Three-time winner at this year’s Latin Billboard Music Awards, Manuel Turizo joined the stage with Billboard Latin Assistant Editor, Jessica Roiz, as part of “The Rising Star Q&A” presented by Delta and LATAM Airlines at the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Week on Wednesday (Oct. 4).
In a moderated discussion, Turizo talks about his Colombian heritage, making his permanent move to Miami to grow his career and the influences of global collaborations.
Below, see some memorable quotes from the conversation:
On collaborating with Marshmello on his now Latin Grammy-nominated summer hit, “El Merengue:”
“Days before we [Marshmello] met, I was listening to all the work he did, and it’s typically Anglo pop. But when we met, we sat down and started talking, also understanding the idea he had of coming and collaborating with me and with more Latin artists. It was to get him into Latin a little bit and understand it. We started to think, let’s really get him into something that IS Latin — to take advantage of the fact that he was with me and to show his audience something that they didn’t consume or listen to. To show them something that, ‘they don’t know how to do.’ Merengue is something totally Latin. So that’s how the idea was born and that’s how we decided to do it.
On his move to Miami from Colombia in 2019 to further pursue his music:
“When I came here, Juan Diego El Ciego, my manager, was on top of me all the time. For like a year, he’s been saying “Move to Miami,” so I said, okay I’m going to rent an apartment and come, but I’m not going to stay. I’ll stay for a week if I have to and then I’ll go back. But I don’t know, the lockdown, I got used to being here, I liked the rhythm of the work. It also got me out of my comfort zone and I feel it helped me meet new people, see another environment, and see another atmosphere. I feel that here in Miami, there are also many people making music that what I had back in Colombia. Here, you go to a studio, and you meet different producers, composers, singers, everything. So there is a lot more movement, and I like that too, so I stayed.”
On what he misses most about leaving Monterilla, Colombia:
“The food, it will never be the same. I love it here, but the food in Colombia will never be topped. I also feel that you develop your palate according to where you grow up, wherever you are from, you go where you are from and you are going to miss your seasoning.”
On the success and creative process of “La Bachata:”
“I wanted to release that song [“La Bachata”] but my team told me ‘no, that I wasn’t the right song. First, you are not a bachatero, second, you are not Dominican.’ But I was like ‘I like it, why can’t I release it?’ So now, if I am not Dominican, with a lot of respect to the Dominican culture because at the end of the day, if I am doing a bachata being Colombian, it is because of all the influence and the inspiration of the Dominican musical culture that has also reached my country [Colombia].
It’s important to follow your gut instinct. What I feel I have already achieved with my team, and with most of the people who follow me and are connected with my music, is that I am not necessarily rooted to a single musical sound, or a single musical style. On the contrary, I like to try different things all the time in my music.
On his collaboration with Grupo Frontera on “De Lunes a Lunes:”
The song is a vallenato. I wanted to do something related to Mexican culture several months ago, because after I started branching out from Colombia, Mexico was the first country that connected with me and my music, and I am very grateful. So, I wanted to do something that would blend what I do with the culture of Mexican music. Edgar Barrera introduced me to the guys of Grupo Fronter, and we started to put the song together. The truth is, I loved it, I fell in love with the song. That’s exactly why it was going to be a vallenato – the feeling that song has, I personally find it very strong, and it reminds me of that too. The vallenato of my country, the lyrics of Colombia…and with that musicality, we also combine it with the cumbia norteña that Frontera is doing right now.”
On why collaborating with other artists is so important to his creative development:
“I feel that you can learn and absorb information about how each person sees the music. There are people that when you hear them singing, you say ‘wow, that’s amazing,’ and there are others who have incredible production and musical ideas. You can absorb something from each one of them.”
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