Alex : Hi there, this is Alex Wolff from Long Island Portfolio magazine. I am here at Sole Mio restaurant in Brooklyn with recording artist Edwin Vazquez doing an interview and having some very delicious food.
Alex: Good evening Edwin, tell us about some of the influences and the type of music you play?
Edwin : Well, I’m very fortunate to have been raised in a very musical environment by a family who embraced the arts. My father, Roberto Vazquez, was a bolero artist who recorded with many greats in the Latin world. He worked with Yomo Toro, Marco Antonio Muniz, Bobby Capoz, Tito Puente , Gloria Mirabal, Mirta Silva and many more.
The household I grew up in was filled with music, and rehearsals. I consider myself very lucky to have awakened most mornings to my father playing the guitar, he was always up by 7:30 in the morning so if you could imagine coming out of a dream with the sounds of a guitar playing in a distance it was actually pretty cool. I could still see the imagery of him in my memory. (Edwin smiling as he speaks) I’d see him sitting in pajamas and tank top with one leg raised over the armrest playing the guitar with the window slightly opened with a cigarette, taking sips of hot black coffee, then turning to the guitar again making melodies come out of it effortlessly.
And of course I can’t leave out my mother
Cecilia Vazquez Pagan cause truth is that as the years went by I only discovered the more how incredibly talented she is.. My mother can write a song literally in minutes. My father actually recorded one of her songs on his album called ” Roberto y Luis”. And truth is it did very well in Puerto Rico. It apparently got more radio attention then most of the other songs on the album. It was on rotation for quite a while. My mother still writes songs today and I included her singing one of them called Meditación on my Faith CD . I also recently released another song of hers called Madre Querida for Mothers Day as a gift to her.. Her songs are admired by many. I proudly intend to record more.
Now my older brother, Roberto Vazquez Jr. really played a huge role in my musical development cause he practically introduced me to the Spanish artists that shaped my singing abilities today.. My brother had a collection of albums that consisted of some of that best Latin ballad singers of the time. Artists like Raphael, Sandro, Nino Bravo, Camilo Sesto, Jose Jose, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Juan Bau, Braulio, Julio Iglesias and other artists in the American Mainstream world like Tom Jones. I learned a variety of so many different vocal techniques from these artists. They all offered something individually different that would influence me till this day. That’s where much of my vocal training lies. I do it all by ear with no formal training. I often joke with the audience saying that if they don’t like my singing then they they have my brother to blame for it. Lol.
No but seriously he really took me under his wing.
In fact he was the first one who put me on my first stage as a soloist. I could say so much about my brother. Gosh I said allot there didn’t I? lol.
Alex: it’s interesting that you mention Tom Jones, I just interviewed master jazz guitarist Tony DeCaprio who played with Tom Jones way back when Tony was only around 20, he would say that you have to read music, at least to be that type of artist, to be a session musician, working for other people. When you are creating for yourself you can do that internally. What have you been doing recently? What have you been doing now with Covid and how has that impacted you?
Edwin: I tend to challenge myself in regards to working with different producers. I find that it challenges me and broadens my musical experience. Before the pandemic I was quite busy doing many projects including recording with a Haitian producer named Branley Midouin. We managed to record one song but then when the Covid crisis came into play everything was put on pause.
However to my surprise I still found myself in the midst of this crazy crisis working on a project from home. I was asked to do a video using a Covid sensitive song for a show called Endirecto TV.
So I wrote a song titled “Semilla De Fe” which means Seed of Faith.
After reviewing it Endirecto TV fell in love with it and used it on the Quisqueya Channel. Originally when they called I considered another song but something compelled me to just write one from scratch. And that’s when I wrote Semilla De Fe. It came to me in 10 minutes. I have to say I believe this was serendipitous.
Once it was played on TV and heard It didn’t take too long before I was being asked by many of my supporters to do an audio recording of it. So this meant that I now had to make the video audio friendly for iTunes. The question was how? With the quarantine happening I had no access to a studio… so I thought.. Until I realized I could actually send it out to Sebastian Cruz, an amazing engineer here in Brooklyn who through his expertise compressed the recording making it now iTunes friendly. It’s now on Apple iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms.
Alex: How is it doing?
Edwin: it actually started getting international attention, Mexico, and Argentina to name a few. I have to say with Covid, it’s like we have to start re-creating ourselves over again. I believe we’re in the midst of that challenge but I think as creators we can make that happen and so far we have.
