For this month’s artist feature, I figured that we would follow up last week’s bachata introduction and showcase a great new bachata artist – Prince Royce (real name: Geoffrey Royce Rojas).
Born in 1989, (He’s only 23!?! Whooo boy, talented artists are coming out younger and younger…), Royce was raised in the Bronx, a borough of New York City. Both Royce’s parents are Dominican – his father working as a taxi-cab driver, and his mother in a beauty salon. Royce was greatly involved in music growing up: competing in talent shows, singing in choirs, and writing his own music as early as age 16.
Royce’s debut album, “Prince Royce”, came out on March 2, 2010, focusing on bachata music with strong R&B and pop influences. The lead single, Stand by Me, a cover of Ben E. King’s 1961 song by the same title, instantly became a huge hit across the Latin music scene (Ben King himself was so impressed that he performed the song alongside Royce at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards), and propelled Royce to stardom.
Prince Royce – Stand by Me
(for some reason, embedding videos isn’t working for me today. Sorry guys! Click the link above to open the YouTube video.)
His second and most recent album, “Phase II”, was released in 2012. Royce had the same R&B influence in a number of his songs, but also started experimenting with other genres, infusing Mariachi styling into one of his most popular singles, Incondicional. The album was certified platinum in the US and Puerto Rico within 6 months.
What I like about Prince Royce is that he represents a new breed of bachata musicians – a breath of fresh air and modernity into a genre often accused of refusing to evolve beyond its classic “feel” (making a lot of bachata songs sound exactly the same). Not only was Royce able to make a name for himself at a young age, he also successfully blended other genres of music into bachata to create new sounds. My hat off to you, Prince Royce. The future of bachata is in good hands.