For many people he may be an up-and-coming singer of the Latin music scene, but the phenomenon Luis Figueroa has already covered many kilometers in the music industry. Ηe did his first steps by doing covers on YouTube that he sang in English. His studies at the Berklee College of Music followed as well as his participation in talent shows such as: Star Search, Sábado Gigante and American Idol. At one point he came to the notice of Marc Anthony who hurried to ask for him for a collaboration. From that moment a domino of collaborations begins with artists such as Romeo Santos, Matoma, Sebastián Yatra, Sabrina Claudio and others. Appearances on big stages and awards, by their side were inevitable and that’s how Luis was introduced in the discographical industry.
After several singles and EPs, the Puerto Rican singer recently made his debut with the album “Canciones Del Alma”, an album with covers of his favorite songs that helped him become the artist he is today. With his first single “Hasta El Sol De Hoy”, first performed by his uncle, Anthony Colón, the man who was by his side in every step of his career, Luis sees his name invading the Billboard and becoming the next-best-thing in the world of the latin music scene.
With an incredible number of stories, a huge smile and good mood, he agreed to speak exclusively to SounDarts.gr, about all the above but also about everything he expects for the future. From the beginning of our communication and by shouting a warm – and very Greek – “kalispera” (good evening), Luis Figueroa began to reveal himself to the Greek audience…
Recently you released your new album “Canciones del Alma”, which is a cover-album with ten songs that have a special meaning to you. How would you describe this project and what are your feelings about it?
I’d describe it as one of those projects where I get to do what I really love which is singing. I think, that with certain genres in the Latin industry it’s been really tough to find the place where I can actually really express my singing voice. I really wanted to take the opportunity to do this covers album in Spanish because I started doing covers on YouTube in English a long time ago and I never really got the opportunity to show that other side of me, the vulnerable side, the one that those songs have and they really touch the heart. These are songs that have molded and shaped me as the artist that you see today so they mean a lot to me. They’re pretty much my history. It’s incredible because I finally got that moment to show them off to anyone who enjoys them and to relive those moments all over again. There are so many songs on this album that I’ve been in love with for so long and I finally got to make them my own and share them with the world. It’s most probably the most special part of my first album and having everybody really accepting it and loving it, that has been a plus and a blessing.
Why did you choose to release a cover-album as your debut and not one with original songs to introduce yourself to the audience?
I wanted to take the opportunity for people to get to know me a little bit through songs that they are familiar with. Also I wanted them to really see and hear me to the capacity that I can use my voice. I think, there was no better moment for this to be the first album and something that people would really get to listen to because the familiarity of the songs is what is gonna get their attention. I thought long and hard about it. I was very weary because I really wanted to do it but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got with working on different songs. I wanted people to be familiar with the song and listen to me singing for a bit without having to judge a record or to digest a new artist for a second. I just wanted them to get a chance to really know Luis Figueroa and where it all came from.
You recorded this album while on lockdown. How difficult was it to finish it due to this?
Yeah. This album was done during the lockdown. It was one of these albums that I recorded with Homero Gallardo and it was done with him in his apartment and me in my apartment but it wasn’t difficult because we had a set up in our homes which gave us the ability to record the records which made things a little bit easier. I think everybody got really comfortable remotely. We didn’t necessarily have to go to a studio to make these songs come to life. I think that was the beauty of the whole thing. The moment when we needed music to uplift us, to take us to amazing memories, to take us to these moments where people were a little happier, where they were just reminiscent. It was one album that I got to do from the comfort of my home and it was actually an amazing project to make.
Are you satisfied with the response you have received so far for “Cancionesdel Alma”?
I am! It’s been incredible! Just the response from different places and from just everyone in general. I have so many fans in Philadelphia, so many fans that come different parts and different chapters in my career. From the Romeo Santos days or Marc Anthony fans, people that have heard of me through YouTube, people that have heard of me throughout the years from just music in general from songs like one of my first songs that I put out. It’s overwhelming the amount of love and the incredible feedback that we got from this album.
Of course after what’s been said so far it would be difficult to distinguish just one song from this album, but if you had to which one would you chose?
I think that one of the songs that really sets the mood for me is “Tu con El”! It’s one of my favorites! From the moment that I started to sing it, it just felt so special. I choke every time I listen to it and I talk about it because all of these songs sit differently now than they did when I was a kid. They’re songs that you appreciate more with your experience through life, love and romance, the experience of heartaches and love losses. You don’t go through all these things at once. Throughout your life the songs and the experiences start to resonate a little bit more with your soul. So listening back to those records, they really touch those heart-strings and they make me really emotional because they are really great. “Tu con El” is this amazing record that I never get tired listening to. You can really feel the sentiment behind all of these songs in just the handwriting, the songwriting, the composition and they’re just great.
