With millions of social media follows, three hit new singles, and a third album ready to drop at the end of this month, it’s safe to say that Christian Daniel really does have it all figured out. But within minutes of meeting him, it’s obvious that Christian is down to earth, loyal, and above all, hard-working. With such a strong work ethic, it’s no wonder he’s poised to become a household name around the world.
Read on to find out just what drives him, as well as what music he can’t get enough of, and even his ideal date… We can promise you one thing: this is an interview you won’t want to miss!
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I told my dad that I really wanted to sing when I was five-years-old. I remember that. I remember being in the car with him, and my dad was driving and he was talking on the phone and I was singing a song – I don’t remember which song I was singing – but suddenly he lowers the volume and he tells the person he was talking to, “Oh my God, Christian can sing.” And when he got off the phone I told him, “Dad, you know, I wanna be a singer when I grow up because I want to buy you a limo so that you can talk whenever you want and you won’t crash!
I love that.
That’s something I remember telling him, and I was only like five-years-old.
Now, is that still your goal. Are you going to buy him a limousine one day?
Unfortunately, my dad passed away seven months ago. I never bought him a limo, but he saw me #1 on Billboard’s.
I bet he was so proud.
He was. He saw me #1 on Billboard’s with my first single, from this new album that is coming out, called, Me Vuelvo un Cobarde. And that was something that made me happy because my dad was the person who was with me for the entire 11 years of my career. He was the one who supported me, and he was always telling me what to do – to be patient, to keep moving forward, to reach my goal, and when to stop – and he stuck with me. He stuck with me and then he saw me #1, and a week later, he passed away.
That’s a tough thing to go through, but it’s good that he got to see your success.
Now, growing up, who were your biggest influences?
Well, I can tell you, I grew up listening to a lot of types of music. Because of my dad and my mom, I always heard a lot of José José, Stevie Wonder… a lot more of the Oldies music, and a lot of the 80s. I remember, there was a radio station – 95.7 in Puerto Rico – and on Sundays it was Magic Nights and it was all the hits of the 80s. I remember that my dad and my mom always put that station on, and they always sang the music from that station, and I learned a bunch of those songs, and those were the songs that I really knew as a little kid. And the thing is, I grew up listening to a lot of rap music. Vico C, he was a rap artist in Puerto Rico and he was a pioneer in the rap music genre here, he was a famous rapper – I grew up listening to him and I really liked his music too. I like all types of music, but when it’s time for me to sing I go with the pop because I really feel it. I really feel that it comes out of my soul.
I definitely think you can hear that in your work. Can you tell us a little more about your upcoming album, Renacer?
This is my third album, and it’s the first time that I’ve really been involved in the making of an album, especially with an independent label. I used to be with big labels, until suddenly I told myself, “I have to go independent because I have to make it on own. The labels aren’t going to support me. I have to do something myself if I’m going to reach my dreams.” So I went independent after about a year of being in Colombia. I came back with all the power, you know? So I went into the studio and started recording. I had a good team of produces, engineers, writers… I had Andres Castro as the producer, and I had Edgar Barrera as the writer with me – he’s a very young Mexican writer, who is young and who already has many latin grammys under his belt and is only going to get bigger. I have to do this – I have to prove to myself that I can write, that I can do this without a record label. If nobody is going to support me and push me, then I’m going to go out and find that team for myself, and that is exactly that I did. I spent ten months writing about my life and about my experiences, and all the things that I went through, and then after ten months I already had my new manager, and my team. We went with the first single and we were #1, and that was huge because people never expected that I could go #1 on Billboards by myself, and I did. I proved to myself and to the whole world that I didn’t need a big label to make it, I just need people who listen and give me the opportunity. This is a new time for me. It’s a new life. A new Christian. I’m not just “Christian, the one who sings.” Now, I’m “Christian the one who writes and sings his songs.” For me, that is very important, because I am letting people know who I am.
