June 23, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

IE’s Avila Brothers Break Glass Ceiling as First Mexican Americans to Musically Produce Super Bowl Halftime Show

5 min read

IZ Avila (left) and Bobby Ross Avila (right) arriving at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 ahead of Superbowl LVIII.

In an extraordinary feat of musical and cultural significance, Rialto natives IZ Avila and Bobby Ross Avila, known collectively as The Avila Brothers, have etched their names in the records of Super Bowl history. 

Their collaboration with global superstar Usher for the halftime show of Super Bowl LVIII not only captivated millions of viewers but also marked the event as the most-watched televised telecast in history, with a staggering 202.4 million viewers tuning in. This monumental achievement has made them the first Mexican Americans to musically produce a Super Bowl halftime show, a milestone that resonates deeply with their heritage and the diverse community of the Inland Empire.

For IZ Avila, this accomplishment is a testament to the power of dreams and perseverance. “Growing up in Rialto and embarking on a 30-year journey to the Super Bowl, my brother and I always knew that no box was big enough for us,” he shared. “This is a great testament to those in the Inland Empire with dreams and aspirations that may seem unrealistic to others. We are living proof that dreams and belief in yourself can lead to extraordinary achievements.”

Reflecting on the day of the Super Bowl, the brothers described it as surreal. “Riding to the venue with our mom and dad, I put my hand on my dad’s leg and got emotional as I reflected on the journey,” said IZ. “It was a moment to take in and enjoy.”

When the Grammy award-winning brothers first received the news that they would be producing the halftime show, their thoughts immediately turned to their family and mentors. “I called my brother, my mom, and industry legends like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis,” said Bobby. “The excitement was overwhelming, especially for our parents. It was a proud moment for all of us.”

IZ added, “The calls and texts were great, but what would have been greater was to reach out to folks no longer here. This achievement was in honor of our brother Aaron Spears, who passed away last October. Lighting him high during the performance was emotional for my brother and I. Audiences may have noticed an empty drum set on stage, which was there to honor Aaron.”

Musically directing and producing a halftime show involves a myriad of responsibilities, from managing budgets and schedules to coordinating with various departments. “It all starts with music,” explained IZ. “We spent over a month figuring out the setlist and tweaking it until the very last moment. It’s an intense process to ensure the performance is as great as possible. The setlist changed a couple of times, and that process was never-ending until February 9th.”

Bobby shared insights into the rehearsal process, highlighting Usher’s dedication to perfection. “We were getting our call sheets at 1 or 2 in the morning, and a lot of what was going on was spontaneous. Usher loves to rehearse and make sure he’s perfected at the highest level. The whole week leading up to the Super Bowl was based on preparation. Watching the stage come together and timing everything out was incredible. It felt like a perfect performance. Our bar was Michael Jackson and Prince.”

With Usher’s extensive catalog of music, selecting songs for the performance was a collaborative effort. “The transition from ‘Turn Down for What’ was the setup for ‘Yeah’; as we were coming out of the ballads section of the performance. As a way to honor women, we put in the song ‘Bad Girl,’ which we produced as part of the Confessions album, and H.E.R. came out to perform. will.i.am brought out ‘OMG.’ Everything was intentional,” said IZ.

The Avila Brothers also shared their experiences working with Lil Jon and other industry icons. “Lil Jon is very passionate and knows how to serve the crowd. It’s been a great collaboration, and our batting average seems to be very good together,” said Bobby.

When asked about their first Super Bowl halftime show memory, both brothers cited Michael Jackson’s iconic performance. “It’s always going to be Michael and Prince for us,” said IZ. “We put that pressure on our shoulders to at least be in the conversation with what they showcased.”

After their historic Super Bowl achievement, The Avila Brothers are focused on utilizing this moment to tell their story and highlight their contributions to music and culture. “We’re focused on our documentary (which has already begun shooting) and life story at the moment, riding this wave until it reaches the shoreline,” said Bobby.

The brothers credit their success to the unwavering support of their family and mentors. “Our mom and dad, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and our cousins have been our superheroes. They’ve paved the way for us and have been a constant source of support,” said IZ.

Bobby expressed concern about the current state of the music industry but remains optimistic about the future. “The art of music and craftsmanship has been deluded, but having Usher on the Super Bowl stage pushed the envelope. He showed us what we don’t see as much anymore, and it’s great that the younger generation got to see a true artist,” he said in response to people under age 21 discovering Usher via his halftime show. 

The Avila Brothers are also excited about their upcoming projects and investing in new talent. “We’re excited about our artists in development including Obed, MKY, and our work in Nashville. We’re also focused on investing in our own artistry as The Avila Brothers,” said IZ.

Both brothers emphasize the importance of hard work and preparation in achieving success. “We’ve done our 10,000 hours, and to put on something this big, you have to have been doing it for a while,” said IZ. Bobby added, “Talent means nothing without the work you put behind it. Find something you love and put your energy into it.”

The Avila Brothers’ journey from Rialto to the Super Bowl halftime stage is a testament to their talent, hard work, and dedication. Their historic achievement not only celebrates their Mexican American heritage but also sets a new standard for musical excellence on one of the world’s biggest stages.


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