I’ve been pretty lucky as far as all the opportunities that have come my way, it’s truly unbelievable. You know I am also an actor as well, so I’ve had some acting opportunities. Everything is still in process. I’m talking to people like Elaine Del Valle who’s done work with HBO Latino TV, who reached out to me. This is the reason I wrote this song.
Branley Modouin, the producer that I’m working with now, sent the music out to Florida to Power Station Studios to get the music mixed whose edited for people like Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey. So I’m excited about a lot of things happening despite the circumstances. I’m feeling really good about it but it’s all about the people. The message in Semilla De Fe is for the people. It’s a very powerful message. It’s a song about positivity, it’s song about believing in great things no matter what even when negativity strikes. You see I believe we can sometimes be very pessimistic human beings who tend to have no doubt believing things will go bad, but it’s important believing in the positive as well. This song is about positivity… Semilla De Fe, means seed of faith, so it’s believing in great things, in great possibilities..believing we can plant seeds of Faith. I think that’s partially why it served as a great message great message during these times. I think people need it. I’m hoping that everyone will embrace this song and share it around the world because it’s a very healing song with a an empowering message.
Alex: it’s absolutely a wonderful song.
Edwin: Thank you
Alex : Here you are playing for a small crowd in the restaurant and that’s a steady gig, and that’s where we get back to positivity. Covid is going to end, what are the things you are going to be pursuing once things are approaching normal, or we are better at dealing with Covid. We’re all learning how to do that and being in the restaurant proves that, so what are your next steps and what should we be looking for from you?
Edwin: Well like I said before, things have been happening in between so I just want to say that it’s about moving with the times and adjusting. For example The Alfa Omega Dance Theater Company reached out to me and despite this crisis we still managed to find a safe and effective way to follow through with a performance. I also did an online performance for the Brooklyn Museum in the midst of all of this which will connect itself somehow to the future. In addition there are recordings right now that I’m feeling really good about releasing but it will take creativity and determination to branch out.
I’m a guy who likes to keep himself learning different styles, I love being eclectic. Being raised here in New York, you got all these influences so though I embrace Latin music, my culture and stuff, I still make use of New York and the musical diversity it offers.
After all New York to me is about everyone, and that’s what I’m about.
I’m about using music to bridge our musical, cultural and behavioral similarities as human beings. I believe through the use of songwriting and melody music can offer us the opportunity of recognizing the chance to see our equality, especially when we embrace our abilities responsibly.
I’m also going to be recording more of my own material. Being that I’ve kept it eclectic all these years there seems to be something that keeps me exploring… It keeps leading me into different styles that influence my guitar, my vocals, overall the way I approach music, and I’m very happy about that.
Alex: I see this having a wide appeal and not a narrow focus.
I listen to the music and I don’t see anything that would force you into a single channel. I hope you have great success as we come out of covid. It seems your connections are really starting to fall into place but it all goes back to you, your music and your mom who’s sitting over here, who’s given you some really good foundations, way back when.
Edwin: I’m really excited about sharing my music with everyone, and I appreciate the opportunity to have you and everyone allow me to borrow your ears with an open heart to give my music a try. I feel the adversity in music is very needed and if I could bridge our human connection through my music I’d feel like I’ve fulfilled a dream of mine. I believe everything we do is about communication and human connectivity. The goal is to for me is to create an effective way to bridge that connection in a healthy way that offers us a reflection of just how similar we all are.
This type of openness connects us all, all different ethnicities, all different races. I want the branches of my music to offer a message about that love and unity. After all that’s what I’m about, that’s the philosophy I try to live by so While I’m here that’s what I’d like to achieve while I’m alive. It’s what I want to leave behind when I finish the book of my life. As each page turns I want to look back at the end of my days and know that I made some kind of an impact, I want to know I reached you all, and that maybe I made it a little bit possible to make you all see how beautiful life is.
Life is an amazing gift, and as an artist I personally believe
in everything that calls us to awaken to ourselves and to each other. If you really think about it, if we live in gratitude of this amazing gift called life we can actually learn to respect, empower and carry each other even through these trying times.
Alex: Thank you that’s the message we loved to see shared. I’m hoping that Long Island Portfolio provides a vehicle for sharing that voice. Thank you very much Edwin Vazquez
Edwin : Thank you.
You can follow Edwin in his social media:
#Roberto Vazquez #bolero #artist #recordingartist #latinmusica Latin world. #YomoToro #MarcoAntonioMuniz #BobbyCapoz #TitoPuente #GloriaMirabal #MirtaSilva #AlfaOmegaDance #CeciliaVazquezPagan
Some of the great food at Sole Mio in Brooklyn.
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