Christian Daniel writes about life experiences on his new album, Renacer.
Growing up in Puerto Rico with his ears full of a wide variety of music by the likes of José José, José Feliciano, Sting, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, it’s no wonder that Christian Daniel became the powerful singer-songwriter he is today. For eight years he has lived in Miami, consistently dedicating himself to music.
In that time, he has released three albums – a self-titled debut in 2006, 2011’s Todo Lo Que Tengo and Renacer in October of last year. This latest album was written at one of the most difficult times in the singer-songwriter’s life.
In a recent interview with Living Out Loud – Los Angeles, Christian Daniel discusses his influences and the concept behind and events surrounding the making of Renacer.
LOL-LA: What do you think about Los Angeles, and what does the city mean to you?
Christian Daniel: I love Los Angeles, it’s a city that I would love to live in, but it’s too far from Puerto Rico (laughs). Living in Miami, it’s only a two-hour flight there, eight from [Los Angeles]. But it is a place where I would love to have property. It has turned out to be the number one market for my music, and that makes me very happy because it means that I get to travel here more often, and hopefully that dream of living in Los Angeles can come true very soon.
LOL-LA: What do you like the most about this city?
C.D.: The diversity in people and the places you can visit. You go from one place to another, and the people are all very distinct. Apart from that, it is a very artistic place on a musical level. You have all the people from the movies here, famous artists like John Mayer, whom I love.
LOL-LA: Where do your pop influences come from?
C.D.: Since I was little, I liked listening to pop music, which I got from my dad. He would always play pop music from José José, and it’s incredible how that music woke an enthusiasm in me to sing. At the age of 5 or 6, I was already singing José José songs.
LOL-LA: Do you have a favorite?
C.D.: “Lo Que Un Dia Fue No Sera.” José José, José Feliciano and Stevie Wonder, in the Anglo market, are artists that have been influences in my life.
LOL-LA: How did the concept for your new album, Renacer, come about?
C.D.: After 10 years under Bad Boy Latino and Sony, I had the opportunity to do something I had never done before. I said, “Well, I’ve already been with two record labels, and I’ve had songs at No. 1, but I have never been able to accomplish what I’ve wanted to. What do I have to do differently in the life of Christian Daniel?” It was to sit down and produce an album to my liking, that has my essence and write my own songs – and that’s how it happened. I reunited my team in Miami; I spent 10 months writing my album, working hard and finally, we finished the album.
It is called Renacer (Reborn) because it was a rebirth in my life, where for the first time, I was doing things I had never done before and independently. We had a seven-person team that really believe in me and have given me their full support, and thanks to God we have achieved something truly incredible.
LOL-LA:What inspires you when you write?
C.D.: Things I have experienced in life, things people have told me, things that one way or another touch me, or things that I know people go through, but are afraid to say out loud or don’t know how to say.
LOL-LA: What can you tell me about your song “Ahora Que Te Vas?”
C.D.: “Ahora Que Te Vas” is a song that has become very important in my musical career, if not the most important. It has become an anthem in the United States, Latin America, Puerto Rico, and I’ve recently just found out that the song is No. 1 in Venezuela. It’s a song that I wrote to my father. I lost my dad 11 months ago, and in the process of losing him, I wrote down everything I was going through. When I had to lose my dad, I decided to sing that song. It’s a song that was not originally on the album but was later added. Due to what I was living, it was a song I had to sing, and I felt it. We are all going to lose someone in life, a loved one, and I know everyone is going to understand what I am feeling.
LOL-LA: How has his death impacted you?
C.D.: My dad was my best friend. My dad was the person who gave me advice, if I ever had a problem I would call him. He was the greatest thing to me, and losing him the way I did … my dad was perfectly fine, and was then diagnosed with cancer. He only lasted a month. It wasn’t like we were even able to try and save his life, because every time he went in to get treated, he came out worse. In four weeks, my dad was no longer here. That was the biggest impact on my family and me, not having the time to really process what was going on. It all happened too fast.
LOL-LA: What do you remember the most about him?
C.D.: His advice. He always told me that you have to keep moving forward in life, you have to always work hard and take the world by storm because if you don’t, no one else will do it for you. Three days before his death, my dad saw that I had the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Pop Airplay chart with my single “Me Vuelvo un Cobarde.” He said to me, “Christian, do not fall back now.” I think what he meant by that was: “This is my own battle, this is my own problem. You focus on yours.” He was asking me to never let anything take my dreams from me.
LOL-LA: What do you want people to take from your music?
C.D.: I want my music to comfort people, to give them hope. I’ve always said that music is the best psychologist in life. It’s your best friend. There is music for every moment in one’s life, whether you’re happy, sad or feel like dancing. There is always a song that is going to make your day, and at the same time, there are songs to cry to. So I’ve always said that when someone needs to let off steam, what better way to do it than through a song? I see my music and lyrics as a way of venting something sad or happy, and to be able to take that emotion to another level. I try to write things using honest words directly to the heart. I like to go straight to that emotion.
LOL-LA: Is there anyone you look up to or would like to collaborate with?
C.D.: Marc Anthony. If there were an example to follow, not be the same as, but follow, it would be Marc Anthony. He knows how to use his voice and make you feel what he is singing. He can dance, and he’s a great actor… the total package. I would also like to work with Sin Bandera. I heard they are touring for the last time and will be in Puerto Rico, and I am totally going to see them!
LOL-LA: What is something you want your fans to know, that they don’t already know about you?
C.D.: I like to box, it’s one of my favorite sports, along with surfing, any aquatic sports, riding horses. I’m a person who sings ballads, but when it comes to sports, I don’t like any of the normal stuff. I like extreme sports and adrenaline. I think that’s why I enjoy singing so much, because when you step out on stage, that’s what you feel: adrenaline. I am a very daring person. Whenever someone dares me to do something, people are always like, “Christian, control yourself.”
Renacer is currently available. For more information, visit christiandanielmusic.com.
Karen Cruz and Yuri Shimoda contributed to this story.