo and Wild Country have played many successful performances at venues such as The Ohkay Casino Lounge and Conference Center in Española, NM, The Turquoise Trail at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Pojoaque, NM, The Serf Theater in Las Vegas, NM, The VFW Post in Las Vegas and in Santa fe, NM, Tequila’s Bar and Grill in Las Vegas, NM, The San Miguel del Vado Fiestas in San Miguel, NM, the Villanueva Fiestas in Villanueva, NM, The Portales Country Club in Portales, NM, The Knights of Columbus in Clayton and Española, NM, The Civic Center in Las Vegas, NM, The Downs Racetrack and Casino in Albuquerque, NM, Cole Park in Alamosa, CO, and The Willard Bar in Willard, NM.
Another big thing that happened in Reyes’ life was at 8 years old, he began learning about music production. His Father (John Montoya) got him started recording using the recording software (DAW) Guitar Tracks Pro 2 by Cakewalk, which came with another DAW/Beat making software called Fruity Loops 2. Using Fruity Loops launched my career as a pro-am DJ, allowing him to sell his beats, gig on the weekends and become better at his craft. Also, while using Guitar Tracks Pro 2, he recorded and practiced the art of mixing. “I recorded and produced around 40 songs using that DAW. I even recorded my sister who had started writing songs with me when she was only 7 years old,” he said. His first solo album titled Persiguiendo, came out in April 2019. The Project took 5 and ½ years to complete and he was filled with excitement and relief when it was released. Persiguiendo has 10 songs and the #9 track is an original called Dejando el Dia Pasar. You can find the video for it on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/SsxQiCEm4go
His 2nd Solo Album titled La Nueva Experiencia is set to be released in mid-2021.
“In my time being a musician, I’ve written and helped write about 50 songs. I’ve done songs in genres such as Latin, Hip Hop, Rock, R&B, Blues, Country, and Reggae,” stated Montoya. Such songs include The Journey, Take Flight, Dreamer, HearTherapy, Within Your Hands, Glory of Kings, Summer Breeze, Roberta… I Love You and Dejando el Día Pasar just to name a few. Currently, Reyes uses Avid Pro Tools 12.8.1 as his main DAW but he is also trained in the use of Ableton Live, PreSonus Studio One 2, and Adobe Audition CS6.
Reyes was trained in the use of Ableton Live and Adobe Audition CS6 during his time as the Production Manager of the SDC Broadcasting Company. He used these programs to record commercials and public service announcements. Montoya was in charge of uploading content into the Skylla production system for the use of the 5 stations to use.
“I’ve recorded a lot of things in my life. I recorded my solo projects, I’ve recorded my sister’s solo projects, and projects with my bands, Deseo and Wild Country,” continued Montoya. Since opening his studio Reyes Records in 2018, Reyes has recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced projects by other names such as Jonathan Chavez y al Cielo, Los Martinez Bros., Matt Luna, Jamez Sisneros, Christina Perea, Marcos Cano, James Garza y Fuerza, and many more.
Playing in working bands most of his life has made him learn about the art of live sound. Reyes has had to do sound with his father for Reyes’ bands for thier gigs and many times for other local people and groups for celebrations, festivals, fiestas and formal functions in the area such as the San Miguel del Vado Fiestas in San Miguel, NM, the Villanueva Fiestas in Villanueva, NM, Officer Appreciation Day Celebration at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa fe, NM, the Meadow City Mariachi Spectacular in Las Vegas, NM, and the Fallen Officers Memorial at the New Mexico State Police academy in Santa fe, NM. All of these sound jobs we’re perpetual, and Reyes and his Dad had done them every year since 2006. Reyes has also helped run sound at many big venues such as the The Downs Racetrack and Casino Showroom in Albuquerque, NM, The Showroom at the Camel Rock Casino in Tesuque, NM, Wilson Complex in Las Vegas, NM, The Launchpad, NM, under J&S Pro Sound Entertainment and Santa fe Audio Visual. These sound companies have allowed Montoya to work with big acts such as Gabriel Iglesias, Josh Turner, Cheech and Chong, Ozomatli, Little Joe, Stefani Montiel, and so many more.
Previously, Reyes was enrolled in New Mexico Highlands University where he actively used his skills and talents in the Music department. He has participated in the Choir and Jazz groups there throughout his college career and graduated with his degree in Music Production in May 2019.
The album Persiguiendo also has one more music video for a classic song called Mi Piquito de Oro, here’s the link: