Angela Vía (born December 29, 1981 as Angela Jolene Trullinger Villarreal) is an American singer/songwriter from Texas. Initially marketed as a pop artist, Angela’s catalog contains music of a variety of genres in both English and Spanish.
Vía was born in Raymondville, Texas, to Tom Trullinger, of European-American and Native American ancestry, and Annie Villarreal, of Mexican and Spanish ancestry. During her early childhood, she grew close to her Mexican/American heritage, and often listened to the local Tejano music. Every day, Vía would lock herself in her room or take her boom box to the porch and practice singing for hours. She wrote her first song at the age of three.
At the age of nine, Vía and her family moved to Gresham, Oregon, a suburb of the most populous city in the state, Portland, Oregon. It was here that she began singing in her school and church choirs, as well as discovering some of her favorite artists, BeBe & CeCe Winans and Kirk Franklin. This was when she began to gain a deeper connection to R&B and soul music. In 1996, Angela’s father took her to a studio to record some of her favorite songs at the time. Among these songs were Mariah Carey’s “Hero” and Selena Quintanilla’s “Amor Prohibido”. In 1997 her version of Whitney Houston’s "You Were Loved" appeared on a regional fund raising album. This led to performances at cultural and charity events throughout the city. In 1998 she won a talent show sponsored by a Portland radio station and was flown to Los Angeles to perform at the Planet Hollywood party for the movie The Wedding Singer.
In 1999, Vía signed a seven-album deal with Lava/Atlantic Records thanks to her co-self-penned demo track, “Picture Perfect”, which Angela wrote in part by gathering poems that she had written down previously. It also showcases her ability to utilize the whistle register. The first release on Lava was “Catch Me If You Can”, on the Pokémon: The First Movie soundtrack.
A year later, Vía made the promotional rounds for the release of her debut single and album. Her first single, “Picture Perfect”, hit airwaves in March and was the most-added single to Top 40 Mainstream radio in its first week. It went on to sell more than 110,000 copies in the U.S. Smallville star Tom Welling played Angela’s love interest in the music video, which received heavy videoplay on both MTV and The Box. A Spanish version, “Retrato Perfecto”, also hit Spanish airwaves in the U.S. and a commercial single for “Picture Perfect” was released in Australia in May.
Vía’s second single, “I Don’t Care”, received moderate airplay and sold a respectable amount, but its success was not strong enough to launch her debut album, Angela Via. Originally scheduled for release on June 6, 2000, the album was shelved indefinitely. In 2004 the album was finally released as a digital download through RealPlayer’s music store. “I Don’t Care” was remade in 2001 by Australian pop singer Delta Goodrem and achieved moderate success in Australia.
In the same year, Vía appeared on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, as well as Nickelodeon’s Snick House and The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Her role on The Bold and the Beautiful would be her only major part until 2004’s Pastor Greg. In 2001, Atlantic Records readied the release of an updated version of Vía’s unreleased debut album. A new music video, scheduled to be filmed in August and directed by N’Sync members Lance Bass and Joey Fatone, almost became a reality, before Atlantic Records put a last minute halt to it due to Vía’s rejection of a deal she felt was demoralizing to her image in the music industry.
At the start of 2002, she recorded a Six Flags commercial in which she performed “Papi Chulo”. It received heavy play in her home state, as well as in other states for which the commercial was later edited. Nonetheless, despite the success of Vía’s commercial, she found herself among the long list of Atlantic artists dropped from the roster later in the year.
In 2003, two artists released remakes of Vía’s recordings. Chinese girl duo T-Rush recorded and released a Chinese remake of Angela’s “Girl Playa No. 1”. Salsa artist Kevin Ceballo recorded and released a salsa interpretation of Vía’s duet with Frankie Negron, “Eternamente Te Amaré”. Via spent the next two years writing songs for her Sony/ATV Music Publishing affiliate, Gruvia Productions, while she shopped for a record deal.
In early 2006, Vía went to Los Angeles for 3 weeks to write with an old friend and producer, and in only 2 weeks of shopping for a deal, she was involved in massive interest from many major record labels. In April 2006 she signed with Virgin Records. In May, a new recording titled "Speakin' Spanish" premiered on her official MySpace. In July, she opened RBD concerts in Miami and New York City. On September 26, 2006, "Speakin' Spanish" was released as a promotional single. Later, in December, "Baila Baila (Don't Let This Party End)" was released as a promotional single and received moderate airplay. It also made the No. 8 position on Clear Channel's new artist chart.
In February 2007, Vía started posting video messages through her Angela TVia channel on YouTube. In April 2007, Vía posted an in-studio video which featured a new song called "Wrong for You", which was co-written with soul artist Robin Thicke. She also revealed a new track on her MySpace page, called "What I Like".
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