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Latin Music: Miami’s Next Generation of Authenticity

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When it comes to Latin glamour, "Brand Miami" is at the center of the world’s attention. One expects a melting pot of hot and sweet flavors, and not just in cuisine terms, but also in the realm of music. The city’s multicultural offering is constantly growing, and to my amazement, in the direction of authenticity.

Since I got here (four years ago) I’ve seen an increasing number of artists trying to express their heritage, without succumbing to the ever-tempting desire to replicate the Hip-Hop world. Some have tried, dare I say, unsuccessfully. At one point, I actually stopped to ask a few industry insiders, “Why is everyone trying to be something they, clearly, are not, in a city where most people in the Hispanic community are used to the hotness of the Latin rhythms?” I had been rather disappointed in bad-quality videos, boring dance moves and a general, pretentious attitude that was clouding the judgment of even some savvy producers.

Then, a couple of years ago, I was invited to an audition, in South Miami, to witness the selection process of Proyecto Uno. I’ve been dancing to their many hits for almost twenty years (yes, I started young!) The band has always been a huge success; especially, because it delivers the all-important authenticity factor to an avid market of dancers, as opposed to listeners. Among the, then-new, members of Proyecto Uno was JOSUE (a.k.a. Zonambulo) whose explosive stage presence made an impact on me, since the days of Taboo Bambu.

I recently spoke to JOSUE about his experience as a member of Proyecto Uno, their many travels around the world, his never-ending stream of fun projects and, above all, his next moves. Given his family’s musical history - JOSUE's brother is the highly-acclaimed Domican producer, Roy Tavare, whose collaborations include works with Ricky Martin, Alejandro Fernández and Roselyn Sánchez. JOSUE has real charisma and a unique energetic flow. So I’ve always had hopes that he would be taking some ‘cultural responsibility’ to carry on, spreading the sounds of enjoyment, among the Latin community and beyond. He'll be launching his solo career this year, while continuing to collaborate with amazingly talented producers, singer-songwriters and musicians alike. He’s currently promoting Proyecto Uno’s latest single, “Vengan Todos”. Also in the oven is IMR’s single “La Maliciosa".

When it comes to good news, it doesn’t get any better than hearing that there are young, talented musicians, ready to continue exploring the likes and wants of an audience thirsty for fun. People want to see creativity. People want to see new dance moves, and a 365-Degree summer of melodies that don’t disappoint. When you have your audience in mind - as opposed to just an egocentric need to simply “be famous” - amazing things happen, and amazing music happens, more to the point! I’m always happy to see, how much talent independent acts can deliver, when all they have to offer is pure authenticity.

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