“Hasta El Sol De Hoy”, is the first single from this album. The most successful version of the song was the one by Edgar Joel and his orchestra along with your uncle Anthony Colón in 1993. How do you feel about covering one of your uncle’s most famous hits?
I felt nervous at first because I really wanted to do a justice to the song. It’s one of those songs that have lived for so long in our family. It was really a privilege and an honor to cover one of his songs. He’s been a part of my career since I was a kid. My first songs were written by him, my first experiences in a studio, learning how to record myself and getting comfortable in the studio were when I was with him. So it was really special for people to have taken the song in, to enjoy that version that I’ve made and to be in the Top10 on Billboard. Just to receive all the love that I’ve been dreaming for this record.
If you had the chance to sing one or two of these songs as duets with their original performers which ones would like to do?
That’s a tough one man. All of those artists are so incredible. It would have been a dream of mine to have done a song with Frankie Luis or with Jeri Rivera of which I have two songs that I’ve interpreted on this album. I think at one point of my life I have imagined to do a duet with all of these artists but if I had to pick one at this very moment, the one that would be ideal is “Angel” with Jon Secada. I think that it would be one of my favorite moments because it was one of those songs that really shaped me. I never studied a song more when I started to learn that record and it was a song the one that put me through different phases of American Idol. Also it was the one that I enjoyed singing in English very much. He (Secada) was one of those hybrids like me. We can sing both in Spanish and in English and he has an incredible instrument that I’ve always admired. It would be an honor to sing the song with him at some point whether that would be with a guitar in my living room or whether that would be on a stage live .. it would be one of the most incredible moments.
So far you have collaborated with really big names of the industry such as Marc Anthony, Romeo Santos, Sebastián Yatra and others. What did you learn from these collaborations as a young artist?
I’ve learned so much from each and every one of these artists. The passion, that they put behind everything that they create. I’ve learned so many things from being a background singer for Romeo Santos for so many years and one of the things that he always tells me is “continue doing things with passion and God will always reward you”. You know I never forget the reasons why I became an artist and I think my mentors make sure that I don’t forget. Marc has always been stern with patience. He’s always giving me the advice to “be patient and everything will fall into place” and he has always God first. He has trust and faith that things will pan out the way they’re supposed to. Sebastian is one of those incredible talents that I had the pleasure of having an incredible record with, who gave me my first helping hand on a big release, who gave me the opportunity to be on a big stage. He’s always been present and I learned from him too. He’s been growing though out the years. His tenacity, his patience and his perseverance has really shown through even till today. Sebastian is doing incredible things and I think it would an honor and a privilege to collaborate with him soon again. Who knows what the future holds? So I’m super happy to be a part of all these guys’ stories.
Could you tell me which you consider to be the most important or moving highlights in your career so far?
Having a song on the Billboard was one of the biggest moments for me in my career but in order it’s always been getting a taste of that stage with Romeo Santos which really opened my eyes to what I wanted to do. He gave me the opportunity not only as a background singer but he put me in the front row to perform in his concerts. I wasn’t just a background singer. I got to transform and mold as an artist as the years progressed. Every time I touched that stage, I felt more and more like an artist, I felt that turn in me to wanna make this a reality. Everything has happened how it was supposed to happen like doing the background vocals for his album and Marc’s album. Being part of the recording process, learning from all of these artists, getting to meet Marc and perform with him was one of those things that I, never in my wildest dreams, had thought would happen. Having a record done with Sebastian Yatra and Lary Over in this current time, a song that was written by me and Yoel Henriquez and all those guys. To see your creation taking flight is kinda like one of those surreal moments. From Billboard to “People en espanol”, to Premios Juventud, to now being nominated a los Heat and having my first album with Sony Music. There’s been a lot of growth and I can’t forget my collaboration with Matoma which was one of my first records that I really enjoyed making. Those moments are only a few to name but they’re all very important to me.
What are your next professional plans?
Hopefully we’ll get on the road to perform these songs for all the fans. We have a few performances with Marc Anthony with whom we were doing the “Opus Tour” last year but then the pandemic happened. Hopefully we will get back on the road. I know that I’m releasing a visual album for “Canciones del Alma” so there’s gonna be a visual component to this. Maybe next month we will be releasing that and a few different salsa versions of things that you guys might enjoy as well. Now I’m working on my second album which is going to be with some original music. I found the cool lane with the tropical side of music and I resparked that ember that I used to have with salsa. I think salsa is in the front row right now. We have so much success with “Hasta El Sol De Hoy”, and I think that we’re going to have some fun, enjoy the rest of this year and see where the wind takes us.
What’s your motto in life?
What would you like us to wish for you?
Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos