Romeo Santos: From The Bronx In NY To The Dominican Republic – A Singing Star Who Has Earned Success
Romeo Santos has had many hit songs with a group called Aventura and as a solo artist. But to truly understand him one needs to trace his background from the beginning to the present.
He was born Anthony Santos in the Bronx, New York City in 1981. His father is Dominican and his mother is Puerto Rican. He grew up near Yankee Stadium and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Romeo has said it was a nice neighborhood in the sense it was mixed African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and everybody knew each other.
At home his mother had an influence on him musically. Romeo said « she had a beautiful voice and played romantic Balladeers like Jose Jose and Julio Iglesias. »
His older sister Laura is his personal manager and said he was a quiet kid but he liked to sing. Even when he was playing with toys he would be humming. »
At 13, Santos joined the choir at his Catholic church so he could meet chicks that he really liked. He said that « he realized he joined the choir for all the wrong reasons when he started getting compliments about his singing. From then on Music became his mission because he felt this is the only thing I’m great at. »
When he was 15 he began to develop a passion for Bachata music and said that « many of the songs didn’t have a good reputation and the lyrics were quite vulgar and negative. » That all changed when in 1999 he formed a group with three of his relatives and named it Aventura.
Through trial and error over a lengthy period of time they experimented with Bachata music and finally got the sound mix they wanted. It was smooth and more contemporary. As they proceeded to sing their revised Bachata styled music it began picking up steam. The group sold 1.8 million albums and had several top ten hits. Since Romeo was the group’s lead singer, composer and producer his status as a super-star became more credible.
As one analyst said « Romeo wrote words that were plain-spoken and ones that people could identify with. » It should also be noted that Romeo penned some lyrics that read like steamy soap operas. This was demonstrated with Aventura’s first worldwide hit titled « Obsession. »
A little known fact that tells a lot about his mother’s character was the following: While Aventura’s star was rising he broke up with the girl he had been seeing since high school only to discover she was pregnant. His son Alex was born in 2001. Romeo said that « he was immature and for the first year and a half he made excuses for not making a commitment and wanted to focus on his music. »
It took a while for his dear mother to make him understand that he had to « man up » and he did. He bought a house for his ex-girlfriend and Alex. He has grown close to his son who is now 14 and interacts with him as a good father should. How lucky Romeo is to have a mother who has the character to remind her son that he has to do the right thing on the crossroads of life.
In 2011 he gave notice that he was leaving Aventura to start a solo career. Two years after doing so he featured Usher and Lil Wayne on songs with English lyrics that are the closest he has come to mainstream R&B. « I’m reaching a huge audience » Romeo said, » I’m doing what artists like Beyoncé are doing in terms of selling out stadiums. The difference is my audience speaks Spanish.
In 2014 Romeo sold out two nights at Yankee Stadium and did it alone rather than like other name artists who needed to get a fellow celebrity singer to partner up with them to fill the house.
In the 2015 Billboard Latin Music Awards Romeo Santos took home 10 awards including Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the year, Producer of the Year, Hot Latin Songs artist of the year, and Top Latin Album of the Year for Formula, Vol 2.
During the ceremony Romeo made a special comment to Marc Anthony saying that he had the great privilege of recording with Marc and he was like a brother to him. The fact that Romeo did that pleased me as Marc Anthony is one of my favorite singers. Marc is REALLY a GOOD singer. So I’m happy that Romeo gave special thanks to him.
Finally it is with confidence that I say the kid from The Bronx in New York will have a brilliant career given the success and guidance he has had.