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Zayra Enid Alvarez Dones
|Alma mater||University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (B.A.)|
She attended the University of Puerto Rico, majoring in Industrial Engineering. After graduation, Alvarez became active in the local club scene and signed a record deal with Brando Records. She recorded her debut album Ruleta in Spanish. She wrote and performed all the songs on the album. A few months later, Kevin Lawrie at Sony Norte heard the tracks and signed her to the Miami-based label. Alvarez continued to work in the Latin music scene, getting airplay for her debut single "Hoy" on stations throughout Puerto Rico and the US. Picky Talarico directed the video for "Hoy", which was shot on location in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The program director for Entravision Communications "Super Estrella" network happened upon her while she was performing at the Grove in Los Angeles. The following week "Hoy" was added to the playlist for all of the "Super Estrella" network across the US. This led Sony Norte to release a second single "Cada Momento".
While touring and performing in Texas, Alvarez became close friends with her Brando Records label mates Blue October, who invited her to sing on two songs: "Come in Closer" off of their album History for Sale and "Into the Ocean" from their platinum-selling album Foiled.
Alvarez landed a spot on the CBS TV show Rockstar: Supernova in 2006. Her outrageous costumes and creative spin on the songs she performed were both praised and derided by the media. Los Angeles Times pop music critic Ann Powers stated that "Rockstar's most intriguing contestant, the Puerto Rican punk chanteuse Zayra Alvarez" while her hometown paper, the Dallas Observer, referred to her as having a "serious, possibly fatal, pitch deficiency". Marc Hirsh declared that "Zayra quickly learned to own her weirdness and start driving it without fear... without changing her style or even necessarily improving, she revealed herself to be what allmusic.com’s postseason roundtable referred to as 'the most exciting, original, and audacious' singer in the entire competition." During her tenure, she covered many well-known songs, including "Call Me", "867-5309/Jenny", and "Everybody Hurts". On week 7, Alvarez performed her original song, ""Lluvia de Mar"" in Spanish. She was eliminated from the show on August 16.
After the show Alvarez dropped her last name and became known simply as Zayra. Her album, Baby Likes To Bang, was released on September 14, 2010 by Brando Records. The album represented Zayra's transition into dance music. Two singles were released from the album, "V.I.P." and "Baby Likes To Bang."
"V.I.P.", the first single from the album and a Top 5 Billboard Dance Club Hit. The second single "Baby Likes To Bang" was released November 8, 2010. It was declared the #1 Dance Breakout by Billboard'.
Zayra appeared in the independent film "Lycanthrope". The movie features one of her original songs, "This Is Love", which can be found on the re-release of her album "Ruleta".
She has worked as a photographer for Blue October and co-directed a music video for Tori Velasquez with Merrit Fields. In 2014, Zayra started a line of prints she illustrated named The Sleepy Heads Collection by Pepper Love. She has also designed jewelry for the line Z+V for Vinca in addition to working as an interior designer.
Appearances in other albums
- Blue October - History for Sale, guest vocals on "Come in Closer"
- Blue October - Argue With a Tree, guest vocals on "Come in Closer"
- Blue October - Foiled, backing vocals on "Into the Ocean"
- Stormaid: The Concert
- "Canción 'Alma boricua' de Zayra Álvarez ayuda a Puerto Rico".
- "Rockstar Supernova".
- She's determined to be heard, man. L.A Times.
- "Le sonríe la suerte a Zayra".
- Ann, Powers (Aug 8, 2006). "He cleans up good". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
- Martin, Merritt (August 31, 2006). "Person With Disability: Rest in peace—please—Zayra Alvarez". Dallas Observer. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
- Marc Hirsh. "Sanjaya was an 'Idol,' and reality TV, original".
- "La nueva diva del "dance"".
- "ZAYRA ÁLVAREZ, NEW DIVA OF POP/DANCE".
- Austin Fashion Week Article
- Pictures From Atlanta Pride 2010
- "Exclusive Premiere: Blue October, 'Debris'". Retrieved 7 February 2016.
- "Tori Vasquez "Wear You Thin" (Merritt Fields, Zayra Alvarez, dir.)". Retrieved 7 February 2016.
- "Linkedin: Zayra Alvarez".
- "Nu Interiors Design".