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Romeo Santos: From The Bronx In NY To The Dominican Republic – A Singing Star Who Has Earned Success
Romeo Santos had many hit songs with a group called Aventura and as a solo artist. But to really understand him you have to trace his background from the beginning to the present day.
He was born Anthony Santos in the Bronx, New York in 1981. His father is Dominican and his mother is Puerto Rican. He grew up near Yankee Stadium and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Romeo said it was a nice neighborhood in the sense that it was a mix of African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and everyone knew each other.
At home his mother had an influence on him musically. Romeo said “she had a beautiful voice and played a romantic ballad like Jose Jose and Julio Iglesias”.
His older sister Laura is his personal manager and said he was a quiet boy but he loved to sing. Even when he was playing with toys he would hum.”
At age 13, Santos joined the choir at his Catholic church so he could meet chicks he really liked. According to him, “He realized that he joined the choir for all the wrong reasons when he started getting compliments on his singing. From then on, music became his mission because he felt it was the only thing I was great at.”
When he was 15 he began to develop a passion for Bachata music and said that “many of the songs did not have a good reputation and the lyrics were quite vulgar and negative”. All this changed when in 1999 he formed a group with three of his relatives and called it Aventura.
Through trial and error over a long period of time they experimented with Bachata music and finally got the sound mix they wanted. It was smoother and more contemporary. As they continued to sing the revised Bachata style music, it began to pick up steam. The group sold 1.8 million albums and had several top ten hits. Since Romeo was the vocalist, composer and producer of the group, his status as a superstar became more credible.
As one analyst put it “Romeo wrote words that were simple and that people could identify with.” It should also be noted that Romeo wrote some lyrics that read like steamy soap operas. This was proven with Aventura’s first worldwide hit titled “Obsession”.
A little known fact that says a lot about his mother’s character was this: While Aventura’s star was rising he broke up with the girl he had been seeing since high school only to find out she was pregnant. His son Alex was born in 2001. Romeo said that “he was not mature and for the first year and a half he made excuses for not committing and wanting to focus on his music”.
It took a while for his dear mother to make him realize that he had to “get over it” and he did. He bought a house for his ex-girlfriend and Alex. He grew close to his son who is now 14 years old and interacts with him as a good father should. How lucky Romeo is to have a mother who has the character to remind her son that he must do the right thing at the crossroads of life.
In 2011 he announced that he was leaving Aventura to start a solo career. Two years after doing so he featured Usher and Lil Wayne on songs with English lyrics that are the closest he’s gotten to mainstream R&B. “I reach a huge audience,” said Romeo, “I do what artists like Beyoncé do in terms of selling out stadiums. The difference is that my audience speaks Spanish.
In 2014 Romeo sold out two nights at Yankee Stadium and did it alone and unlike other big name artists who had to get another celebrity singer to join them to fill the house.
At the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Romeo Santos took home 10 awards, including Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Producer of the Year, Hot Latin Artist of the Year and Top Latin Album of the Year for Formula, Volume 2.
During the ceremony Romeo made a special note to Marc Anthony and said that he had the great privilege of recording with Marc and he was like a brother to him. The fact that Romeo did it made me happy as Marc Anthony is one of my favorite singers. Mark is a really good singer. So I’m glad Romeo thanked him especially.
Finally, I confidently say that the kid from the Bronx, New York will have a brilliant career given the success and guidance he has had.
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