Joel DELEŌN is flying solo with his debut single “La Culpa.” Five months after leaving CNCO, the Mexican-American singer has finally launched his solo career. In an exclusive interview, DELEŌN opened up to mitú about taking more creative control, pushing boundaries as an artist, and what to expect next.

Since leaving CNCO, Joel DELEŌN has been hard at work on his solo music.

DELEŌN announced his departure from CNCO back in May. In the five months since he left, DELEŌN has posted many Instagram stories from inside the recording studio.

“I’ve been in the studio basically for 24/7 for the past five months,” DELEŌN tells mitú. “I visited Mexico a couple of times. Once to record ‘La Culpa.’ Apart from that I’ve just been here in Miami, making new music, experimenting with new sounds, and working, working, working, and ready to keep on working.”

Joel DELEŌN’s grandfather inspired him to embrace Mexican music on his debut single.

With the arrival of “La Culpa,” Joel changed his stage name from Joel Pimentel to Joel DELEŌN. He revealed in a YouTube video that the name change was inspired by late grandfather who also carried that last name. It was his grandfather that inspired DELEŌN to release “La Culpa,” which is a unique mix of regional Mexican and pop music, as his first single.

“This sound of ‘La Culpa’ aligns perfectly with everything,” DELEŌN says. “Regional rancheras is what my grandpa would sing. Apart from just showing my roots, [picking this song as my single] also has a lot to do with my grandfather.”

Joel DELEŌN sings his heart out in “La Culpa.”

In “La Culpa,” DELEŌN sings about the heartache of a breakup that he caused. “The song has nothing to do with what I lived,” he explains. However, he did devise the “suffering type of melody” that inspired the sad song. He digs deep vocally to convey the pain of his situation in a powerful performance that sounds unlike anything he did in CNCO.

“I was actually starting to do it a lot more with CNCO,” DELEŌN says about singing powerfully. “A lot of people could tell in ‘Déjà Vu‘ [that] I was getting out of my comfort zone and doing different things. I believe in myself a lot more. I’m a lot more confident and I think the outcome is being seen in all these songs that I’ve been doing.”

Joel DELEŌN came up with the story behind the steamy “La Culpa” music video.

The music video for “La Culpa” shows DELEŌN in a new light. The 22-year-old is seen in hot-and-heavy scenes with his onscreen partner. Later in the video, DELEŌN is spotted with other women in the club and that’s where the relationship’s rupture begins.

“The whole idea for the video, I actually wrote down the treatment, and then the production company helped my vision become a reality,” DELEŌN says.

“I’m into everything. Not just the music videos. Anything that comes out, it all goes through me because now that I have full control of the project, I like to be on top of a lot of stuff. I like everything to be like how I envision it.”

In the “La Culpa” music video, DELEŌN is also pushing boundaries with his aesthetic. In one of the scenes, he’s wearing a vaquero getup with a dress, which he does as a way to take back control of his career and image.

“That was super cool,” DELEŌN says about the dress.

“I like to be completely different. And if somebody wants to judge, that’s fine. I’m happy doing it. That’s also a message I want people to know: don’t be afraid to express yourself because being different is cool. Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone and be yourself.”

Joel DELEŌN is excited for old and new fans to join him on his solo career.

“La Culpa” is only the first taste of the new music that DELEŌN has been cooking in the studio. He promises that there’s more songs on the way. “It’s going to be a whole bunch of different genres because I’ve been experimenting these past couple of months,” DELEŌN says.

DELEŌN also shares a message for the CNCOwners who are supporting his solo career. “The CNCOwners are a fanbase that’s incredible,” he says.

“I’m just really happy that the CNCOwners can get to see this evolution of the new artist that I’m going to be showing to the world ’cause they’ve been there from the beginning.”

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