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The Villas

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The Villas are a husband and wife pop duo whose self-released debut in April, 2000, Secrets, garnered enough praise and attention to land them a slot at L.A.'s International Pop Overthrow that same year. Both are vocalists and guitarists (Angel Ali Villa is on lead guitar, while providing harmonies to Bill Villa's lead vocals) and the duo work together as a songwriting team. The Villas are based out of Allentown, PA, Bill Villa's hometown, where they met in the late '90s through a personals ad penned by Bill, who is the creative director of his own advertising company. Focusing more on his business, Bill Villa's music-making had been at a stand-still for awhile before meeting Angel Ali. Angel Ali Villa came from her hometown of Elizabeth, NJ to Bethlehem, PA to study at Moravian College and later Kutztown University. She counts the Beatles, the Smiths, AC/DC, and Neil Sedaka among her many musical influences and she fronted a few local bands as lead guitarist and songwriter during the mid-'80s before deciding to focus on a career as an art teacher. She did not play her guitar -- much less write songs -- for several years before meeting up with Bill Villa. Bill Villa came from a musical family; his father sang with big bands and his grandfather was a professional guitarist, while some of his favorite musicians include Emitt Rhodes, Tom Waits, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis Costello -- a name that often comes up in descriptions of the Villas' sound. The early '80s found Bill Villa busy singing and songwriting in a locally successful duo called the Fops; he also became a father of two during this time. Through the rest of the '80s, he managed the rock band Daddy Licks, and this experience triggered his initial plans for musical collaboration with Angel Ali: he wanted to promote her. But the duo soon began writing songs together and Bill decided against staying behind the scenes. The two found inspiration in one another and became active musically again. They were married in June, 1999, and the Villas released Secrets, featuring a number of musical guests, in early April the following year. ~ Joslyn Layne