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Messiah El Artista – Taking Musica Urbana to New Heights

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Originally published in Jan/Feb Issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

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Unfortunately for Spanish rap, a genre where Latinos could hear MCs spit rhyme and reason in their native tongues, never took off in the states. But now here comes Messiah El Artista, who has already surfed and conquered the airwaves in Latin America. His braggadocios style gives swag to the hardcore life he rhymes about. His love for combining content and context, empathy and reality to rhythm and flow is what truly makes him a lyricist. Besides Messiah being the new voice of Musica Urbana or Spanish Hip Hop — the 25-year old Dominican rapper that was raised in New York City is a perfect example of America today, which is a bicultural movement that is influenced by its environment and shaped by its past.

Otto: Congratulations on the success of your “Unplugged” show at Stage 48.

Messiah: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Otto: You have a heavy New York accent.

Messiah: Yeah, everybody always talks about that. Since I’m a [Hispanic] artist people tend to think that I can’t speak English, but I was raised in New York and was born in the [Dominican Republic]. I came to Spanish Harlem when I was two-years old, so all my life I’ve been here.

Hot 97.1 Live interview with Messiah

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Otto: Being with Zion’s label, Baby Records, helped your journey?

Messiah: Well, I wasn’t signed to Baby Records. What it was… more like a representation. Zion (from Zion y Lennox) is a very close friend with my manager and his wife, Stefi Chacon. Zion said to me that ‘I’m not signing artists right now but you can run with the label name so it will be a leverage for you’. Right now I’m totally independent.

Otto: Wait, you are doing this independently? Congrats!

Messiah: Yes, thank you man!

Otto: Your journey to stardom was not short, but your single, “Tu Protagonista,” was on fire over a year-ago in Latin America. Now, you’re selling out shows, working with J. Balvin, Nicky Jam and Farruko to name a few of reggaeton’s biggest artists. Speak about that journey.

Messiah: I came out with a mixtape with DJ Flipstar “Ya Era Tiempo Vol. 1” and out of that mixtape came out “Si Ta Bien,” which was the number one club anthem in New York and the east coast. I also had shows sold out from North Carolina to Maine and even in Miami because of that song.

 

As far as working with J. Balvin and Nicky Jam it’s crazy because these are artists that you’ve seen while you’re in your struggle and on the come-up. I’m listening to these artists and enjoying their music and now I’m working with them.

Otto: When did you notice that your sound was catching on with the listeners?

Messiah: When my song “Tu Protagonista,” was in Colombia’s top charts. Like there were only two Dominicans on the top ten… [You know what] there were only two Dominicans on the chart… period. There was Romeo Santos and Messiah. Just that in itself is incredible. Dude, that’s incredible, I’m in the same category as Romeo Santos!

Otto: You’ve been having some great success recently. According to Vibe magazine’s website you’re “the first Latino rapper from New York to sell out the multi-use VIP venue,” Stage 48.

Messiah: So it’s all about doing good music and having a vision. When you have a vision and you see yourself accomplishing something and you stick to that [vision], it will happen.

Otto: Most people don’t know that you’ve been on the music scene since you were 17-years old.

Messiah: I’ve been doing music as long as the Dominican hip-hop movement that showcased talents like Vakero, EL Lapiz and Mozart la Para. I remember eight years ago I had a song with El Lapiz, “Fuka Sako”, featuring Mozart la Para. For those people that haven’t done their history lesson and think that Messiah has just started, I’ve been on the music scene for a while.

It’s just that those guys kept pushing music over there and found success. But my goal was to make it pop from [New York]… and I did it bro.

Justin Bieber new Latino Remix of “Sorry” is #1 in Mexico!

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Justin Bieber is once again making news within the Latino community, and this time it doesn’t involve controversy.

The Canadian singer recently surprised his fans on Thursday when he released the Spanish-translated, Latino remix of his hit song Sorry now entitled Lo Siento Amor.

Taking to both Spotify and Itunes, Bieber released the track in-which he recorded with the aid of reggaeton artist J Balvin. And it’s a move that’s paid off both musically and publically wise.

The remix is catchy and contains the pulsing sound of a traditional reggaeton dance track which has caused the track to climb to #1 on Mexico’s Top 100 on Itunes music chart.

