I must admit, I have been out of touch for some time now with up and coming talents in the Latin market. Suffice to say, last Thursday July 14, I was more than caught up to speed on who to keep an eye out for. If you are like me, you probably recognize Vicente as the opening act for Maná’s U.S. portion of their Drama Y Luz World Tour. If not, you may recognize him as the newest and most talked about talent emerging from the Dominican Republic.
Vicente at the age of 27, has toured with Juan Luis Guerra, collaborated with artists like Ximena Sariñana and Cultura Profética. His album Melodrama has been praised by critics thanks much in part to the album’s exploration and search to defy traditional melodies consistent with albums of the Tropical genre. This album is a harmonious blend of jazz and bachata along with a dash of Vicente’s influences from the Motown sounds. Imagine melodies reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and a Latin percussion flair added with a harmonious voice singing lyrics written with wit, heart and flavor. If you can imagine that, then my friends, there you have Vicente García.
According to the biography provided by his website (http://www.vicentegarciamusic.com), Vicente’s
musical training has been almost completely self-taught, “When I was little I went to elementary music school, and I was also part of the school choir and stuff like that, but I never dedicated myself to a specific instrument. The guitar I learned on my own, a little bit of piano, I play the ukulele, a little bongo, some maracas, but have no orthodox training. Independently, I took classes in harmony; I read many books about music, about composition, about harmony… I’ve educated myself. ”
According to him, he has spent half of his life writing songs. “When I was little I was always clear about wanting my parents to buy me musical instruments, I had my first drum set when I was four and I set it on the balcony to play to the people passing by and I always had that proximity to the instruments and the music but then when I entered into adolescence I doubt myself and stay away from it for a while. The first instrument I learned to play well was the guitar and I was about 12, just before I started to write songs.” But even he admits his evolution as a composer, “I think I’ve changed a lot. I started writing very generic songs with lots of cliché and I think that the evolution of a songwriter consists in allowing yourself to try other things.”
Currently, Vicente has no solo scheduled appearances in the U.S. aside from the tour dates with Maná. None the less, his album Melodrama is available in stores and on iTunes for download. His standout tracks on this record for me are Mi Balcón and Agualluvia. Catchy, witty, and remind me of the sounds of life back in Puerto Rico. Homesick? Maybe. But that’s the power that good music can have on the listener.
Give him a try, you will be surprised with this very refreshing and inspiring fusion blend of genres and culture. Republica Dominicana has more than enough reasons to be proud of this young talent. I’m sure we will be seeing much more of him in the years to come.