Rising artist QUESTA – Emilio Cuesta – is really starting to make waves, most notably after his latest single, "Feedin'", was featured in the hit psychological thriller TV series Servant. To date, he's played a number of established venues in New York City but has big plans to hit up even bigger stages and get his music out to more people around the world. Currently preparing to release his next single, I caught up with him to get his thoughts on social media and his advice for aspiring singers.
How'd you come up with the name QUESTA? Is there any particular meaning or sentiment behind it?
My actual last name sounds like it starts with a Q! But it doesn't. Whenever people hear "Cuesta", they go for the Q if they haven't seen it before. Also, it sounds and looks kinda cool!
Tell me about your latest single, "Feedin'".
It's a breezy tune! Sort of psychedelic folk vibes, but poppy enough in a repetitive chorus to be considered anthemic.
Talk me through the creative process for the video. Where did the concept and idea come from, and how was the shoot?
The "She's still Feeeeeeeedin'" falsetto chorus always sort of lended to the idea of a farm in my head. Farms are always considered safe, good vibes, I think - I don't know why. The shoot was awesome! I love how it came out—some really magical moments with the llamas and alpacas.
The song was recently featured in an episode of the hit TV show Servant, produced and directed by Academy Award-nominated director M. Night Shyamalan. How did that come about?
I got lucky. Period! I had a great little acoustic show when an awesome person approached me and complimented me on a good performance of my song "Feedin'". She was super nice. About a month later, she emailed me and told me M. Night Shyalaman heard the song and loved it and wanted to put it in Servant Season 3 on Apple TV. I was like: 'This can't be real.' But it was! We made a deal with Apple, and the song was placed.
Have you seen an increase in streams/downloads of the song and of interest in you in general since the episode aired?
A little bit for sure. Nothing major - yet!
You've played a number of established, mid-size venues in New York City, including The Cutting Room and Mercury Lounge. Of all the shows you've played, is there one that stands out as the most memorable?
Probably my last one. We keep getting better and better!
Where in the world would you most like to play and why? Who would you like to have open for you?
MSG. The ultimate stage. I dream of that day cause it's just such an EPIC arena in Gotham itself. To open up for me? If it's a dream question, I bring Lennon back from the dead, and he opens up and just keeps playing. I won't go on.
Do you have any tour or performance plans lined up, or are you just focusing on your releases for the time being?
Some nice shows are coming up in March and April, but the big thing we're gonna start focusing on is the "LIZARD GIRL" release.
Are you a big or keen social media user? How do you feel it perhaps helps or hinders you and your career?
A bit! It's a tool like no other to reach the masses. Hurts in the sense we place a lot of pressure on it as artists but shouldn't. Helps in the sense that it can really improve fan engagement and create an audience!
Lastly then, you're an up-and-coming artist in what can only be described as a decidedly cutthroat business that has seen many bands and artists come and go over the decades. Nevertheless, you've made a name for yourself and are establishing yourself as a talent to watch. What advice would you give to anyone looking to make their first steps in the music world?
Find a mentor!