The Latina girls are gonna go crazy,” Bieber, 21, tells Balvin, 30, in a short posted Instagram video regarding the response to his new Spanish track.

While Bieber is garnering some applause from some Latinos for his latest track, we’ll have to wait and see how the Spanish remix helps with Latinos living in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia and how they have responded to the track since they may feel the need an apology is in order considering Bieber’s controversy tour through South America back in 2013 which included the star disrespecting Argentina’s flag and graffiti-tagging some wall throughout well-known Latin cities.

Controversy set aside, Bieber will release his fourth studio album on the 13th of November and you can catch Balvin who is set to perform at the 16th Annual Latin Grammy Awards show on the 19th of November.

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LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS ARE BORN

2015 Premios Billboard de la Musica Latina - Season 2015

The Latin market has a new award show coming October 8th in Los Angeles. The first ever Latin American Music Awards has arrived. Since these awards are done through fans who interact with music through various social platforms from streaming to airplay, its not surprising that an Urban artist leads the list of nominations.

Nicky Jam continues his career rebirth in style with six nominations which lead an impressive list of artists. Jam is still enjoying the run of “El Perdón ” which features Enrique Iglesias, who has five nominations of his own. Perdon is now enjoying its twenty-sixth week in the top spot, passing Shakira and Alexandro Sanz 2005 hit “La Tortura” for second longest running number one song.

Nicky’s response to the hit that reached the top spot on February 15th,

“I dont believe it yet. It’s hard to digest.”

Jam is up for artist of the year, favorite streaming song, and song of the year. J. Balvin, those famous snubbing of Donald Trump, launched him into mainstream news, is enjoying a classic year. Balvin is going for new artist of the year and favorite male artist- urban among others revolving around his hit “Ay Vamos.” Romeo Santos, Mana, and Calibre 50 have four each.

There is also a favorite crossover category where Demi Lovato is a contender while Selena Gomez is nominated for favorite dance song. This show, which will be presented by Telemundo, is modeled after the American Music Awards and should be quite a unique event.

After Donald Trump’s offensive comments J Balvin and Univision opt out of Miss USA pageant

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First J Balvin and now Univision bows out of Miss USA pageant due to Donald Trump’s racial comments about Mexican immigrants in the United States.

The reggaeton singer J Balvin cancelled his scheduled performance for the beauty pageant on July 12.

“It was going to be my first performance on national television,” Balvin said to Billboard on Wednesday.

The Colombian singer, who spent time in the United States working odd jobs before he went back to his native land to become a successful artist, said to Billboard that he didn’t appreciate Trump’s racist comments.

“We’re talking about our roots, our culture, our values,” he said. “This isn’t about being punitive, but about showing leadership through social responsibility. His comments weren’t just about Mexicans, but about all [Latinos] in general.”

The real estate mogul is part-owner (along with NBCUniversal) of the Miss Universe Organization, which runs several beauty pageants.

Trump made his arrogant and anti-immigration speech during his bid for the republican nomination on June 16. He claimed the United States “has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” and “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems [to] us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump alleged these “problems” come from “More than Mexico… It’s coming from South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably, probably from the Middle East.”

Those comments by Trump provoked Univision to release a statement announcing “that it is ending the company’s business relation with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.”

The statement also says that Univision will no longer conduct any future projects with Trump.

J Balvin Apologizes For Viral Joke About Women From Bogotá

J Balvin denying there's beautiful women in Bogotá

J Balvin denying there’s beautiful women in Bogotá

J Balvin, the Colombian born reggaeton superstar, posted a public apology after he found himself in hot water when he made a joke that unfortunately for him went viral about the Colombian women from Bogotá that was not well received by… well, people from Bogotá.

J Balvin, who appeared on the cover of LatinTrends magazine, posted three apologies on his Instagram account (English, Spanish and… umm, Colombian?).

The artist formerly known as “I’m sooooo sorry for that joke. It was a joke. Damn, I’m in trouble,” was being interviewed in the New York radio station La Mega 97.9 FM. Balvin, who arrived at the station straight from the airport, was asked, “where you’re coming from?”

“Bogotá,” he responded quickly.

“Are there a lot of beautiful women in Bogotá?” the DJ asks.

