By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Pasadena Weekly Executive Editor

Emerging R&B/Latin artist Ztilo has “no hard feelings” about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The quarantine gave artists like him an opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and reflect on what’s right.

“It allowed us to focus more on the studio and not focus on outside distractions,” the Bay Area artist said.

The fruits of his labor were released throughout 2021 via platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The first-generation Latin American also sent to streaming services his debut EP, “No Hard Feelingz” earlier this month.

It features singles like “Peligrosa” and “I Got You,” the latter of which was featured on grammy.com for its artist performance series, “Positive Vibes Only.”

Ztilo, who affectionately refers to his current musical offerings as “boy-band trap,” was once a rapper dubbed Cristiles during the 2010s. However, toward the later years of the decade, he went on hiatus after his son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.

This break gave him the time he needed to focus on family first, and ultimately drove him to pivot his career into new territory. He returned to the music scene as Ztilo in late 2019. In addition to changing genres, the new music has seen him tap more into his Latino roots, with songs like “Manera” and “Peligrosa.”

Ztilo is genuine and honest about the motivation behind his music.

“Women,” he said with a laugh. “As far as the project, it’s just a collection of experiences dealing with women and relationships and putting it together in a way that’s sincere and relatable.”

Ztilo has wanted to be in music for as long as he can remember. When he was 8, he started lip syncing to music videos, something that came naturally to him.

“I would lip sync to whatever was on TRL at the time,” he said about the MTV show.

He didn’t frequent concerts, however. His first show was his own.

“I was throwing concerts before I went to concerts,” he said. “I would say my first big, big show was Eminem and Rihanna in 2014.

“I wasn’t going out to shows as a fan. The first local festival I performed was back in 2007. The only thing on my mind was working on music.”

Now that music crisscrosses genres. He purposely doesn’t stick with one sound.

“However, I don’t venture too far from R&B and pop,” he said. “I’m reaching audiences who are drawn to different types of music and bringing it.”

For music: https://open.spotify.com/album/6JANhOCMXkRgwMLRQdyuGL