Fito Blanko is a Panamanian tropical urban singer-songwriter who now lives in Toronto, Canada. (Facebook/Fito Blanko)
We interviewed numerous music artists during Heineken House’s Media Hub day one in Las Vegas.
Why? The 2013 Latin Grammys.
Among them were Fito Blanko, Famasloop, Gaby Moreno, and Santiago Cruz, among many others.
Living Out Loud: What does this Latin Grammy nomination mean to you?
Fito Blanko: More than anything, it serves as a reinforcement…it signifies that I am going in the right direction. I am amongst peers who truly support me and believe in my music. Also, I am a server to the people, since music is always made for the people so they could enjoy it. My goal now is to continue making music, and the new album is about 70% finished. The new single is titled, ‘Meneo.’ We want to capitalize on the success that ‘Pegadito Suavesito’ had with Elvis Crespo. We want to continue that fusion between Vallenato and Panamanian music, with Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean sounds which to this day have been the recipe to our success.
LOL: What does this Latin Grammy nomination mean to you guys?
Famasloop: It represents an advantage. It’s an opportunity to represent a country which has been marred by very disconcerting events, and this nomination gives our people a distraction from all this. We’re here not just by our own merits, but also to represent a new movement in independent music which is generating a lot of buzz. And it’s because it’s making noise, in the right sense of the word, that this movement in Venezuela is the most significant in all Latin America. We have not had a music industry since the 80′s. So brother countries like Mexico, Colombia and Argentina are places where this industry has endured and grown, but Venezuela was forgotten as a place where Grammys were made. However, Venezuelans have been making a huge presence for the past 4-5 years. Every year since then, they have nominated between 10-15 Venezuelans for a Latin Grammy. This year, 16 Venezuelans were nominated.
LOL: Everyone always says that the important thing is just to be nominated. But what does this really mean to you?
Santiago Cruz: You win, and it’s fantastic, and so your status changes from being nominated to winning a Grammy…and that’s a beautiful thing. However, this song will not change whether it wins a Grammy or not. This nomination does not change the integrity of the song in any way whatsoever. The song is what it is, and it’s essence is always there. I am very happy to be here, and if I win, I will enjoy it immensely.
LOL: Tell us about your itinerary for the rest of the week.
SC: Well this week is all about telling the story, not so much about singing the story. Fortunately, I will be taking part in the homage to Miguel Bose by singing. This makes me very happy because in 2004, I opened for him during his tour through Colombia. This was through my first album, almost 10 years ago. So being here, 10 years later, singing at his homage concert, is a very special thing. If I get the chance to speak to him in person, I’ll be sure to remind him that I was the Colombian who opened for him all those years ago, and hopefully spend some time with him and his band.
LOL: How do you feel about being nominated for Best New Artist?
Maluma: I feel great. This is my first nomination but it’s a sign of great things to come. I’m very proud to represent my homeland, Colombia, here in Las Vegas, especially at the performance that’s coming up for the ceremony.
LOL: Do you think this nomination will propel your career?
M: This is the beginning. Whatever happens at these Grammys will indicate the start of my career. This will serve as the launch pad for my international career.
LOL: The Latin Grammy is known to celebrate Latin music, but what else does it represent for you?
M: It’s the platform to foreign markets, and the start of great things. My record companies, Atlantic Music, as well as Sony Music, have done a great job, and this week, Latin music is to be celebrated here in Las Vegas.
LOL: Have the nominations changed your perspective?
Gaby Moreno: I always aim to be very realistic, and I’m not one to hope for a win. Honestly, I’m here to enjoy the week and meet as many people as I can. I’m very excited about the stages I will be performing at. For me, just being nominated is a great honor, and I’m very happy.
LOL: Besides the performance, what else do these Latin Grammys mean to you?
Toy Selectah: It celebrates the music, and hopefully it celebrates the industry as well, in every aspect. All the act and nominees represent where the Grammys are and where they are going. This is wonderful because it allows for different artists to meet and share ideas, even at the hotel. What you guys do in the media, whether it is publishing or broadcasting what we do, you complement what we’re doing here. I think this is a celebration of all of us who work at this. I feel this is just a huge convention, where we can all get together in a professional setting and celebrate.
LOL: How do you guys feel about being nominated for a Latin Grammy?
De Taitas & De Mamas: This transcends the band, and represents what’s going on in Ecuador. This is a great joy for the country, being recognized and nominated for traditional Ecuadorian music.
LOL: SO how did you find out about the nomination?
Karito: Well, we were on a cruise through the Bahamas, and we did not have access to internet, so we found out after 2 days. We were able to connect to WiFi at a nearby restaurant and, all o the sudden, all the messages begin to come in. We were bombarded by messages, and we had no idea what was going on. Finally, a friend of ours congratulated us on the nomination. We are very happy about the nomination because we did not expect it, this being our debut album. On YouTube, we have more than 30,000,000 hits, which is very lovely. We didn’t expect it, but we were nominated for best children’s album, and for us, this is a beautiful thing, and highly satisfactory.
LOL: How is it that you’ve managed to reach children though song?
K: Honestly, it was very easy to reach them. All the songs and production was done by Nicolas in a very fun, yet didactic manner. We used beats that were popular. If you hear Karito’s rhythms, they are not your usual beats. Our beats are more related to electronic music, similar to a Katy Perry/Black Eyed Peas style. Nowadays, this is what kids like. They listen to a song by them, and they won’t pay too much attention to the lyrics. However, the rhythms are very catchy and they start to dance. We use this platform to send positive and educational messages to children.
LOL: How do you feel about being here?
EliaCiM: I’m very happy to be there. I’m filled with humility and pride to be nominated with my first album.
LOL: What have been some of your musical influences throughout your career?
EC: That’s quite the dish when it comes to musical influences. Coming from an island nation gave me lots of options. My parents are very ‘Dominican’ so they constantly played Juan Luis Guerra, merengue, and lots of other Dominican music. But just the fact that we were on an island, and being the 3rd of 4 brothers, I was also exposed to The Beatles, The Doors…It’s quite the mix. I also love pop music, and melodic music that’s easy to play.