Ila Cantor

Ila is devoted to creativity. She cares most about finding beauty, living in integrity, and growing in love. She is passionate about the creative process and receives profound joy from helping people cultivate more awareness through their music practice, as she continually seeks to do for herself.

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Ila Cantor

Ila is devoted to creativity. She cares most about finding beauty, living in integrity, and growing in love. She is passionate about the creative process and receives profound joy from helping people cultivate more awareness through their music practice, as she continually seeks to do for herself.

Professionally, Ila began her music career as a teen in New York City coming up as a jazz guitarist. She began playing gigs at age 16 and by 17 she was studying with incredible jazz guitar legends such as John Abercrombie, and John Scofield, and had an opportunity to sit in at the Iridium with Les Paul. She wrote, performed, and recorded original music, leading her own bands in jazz venues while still in high school and even was able to use a music project as a thesis to graduate high school early.

In her early 20’s, Ila was touring Europe with her quartet where –for a short time based in Barcelona, Spain– she recorded her first album (Mother Nebula) on renowned record label, Fresh Sound New Talent. She also played as a side-woman in many bands in NY with beautiful players like Aaron Parks, Matt Brewer, Steve Cardenas, Russel Malone, Rudy Royston, and so many incredible artists who traversed the Europe and NY scenes. During this time, Ila also expanded her skills to media, by collaborating on soundtracks for documentaries (BLAST!, Horizon), as well as appearing on television (Gossip Girls), radio shows, and other recording projects for artists of all styles. By 2010, Ila received a grant from the Van Lier Fellowship for merit as a composer, which allowed her to make her 2nd album (Creature)

By 2014, Ila had fully emerged as a singer/songwriter with her 3rd album, Highlights Of The Grey, as she exposed a new and vulnerable side of her musicality while living in the Bay Area. She continued to play jazz gigs, but focused on her songwriting, making several self-released EP’s, and in the meantime also gained pleasure in learning new instruments. During this time, Ila was funded through Patreon to regularly create professionally recorded tracks as well as lead guitar workshops

In 2018 she recorded her 4th full length album (Encanto) which was her debut on a totally new instrument, the Charango. Encanto was an ode to the rare folk instrument and featured her original music written for accordion, clarinet, bass, and drums with some of the Bay Area’s most prized jazz artists. Encanto was recorded at the historic Fantasy Studios in Oakland, funded by The Maginus Project, and released on Slow & Steady Records.

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