Who Is Neyla Pekarek? New Details On Why She Left The Lumineers

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Who Is Neyla Pekarek? New Details On Why She Left The Lumineers
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Neyla Pekarek is leaving the Lumineers, the band announced on Thursday

After 8 years with the band, the cellist is leaving to pursue a solo career. Pekarek has signed with S-Curve Records, and her solo debut is expected in 2019. 

The band, which now consists of co-founders Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, tweeted their support for the former bandmate alongside a press release announcing her departure.

During Pekarek's time with the band, the Lumineers found mainstream success with 2012's chart-topping "Ho Hey," which reached the #3 slot on the Billboard Hot 100. The band's success continued with the 2016 follow-up album Cleopatra, which featured another chart-topping single in "Ophelia." 

"They say when a snake sheds its skin, it is a sign of rebirth, transformation, and new beginnings," Pekarek said in a statement. "But it is time to shed my skin; it is time for a new adventure." 


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As T-Swift fans know, snake metaphors signal a big shift in a musician's career. It's clearly a time of major transformation for the artist, so who is Neyla Pekarek? The old Lumineers cellist can't come to the phone right now, but here's everything you need to know about the artist and her burgeoning solo career.

1. She's a Denver native 

Pekarek was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, where the Lumineers have been based since 2010. According to her website, the classically-trained musician began playing the cello at age 9. 

2. She joined the Lumineers via Craigslist 

According to her website, Pekarek joined what would become the chart-topping alternative band in 2010 after answering a Craigslist ad for "a local folk band needing a cello player."

3. She could have been a teacher

Had it not been for the fateful Craigslist ad, Pekarek would probably be teaching right now. She graduated with a degree in music education from the University of Northern Colorado and was seeking a teaching position before she joined the Lumineers.

4. Her departure follows another big shake-up in the group 

This summer, the band parted ways with long-time manager David Meinert after multiple sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against the high-powered music magnate.


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5. She's married 

The solo music career isn't the only big change in Pekarek's life. The artist was married in September, sharing photos of the nuptials on Instagram. And the lucky man? A self-described "Denver native," named Jeff who keeps a low profile with a private Instagram account.

6. Her debut single is expected soon 

According to the official press release, the solo debut, "Train," will drop before the end of 2018. 


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7. The new album is called Rattlesnake 

The debut album is expected in 2019, and is based on the life of legendary Colorado pioneer woman "Rattlesnake Kate." According to local legend, Katherine McHale "death-defyingly encountered a rattlesnake migration in the 1920s" in which she killed 140 rattlesnakes while protecting her infant son. The snake-themed concept album has its origins in an original musical Pekarek wrote in 2017. The project was commissioned by the Denver Center for Performing Arts. 

Pekarek has been slyly promoting her new material with snake emojs aplenty (again, T-Swift vibes, anyone?) while Lumineers fans eagerly await what the musician has in store for her solo debut.


Kayla Kibbe is a writer wrapping up her final semester at Connecticut College where she is an English major with a concentration in creative writing. She covers trending celebrity and entertainment news, love and relationships, and astrology.

WATCH: Interview With Neyla Pekarek