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Latino Artists Megapost!


Where Latin music is concerned, Geoffrey Royce Rojas is a prince among men. Seriously. The stage name of the singer, songwriter, and record producer from the Bronx is Prince Royce. At age 24, after having released two records since 2010, he has won acclaim from his first label (he already has an album of hits titled #1's), gotten honored with the 2013 BMI Latin Songwriter of the Year award, and just got signed to record bachata albums in Spanish through Sony Music Latin, as well as English-language pop albums via RCA Records.

"It's the same label family, but the music and the attitude is way different," Royce says. "The things that I do have to try and keep separate are the meetings, as the brainstorming and marketing stuff can get confusing," he says with a laugh.

Where the BMI award is concerned, he is humbly grateful, amazed to be given such an opportunity.

"I write from the heart about the experience of being alive," Prince Royce says. "What sets me apart, I think, is the ways in which I write about love. We all want to do that, but when I write, I think I include matters of insecurity and self-esteem as well as passion. I always try to do real stuff."

As for the music, whether it's bachata, salsa, or an R&B groove like the one running through last year's Phase II album, Prince Royce will give each of his records something Latin.

"Bachata once had a bad rep, I know, as a vulgar dance sound, (LOL no) but I am, and listen to, so many things," Royce says. "There are beautiful melodies to be made, and songs that sing about beautiful people. I want to make music that's there when you cry as well as celebrating your birthday as well as being in the club. That's what's so romantic about doing all this."

Before jumping off the phone, Royce discusses being a young Latino from the Bronx and the responsibility he feels in regard to younger impressionable Latinos, something that Caucasian artists such as Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, or the guys from Vampire Weekend don't have to worry about.

"Yeah, but I'm fine with it," Royce says. "I have seen an awful lot of negativity in my old neighborhood, and I was fortunate enough to get out, achieve things, and see the world. A lot of people wanted to bring me down, but I didn't let that happen. I want to be up. I want to be a motivator."

If you know anyone from Latin America, or anyone whose parents are from Latin America, odds are they like to dance to Juan Luis Guerra.

Guerra is a Dominican merengue and bachata singer whose happy music can pull you out of the funkiest funk on the rainiest day. He's been making music for decades and continues to release hits -- it's worth noting that his music hasn't lost its "everything-is-going-to-be-ok-just-dance" edge in the slightest. Guerra says it's even his band's mission, "We all have it very clear from the moment we get on stage; our priority is to make people happy."

1. So who is Juan Luis Guerra?

-- He's written some of the most recognizable dance songs in Latin America but you'll probably never find him on the dance floor. "For me it's more important to make other people dance. But I CAN dance."

-- He's a happily married man who's not embarrassed to still write love songs for his wife. "Normally the things I like aren't the things my wife likes. I love being at my house, she loves going out. It's backwards, it's all backwards. But of course that's how it has to be. We complement each other. You have to sacrifice and be thankful for each other."

-- He's his harshest critic. "I actually don't enjoy hearing my music on the radio. I listen with a critical ear. I start saying "Caramba! Why didn't I sing this like this or like that." Musicians are "special" in that way."

2. Why is he relevant today?

-- He's still making music. This month he released a new live CD and DVD from a show during "Asondeguerra Tour" in Santo Domingo. It rained the entire two-hour concert, but the 50,000 people watching him didn't stop dancing for a second.

If you're thinking "Eh, this guy's old and doesn't speak to me at all…" you might be right, but you're probably wrong.

Guerra studied composition and jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"I heard things I had never heard. They're big on jazz, so I was introduced to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane. I started to investigate that music and how I could adapt everything I was learning to Latin music. That had a huge impact on my music. When I can mix jazz or reggae with meringue I do."

After graduating in 1979 (OK that graduation year might make him seem old) he returned to the Dominican Republic and was set on forming a band -- like most Berklee graduates. "I didn't know I would work with meringue, bachata, and salsa specifically. I wanted to be a jazz guitarist, but getting to Dominican Republic the trajectory changed and I had the opportunity to work with meringue and doors opened from there," he says. He recorded some commercial jingles while he formed his band, the 4:40, who he still plays with.

3. The path to success takes three friends and VW Beetle.

The four-man-band would drive around Santo Domingo in an old Volkswagen Beetle listening to the radio, waiting to hear their song. This was the ritual they had for their first three albums. The fourth album, Ojala Que Llueva Café, was the first in which Guerra presented himself as a solo artist.

Guerra won his first Grammy for his fifth album Bachata Rosa (which features one of his greatest hits "La Bilirrubina"). The album sold more than five million copies and mixed jazz, rock, pop and merengue.

Where did "La Bilirrubina" come from?
"I had a concert in Panama coming up when I got hepatitis. My doctor came into the room and said to me, 'That concert isn't going to happen. You have high levels of bilirubin.' I said 'The bili-what?!' After that I decided to make a meringue for the bilirrubina."

