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The Founder Of Reggaeton Was On His Way To Become A Pro Baseball Player

Daddy Yankee is arguably one of the most recognizable Latin music artists in the world. Since he dropped “Gasolina” in 2004, everyone has been paying attention to the Puerto Rican rapper and there’s a reason why. His collaboration with Luis Fonsi on the megahit “Despacito” launched him into super stardom in the mainstream and he isn’t slowing down yet.

The Latin music industry wouldn’t be where it is today without him, as he’s cited as the inspiration for so many of our favorite artists today, including Bad Bunny. Here are some facts about the musical icon that you might not know.

His real name is Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with just calling him Daddy. It might be his stage name but he lowkey is a total daddy when you think about it. The swagger just drips off the man and people worldwide are getting caught up in his allure.

His stage name comes from Puerto Rican slang.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

“Yankee” pretty much just means someone tall or a big shot. Daddy Yankee is 5’7″, so we’re going with the big shot guess. His other nicknames include King Daddy, el Jefe, y El Cangri. All seem more than suitable for the artist.

Daddy Yankee calls Río Piedras, Puerto Rico his home.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

He was raised in the Villa Kennedy Projects and has said that music is the only reason he isn’t in prison or dead today. So many people have been saved by the arts and Daddy Yankee is a good example of the power funding arts programs can have.

Daddy Yankee was on his way to become a professional baseball player.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

He tried out for a Major Leagues Baseball team, but of course, he’s always had a passion for music. While he was waiting to find out if he made the team, his career ended abruptly through no fault of his own.

Daddy Yankee was shot by a stray AK-47 bullet while outside a recording studio in Puerto Rico.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

The bullet is still in his hip and he had to undergo serious physical therapy for almost two years to regain his mobility. The accident forced him to put all of his energy into his music because baseball was no longer a viable career.

He is the actual founder of Reggaeton.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

No joke. Maybe other people messed around with that sound, but Daddy Yankee brought the world “Gasolina,” which changed everything. In an interview with Billboard.com, he swears that the “track is completely literal. It’s one of the most innocent songs I’ve ever written.”

His 2004 album “Barrio Fino” landed him his big break.

Spotify

It was the first reggaeton album to ever reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin album chart, effectively bringing the genre into mainstream existence. The album became the top-selling Latin music album of the entire decade of the 2000’s. We all remember jamming to it at house parties in high school.

That was ten years ago. Today, he’s still topping charts in 14 different countries.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Reggaeton is alive and well with “Dura” nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Song. All your friends have Google’d this and think we’re singing about something “hard”, but Becky G. and Natti Natasha know it’s just about how hot they are.

“Despacito” is the second most viewed music video in history.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Right behind Adele’s “Hello,” “Despacito” reached one billion views just 97 days after its release. If your 2016 Buena Noche didn’t end in a dance off between the cousins and the tías, then I don’t know what you were doing.

P.S. That’s his concert turn out in Albania.

Like a true watery Aquarius, Daddy Yankee was the first Latin artist to sign a deal with Reebok.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

He turned that deal into another, and then another, with the launch of his own fashion line. By fashion I mean sneakers and caps. The 2006 line was called “DY”.

Daddy Yankee has been dabbling with Latin trap lately.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Daddy Yankee gave Bad Bunny a leg up with “Dura” and Bad Bunny helped him out with “Vuelve,” but rumor has it he released “Hielo” all on his own.

His collaborations are relevant.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

He helped Camila Cabello remix “Havana” in Spanish.

Caption: “Camila y Ramón Ayala de un pájaro son las dos alas ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? @daddyyankee”

He starred as himself in 2008’s “Talento de Barrio.”

Untitled. Digital Image. Wikipedia. 22 October 2018.

If you ever wanted a glimpse into what DY’s life was like growing up in a Puerto Rican housing project, now you have this loosely-based film of his life. Plus, it became the highest grossing Puerto Rican film ever. To this date.

He also guest-starred as himself in on six episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Boy didn’t even take a crack at telenovelas. He just jumped straight into American CBS daytime series because he’s that crossover star.

Good luck finding a photo of him and his wife.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Daddy Yankee is extremely private in his personal life and considers it a hidden treasure from the public world. Mireddys González and him have been married for over 20 years and he likes to keep it that way.

He had his first daughter when he was just 17 years old.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

Her name is Jesaaelys Marie and Daddy Yankee has been completely upfront in saying that it was very confusing to raise a child as a niño himself. He has two other children with his wife.

Daddy Yankee has never lost touch with his roots.

Untitled. Digital Image. Fundación Corazón Guerrero. 22 October 2018.

Daddy Yankee’s organization to improve education, college prep, and more to underserved kids in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia has earned him Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award for his humanitarian efforts. We’re here for it.

Daddy Yankee rarely goes public on his personal views, but after Hurricane Maria, he spoke up.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

He donated $100,000 to the Food Bank of Puerto Rico immediately after the Hurricane passed through. The food was able to offer meals to around 9,000 families on the island.

Daddy Yankee was one of the participants in J.Lo and Marc Anthony’s “One Voice: Somos Live!”

@daddyyankee / Instagram

While the Trump administration faltered to even acknowledge the true calamity and destruction that wept out the island, DY did something. He donated his talents, alongside J.Lo, Marc Anthony, Luis Fonsi and others to offer a charity concert televised on Telemundo, Univision and NBC.

Gracias.

Daddy Yankee is overall a stand up guy.

@daddyyankee / Instagram

I mean, the guy used his rise to the top of world music to become a spokesperson for “Yo Limpio a Puerto Rico” to promote recycling in the late 2000’s. He’s never stopped making música sucia and I don’t care what he says about “Gasolina”–that is the dirtiest song he ever wrote.


READ: Watch Romeo Santos, Daddy Yankee And Nicky Jam Be The Ultimate Corny Creeps In ‘Bella y Sensual’

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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