Published on December 27th, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut
Danny Fornaris: Puerto Rico’s Rising Star Talks Family, Travel and Music
|One to watch: singer/songwriter Danny Fornaris is bound for glory on the Latin music scene.|
BY MARK CHESNUT
Born and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Danny Fornaris is a rising star in the Latin music scene. As a producer, singer and songwriter, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in urban Latin music — including Calle 13 and Don Omar. As a solo artist, his catchy single “Estoy Enamorado” has reached the top of the charts in nations throughout Latin America. And his forthcoming solo debut album, scheduled for release in 2012, is bound to be a hit as well, combining musical elements that range from Afro-Caribbean to British rock and pop.
In this exclusive interview, this 27-year-old creative master shares his thoughts about working with family, traveling in Latin America and listening to music on airplanes. He also shares advice on where to go shopping for the cool clothes he wears in his video (for even more about Danny Fornaris, check out the interview I did with Fornaris for Société Perrier).
As an artist, you work with both your brother and your girlfriend. How does that affect your work?
It’s the best thing. The music that I’m making, every song on the album, is based on an experience, and most of them are with my girlfriend. I have some that are about my childhood and things that I’ve learned growing up with my brother. It keeps me down to earth, with my feet firm. It gives me more security.
I’ve sung alone, but when I’m with them, it’s a different kind of magic on stage, because I’m with my brother, you know, I’m with my girlfriend. The first song was a song that I wrote in front of her with my guitar and a notebook.
Let’s talk about Puerto Rico. What are your favorite places to hang out on the “Isla del Encanto”?
To be honest, I don’t hang out much. I’m a homey person. I just go into the supermarket and buy a cheap bottle of wine, and stay home with my girl.
Do you ever buy Gasolina [the cheap pre-packaged mixed drinks made in Puerto Rico]?
No, no, no. That’s too strong for me. I don’t even drink a lot. If I’m not at home, I’m at the studio. If not, I’m at the radio station where I work. If not, I’m playing somewhere else. If not, I’m at my parent’s home. That’s where I grew up, and that’s like my spiritual center.
Where did you get your cool wardrobe for the video of “Estoy Enamorado”?
That was me and my girlfriend going to Plaza Las Americas.
You’ve toured a lot. Are there places in Latin America where you especially enjoyed performing?
Yeah man, Chile. I went to the Viña del Mar festival. That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had — first of all, because of the prestige that the festival has, and Chile is beautiful. It’s a very beautiful place.
I also like Colombia, I like Venezuela. It’s a very enriching experience to see other cultures and to feel those culture shocks. You kind of get awakened with other perspectives. That’s the good thing about traveling.
I really like every place I’ve gone, because every place is different. You get different influences from every place. That’s why [in my music] I emphasize the cumbia style so much. That’s a rhythm that works really well around the Americas as well as Europe and the United States. It’s a rhythm that’s closest to a normal heart rate. It’s between 80 and 90-something beats per minute. I read that, and I thought I need to do something with that. It’s something you can listen to any time. For example, the drum and bass beat gets you hyper. And the ballad gets you to chill out. But the cumbia beat is in the middle, it’s for the every day moment.
Are there places you’ve gone while touring that you’d like to go back on vacation?
Damn, I don’t know. I don’t really have much time to do things like a tourist. You get to the place, you have to do the sound check, go back to the hotel, get changed, do the show, then the next day at 5am you have to leave.
What do you think about the music on board planes?
I don’t really connect my headphones to the jack. They may have good music, but the sound quality is not good. I prefer to listen to my iPod. And usually what I listen to is Sigur Ros, which is an Icelandic group that I love, and a lot of Coldplay, Oasis, U2, a lot of chill out music.
• Danny Fornaris: The New Face of Latin Music? (Exclusive interview on Société Perrier)
• Time Out: Inspiration for Last-minute Holiday Getaways (Orbitz.com)