First of all, congratulations on the release of Hasta Abajo. We know that it can be hard for
artists during this time with everything going on right now. What is it like releasing music
during these difficult times? And how are you holding up?
Thank you! Releasing music at this time is actually very rewarding and fulfilling! It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I am part of the good that is being shared with the world right now. I am staying sane by working on my new JChris brand. We have had a very successful start in August 2020 and we have continued to grow as a team. I want to keep that momentum going because I know that greater things are on the horizon. I stay motivated by writing new music. My fans a lot of times don't know that while I am releasing one song/video, I am already working on another song/video for them! Seeing the positive engagement keeps me encouraged and working with other artists and professionals in my career keeps me challenged and determined to succeed.
Has it been difficult to stay motivated and inspired during a pandemic?
It can be difficult to be inspired during this pandemic & recession. Isolation is part of the solution for the pandemic but it can be very painful for artists. As performers, we thrive on collaboration and getting ideas from our fellow artists in the room. But taking advantage of the new online mediums to stay connected is something good to do in the meanwhile. Writing makes you feel like you are going to be part of that glorious reopening when it's finally happening. We have to know that when society reopens again, we should all be ready to take the world by storm in our own unique way.
What excites you to create? What helps you in the moments whenever you are feeling
uninspired and stagnant?
My fuel for creation is to think about the final product that is going to have impact with my fans and with those listening to & watching me for the first time online! I want to create a unique, edgy experience through each song/video I release to the public. Coffee helps me when I'm feeling uninspired and stagnant.
What was your inspiration or thought behind your latest single, Hasta Abajo?
My producer and I wanted to make a contrast with this single. We wanted something sexy and edgy. I think the beat we found on beatstars.com helped us do that. The beat was made by dannyebtracks and Fabybeats. @johnnytechaudio and I co-wrote the song. I knew that I wanted this video to have snakes, which was inspired by the iconic Britney Spears performance at the VMAs years ago when she held that beautiful Burmese python around her neck. She was so fierce for doing that! I wanted to exude that same energy in my visuals. I also was inspired by breakdancing from my time in New York and riding the subway there. There are so many talented breakdancers and street performers in NYC so I wanted to include that urban, street like element in my video, which we shot at a mansion in Maryland. I think that it's good to mesh settings and ideas together so that they create a unique visual effect for the viewers.
What is your writing process like?
For my JChris brand, I teamed up with my writing partner & producer, Johnny De Jesus (@johnnytechaudio). He is one of the most talented engineers I know and he has a very authentic, Latin urban sound. I write songs over beats with him over Skype or in person in the studio. We get a lot of inspiration in the studio and work very efficiently there, too.
Latin pop has gotten a lot bigger in the last couple of years, has this been an advantage for
you, in terms of getting opportunities to collab with artists or getting gigs?
For now, it has mainly been an advantage for me getting exposure online. Our audience has increased tremendously through my team's effective branding and marketing strategies. When the live music venues open back up, we will totally be doing a lot of touring and shows. For 2021, I have started the process of collaborating with other Latin pop artists now that the JChris brand has been established. I will be working on a music video in Brazil this February. The song will feature two famous Brazilian artists, Naldo Benny and Rick Joe. Both have big followings and will be helpful in solidifying my sound and identity as a Latin pop artist.
You’ve been able to have quite some impressive shows already, what’s a performance that
you won’t forget about?
Performing the national anthem for the Hispanic Swearing-In Ceremony for the 119th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in 2019. I got to sing for Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Chuck Schumer, among other distinguished guests. It was such an honor as a Latino being selected to honor my country and represent the Latinx community in such a prestigious way. It was also super cool that Ed O'Keefe from CBS News introduced me.
Can you recall the moment you decided you wanted to pursue a career in music? And what
led to this decision?
I was in high school and I started taking composition lessons. I had a very knowledgeable and demanding teacher at University of Maryland which was very good for my development. He expected nothing short of hard work and discipline in his class. I knew without a doubt from taking those courses, and taking them seriously, that I wanted to be a professional musician and make a positive impact with my music.
How do you think you have progressed as a musician since you first started making music?
I have found the right team! It took a long time. But I had to start very small and work my way up in the music industry. I learned a lot from trial-and-error in live performances, making demos, albums, and touring. But now, I feel very confident that I am in the right direction as an artist and that my team will continue contributing to our success as a whole.
What is the main thing that you would really like for people to take away from your
I want people to feel, through my music, that they will succeed. Through the hard times they face, they have to remember to sing, dance and be joyful. Through my music, I also want people to forget about the norms that they might have grown up with, be they gender norms, stylistic norms, cultural norms, etc. Let's forget about all of our biases and be unified with one another through love.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Talent alone is not enough! You need talent and tenacity to be successful. Highlight your strong parts.
What advice would you offer to others who want to follow in your footsteps and
chase after their dreams?
Never give up and keep dreaming big! Dreaming big will lead you to greater heights. Dreaming big will make you bold enough to get yourself out there as an artist and naturally meet the right people you need to meet to help you in your career. There are like-minded individuals out there who share similar visions of success that you do. Pay attention to those you bump into and network with. Without networking, we cannot be successful as artists. We need each other to thrive.
What have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to a lot of musical theatre soundtracks lately; "Dear Evan Hansen", "Hamilton", "Assassins", "Sunday In The Park With George", "Mean Girls" and "Wicked", to name a few. I'm writing a musical comedy called "Mr. Manhattan!", with lyricist Jordan Silver in New York City. We are working on the musical so that it is ready for presentation once this long intermission is over.
Do you have anything that you would like to tell our readers?
Spread love and encourage one another. These are hard times and we should let our pride down as people. Let us be big-hearted citizens and lift each other up. We will make it through this storm together.
Check out JChris on his socials:
Interview by: Anissa Steijns