Singer and College of DuPage student Alexa Lee Torres recently released her new single, "Never Forgotten," during a performance at an event sponsored by the From the Barrio Foundation.
A resident of North Aurora, Torres became involved with the foundation after being asked to perform at its Parents for Peace and Justice Fundraiser, an event held to assist mothers of the victims of gang and gun violence in Chicago.
"They didn't specify that they wanted me to perform an original song, but I felt compelled by the importance of this issue to do so," Torres said.
"In writing 'Never Forgotten,' I tried to understand what these mothers of children killed by gang violence felt and how I would want my loved one to be remembered. The song was written specifically for these mothers, but it is also for the millions of others out there who have lost someone dear to them."
Torres, who performs and records under the stage name Ãlee, has been singing since the age of 3. She said growing up active in dramatic productions and as a member of the youth worship team in her church taught her the importance of developing stage presence and connecting with an audience. She also names her father, music producer Eddie Torres, as one of her biggest influences.
"Having my father as a music producer has definitely been a huge influence on my passion for music," Torres said. "His studio has always been located in the basement of our house, so I would constantly sit by his side as a steady flow of singers and musicians recorded their work."
Torres has kept busy recently performing at local venues and is in the recording studio working on an EP that she plans to release within the next few months. Last January, she auditioned for NBC's hit TV show "The Voice."
"That was, by far, the most exciting moment of my life," Torres said of her audition. "I didn't make it to the third round of auditions, but just to make it to the second round was amazing. It gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams."
In addition to her musical pursuits, Torres is pursuing a degree in radio and television broadcasting at COD. She intends to continue pursuing music but plans to eventually earn a bachelor's degree in broadcasting at Columbia College.
"If music does not follow through, I will continue to play gigs for pure enjoyment, but I would love to have a career as a news anchor -- preferably on E! News." Torres said.
Torres credits her experience as a student at College of DuPage as helping her to discover her strengths and realize her career path.
"Without taking my speech class and the research involved in the class, I would have never thought in a million years that I enjoyed it," Torres said. "It was that class that made me realize what career fits me best."
For more information about Alexa Lee Torres, visit www.aleetorres.