By Douglas Shannon
June 11, 2019
Born in Philadelphia to Puerto Rican parents, Luis Figueroa has been honing his talent since he was a kid. He embarked on two tours with bachata king Romeo Santos as a backing vocalist. After winning a Premios Juventud award in 2016, he signed with Magnus Media, founded by Marc Anthony. The following year, he played a reggaetón singer on the hit novela Guerra De Ídolos. Methodically learning a variety of facets of the music business, he is ready for his most prominent role yet with his upcoming solo single “La Especialista.” Watch his duet of “Flor Pálida” with Marc Anthony here.
Douglas Shannon: How important was music to your childhood?
Luis Figueroa: It’s very important in a Puerto Rican household. It’s always there. Saturday, Sundays, at the barbershop, even in the background. Philadelphia has its own Puerto Rican Day parade. I was an aspiring salsa artist as a kid. I used to perform at festivals and city events. Word got around, and I would get to open for touring salsa artists like La India, Johnny Rivera and Domingo Quiñones. It was my way of going to concerts. My mom didn’t let me go to clubs.
Douglas Shannon: What was it like studying at the Berklee College of Music and being around some of the most musically gifted students in the world?
Luis Figueroa: Berklee was awesome. It was one of the most special experiences for me. I met so many talented kids. I knew this was where I was supposed to be. It made me kind of competitive. If I was going to make it, I knew I would have to be the best. If I could be the best, then I knew it could get it together in the real world for sure.
Douglas Shannon: How do you feel about duets?
Luis Figueroa: I love collaborations. However, if my songs came out without them, I would love them just as much. I’m always thinking about who I can perform them with. The songs are that special to me. When I sang on Sebastián Yatra’s track “Por Perro,” it didn’t feel like I was “just collaborating.” The song and the performance felt like a part of me.
Douglas Shannon: How did you get discovered?
Luis Figueroa: I started doing YouTube videos and covers. I knew if I wanted to get music out there, there had to be other people in the world who would listen to it. I uploaded my version of Luke James’ “I Want You” which was co-written by Nasri Atweh of the group Magic!. Amazingly enough, Nasri contacted me on Twitter and said, “I need to work with you.” I knew who he was because I always look up credits and who works behind the scenes. I decided to move to LA and be his mentee. I wanted to be able to write songs equally well in Spanish and English.
Douglas Shannon: How important is live performance to you?
Luis Figueroa: Being in front of all these people, like during the Romeo Santos tours, is an adrenaline rush times a million. I’m always on, though I do need sleep. Even the second tour with Romeo was just as exciting. I used to listen to him and his group Aventura with bootleg CDs. They were like the rock guys doing bachata music. It wasn’t salsa, it wasn’t as clean-cut. Now I’ve been on stage with this guy, and I’m the one who duets with him when he performs the collaborations he’s done with guys like Enrique Iglesias and Drake.
Douglas Shannon: Is Marc Anthony as hardworking as people say he is?
Luis Figueroa: Marc Anthony is just a machine. His mind is always going, even when we’re hanging out. He loves to put people together. One of my favorite things about being with Marc, you never know what collaboration is going to happen.
With a background in publicity, Douglas Shannon has been working with Latin music artists since 1997.