Carlos Villalobos

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Carlos VillaLobos
Carlos live in concert.
Carlos live in concert.
Background information
Birth nameCarlos VillaLobos, Jr.
Born (1975-01-28) January 28, 1975 (age 46)
GenresRock, alternative rock, industrial rock, pop, jazz, latin, electronica, classical, world,
studio musician
audio engineer
InstrumentsVocals, piano, synthesizer, keyboard, programming, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, drums, violin, cello, oboe, harmonica
Years activeSince 1998
LabelsAlistar Records, Rhodium Records, Higher Octave
Associated actsEsperanza (La Esperanza), Angry Chiwawah, Hurricane, Filter

Carlos Jonathan VillaLobos, Jr. (aka CJ Villa) (born January 28, 1975) is an American composer, studio musician, recording engineer, and multi-instrumentalist, who writes and produces original music for rock and pop artists, and composes modern orchestral music for trailers, television shows and films.

Musical career[edit]


Esperanza, formerly La Esperanza, is VillaLobos's critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated Latin-new age flamenco project.

Allmusic said of the group's self-titled 1998 debut LP. "Mixing flamenco-styled guitars with contemporary dance rhythms, Esperanza (is) led by songwriter, producer and session ace Carlos VillaLobos. Esperanza II appeared three years later."[1] He performed all instruments, engineered, recorded, produced, and mixed his albums but had guest guitarist Andre Barboza on a few songs on both La Esperanza and Esperanza II releases and bass player Rob Hagopian on the first release, La Esperanza.


  • La Esperanza (1998) (Higher Octave Music/Alistar Records)
  • Esperanza II (2001) (Higher Octave Music/Alistar Records)
  • Songs for the Season (2006) (Alistar Records)
  • Valentine's Night (2011) (Alistar Records)
  • Esperanza II (remastered) (2014) (Alistar Records)
  • La Esperanza (2014) (Alistar Records)

The original record label Higher Octave released Esperanza's debut self-titled album on September 22, 1998.[2] JazzTimes said of the album:[3]

Swirling, fleet flamenco guitar work meets modern dance rhythms … a sometimes dizzying romantic showcase for multi-instrumentalist Carlos VillaLobos … doesn't overdress melodies … allowing his dynamic strum and fleet fretwork to shine through. He also avoids the everything-sounds-the-same pitfall by reaching for a variety of textures and styles … many rewarding layers to uncover.

La Esperanza released "Esperanza II" on July 17, 2001, again on Higher Octave. said the record was "The freshest take on flamenco since the millennium flipped over..."[4] and Allmusic said the album was "One of the best worldbeat releases of the year.".[5]

On December 12, 2006, Esperanza released a holiday album entitled "Songs For The Season."[6]


  • Music for the New Millennium (Virgin)
  • Nuevo Flamenco (Higher Octave/Virgin)
  • Rendezvous: Echoes Within the City (Higher Octave/Virgin)
  • Tabu: Mondo Flamenco (Narada)
  • Gypsy Magic: Nouveau Flamenco (EMI)

In 1999, the group appeared on the compilation album "Chicago Rapid Transit: Grooves 99" with a remix track named "Spanish Eyes/Flamenc Tronic Mix."[7]


The season finale of Sex and the City, "Ex and the City" (aired on October 3, 1999) featured four Esperanza songs: "La Punta", "El Loco", "Love & Lust", "Cara Mia."

Angry Chiwawah[edit]

Angry Chiwawah was Carlos VillaLobos's heavy rock project. The band released their album "Unleashed" through Rhodium Records on April 30, 2002.[8] The cover art for "Unleashed" features model/actress Brande Roderick.[9]


MTV first featured the band's music on The Real World: Las Vegas, The Real World: Paris and Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet.

US Cellular chose to preload the band's song "Please" onto the company's Motorola ROKR z6m phones.[10]

Starting From Zero[edit]

In 2008, VillaLobos began production on his latest rock project, "Starting From Zero." VillaLobos tracked drums with producer/engineer Rae Dileo of Filter/Army of Anyone fame at Solid Sound Recording Studio in Hoffmann Estates, IL.[11] The rest of the project was recorded in VillaLobos' home studio, Villa de Lobos, and in 2010 the band name was changed to SuperLoaded.

