Siblings have ‘Idol’ dreams

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ correspondent

Siblings J.T. Montoya and Tiffany Montoya Welsh aim to leap from the side stage to center stage by attracting 30 million “American Idol” viewers.

“They’ve always been in music — it’s natural,” Ray Montoya said about his children.

Welsh, 23, and J.T. Montoya, 21, have grown up around music. Their father has been involved in bands throughout his children’s lives. In fact, they are the fourth generation of musicians in their family.

Their Latin-Tejano roots have blossomed in each of their original musical styles. J.T. Montoya has incorporated rap, hip hop, even a Cumbia beat, with Tejano music. Welsh likes to sing in Spanish with rhythm and blues influences.

Ray Montoya noticed his daughter’s musical talents when she was 7. She would sing as she played. She was a part of her school choir from sixth to 10th grade. Montoya said he bought his daughter a keyboard but her interests remained solely in her singing.

However, J.T. “Keize” Montoya picked up the keyboard and began picking out tunes by ear at age 10. His eye originally set on a career in sports, but found his passion in music. His father offered him a job as keyboard player in his band, Grupo Eclipse, at 16.

“What happens is that J.T. puts music and lyrics together and Tiffany knows how to sing it — well,” Ray Montoya said about his children’s talents.

J.T. Montoya graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix. He wrote original music and lyrics and produced his own albums. He is working on a song with Big Tuck and Tum Tum, two artists signed with Universal Records.

Welsh continues to perform at various venues in Clovis. Sometimes they work together.

“R&B is my first love,” J.T. Montoya said. “But then I discovered hip hop. I like to mix the two, like a simple hip hop beat with some piano. Something that is really composed.”

Welsh has similar feelings for R&B but her voice has complicated things a bit.

“My favorite to sing and listen to is R&B and Spanish music, but I can sing country well. But I don’t like it as much,” she said.

Welsh and J.T. Montoya will perform separately Monday at the Philadelphia “American Idol” auditions.

Performing pairs haven’t fared well on “American Idol” so they are going to take their shots separately.

“If they make it to Hollywood, I’d be happy with that, just for the exposure,” Ray Montoya said about his children’s auditions.

Welsh and J.T. said they have a good shot of at least getting to Hollywood. Each knows that no matter what happens, he or she will benefit from it.

“I am definitely curious to see what judges of that caliber will think,” J.T. Montoya said.