His next album Areito in 1992 fused Folkloric merengue with African soukus. He won another Grammy for his merengue hit "Las Avispas".

Skip to 2007, four albums later. His 10th album La Llave De Mi Corazon won 7 Latin Grammys. Over the years Guerra's lyrics became more spiritual and social, like his song "La guagua (the bus)" about faulty social systems, which he made into another happy song.

4. What's the secret to music that doesn't age?

"We have the pleasure in the Dominican Republic of having really happy and danceable music, like merengue and bachata. With our music we've delivered various messages, but no matter what, say what we say, the percussions and happiness always comes out in our music."

5. If he had to explain who he was to someone who had never heard of him, what song would he choose?

"Depends on the situation. Our music takes you through different moods. I think "La Bilirrubina" could be one, or "Ojala Que Llueva Café" could be another. If it's a couple, "Mi Bendicion," which is a new one. I would need to see the person's face before choosing."

Guerra has made people happy for over 20 years with his melodies and lyrics. If he can still make this kind of music in his 50s, it just goes to show that aging depression is not a real thing... so get over turning 30 this year and go listen to "El Niágara en Bicicleta"– tranquilo Bobby, tranquilo.

There was only one good reason to trek it from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, CA this past Friday night: I got a backstage VIP pass to the kick-off concert to Juanes' highly anticipated 2013 "Loud and Unplugged" summer tour.

Without exaggerating, I can say that Juanes and his bandmates – Rafael Sandoval on the sax, Edilberto Lievano on the trombone, Orlando Barreda on the trumpet, Juan Pablo Daza and Fernando Tobon on guitar, Felipe Navia on bass, Felipe Alzate and Richard Bravo on percussion, Waldo Madera on drums, and Emmanuel Briceño on the keyboard - have never sounded tighter.

For one, Juanes has never toured with a full horn section. Then again, if you've listened to Juanes' MTV Unplugged album you know that he has strived for (and undoubtedly reached) a new level of musicianship. El maestro Juan Luis Guerra (who executive produced the Unplugged album) had a little something to do with that.
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Summer vacation is almost here and students in the Puerto Rican town of Adela Rolon Fuentes de Toa Alta got a special treat before their final exams. The one-and-only Daddy Yankee dropped by their campus to offer some inspirational words.

El Big Boss has been doing quite a few good deeds lately and this one concerned his involvement with the Red Cross. Apparently the school he visited raised a ton of money for the charity’s “Unete al Movimiento” campaign.

As you may recall, we mentioned DY’s close ties to the Cross back in February. And we’re proud to say that he stuck to his word, becoming a major part of “Unete’s” Puerto Rico initiative.

And seeing what a good job he did, don’t be surprised if Daddy books a few commencement speaker gigs for hard working Class of 2013. Saludos Señor Yankee!

After the resounding success of her singles, "Ay" and "Brinca La Tablita," new music star Amara La Negra is still going strong in the music industry with her new song "El Poronpompon".

"It comes from the same line of 'Ay', but less aggressive. The beat is the brainchild of Combo De Los 15 that I loved since they presented me with it," said the novel artist who has become a sensation in urban music.

Diana de los Santos, better known as Amara La Negra, lives a great moment in showbiz thanks to the support she has received among children, youth and adults. "I want to take the opportunity to gradually show my vocal talent, which is actually Amara La Negra, because people do not want to put a title on my forehead that I am nothing more image and movement. Many do not know that I'm a professional, "said the star of the label NB remember.

The actress also defined her career right now as "the beginning of an empire. It is the beginning of many great things, is the beginning of Amara La Negra ".

From being the darling of Don Francisco, who opened the doors of the Child Clan when she was only four years to win the affection of everyone at Univision, this unique artist has shown the best of her talent for art.

"I was in the Clan Children six years, every Saturday, almost grew up in Sabado Gigante, there was dancing in the chain, participated in all it was Latin Grammy, Premio Lo Nuestro, Youth Award. I managed myself well in what was that environment, I took advantage and went preparing dance lessons, modeling, acting and singing," she said.

The problems of Tito 'El Bambino' are not over, after 16-year-old Jean Carlos Fernandez, claimed to have been beaten by the singer last weekend, is now getting death threats which prevent him from sleeping.

Tito has had to face justice because of Jean's allegations of assault. During his visit to the Criminal Investigation Corps in Puerto Rico, the interpreter said via Twitter Jean threatened to kill him.

"Yes, I fear for my life, but I will not raise any prosecution for all threats on Twitter that the young man said. This confirms that there is little parental supervision, "said the artist very worried.

Fernandez closed his account on the popular social network after the star's fans were launched against him , however, the legal representative of Tito revealed that they have a copy of the now defunct youth account for use if necessary.

Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco, Seis
Queen Amara thanks you for your time

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