Artist Profile: Bianca Muñiz Expresses Her Challenges Through Her Music

Nightmares and Life Experiences Inspire EP, Scary Dreams

Press Photo of Bianca Muñiz. Courtesy Prince Lang

Bianca Muñiz’s life experiences shine through in her music. Singing and performing has always been emotional for her, but now it’s become more than that.

At the age of 11, the New York-based vocalist was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since then, she’s used her music as a means of therapy to help her cope through the difficulties she was faced with.

Due to the medication she was on, Muñiz doesn’t remember much of her childhood. However, she recalls feeling upset because she wasn’t aware that her friends were visiting her. It got to the point where she thought they hadn’t visited her at all.

Muñiz was initially set to go to a hospital in Sloan, New York, but the setting was displeasing. She remembers the depressing white walls of the hospital

“Everything was white, but not in a nice way,” she recalled.

Muñiz was eventually brought to the Maria Fareri children’s hospital. The toys, game rooms, and themed hospital wings felt like more of a positive environment for her. Her mother, Jacqueline Cortes, wanted her daughter to be closer to her friends and loved ones during her recovery.

Over a decade later, Muñiz was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was working at a shoe store called Pretty Ballerinas when she received a call from her radiologist.

Now, at 22-years old, her music meshes profound lyrics—implicitly tied to her physical battles—and a combination of instruments. Her EP, Scary Dreams, gives her listeners a handful of glimpses into her world.

Her band consists of vocalist, and Muñiz’s sister Jacquline Muñiz, who is a background vocalist, keyboardist and pianist Jack Gruber, bassist Alex Talarico, saxophonist Baptiste Horcholle, and drummer and percussionist Michael Hojnacki.

Muñiz’s music comes to her when she’s asleep. She’ll wake up with a song in her head, and start recording it immediately.

It isn’t just through common dreams, though. Muñiz’s inspiration comes from a more chilling manner: her nightmares. This makes the title of her EP all the more appropriate.

“I’ve been having nightmares and scary dreams since I can remember,” she said. “Every night, all the time, it always happens.”

Muñiz calls her music ‘avant-pop’. Her sound doesn’t have a specific genre as it employs several different styles at once.

Her title track “Scary Dreams” and the track “Shadow World” are songs that delve the listener into her “creepy side.” Muñiz said that “Scary Dreams,” was a turning point in her writing and, along with always having nightmares, she named it the title track for the EP.

(left to right) Alex Talarico, Michael Hojnacki,  Jacquline Muñiz, and Bianca Muñiz laugh while Baptiste Horcholle lies on the floor for a photo. Courtesy Jacquline Cortes

“Scary Dreams” was inspired by one of Muñiz’s nightmares. “New York city was under attack in that one,” she said. “Airplanes and helicopters were smashing into buildings.”

Throughout the nightmare she remembers being on the subway on a bridge above the water. As the subway cart began to fall, she saw dead bodies floating. “And then I woke up right before the car hit the water,” she said. Muñiz added that the dream gave her the baseline.

“[The baseline] is kind of creepy-sounding in itself and the dream is very scary, so I wanted for whoever is listening to feel all that craziness. It sounds like a lot is happening,” said Muñiz.

During her show on Oct. 27 at Le Cagibi—part of her Montreal tour—the chaotic nature of the song was palpable. As she sang in front of the red velvet curtains on the hardwood stage, the song slowly began to transition to a more upbeat sound. She simultaneously played the piano as the audience was hit with a wave of different instruments playing all at once, including the saxophone, guitar, and drums.

“Everyone’s singing and the voices are getting high so you could feel the planes crashing […],” said Muñiz. “Outside of the lyrics […] you can still feel the craziness with just the instruments playing.”

The first song on the EP, “Shadow World,” is similar to the title track. It’s an ominous song in itself, but the approach to the track differs as Muñiz’s vocals are on full display.

“I think that’s what that creepiness is,” said Jaquelyn Muñiz. “She lets go and every time she performs she’s letting that energy out and allowing herself be grateful and thankful.”

Although her music serves as a self reflection, Muñiz also expressed the fact that she enjoys letting her audience reflect upon themselves while listening to her music. She likes to make them think about what’s happening in their own lives.

Not only does Muñiz express herself through her music, but she also takes the time to make blog posts on her own website about what is going on in her life.

Her website serves as a platform to inspire those struggling with cancer, as well as advocating for people struggling with mental health.

Muñiz will be releasing another album titled For You, in June 2018, as well as single set to drop next month.