What’s been the biggest challenge in creating your music video for Ahora Que Te Vas? The best moment from it?
That song is the song that I wrote for my dad. It is the song that is the most meaningful – it means the world to me – because it was for my dad. People who have lost somebody – in my case, my dad died – that’s life, you will always lose somebody. This song is a very emotional song to sing, because it’s like I have to pay tribute to my dad and leave it all out there. This video was very difficult to do. I filmed it in Los Angeles, in this little town near LA that is like an old Mexican town that Disney World bought. They use it for making movies for the West and things. So they rented it to us, and they have this beautiful church with a big cross and pews… When I went there, the story was already there. The crying, the memories… because making the video was like feeling the same thing I felt when I lost my dad. I didn’t have to do any acting because I was living it. I was going through it. People were crying, even people who didn’t understand the words, because it was very intense and emotional. People were saying, “I was crying because of the way that you were singing the song.” I was very happy with it because I did it with all my heart and I really took people inside the story and they knew how important it was.
I also had this great choreographer who really made the dance go along with the story. If you see the dance, if you see the dancers, you will see that you can see the story in the moves, in the faces of the dancers. It’s a very artistic video. You feel the heartbreak through the dance, you feel the pain through the dance. Which is something I really like because sometimes you just feel like dancing is just there, but not in this video – no, no, no – you can really feel the emotions through this dance.
I think that really shines through. It’s a beautiful video.
In a month it already has more than one million views. We haven’t even done any promos yet about this new album or single or video – we start doing promotions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. this week – so you know it’s all word of mouth, which is really incredible.
It just goes to show, if you know how to use your intensity and interpret a song – that’s how you get people. Some people don’t have the greatest voice, but if you have that heart and that intensity, that’s what matters.
Do you have any messages for your fans? Anything you want to say?
Yes. I always say that music is the best psychologist you could ever have because it’s the only way you can really get out your happiness or your sadness. If you feel happy you listen to a happy song, and if you feel sad you want to hear the worst and saddest song ever. With this album, you will have the best friend you have ever had. You’ll have happy songs and sad songs and everything. You will never get bored of this album, because you will have songs for every mood of your life.
Another thing I would like to tell fans, or the young people, is that they can never stop dreaming. They are the future of this world, and the key to success is perseverance. If you have a dream and you go for it, you cannot listen to the people around you, you just have to do what you love. They say that crazy people change the world, but they are not crazy people, they are just the ones who do the things the world says not to do. Just do what you love and that will make all the difference.
We like to end with some songs about what makes you tick.
If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would you want to do a song with?
I would love to sing with my girlfriend, Adelle. I love that woman; she is beautiful. I hear her songs and I hear her voice and I go crazy. Adelle is the best woman…
And in the Spanish world, I’d love to collaborate with Marc Antony. He is the best artist in all aspects that the Latino world has. If that guy dies, it could be a lot of years before we hear anyone with a voice like that man has. He’s got it all – he can dance, he knows how to use his voice… That’s something that I really admire.
Those sound like great collaborations. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Now, what’s on your playlist right now.
Right now I like this one artist, I think he’s from Britain. His name is Paolo Nutini. The song is called Last Request. I cannot stop listening to his songs. They are not new, but for me they are new. When I hear a song that I like, it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or just new to me.
And last, but not least, what’s your ideal date?
I think the ideal date is something that comes around organically. I don’t like to plan. I like things that happen in that moment. Sometimes, you have this date all planned it comes out like s***. I prefer you just jump in the car and do something… Let’s go to the beach or a bar or just drive and talk and talk and talk. Things happen when you let it go organically. You have to just let it flow. If you push things, you won’t be you. When you are meeting someone, you go through this act of being this perfect person, but no, no, no, no, no… you have to just be yourself. Because a year from that date they will know how you really are. So you should just be yourself.
There you have it. Christian Daniel is a rising superstar who we’re going to be sure to keep an eye on. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or follow us here for more updates on Christian and other rising Latino talent.