By Emily Davenport, BX Times
Latin pop superstar Prince Royce recently returned to his native Bronx for a live (and live streamed) show.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Royce says that he got his start by singing in the shower. Both of Royce’s parents were born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and growing up Royce became no stranger to the music of his cultural background.
“My mom would encourage me a lot in my singing,” said Royce. “In the Bronx and Washington Heights, we’d listen to a lot of bachata, merengue, especially in my household. That drew me into getting into the rhythm, giving it my own little New York American Dominican style into the genre.”
Royce started to record his own music when he was 16 years old out of a friend’s studio in the Bronx. He started to develop his own style of music based off of what he heard growing up but put his own New York City twist to the performance.
“When I go to school or am talking to friends or brothers and sisters, we talk Spanglish. In my concerts, I sing in Spanish and talk to them in English. That was really how my music is, sometimes I sprinkle a little English in,” said Royce. “That’s who I sing for, I sing for people kind of like me that grew up in the states and love Latin music. I love Latin music but I also listen to hip hop, stuff like Usher and Jay Z. I think that’s what my music is. I’m singing mostly in Spanish but I sprinkle in a little New York flavor, and I think that with the Dominican style works.”
Now, with six albums under his belt and multiple #1 hits, Royce has certainly made a name for himself in the genre. However, Royce admits that it didn’t click for him that music was going to be sustainable for him until he was well into his career.
“I think it was late in because in the beginning when I was on the radio and making money from music, there’s still an uncertainty. You start to think, one if this is a one-hit-wonder kind of thing? What if after 2-3 years I’m still not here?” said Royce. “I think like 7 years in, I was like, ‘Man i’m still here!’ I’m still connecting with the people, it’s another #1 hit, 14-15 platinum hits. I think, ‘Man, this is dope, I could do this another 10 years.’ That’s when I felt really good about myself and really confident and solid.”
Royce recently partnered with Presidente beer to participate in Reventón de Verano (hosted by Anheuser-Busch), a one-day music festival that took place over livestream with artists across the globe. For the first time in over a year and a half, Royce hit the stage for an intimate show in the Bronx to celebrate Hispanic culture.
For Royce, the partnership with Presidente was a no-brainer — in addition to having worked with the brand in the past, Presidente is something that Royce says is very close to his Dominican culture.
“El Presidente is a Dominican beer that kind of was there in my upbringing and when I go to the Dominican Republic,” said Royce. “When they approached me about doing this show, I liked it because it’s something that culturally, every Dominican knows about this beer, growing up it’s a brand that we know always look for. It’s close to my family and upbringing.”
More importantly to Royce, he wanted to do something for his fans, and Presidente was the perfect partner for him to get it done.
“It’s about the fans as well. I haven’t sung in front of a small audience in a year and a half since my tour got canceled,” said Royce. “I think that there’s a bunch of stuff that’s all for the people, and this beer has always felt like it was for the people.”
Royce is currently working on new music, but he looks forward to the days when the pandemic is finally behind us and can perform and hang out with his family without risk.
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