“In Bogotá?” Balvin inquires. “Yes,” he answers while emphatically wagging his fingers “Noooo”.

The Colombian media jumped on the story once fans, supporters and haters of J Balvin commented on social media about the viral 15 second long video that shows him denying Bogotá’s beautiful women.

Balvin, who is from Medellin where the drug lord Pablo Escobar reigned, posted a three-part apology.

“I’m officially apologizing to the women of Bogotá,” Balvin said on an Instagram video. “I never said they were bad looking, but my hand gesture was a joke. A joke that fell flat. As a man, I understand they were offended. And the people of Bogotá too… I’m sorry, I apologize and I’ll learn from this.”

ROMEO, ENRIQUE, J-LO HEADLINE 2015 LATIN BILLBOARD NIGHT

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The 2015 Latin Billboard Awards had big winners and big tributes last night at the Bank United Center in Miami, Florida. Romeo was the big winner as the artist of the year garnered ten trophies with Enrique Iglesias a close second with eight. We saw a Jennifer Lopez tribute to Selena which was well received. There were also great performance combinations of elite talent last night.

Romeo and the Bachata genre is red hot in the past few years. It was confirmed last night and as he sat on his throne during his performance it was quite apparent how far he has come in his solo career. Romeo was recognized in his title wins in the areas of songwriter, producer, as well as artist. His album was listed at the top as well. Among the artists he teamed up in projects recently he especially pointed out Marc Anthony.

“I had the great privilege of recording with a man I admire so much. More than an artist that I admire, he is like a brother to me. Thank you, Marc,”

Enrique, who owned the Latin pop, digital, streaming, and airplay among others was in quite an appreciative mood as “Bailando” which stood at #1 for 41 weeks on the Latin Hot charts collected a lot of hardware.

“I want to thank my fans for their support and love all these years,”

he said, holding his awards tightly.

“Thank you Miami. Thank you Latin America. Thank you Mexico. Thank you world!”

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Selena, the Tejano singer who was killed twenty years ago, was honored by the woman who benefited greatly from playing her in the film “Selena” jump starting her career, Jennifer Lopez. She was joined by her family band, Los Dinos, including Selena widow, Chris Perez. Lopez does not deny the impact on her those many years ago.

“It was a great thing to have her teach me so much about how to navigate this business, but also how to navigate through life.”

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Colombian Urban artist J Balvin left with three awards including “New Artist of the Year.” Along with Nicky Jam performance which marked his comeback into the spotlight and Wisin two wins, its obvious that Latin Urban music is still flourishing and evolving.

“It is a new era for urban music. Reggaeton is getting bigger than ever.” Balvin mentioned in his acceptance speech.

The tributes continued as Jenni Rivera won posthumous awards. Carlos Santana was given the “Spirit of Hope Award” award presented by Juanes who performed with him. He urged everyone to get in the spirit to do good things.

“I invite all of you to change the world with your own light,”

said Santana.

“May the heavens open up and the angels bless each and every one with a deep awareness of your own light.”

Also honored with the Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award was the iconic Brazilian artist, Roberto Carlos, which was presented by Marc Anthony, a winner this evening as well. With these words Anthony summarized Carlos

“Tonight, this honor is given to a man with an admirable and moving voice, a true master whose talent has left forever a mark on the world of music and in our hearts.”

The performances were a highlight with J-Lo tribute, Romeo, Marc Anthony with Gente de Zona doing their thing and a special triple dose with Luis Fonsi, AfroJack, and Ne-Yo. Another three way set drove everyone from their seats was “Nota de Amor” with Wisin, Daddy Yankee, and Carlos Vives sharing the stage. Natalia Jimenez, crowned and all, was named “female artist of the year.” Ana Gabriel and Lucero also sang from a tribute album they worked on together.

The one moment of reflection through all the festivities was for the nation of Nepal, which is still recovering from the natural disaster that has taken over 6,000 lives.

“This is indeed a night of celebration, however we could not fail to mention the devastating earthquake that shook Nepal,”

Fernandez said.

“Everyone can help remake this nation, donating to the International Red Cross with a click at www.redcross.org.”

Latino Artists Help Drive Furious 7 Soundtrack To No. 1

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Artists like J Balvin, Prince Royce and Fito Blanko helped the movie soundtrack, Furious 7, drive to the No. 1 spot in its fourth week on the U.S. Billboard chart.

The soundtrack jumped from the No. 2 spot a week ago to the top of Billboard 200 chart and sold more than 111,000 album units since April 12 according to Nielsen Music.

Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth “See You Again,” a tribute song to Paul Walker displayed in the final scene of the movie, has been the top selling single since the movie came out with over 464,000 downloads for the week.

But with that said, J Balvin’s “Ay Vamos” featuring French Montana and Nicky Jam is currently No. 2 in the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs for the last two weeks. Plus Prince Royce and his sexy furious 7 video of his song “My Angel” has more than 7 million views on YouTube. Fito Blanko, the Panamanian sensation that has captured the hearts of people in Canada, is showcasing his talent with his song “Maneo”.

Latin Grammy’s…A Dollar, A Dream or a Destiny?

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Ricky Martin, Pablo Alboran, Camila, J Balvin, Jesse y Joy, Enrique Iglesias, and Marc Anthony are just some of the hottest nominees participating in this years Latin Grammy’s Performance Ceremony taking place in Las Vegas.

One of the biggest excitements and biggest downfall is the Grammy’s. New nominees go crazy just nominated for one category. They’ve worked so hard and are so grateful to the team that played a part in the production, promotion and of course the money because it is not for free. They truly show gratitude.

Artists like Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, and Enrique Iglesias have paved the way for new comers to be placed in diverse categories that didn’t even exist before. It is because of their skills and creativity that the new generation of musicians and performers have a voice at the Latin Grammy’s.

It takes a strong loyal team to convince millions of people that what they believe in is real. That your talent exists! To show the world what an empire you can build just by the first note you sing or play. You have to believe in yourself first.

Performers get 5 Stars ***** The Latin Grammy’s Festivals

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The Latin Recording Academy, Eventus and Univision announced J Alvarez, J Balvin, and Victoria are this years exclusive performers in the Latin Grammy festival in Miami, FL this year. This festival took part in 5 part series that visited five cities around the country and this will precede to the transmission of the most anticipated event of the year, the 15th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Awards. These festivities began Sunday October 5th to end Sunday November 9th. Social followers and fans of their music in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix would would of had to go to the beautiful Miami to experience the excitement of these pre Latin GRAMMY performers.

These events are open to the public and are considered to be the extravaganza in conjunction with the Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards. This is the most prestigious recognition of Latin music industry. This 2014 edition will be broadcasted on television live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 20 from 8-11 pm ET / PT (7 pm Central) on Univision. In addition to the national broadcast, the Latin GRAMMY Awards will be broadcasted in over 100 countries worldwide.

“We are eager to bring the excitement of the Latin GRAMMYs to our communities and continue creating expectation to one of the biggest nights of Latin music,” said Alberto Siurana, president of Programming and Content, Univision Communications, Inc.

The Latin GRAMMY Street Parties displayed an interactive musical festival, which included live concerts, exhibition areas for the sponsors and samples of different products. The series featured performances from some of the most talented performers in Latin music industry. We are truly excited to know these talents performed and embraced their positive energy on stage and up close and personal.

A Must-See @ MSG! What You Missed!

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No rain or thunder was shutting down this Must-See event at MSG. The concert opened with the Colombian sensation ‘J Balvin‘ performing his hit ” 6:00 a.m.” Fans sang to the molody as they heard the notes of his guitar echoing through the theater.

J Balvin since his initial debut still remains on top of the Latin Rhythm Airplay chart of Billboard. He has earned the loyalty of thousands of fans in all the Spanish-speaking countries.

Then with an amazing entrance filled with lights, smoke and dancers, Pitbull put the crowd in an uproar performing his biggest hits, including ” Fireball “, ” Timber “, “I Know You Want Me ” and ” Hotel Room Service”.

But who stole the night was Enrique Iglesias with his heartthrob seductive performance on stage of “Bailamos” , “Hero”, “Tonight” and ” Be With You”.

Short time before the concert Enrique spent some personal time with fans introducing ‘Adrenaline’. His first fragrance inspired by his desire for more excitement, more pleasure and more fun. What an amazing combination of Sex & Love and Adrenaline. Perhaps an early stocking gift for Xmas, huh?