Not many music artists can write their own songs and sing them to perfection. Bachata sensation Romeo Santos has done just that, and continues to do so in an impeccable fashion since day one.
"Originality," Romeo says, citing as the key for him in his ongoing successful career.
A native of New York, Romeo first became involved with singing while performing at his youth’s church choir with his cousin Henry Santos. He did not know that that would lead to a very promising career in the music business. Now, Romeo is by far the biggest composer, singer and performer of bachata, which originated in the Dominican Republic in the early stages of the 20th century.
Rather quickly, this contagious Latin genre spread throughout the remaining regions of Latin America and various areas of Europe. Within the U.S., it's currently on the rise with its romantic lyrics, infectious beats and sensual dance moves. Romeo, who was born Anthony Santos and is 30 years young, is an essential figure to the success bachata has had over the years.
Romeo’s gentle touch with writing has completely devoured women’s hearts, while also energizing and inspiring the perspectives of men. His first solo album, titled Formula, Vol. 1, is a prime example of his unique quality and high level of work.
"It took me approximately seven months to record this production," he says. "I am really excited because it was worth every minute, every hour, and every sleepless night. I worked hard at it; it is something different but, at the same time, I am not abandoning my roots."
The first released single of Romeo, who is the former lead singer of the now legendary bachata quartet Aventura, “You” hit the charts in magnificent style. It received positive buzz throughout the Internet, radio, and television waves. “You,” mostly sung in Spanish, does contain some words in English, which may have contributed to its domestic popularity.
Several singers entangle Spanglish lyrics into their tunes, but no other does it better than Romeo. Perhaps it is his soulful voice tone, charismatic demeanor, attractive looks, romanticizing endearments, or even his way of dressing. But one thing is a guarantee: Romeo is very talented at what he executes.
Formula, Vol. 1’s second release, “Promise,” features R&B act Usher. What better combination, right? As soon as this melody was distributed, it sparked triumph all over. To continue growing and re-invent himself as an artist, Romeo decided to take on this project with Usher.
"I thought it would be a good combination," Romeo says of when thinking about the duo. "I hunted him until we spoke and he fell in love with the song." Indeed, it has been and still is a good combo.
So what inspires Romeo to write what he sings? "Some are personal experiences and some are situations that I make up," he says. "I like to write about things that my fans can identify and relate to, and that is how it all pretty much began."
Romeo, who enjoys playing basketball and hitting the gym in his spare time, also has other collaborations on the record. This includes Spanish rapper Mala Rodríguez, Mexico’s Mario Domm, and rapper Lil Wayne. Nevertheless, one track to definitely keep in mind is “Debate de 4 (Debate of 4),” which features acclaimed bachata singers Anthony "El Mayimbe" Santos, Luis Vargas and Raulín Rodríguez.
"I always have been a fan of bachata in general; I grew up listening to these guys because they are pioneers of the genre," Romeo confesses. "I reached out to them. They were very professional. Some of them have their differences, personally speaking, but they put it aside and were all gentlemen as we recorded the song."
“Debate de 4,” which arguably can be anyone’s favorite off of the album, details the war among four men battling for the love of a woman. Each singer gets his own opportunity to serenade the adorable lady, thus, propelling her to select one of these potentials. For its enamoring lyrics and wonderful inclusion of the cuatro (a small guitar), “Debate de 4” is a must listen to.
"Honestly, it is one of those songs that makes me feel really proud to be a bachatero and to be a Dominican," Romeo admits.
Romeo has reached the hearts of many and won the critics over with his latest release, “Mi Santa (My Saint).” This tune features a flamenco arrangement with the cooperation of Tomatito from Spain, and it is conducted to a terrifically immeasurable degree. In it, Romeo describes his value of a woman – detailing the extremes he would tackle to capture, retain and demonstrate the love he holds.
"I always have been a big fan of flamenco music, and I highly respect Tomatito," Romeo shares. "He came down from Spain to my studio for two days and we created this beautiful tune."
Despite the past and current collaborations he has engaged in, Romeo still possesses a lengthy list of musicians he would like to someday work with in the near future. "I was able to collaborate with a lot of great artists in this album," he says. "But I still have a long list of people I want to work with later on."
Currently on tour, Romeo has made stops everywhere, creating epic memories of his music for his adoring public. The tour kicked off with Romeo entirely selling out New York’s Madison Square Garden three separate nights.
"Every night has been sold out. The fans have received the tour well. It has been an incredible music journey," he humbly depicts.