Doris Munoz was delivering pizzas in Fullerton, CA when she heard about a job opportunity on her college campus booking local shows for the amphitheater. “Sure, let me go for that,” says Munoz who at the time, wasn’t sure where it would lead her.
The daughter of Mexican immigrants and only two years out of college, Munoz now manages Cuco, one of music’s more promising voices of the year. While browsing records at Hollywood’s Amoeba Music, Munoz described getting called white washed for growing up as a Chicana who liked indie music. She gives credit to Cuco for filling a space the Latino community has yearned for.
We sat down with Doris to talk about how she made it in the industry, her event Solidarity for Sanctuary, and the song that changed her life.
Make sure to check out the video we shot with her below! xx
Where are you from?
I was born in Whittier, CA. I moved around a lot in elementary school and ended up in San Bernardino, CA for middle and high school.
How did you get started in music?
Music has always been a part of my life because I was raised in a family of musicians, but in the church. Worship music and singing in the church has always been a part of my story, but it wasn’t until college where I realized I could make it into a career.
At what moment did you know you wanted to be in the industry?
I was in college studying musical theatre/theatre education in Fullerton, and I was delivering pizzas at this spot called Two Saucy Broads. I was really frustrated with being a theatre major and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. There was this girl who was working with me and she told me there was this job on campus where you got to book shows for the amphitheater. I interviewed and got the job and that’s what kind of started my interest in the industry. From there, I got my first internship at a small management company, then a major label internship at RCA and a second one at Columbia. I was very grateful and lucky that at those internships I wasn’t swallowed whole or treated like a coffee girl. They invested me and treated me like a colleague.
Who are you currently managing?
I manage Cuco and Hunnah, a Toronto based singer-songwriter. I also co-manage August Eve with my business partner Jaz and I co-manage Inner Wave.
How did you discover Cuco and why do you think he is making waves in the industry?
I found Cuco on Twitter through a video of him teasing a new song. He had a small following at the time and I saw he was only playing backyard shows. He had never played a venue. The industry wasn’t even tapped into him yet. It tripped me out because the music was so good and he had an engaged fan base -- it just made so much sense.I went to see him at a backyard show and I walked into a backyard full of 200+ Latino teenagers singing every lyric.
I think he has resonated with so many folks and is making waves because those kids needed somebody like him. They needed an alternative artist for the Latino community.
I feel like we grew up with amazing folks making waves in Latin music, but not really in the alternative space. I was called white washed for liking indie rock -- like why is that a thing? Cuco kind of fills this space of alternative, but also hip hop, but also Latin where kids feel like they can cling onto that - and these kids are so ride or die. They’ll scream his praises to the high heavens because they just want to see him win.
Doris searching for albums at Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
Who’s an artist coming up that you’re excited about?
Omar Apollo. He’s on the cusp of something awesome and his engagement is growing. He’s this Chicano kid from east Indiana. He has a beautiful voice -- beautiful lyrics and melody. I’m really excited for him because he’s going to live in the general market space. Being a Latino is a part of him, but they're not putting him in that corner.
What song changed your life?
Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill. It was the first time I ever got to see a woman in that kind of space with that kind of confidence. She was the first artist I really dove into. I would go into the liner notes and see who worked on it, what she did, and watch all the interviews. I was in awe of what women could do. That’s a song that made me pay attention and be like -- oh wait. There’s more.
What is your biggest motivation in your career?
My parents. They sacrificed absolutely everything to be in this country. They put their life on pause for almost 30 years to come to this country undocumented with two kids, not necessarily knowing what the future was going to hold. I am extremely grateful for them. I just want to excel in my career so I can be in a financial place to give them everything they deserve and more. I want to take my mom to Hawaii! I want to take her back to Mexico. I want her to have a house. I don’t want them to have to work anymore. If I can be in a place where I can give back to my parents the way that they sacrificed everything for me -- that’s the ultimate dream.
Who are some of your women mentors in the industry and what have you learned from them?
Marissa Gastelum at Apple Music, she is the Latin programmer there and she’s been our champion since day one. I call her my Tia haha. She’s not only a mentor, but a friend.
Marty Preciado at Nylon Espanol. She freelances amazing things and always has her hands in a million projects. I’ve know her since her blog days and I think she’s so amazing with her words -- she’s an amazing writer. She really cares about telling amazing stories.
Isabelia Herrera at Remezcla. She really does her due diligence in telling the right stories. She’s a good human too which is really tight.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
I think women empowerment starts within yourself. Finding that strength within yourself to empower other women because it is strength in numbers. As long as we’re bringing each other up, then that means we’re taking it over together. It’s not competition. If we empower each other, then we create and foster that community. That’s like all the women empowerment we need to infiltrate these systems and show how powerful we are. If we do everything in our power to bring other women along side us, then that’s when empowerment comes in an all encompassing way.
Do you think there should be more women in the industry and why?
Oh 100%. If we look at consumers - who puts on artists? If you look at the largest pop artists like Nsync, Backstreet Boys, One Direction, Menudo and Selena -- who is at the front lines? At the barricades? Buying all the merchandise? Screaming every lyric? Those are women. I think consumers should reflect in the industry. I think women understand it on a different level. Men understand it as well, but I think there is some sort of sensitivity that women connect with and support music.
What has your experience as a Latina in the industry been like?
Before, I thought being a Latina in the industry was a hindrance. As this year has progressed, it’s been helping us. It sets us a part in a different way. I thought I was going to be pushed into a corner and given the lowest budget to work on projects. Now in doing this on our own, we got to break through the noise in a different way. I used to think being a young, woman of color that people weren’t going to take me seriously to now being like -- Dang you did that? Cool! How?
You’re asking me, a 24 year old woman who graduated from college less than 2 years ago, how this happened? Sometimes I can’t explain it, but I think it’s been awesome that Latinas in this industry stick together. We find each other, stick together, and help each other in any way possible so that’s been really cool.
What’s next for you?
A crazy year ahead for sure. Cuco just hit festival season and his EP comes out May 4. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a year in just setting up the album. We’re building our team and growing. I have a series called Solidarity For Sanctuary where we raise funds for undocumented folks’ legal fees, DACA renewals, or scholarships for undocumented college students. In the summer, I’m doing something really special with Lincoln Center.