The soulful radiance of Bianca Muñiz

Muñiz and her four band members smile through thick and thin. Photo by Alex Hutchins

The singer tackles her experience with cancer with alarming clarity

Overcoming immense obstacles is something 22-year-old Bianca Muñiz has been facing her whole life. It’s something that pushed the Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. native to share her voice with the world.

Don’t believe me? Muñiz named her own eclectic style of music. Titled “avant-pop,” it is a wide-ranging mesh of indie, pop, jazz and rock that works to enhance the singer’s soul-tinged vocals.

Muñiz is currently battling cancer for the second time. At just 11 years old, the aspiring singer was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. You would never be able to tell—Muñiz’s presence is nothing short of radiant, her cheerful disposition as infectious as her smooth musical stylings.

Muñiz attended Pleasantville High School in New York because of its exceptional music program.

“I was involved in musical theatre in high school and then jazz and vocal studies in college, so I got to absorb all different forms of music,” Muñiz said. “I’ve always listened to pop and electronic. I love Radiohead. So, I want to say my style is a little bit of everything.”

At the same time, she also enrolled in voice lessons at the Lagond Music School in Elmsford, N.Y., where she was encouraged to cultivate a singular stage presence. It was where she first learned how to perform solo on stage, which can be an entirely different ballgame without the close proximity of band members.

Yet, Muñiz and her four accompanying backing members are fully attuned with each other. They’ve created a dynamic approach to music performance, interweaving contemporary music with the same spirit traditionally found in jazz music. Each member swaps between jazzy riffs and instantly gratifying pop, all while magnifying the disarming assertiveness of the singer’s voice.

On Sept. 29, Muñiz released the music video for her confident and assured new single, “For You,” through the video hosting service Vevo. The song is the lead single from her first full-length album, which will be released sometime next year.

The video portrays an impending storm of sorts. The person she’s with wants to retreat to escape a cataclysmic fate, but Muñiz flatly refuses, opting to live out her days to the bitter end.

Muñiz’s perseverance alone is more than inspiring, even after coming to terms with her condition. Last November, she developed breast cancer and went through a double mastectomy only a month after her diagnosis. Following the surgery, she underwent three months of chemotherapy and is now on a medication regimen until March.

“Experiencing cancer for the second time has really shown me what’s important in life—family and friends. And music, of course,” Muñiz said. “It’s not something I really think about. My experiences come out in my songs.”

Photo by Alex Hutchins

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F— punk

VANCOUVER (CUP) - Now, I understand the significance of the Sex Pistols, musically. They created a new sound that was edgy, abrasive and took all remaining preconceptions of what a musician or a band was, chewed them up, and vomited them back out. The only problem - in my opinion anyway - is that in the thirty years since it was birthed on the streets of London, punk has done little to grow, diversify, or actually do anything about the problems it has made a living off of pointing out to disenfranchised kids.