Other projects[edit]

VillaLobos' first entry into the world of television music was when he was hired to be the original music composer and producer for the show "Baywatch" Hawaii in 2000. He wrote/co-wrote, performed all instruments, recorded and mixed one song per episode using local talent for vocals and wrote, performed and mixed the theme song "Let Me Be The One" with co writers Glenn Medeiros and Fiji

VillaLobos engineered, produced and mixed O-Shen's debut album Iron Youth in 2000. He also co-wrote the music with O-Shen and performed all instruments. The album went on to give him his second Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (HOKU AWARDS) nomination and his first win. The HOKU AWARDS is the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

VillaLobos is featured on the band Hurricane's 2001 album Liquifury. He is credited with co-writing track seven on the album, entitled "Bleed For Me," with Kelly Hansen (Foreigner) and Jay Schellen (ASIA). He also performed guitars on the recording.[12]

VillaLobos contributed a remix track entitled "In Dreams (Chase The White Rabbit Into Pakistan)" to Filter's first independent album "Anthems for the Damned", released November 4, 2008.[13]

VillaLobos worked with Terrence Howard on the song WHAT THE DJ SPINS for the television show EMPIRE (Fox) playing drums, bass and additional keyboards. He also worked on several other songs for EMPIRE seasons 1-6 and serves as the ADR Supervisor in Chicago for the hit TV series as well. He and long time Empire co-writer and singer, Ashley Ballard, have also teamed up to form a side project called LA LA LA.


In 1998, the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts bestowed a Hoku Award for Best Pop CD to VillaLobos for his work on "Jalen."

VillaLobos won a second Hoku Award for Best Reggae Album for his work on "O-shen" in 2000.


  • Empire (2015 TV series) – Various songs in Season 1, 2
  • Sex and the CityEsperanza (1999)
  • Baywatch HawaiiSoundtrack (2000–2001)
  • The Real World – "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" & "Please", "Suddenly" (2003)
  • On the Record with Bob CostasI will (2003)
  • North Shore- "Island Warriors" & "Girl" (2005)
  • 'Starting Over' -"Mistakes" (2005)
  • Close to Home – "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" (2006)
  • Threshold – "Suddenly" (2006)
  • CSI: NYHide (2006)
  • TourgasmI Will (2006)
  • The Challenge – Turns to Stone (2006)
  • The Hills – Better Days (2006)
  • Blade: The Series- Frio (2006)
  • Paradise City – Better days (2007)
  • Her Best Move – Let You Know & "Get Ready" (2009)
  • Cane – Hide (2007)
  • Brothers & Sisters- El Sur de La Vida' (2007)
  • Dexter – If We See the Day (2008)
  • Wife Swap – "Check The Lock", "Make The Cut" (2008)
  • Easy Money – "Meri Lewa" (2008)
  • Crash – Please & "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" (2008)
  • The Two Mr. Kissels – "Never Surrender" (2008)
  • How I Met Your Mother – "El Lago" & "Please" (2008)
  • Doomed to Die- Heartbreaker" (2008)
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations- Soundtrack (2008)
  • Criminal Minds – Frio (2009)
  • Truth Be Told – "Mesmerize Me" (2009)
  • Moving up – "Come Like You Are" (2009)
  • GameTrailers TV with Geoff Keighley' – "Marathon Man", "Mesmeric" (2009)
  • Madman of the Sea – "If We See The Day" (2010)
  • Telemurder – "Who Will Save You" (2010)
  • Weird, True & Freaky- Soundtrack (2010)
  • Composed- "Who Will Save You" (2010)
  • "American Idol" – "Even In Youth" (2011)
  • Face Off – Soundtrack (2011)
  • Rehab Addict- "Even In Youth" (2014)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " La Esperanza: Albums, Songs, Bios, Photos". Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  2. ^ " La Esperanza: La Esperanza: Music". Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  3. ^ "Jazz Albums: La Esperanza – Carlos VillaLobos". June 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  4. ^ " Esperanza II: La Esperanza: Music". Retrieved September 18, 2009.
  5. ^ "Esperanza II, La Esperanza, Music CD". Retrieved September 18, 2009.
  6. ^ " Songs For The Season: Esperanza". Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  7. ^ "Chicago Rapid Transit: Grooves '99". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. ^ " Unleashed: Angry Chiwawah: Music". Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  9. ^ "Playmate Gossip". Playboy: 160. November 2002. ISSN 0032-1478.
  10. ^ "Rhodium Artist Chosen By US Cellular". October 8, 2007. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  11. ^ "Local Studio Happenings". March 2, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  12. ^ "'80s Hard Rockers HURRICANE Resurrected; New Album In The Works". February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  13. ^ "Anthems for the Damned". Archived from the original on October 8, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links[edit]